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9 Marketing Analytics Tools to Eliminate Guesswork

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9 Marketing Analytics Tools to Eliminate Guesswork

Marketing analytics tools are used to measure and analyze data to seek patterns and insights that can improve marketing performance.

These days, you can’t do online marketing without digital marketing tools. Moreover, you will need multiple marketing analytics tools for multiple purposes because the ultimate all-in-one marketing tool hasn’t been invented yet. 

In this guide, we’ll go through nine essential marketing analytics tools that will help you become a more data-driven marketer and eliminate the unnecessary guesswork.

When Google first launched this tool to the public in 2005, the demand killed the servers. After that, you needed to be lucky to get it (seriously, it was similar to winning a lottery). 

That says it all about the need for a free tool for monitoring and reporting website traffic. After so many years, this is still the most popular tool, and it’s still free. 

Simply put, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes with almost everything you need to see how many people visit your website and how they use it. And honestly, it’s easier to list what GA4 doesn’t have—so here are the key missing features:

  • Heatmaps and session recordings (for these, use a tool like Hotjar)
  • Full access to raw data 
  • Self-hosting
  • GDPR and EU compliance (GA is illegal in France and Austria); try Matomo instead for a more privacy-conscious solution

But make no mistake here. GA4 is an amazingly capable platform with tons of useful integrations. 

From my experience, when marketers want something that GA4 doesn’t have, they just get another tool for that specific job (e.g., Hotjar). So if you need a free website analytics tool that’s easy to use and even easier to set up, you can’t go wrong with GA4. 

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Pricing

Free. There’s also a premium, paid version as part of the Google Marketing Platform (basically, a solution for enterprises). 

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When you set up your GA account, definitely check out the Explorations tool. It’s like your own research lab for web analytics. 

The Explorations tool allows you to create custom reports that go beyond the information provided by standard reports. So if there’s a question bugging you and standard reports don’t cut it, you will likely find your answer in Explorations.

You can then share your reports with other people or export them. 

GA4 Explorations tool
Google has revamped funnels in its GA4. GA tracks everything as events now, and all of them are available to use in the funnel reports. What’s more, you can make comparative funnels and open funnels.

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Analytics 4 for Beginners 

According to many professionals, this is the best SEO tool on the market. And of course, we agree.

Why do you need Ahrefs? Here’s why:

  • Most people use Google when they want to buy something or learn something. 
  • When your website shows up for relevant search queries, you can get consistent traffic that you don’t need to pay for. 

This is the power of SEO. And you can’t do SEO without a product like Ahrefs. We’re talking:

  • Finding keywords your customers are looking for. 
  • Finding what works and what doesn’t for your competitors. 
  • Finding content gaps between you and your competitors.
  • Finding out where your competitors get backlinks
  • Tracking your SEO performance. 
  • Automatically monitoring your website for SEO issues.
  • Etc.

All these allow you to grow your traffic and reach more potential customers. 

Pricing

We offer quite a collection of free SEO tools. You should definitely check out Ahrefs Webmaster Tools: It uncovers all of your organic keywords and backlinks and monitors your website’s SEO health for free. Plus, you can use it for all of the websites you own.

When this is not enough for you, check out what we have in our premium plans, starting from $99/mo (or $83/mo if you pay annually).

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The tool that I use the most in Ahrefs is probably Keywords Explorer, our very own keyword research tool. It goes like this: You come to the tool with just a general idea of what you want to create content about, and you leave with:

  • Dozens of good topic ideas vetted using SEO metrics like Traffic Potential (TP) or ranking difficulty. Plus, there’s no bigger database of U.S. keywords on the market, as far as I know.
  • A list of suggestions on what you may want to include under each topic to stand a higher chance of ranking. 
Matching terms report results for "marketing" in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
OK, so here’s what’s happening in this screenshot. I’ve set up a simple filter to show me keywords that are related to marketing and are, at most, moderately hard to rank for (KD), have considerable monthly search volumes, and include the word “for” because I want to uncover some industries interested in the topic. All for the U.S. market (which I can also change). Then I can go to the Related terms report (on the left side) to learn what subtopics top-ranking pages include in their content.

Recommended reading: How to Use Ahrefs: 11 Actionable Use Cases for Beginners 

Google Search Console (GSC) is a tool that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance in Google’s search results. Hands down, it’s one of the essential tools for SEO. 

You can use it to:

  • See keywords you rank for (up to 1,000 keywords inside the tool and 5,000 via API). By the way, you need GSC if you want to see keyword data in GA4.
  • See your backlinks (1,000 inside the tool, and you can export up to 100,000).
  • Find and fix technical errors. 
  • Submit sitemaps.

And more.

Pricing

Free.

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With GSC, it is quite easy to spot pages that rank high but don’t get as many clicks as you expect. 

GSC has a handy metric for this: CTR (click-through rate). All you need to do to spot such scenarios is to filter keywords with average rankings below 3.1 and sort the results by increasing CTR.

List of keywords with corresponding CTRs
While this isn’t the target keyword for this article, it seems that it can get more clicks if the word “sample” is included in the title and the content (since the template already contains a sample report).

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO (Beginner’s Guide)

Mixpanel is a product analytics tool. It’s a bit like GA but designed for mobile apps and SaaS products. 

Generally, it’s meant to help you do three things:

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  1. Convert more users 
  2. Engage more users
  3. Retain more users 

It does that by tracking users’ behaviors and helping you make sense of that data. But you can do more than observe. Mixpanel also allows you to send messages to users when they perform specific actions (or when they don’t perform the ones you expect). 

Sounds like a lot of user tracking, doesn’t it? Yet Mixpanel is GDPR- and CCPA-compliant. But if you need a tool that meets and exceeds those regulations, try Fugu or its alternatives (but don’t expect the same rich functionality, though). 

Pricing

Free plan available. Premium plans start from $25/mo.

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Impact report is Mixpanel’s solution to the classic problem of measuring the results of newly launched product features. It uses data science methods to tell you whether a user action causes a propensity to do another action. For example, you can check whether a new feature to view subtitles causes users to watch more videos. 

Mixpanel's Impact report

Hotjar creators offer the perfect summary of their tool: “Understand how users behave on your site, what they need, and how they feel, fast.” 

This is another tool on our list that tracks user behavior, but it’s still a unique one. I’d say that Hotjar aims to fill the gaps left by general website analytics tools like GA4 rather than be an all-in-one solution for user behavior analytics. 

Actually, using GA4 and Hotjar covers pretty much the entire range of possibilities of website analytics these days. Here’s what Hotjar offers:

  • Heatmaps – They’re a visual representation showing where users click, move, and scroll.
  • Session recordings – It won’t be just for one page; you can see the entire user journey. 
  • Suggestion boxes – The cool thing is this feature allows the user to highlight the element they want to comment on. Also, you can filter session recordings based on feedback given in those boxes. 
  • On-page surveys 

Pricing

Free plan available. Premium plans start from $39/mo (or $31/mo if you pay yearly). 

Hotjar includes two products (Observe and Ask); the final price is based on the product feature set you choose and how many daily sessions you need. 

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Ever wanted to learn how a user interacts with your website? I know I have. With Hotjar’s session recording tool, it’s possible. Plus, your users remain anonymous. (Hotjar is GDPR- and CCPA-compliant.)

Hotjar's session recording tool

Session recordings record mouse movement, scrolling, and clicks/taps. This allows you to spot issues such as:

  • Mis-rendered elements.
  • Rage clicks (when users repeatedly click without a response). 
  • U-turns (when users come back to the previous page within seven seconds).
  • Where users hesitate.
  • Where users get stuck. 
  • Where users focus and where they skip the content. 

You can also place notes inside the tool when one of the above happens. And since you probably won’t want to watch all the recordings, you can filter them by a couple of handy categories. 

When it comes to website optimization, you basically have three choices: guess, copy others, or test things. Google Optimize is a tool for the third option. It comes with everything you need to perform A/B tests (aka split tests), and it won’t cost you anything. 

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If you’re unfamiliar with A/B testing, it’s when you show two or more variations of a webpage to different users at the same time to determine the best one. For example, you can test different headlines and then pick the one that compelled the most users to sign up.

That said, it’s a bit inaccurate to call Google Optimize “just” an A/B testing software because its functionality is quite extensive. Not only can you run the above experiments, but you can also run multivariate tests, set up landing page variations, or even display notification banners. 

Google Optimize is a good match for small- and medium-sized companies. I think it’s best to start with Google Optimize and then look for more advanced tools (including a paid version of this tool) only when your use case justifies the high costs. 

Pricing

Free. Premium features are available with Optimize 360 (pricing by request). 

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Although this tool is free, you can get quite creative with your optimization experiments. Let’s say that you come up with two great ideas for a headline, and you find not one but three photos that can go along with them. But you can’t make up your mind. 

Google Optimize will allow you to test those elements simultaneously with a multivariate test. I mean, imagine testing 16 combinations manually. 

List of combinations with options to preview each one

What’s more, that won’t be the only test you can run on the platform. In its free version, you can create four other completely different experiences on the same website simultaneously. 

SparkToro is an audience research tool—and it seems to be one of a kind. It works by crawling public profiles from various social media platforms to reveal demographics, behavioral traits, discussion topics, and more.

Using SparkToro feels similar to having a backstage pass to the infrastructure of big social networks. It’s kind of exciting. You can snoop around and get away with it. 

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At the end of the day, you feel like you have the edge over marketers who don’t use this tool. But more importantly, you know a lot more about your audience. In marketing, that knowledge has its weight in gold. 

So here are a couple of cool things you can do with this tool:

  • Find partnership prospects 
  • See where your audience hangs out and who and what influence them: websites, social media profiles, podcasts, YouTube channels, what press they read, etc
  • See what topics your audience talks about

Pricing

Free plan available. Premium plans start from $50/mo (or $38/mo if you pay annually). 

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It’s quite hard to point to one distinct feature of SparkToro. It’s essentially a tool you use in its entirety. 

For example, at the end of 2021, we organized a special campaign where we switched all of our advertising budget to partnerships with content creators. SparkToro helped us find influencers based on topics, followings, and other signals. To do that, we used a couple of features. 

Engagement data about an audience

But if there’s one thing that stood out for me in SparkToro is how it designed the search bar. It seems as if you only need to know the answer to a basic statement about your audience to uncover a ton of data. 

SparkToro's search bar; to use it, searchers simply need to "answer" various statements

Brand24 is a media monitoring tool. Basically, it tells you what the internet thinks about you and how often it mentions your brand—and that isn’t limited to social media. It can do the same for your competitors or any other brand you want to look up. And this data allows you to:

  • See what people say about your product/service.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your social media and PR strategy.
  • Spot influencers talking about your brand.
  • Get notified when there’s a spike in engagement. This way, you can react promptly to crises, for example.
  • Get an alert when someone mentions you online.
  • Etc.

So if you’re doing social media without a tool like Brand24, you’re really missing out on a lot. 

Pricing

No free plan (although there’s a free trial available). Premium plans start from $59/mo (or $49/mo if you pay annually). 

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You can do quite an extensive competitor analysis with Brand24. And you can do that just on the basis of how your competitors communicate with the audience and what they get in return. 

For example, if you see that the overall sentiment of social media posts about your competitor’s latest feature is negative, this is something worth looking into. Sure enough, it can save you from making the same mistakes. 

Competitive analysis (e.g., no. of mentions) in the form of line graphs

And the same goes for positive sentiment. Clearly, your competitor must have done something right, and that’s a valuable lesson as well. 

One ring to rule them all (or should I say one dashboard). Klipfolio allows you to gather your marketing analytics tools (including Ahrefs) on one neat dashboard. And it doesn’t stop there. You can share that dashboard with others, generate a report from it, or filter data right inside the dashboard.

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So for example, you can display these on one screen:

  • New leads
  • Page views
  • Brand mentions
  • Goal completion rate
  • Ad spend
  • MRR

But you may ask, “Why pay for a tool that shows the same data other tools already provide?” 

There are two main reasons: easier reporting and time savings. Klipfolio solves the problem of trying to share data with stakeholders who have no access to (or insufficient know-how of) a given tool; it also takes away the inconvenience of clicking through a list of tools to find and extract data. And that is worth paying for. 

Pricing

Free plan available. Premium plans start from $139/mo (or $99/mo if you pay annually). 

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A cool feature of Klipfolio is that you can control how your data will be displayed once it’s been pulled into the tool. There are different chart types and styles. You can compare data sets right inside the tool or display a moving average over a column chart. 

Moving averages in a bar chart

Final thoughts

Without marketing analytics tools, digital marketing will just be another guessing game. And it’ll be an unfair game that nobody wants to play. 

To prevent this from being the case, you just need to spend some time choosing the right tools. I do hope I’ve made the choice a little easier, as I tried to pick the truly essential tools with good functionalities and reasonable pricings.

On a final note, all those tools are great, but they won’t replace native analytics tools included in your marketing platforms. That concerns especially advertising networks and email marketing platforms. You need those too. Alternatively, you can just pull them with a dashboard tool like Klipfolio. 

Got comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

The number of online surveys has risen dramatically in the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

From short social media polls to lengthy feedback forms, it’s never been easier to survey your target audience and find out what exactly they’re thinking.

When it comes to free survey makers, you have plenty of options to choose from.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is you have to wade through your options to figure out the best survey tool for you.

In this article, I’ve done that dirty work for you.

Below I outline the top six free survey makers, with a simple bulleted list of their pros and cons, so you can quickly select the best one for your needs.

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But first up, the caveats.

What You’re Missing With Free Survey Makers

When something’s free, there’s usually a catch. The same goes for free survey makers.

Free survey tools, or the free plan offered by a paid survey tool, often come with the following limitations:

  • Limited export options. You may not be able to export your survey data for review in Excel or Google Sheets. There may be a PDF-only export option or no export ability at all.
  • Limited analytics. Free survey tools often skimp on the analytics. You may be left to your own pivot tables and Excel expertise if you want to create anything fancy from your survey data.
  • Limited survey functionality. This runs the gamut, from a limit on how many respondents or questions you can have per survey, to only allowing so many question types (e.g., multiple-choice, long-form, etc.).
  • Limited extra perks. By perks, I mean those other features that make software from good to great. With survey makers, that might mean easy-to-access support, the ability to embed surveys in email or webpages, multiple user accounts, or integration with other email marketing or CRM software.
  • No branding. Free survey makers give you their tools for free. In return, you provide them with free brand awareness. Don’t expect to be able to swap out their logo for your own. You’ll probably be stuck with their branding, along with a prominent link to their site throughout the survey or on the thank you page (or both).

If any of the above is a dealbreaker for you, you should plan to drop a little dough on a paid survey tool. That’s why I’ve also included the starting price for all six of the tools featured below.

In case you end up having to upgrade later, it’s easier to do so from a tool you’re already familiar with.

Top 6 Free Survey Tools

Without further ado, I present the best free survey makers you’ll find today. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Google Forms

Screenshot by author, June 2022

Do you live and die by your Google Drive?

Great news: Google also offers free survey software via Google Forms.

Alright, I know I just said these were presented in no particular order, but I’ll openly admit Google Forms is my personal favorite. Just look at all of the features they include in their free plan!

All you need is a free Google account to get started.

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Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Export to Google Sheets.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Ability to embed images and YouTube videos.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website and share to social media.
  • Survey analytics, updated in real-time.
  • Integration with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Unlimited collaborators.
  • Customizable survey templates.
  • Free branding.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Enhanced security and collaboration options.
  • Integration with your existing Google Workplace account.

Price: Completely free. Google Workplace pricing starts at $6 per user per month.

Best for: Anyone and everyone, for business or casual use.

2. SurveyMonkey

surveymonkeyScreenshot by author, June 2022

SurveyMonkey is the online survey tool. Established in 1999, it’s still the most well-known online survey software.

Despite the limitations of its free plans, SurveyMonkey continues to be popular thanks to its intuitive interface and brand recognition. Notable clients include Allbirds, Tweezerman, and Adobe.

One nice perk is that you can test out any of the paid features with your free plan. (You just won’t be able to actually use it in your live survey until you pay up.)

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions.
  • 15 question types.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Over 250 customizable survey templates.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Mobile app.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions, question types, and responses.
  • Data exports – this is a biggie!
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Advanced security (single sign-on, HIPAA compliance).
  • A/B testing.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $16 per month for individuals, $25 for teams.

Best for: Those who want a tried-and-true survey maker with all the features you could ask for.

3. Typeform

typeformScreenshot by author, June 2022

Many online survey tools are designed for the general public.

Readers of Search Engine Journal will be happy to hear that there’s a survey tool created just for us. Typeform was built specifically with marketers, UX researchers, and business owners like us in mind.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

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  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 10 responses per month.
  • Basic question types.
  • Basic reporting and analytics
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Integrations with MailChimp, HubSpot, Trello, Google Sheets, Zapier, and more.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Custom thank you screen.
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Ability to accept payment.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Integration with Facebook pixel and Google Tag Manager.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users, UX researchers, and marketers hoping to track customer behavior.

4. Zoho Survey

zoho surveyScreenshot by author, June 2022

Zoho Survey is part of the same Zoho suite of apps that caters to sales, HR, IT, finance, and virtually any kind of business user you can think of.

Given their tenure creating SaaS software for business, their survey tool is just as robust as you might expect. Customers include big names like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Change.org.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website, or share to social media.
  • Export to PDF.
  • 250 survey templates.
  • Password protection and HTTPS encryption.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Ability to export to XLS or CSV.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Team collaboration.
  • Real-time responses.
  • Multilingual surveys.
  • Integration with Google Sheets, Tableau, Shopify, Zendesk, Eventbrite, and others.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

Best for: Zoho users, or anyone who needs an extra level of security for their surveys.

5. Alchemer

alchemer survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

Alchemer is an advanced survey maker developed for the enterprise client.

Paid features include custom coding so you can customize every single element of your survey, from the survey URL to the form logic.

They stand out among free survey makers for being one of the few (besides Google Forms) to offer unlimited questions and Excel exports in their free plan. Clients include Disney, Salesforce, Verizon, and The Home Depot.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Three surveys at a time.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • 100 responses.
  • 10 question types.
  • Export to Excel.
  • Customizable templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Unlimited question types.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Ability to embed surveys in websites.
  • Export to PDF, PowerPoint, or Word.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Survey analytics and reporting.
  • Ability to accept payment.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $49 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users needing to create long surveys with advanced logic and question types.

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6. Jotform

jotform survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

With over 10,000 templates, Jotform takes the cake as the survey maker with the most form templates on our list.

Jotform also stands out for letting you accept payments with the free plan (although you’re limited to 10).

This popular survey maker includes clients as wide-ranging as AMC and Nickelodeon to Redfin and the American Medical Association.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Five surveys.
  • 100 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website.
  • Export to PDF or Excel.
  • 10,000 survey templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • HIPAA compliance.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Users who want a template for every kind of survey possible.

Which Survey Tool Will You Use?

There truly is a survey maker for everybody.

The above options are all solid choices. Which one works for you may depend on your organization’s needs and your personal preferences.

Take advantage of the free trials and see which one you like best.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock



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