Act-On Insight Lets Businesses See How They’re Seen Online

Marketing automation provider Act-On Software has added a unique feature to its product lineup that allows users to track, compare, and then take action on what is being said online and in social media about their company or executives.

Act-On Insight lets users benchmark and track these mentions, as well as other online marketing metrics, from one dashboard. The feature is important to small and medium-sized businesses, a space that happens to be Act-On’s core focus, said Atri Chatterjee, chief marketing officer.

“The SMB segment is very underpenetrated with marketing solutions that cater to this segment,” he told CRM Buyer. “That is why this feature is proving to be very popular with our users.”

Act-On Insight answers key questions for these businesses, Chatterjee continued. “All marketers want to know, ‘How am I doing? What does my marketing look like to prospective customers? Where am I ranked? What is my competition doing that I am not doing?'”

Act-on Insight can answer these questions via its one dashboard, he said. “We do this by aggregating the information that can be found on the Web. Then we present it to the marketer in a simple, easy-to-understand format.”

Blogs, Social Networks, YouTube and Search Terms

Act-On Insight tracks several online elements that give businesses a sense of how and where they stand in their particular universe. It provides reporting and improvement tracking on the site’s popularity, as well as search terms or keywords that are important to a particular company.

“For example, I might decide to track such keywords as “marketing automation” or “demand generation,” Chatterjee said. “I can compare how well Act-On does with those keywords and how well our competitors do.”

Elements that Act-on Insight measures include blogs — a user’s own and its competitors. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, of course, are essential metrics that are also looked at and analyzed in terms of popularity as well. Ditto a YouTube channel — a user can track, measure and compare its channel with any number of competitors.

Once this comparative data is in hand, the analysis can lead a company in all sorts of directions, Chatterjee said. “For example, you might see that XYZ company — your competition — is doing better than you in a particular search term or in a particular conversation. Ultimately, you might determine that is because it has several excellent white papers available for download on its site.”

Another benefit to the product is that it makes it easy for a company to identify influencers in its space, he added.

Few Competitors

Act-On Insight is available for free to the company’s users. The product itself starts its subscriptions at US$500 a month. It is a remarkably cheap deal considering what it provides — and the fact that there are few companies that offer anything comparable, Ian Michiels, principal analyst at Gleanster Research, told CRM Buyer.

“For some reason, monitoring and ranking of social media popularity is still an emerging technology, even though other elements of social media technology are rapidly maturing,” he said.

“The closest comparable product I have seen is offered by HubSpot,” noted Michiels, “which offers users similar competitive benchmarks.”

Low Barriers to Entry

It is surprising that there aren’t more products or features likes these, Michiels said.

“There are not very many barriers to entry to build something like this. It would be relatively easy, in fact, to build something similar.”

Much of what they do is based on APIs pulled from Compete and Alexa, he noted.

The competitive differentiator — when and if more competition enters this particular niche — would be Act-On Insight’s layout, which Michiels said is beautifully organized and very intuitive to use.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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