What content marketing tools do fast-growing B2B SaaS companies use to create content and promote their blog?
As a marketer, whenever I read a success story I often find myself wondering how they did that.
Have you ever wanted to pull back the curtain and see what marketing tools a website is running? Instead of just browsing through interviews and marketing posts that these high growth companies share, I decided to dig a little deeper.
To answer this question, I studied the content marketing stacks of 1,001 B2B SaaS companies that run an active blog.
B2B SaaS Companies Have An Average of 17 Different Tools in Their Content Marketing Stack
The most common types of technology used by B2B SaaS companies fall into categories such as: content management systems, analytics, retargeting, online video platforms and marketing automation. Software in certain categories like push notifications, and loyalty and gamification have not proven to be that popular among market participants.
The Average B2B SaaS Company Uses
SaaS companies love analytics, with most having at least four different analytics tools in their stack. Well, actually that’s three, if you consider that 95% use Google Analytics. Facebook Analytics and Hotjar are the next most common analytics tools used. Typically the more mature a SaaS company is, the greater number of analytics tools they employ.
of B2B SaaS companies have a blog.
It's no surprise that most SaaS companies have a blog. Although WordPress claims to power 29% of the internet, when it comes to B2B SaaS, 73% in this survey rely on WordPress. What do the rest use? Hubspot Website Hosting (at 8%) and Salesforce Communities (at 4%) are the runners up among 32 other contenders.
leverage email marketing.
Unlike transactional email, email marketing software is designed for marketers to conduct campaigns. The three most popular apps are SendGrid (at 23%), Marketo (at 22%), and MailChimp (at 20%). Sendgrid and MailChimp offer both transactional email and email marketing capabilities. Note that this figure is under-reported due to email marketing being a critical component of many marketing automation apps, which is considered a separate category.
take advantage of marketing automation.
Although there are dozens of marketing automation providers used by B2B SaaS companies, the two that count are Hubspot (at 42%) and Marketo (at 41%). Combined, those two companies capture 83% of marketing automation demand.
make use of retargeting.
The typical SaaS company that employs retargeting uses Facebook Web Custom Audiences (at 48%) along with either Google (Dynamic) Remarketing (at 21%) or Adroll (at 17%). Although most use two different pixels, companies occasionally employ as many as six different ones.
The typical B2B SaaS uses at least
ad exchanges or networks.
Ad exchanges and networks are popular. Companies in this study that rely heavily on advertising use up to 9 different ad exchange and network platforms.
employ ad optimization.
Ad optimization helps advertisers better understand the people who click on their advertising links, including who they are and what action they take after clicking. AdWords Conversion Tracking (at 93%) is the most popular software used extensively by those B2B SaaS companies running AdWords ads.
host videos on a third-party platform.
Those companies employing video platforms favor YouTube (at 48%) followed by Wistia (at 23%) and Vimeo (at 22%). YouTube is a popular social video sharing platform, so it’s not shocking to find out it’s most popular. While all three types can be embedded into a blog post, Wistia and Vimeo are more marketing oriented. Unlike YouTube, you don’t have to worry about competitor ads running on your videos and you can control who sees them.
use hosted email.
There’s no question that everybody uses email. However, only 60% of the companies in this study use hosted email. Gmail for Business (at 78%) is by far the most popular choice, while Microsoft Outlook (at 20%) lags far behind.
employ some form of tag management.
Five years after the introduction of Google Tag Manager, tag managers are still not widely accepted. It’s surprising because they’re suppose to simplify the addition and update of website tags like site analytics, conversion tracking and remarketing without editing website code. Google Tag Manager (at 96%) is the most popular. In small a number of cases, Google DoubleClick Floodlight, a tracking tag for DoubleClick platforms, is utilized in addition to Google Tag Manager.
rely on A/B testing.
A/B testing is incorporated into many different apps, from email marketing to lead generation, but they’re limited by the app’s function. A/B testing software, on the other hand, allows experimentation on virtually every aspect of your site, and the visitor’s experience. Optimizely (at 59%) is the favorite among B2B SaaS companies that are serious about A/B testing.
offer live chat.
Although this number may seem a little low, keep in mind we’re just looking at its use on SaaS blogs, not the apps themselves. Intercom (at 38%) is the most popular.
use hosted forms.
Although forms are everywhere on blogs, only 31% of B2B SaaS companies take advantage of hosted forms. The preferred platform is Hubspot Form Builder (at 59%) followed by Gravity Forms (at 17%).
utilize third-party comment systems.
Although blog platforms do offer integrated comment administration, 29% of B2B SaaS companies still rely on third-party systems. The majority overwhelming choose Disqus (87%) over Facebook Comments (at 12%).
profit from demand-side platforms.
Demand-side platforms help large-volume ad buyers manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface. But there aren’t a lot of heavy ad buyers in the B2B SaaS space, as seen by the low number using these platforms. B2B SaaS companies that require a demand-side platform usually rely on Doubleclick Bid Manager (at 86%).
utilize one of three social sharing button sets.
What SaaS blog doesn’t take advantage of social sharing? Buttons of all kinds are available as part of blog themes or third party plugins. Yet it’s interesting to note that 23% of the sites in this study use either AddThis, ShareThis, or AddtoAny.
use lead generation software.
Lead generation software helps attract visitors, get them to stay longer on site, explore more content, and encourage additional email signups. Sumo (at 57%) is the most popular among those companies using this category of app.
make use of stock images.
Stock images aren’t very popular and depending on how you look at it, that could be a good thing. Of those SaaS companies that do use stock images, 68% rely on Shutterstock. Most SaaS companies find that one stock image provider is enough. Although in some cases iStock by Getty Images is also used.
rely on marketing data providers.
Marketing data providers offer detailed demographic, geographic and lifestyle information on who is viewing a site and how to sell to them. But it’s just not popular among B2B SaaS. Companies that exploit this technology rely on either Quantcast (at 51%) or Dstillery (at 36%).
manage their online reviews.
Judging by the low number, it’s safe to say that most B2B SaaS companies don’t have a formal process for soliciting, gathering and responding to reviews. If they are doing so, it’s most likely not in cooperation with one of the big review sites. The companies that do use review management prefer G2Crowd (at 45%) followed by Capterra (at 28%) and Trustpilot (at 13%).
make use of marketing analytics.
Marketing analytics software differs from web analytics apps in that it aims to provide greater insight into the revenue and ROI of marketing, as in the case of Bizible (at 74%). Even outside the world of B2B SaaS, this category of software hasn’t gained much traction.
The idea behind personalization software is to analyze user behavior and serve the right content at the appropriate time. Personalization isn’t popular to begin with, and it has very few fans when it comes to B2B SaaS. Of those companies that do exploit this type of technology, 68% use Marketo Real-time Personalization.
use push notifications.
At first glance, this figure seems way too low. But remember we’re talking about push notifications for a blog, not an app. SaaS companies need to be careful when using push notifications; too much and you risk driving users away. So it makes sense there would be some reluctance toward using push notifications for a blog. Instead, they put it to maximum use in bringing users back to their app.
utilize customer feedback management.
Customer feedback management uncovers critical insight by providing targeted survey questions to visitors anywhere on a website, within a product or a conversion funnel. However, few companies in this study rely on this method to gain customer appreciation.
use dedicated site/cart abandonment software.
Unlike eCommerce, SaaS companies generally don’t have issues with cart abandonment that warrant the investment in a dedicated app. Many lead generation and conversion rate optimization apps employ exit-intent technology which is sufficient for the majority of situations.
leverage loyalty & gamification.
While loyalty and gamification may be a popular tactic for B2C, it’s rarely used among the B2B SaaS companies in this study.
Three Takeaways From This Study of 1,001 B2B SaaS Companies
Good tools in the right hands can bring about wonderous results. Here are three key takeaways:
- If you’re looking at a specific category of tool, evaluate the most popular ones first. There’s usually a good reason why they’re so in demand.
- But don't neglect brands that are not well known in their category. Startups may have something special to offer that established players don’t provide, and are definitely worth an examination.
- Using tools in unpopular categories, like loyalty and gamification, may offer a strategic competitive advantage. Consider exploring these options to see if they’re a good fit for your situation.