13 Top Digital Marketing Tools (Incl. Tips on Using Them)

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You can simply spend numerous hours going by all of the choices and critiques of instruments we’ve for digital advertising as we speak. I’ve definitely tried too lots of them all through my profession.

In this text, we’ll undergo these 13 tried and examined digital advertising instruments that I’ve used and preferred over the years:

  1. Ahrefs
  2. Hunter
  3. Mailchimp
  4. SparkToro
  5. Brand24
  6. Smartlook
  7. Visualping
  8. Google
  9. Google Forms
  10. Google Analytics
  11. Google Search Console
  12. Google Sheets
  13. Google Data Studio

I’ll additionally embody my favourite use case for each device so you may apply that instantly. Let’s dive in.

Most firms take into account natural and paid search visitors to be a few of their most essential visitors sources. Having dependable and insightful knowledge on this area is essential—and that’s the place Ahrefs comes into play.

Ahrefs is an all-in-one search engine optimisation toolset for optimizing your individual web site, analyzing rivals, doing key phrase analysis, getting content material concepts, constructing hyperlinks, and extra.

Favorite use case: Finding content material gaps between you and your rivals

There are numerous use instances of the toolset, so I’ll simply clarify one among my favourite options: the Content Gap device inside Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

It exhibits key phrases your rivals rank for however you don’t. These content material gaps can rapidly offer you many new concepts on your content material planning.

In Site Explorer, enter your individual area after which click on “Content gap.” Your area will routinely be prefilled within the “But the following target doesn’t rank for” area. All that’s left now could be to checklist a couple of domains which are your natural visitors rivals:

Ahrefs' Content Gap tool

Hit “Show keywords”:

Content Gap report results

You’ll get an enormous checklist of key phrases. Now it’s all about enjoying with the supplied filters.

To improve relevance, let’s select the choice the place a minimum of two competitor web sites rank for each key phrase. You can achieve this by deciding on it within the intersection filter. Then filter for one of the best key phrase alternatives by setting a minimal search quantity and comparatively low most KD rating:

Content Gap report results with filters applied

I’m sure you’ll discover some nice key phrase alternatives this approach.


Monthly plans begin from $83 while you subscribe for a yr. There’s additionally a free tier known as Ahrefs Webmaster Tools that can be utilized for verified web sites.

As a marketer, you’ll typically need to ship chilly emails. If you’re in PR or hyperlink constructing, it is going to be an enormous a part of your job.

But many individuals don’t willingly share their e mail addresses with the general public, and there’s sufficient spam on the market already. Finding the precise e mail tackle can take fairly some time, and also you typically need to try to guess too. Hunter is an “email address finding” device that can make it a lot simpler for you.

Favorite use case: Finding and verifying e mail addresses in Google Sheets

If outreach is one thing you typically do, you want a extra scalable resolution than wanting up e mail addresses one after the other. Using Hunter’s Sheets add-on, you may run e mail searches for all of your prospects with one click on:

Hunter's Sheets add-on filling email addresses the tool can find

This gained’t discover a matching e mail tackle for each prospect, but it surely often finds one for an honest proportion of them. You can then use these prospects as your preliminary “hit” checklist to check the viability of an outreach marketing campaign. If profitable, you may proceed discovering the remaining e mail addresses utilizing different strategies.


Monthly plans begin from $34 while you subscribe for a yr. There’s additionally a free tier that lets you carry out 25 searches per month.

Mailchimp is a advertising platform that has tons of merchandise and options—from viewers administration to advertising automation. But it’s finest identified for being a frontrunner in e mail advertising, and that’s what I at all times use it for.

Favorite use case: Email advertising personalization by segmentation

If you’re rising a publication, then that not each e mail you ship is successful. Sometimes, folks complain, unsubscribe, don’t take the motion you need them to, or don’t even open the e-mail at all.

There are two options to this: higher emails and concentrating on. The first one is essentially on you; the second is one thing Mailchimp can assist tremendously with through viewers segmentation.

Imagine that you simply’re working a sale, however you solely need a sure buyer phase to find out about it. No downside. Take the purchasers’ e mail addresses out of your CRM, tag them in your Mailchimp account, and choose the tag because the receiver of that “sale” e mail. Done!


Monthly plans begin from $11. There’s additionally a free tier that lets you ship 10,000 emails per month.

Doing market analysis to grasp your viewers is important to your advertising success. There are many strategies to conduct it. While I’m a fan of conventional knowledge gathering through surveys, interviews, and many others., I additionally extremely advocate utilizing a web-based viewers analysis device like SparkToro.

SparkToro offers details about what any viewers reads, watches, listens to, and follows. Those insights might be retrieved based mostly on key phrases, social media accounts, web sites, or hashtags. All of these inputs can be utilized to higher perceive the viewers in your area of interest.

Favorite use case: Discovering the place rivals’ viewers engages

SparkToro is straightforward to make use of and navigate. Let’s do an instance evaluation on the SparkToro viewers by plugging within the firm’s Twitter profile:

SparkToro text field to key in social account URL to acquire audience intelligence

The device will return loads of knowledge concerning the demographics of the viewers. But on this case, we’ll deal with social media accounts, web sites, podcasts, and YouTube channels the viewers follows and pays consideration to.

Here’s an instance of a report after filtering for private social media accounts with fewer than 50K followers:

List of people and their social profiles, as well as data like SparkScore, no. of followers, etc

With knowledge like this, you may simply spot new promoting and sponsorship alternatives throughout many various channels. Just put collectively all of the insights by plugging in your rivals’ social profiles, web sites, key phrases, and any “owned” hashtags.


Monthly plans begin from $38 while you subscribe for a yr. There’s additionally a free tier that lets you carry out 5 searches per month.

Brand24 tracks mentions of key phrases that you simply wish to monitor throughout the entire internet with a deal with social media. You can use it to establish and analyze on-line conversations round your and your rivals’ manufacturers and merchandise.

Favorite use case: Spying on rivals’ model mentions

Brand24 revolves round organising a mission with key phrases you wish to observe. These key phrase mentions can then be segmented, filtered, and analyzed to realize actionable insights. All of these key phrases ought to be manufacturers, merchandise, and hashtags in your area of interest. I’ll present you why you wish to do that for rivals too.

So arrange a separate mission (or tasks) with the identify of a competing model and/or product. You’ll encounter key phrases that additionally produce other meanings. You can both depart them out or apply the required and excluded key phrase filters alongside the way in which to maintain the irrelevant ones out of your experiences:

Page to set up new project—in this case about Ahrefs

This competitor mentions monitoring permits you to:

  • Adjust your communication based mostly on what works finest in your business.
  • Get product insights based mostly on how folks react to the event of your rivals’ merchandise.
  • Assess how folks understand your model and your rivals’ through sentiment evaluation.
  • Benchmark your media attain and share of voice towards your rivals.

I’m positive there are much more use instances. Here’s an instance of information from a abstract dashboard:

Summary dashboard showing key data and line graphs about "Mentions" and "Social Media Reach"


Monthly plans begin from $49 while you subscribe for a yr. There’s no free tier, however you may join a 14-day free trial as an alternative.

Smartlook is a person habits evaluation device which will shock you with its capabilities should you haven’t researched such instruments but.

It can present you recordings of what your web site guests do in your web site or heatmaps of what they click on on probably the most. Yes, it adheres to knowledge safety and privateness rules like GDPR.

Favorite use case: Analyzing leaks in your advertising funnel

A advertising funnel is a system designed to draw and convert clients (or shoppers).

Funnel with four sections. From top to bottom (Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Conversion)

As you may see within the diagram above, the funnel will get narrower the additional you go. Well, duh, that’s what funnels look like.

In advertising, because of this what you place into the funnel firstly (folks conscious of your model) is at all times a a lot, a lot larger pattern than what you get on the finish (clients). Many advertising targets revolve round minimizing the drop-off between completely different phases of the funnel.

Smartlook can assist you with this in your web site. It tracks what it takes for every customer to transform and exhibits you recordings of those that dropped off within the course of:

You can analyze the recordings of these guests who dropped off, search for patterns, and optimize your web site based mostly on that.


Monthly plans begin from $39. There’s a free tier that lets you file 1,500 classes per month.

Website design and copywriting convey tons of knowledge. They’re additionally continually in growth, being examined, and altering.

And whether or not you admit it or not, each web site takes a bit (or rather a lot) of inspiration from rivals and different web sites within the business. So you’ll want to know what’s occurring on this space.

Visualping is a device that retains observe of modifications on any webpage. You plug in a competitor’s URL, arrange alerts, and will likely be up to date on any web site modifications.

Favorite use case: Getting impressed by UX and CRO tweaks on rivals’ web sites

I’ve made loads of selections based mostly on web site monitoring. Generally, the commonest use case for any marketer is getting impressed by how your rivals attempt to squeeze extra out of each customer to their web site.

In different phrases, we’re searching for person expertise (UX) and conversion charge optimization (CRO) tweaks that we are able to undertake on our web site with out having to do all of the analysis and A/B testing.

All you’ll want to do is to arrange the monitoring of your rivals’ web sites, and also you’ll get alerted at any time when there may be any noteworthy change. For this use, it’s sufficient to arrange the checking frequency to happen every day and even weekly.

You also can choose in for “any change” or “tiny changes,” as these tweaks can vary from small modifications in copy to only altering CTA button positions and colours:

AWT page on left; on right, options to customize monitoring frequency of AWT's page

Keep in thoughts that you simply shouldn’t blindly copy no matter your rivals do and may at all times vet the concepts.


Monthly plans begin from $10 while you subscribe for a yr. There’s a free tier that lets you carry out 150 checks per month.

This doesn’t want any introduction. We all use Google every single day. It has the biggest index of webpages on the planet and arguably one of the best search algorithm.

But entrepreneurs aren’t typically using its potential for his or her day-to-day work. It’s a fantastic device to seek out hyperlink constructing prospects however is even higher for maximizing the facility of inner linking in your web site.

Favorite use case: Finding inner hyperlink alternatives after publishing new content material

Every web site has inner hyperlinks (one web page pointing to a different on the identical area), however many websites neglect the facility and affect they’ll have on search engine optimisation. Adding inner hyperlinks to your newly printed content material could make Google uncover and index it quicker and, what’s extra essential, rank it on the SERPs.

To do that with the assistance of Google, we’ll have to make use of search operators, i.e., instructions that provide help to refine and filter search engine outcomes. It’s simple. All we want right here is the website: operator that solely exhibits you outcomes from a sure area (or part of it) and “search term” for actual matches of the question.

Here’s what it might appear like if I have been engaged on updating inner hyperlinks pointing to this actual article:

Site operator used to find term "digital marketing tools" on Ahrefs' blog

As you may see, I get three outcomes this fashion. I’m positive there are extra alternatives than these, as I’m solely utilizing the precise match of the principle key phrase I’m concentrating on right here. Let’s broaden the outcomes utilizing the OR search operator:

OR search operator used to find terms "digital marketing tools" and "online marketing tools" on Ahrefs' blog

That’s significantly better. We’ll simply need to determine when to hyperlink to which article, as we additionally wrote an “online marketing tools” article prior to now. It’s an analogous matter, so overlaps are anticipated.


It “only” prices you your knowledge. 🙂 Oh, and yet another factor. As the remainder of the article is targeted on free Google merchandise, I’ll omit the “pricing” part from now on.

Google Forms is a helpful, free device for creating survey questions and distributing and analyzing your survey outcomes.

Favorite use case: Conducting a easy market analysis

OK, let’s face it. Google Forms possible doesn’t have one other use case in advertising. But it’s a very helpful device, given the significance of market analysis.

To make it work, you want a large viewers whom you may distribute the survey to. Ideally, you may distribute through e mail, however social media can be utilized too.

Creating good surveys that present the info you’re searching for can typically be tough, however you shouldn’t attempt to do any rocket science right here.

Below is an instance of a current survey we despatched to our e mail subscribers:

Ahrefs' Digest survey on Google Forms

And that is what one of many outcomes appears like:

Pie chart showing most respondents (around 90%) want brief summaries of each Ahrefs blog article

This clearly answered our questions in regards to the usefulness of our up to date publication format.

Google Analytics (GA) is a free highly effective device the place yow will discover tons of insights and details about your web site visitors, conversions, viewers, and many others.

However, utilizing it correctly and realizing what it’s best to even need from it takes fairly a bit of data and expertise.

If you haven’t used GA but, the excellent news is that there’s a brand new model, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), that will soon replace the older GA most entrepreneurs of as we speak are aware of. You’ll be beginning on a clear slate. (P.S. I attempted to study my approach round GA4 not too long ago and assume that is truly a bonus.)

Favorite use case: Analyzing conversion paths

Knowing which advertising channels led to your buyer conversions is invaluable. GA4 took an enormous step ahead in the way in which it interprets and shows the info (study extra right here should you’re feeling nerdy), so right here’s learn how to get it.

Go to Advertising > Attribution > Conversion paths, choose the conversion occasion you wish to analyze, and verify the affect of your visitors supply of alternative. Here are some particulars of natural search visitors:

Conversion paths showing details about organic search traffic

Google Search Console (GSC) is likely one of the strongest free search engine optimisation instruments on the market. It’s no surprise, given it offers probably the most correct knowledge you will get about your web site and search visitors straight from Google. Everyone with a web site ought to have a GSC account.

You can use it to seek out and repair technical errors, submit sitemaps, see what you rank for, find out how a lot visitors your pages get, and extra.

Favorite use case: Understanding Google by URL Inspection device

Diagnosing technical search engine optimisation points might be tough typically. The URL Inspection tool offers details about the way in which Google sees a selected web page in your web site.

You can search for any of your pages utilizing the tackle bar on the prime of the GSC interface:

URL Inspection report results

You can click on by all of the tabs. Here’s a snippet of the knowledge you get from the Coverage report:

Snippet of Coverage report showing information on crawls and indexing


Once you get the hold of GSC, set up the Search Analytics for Sheets add-on that lets you simply export the info to your Google Sheets. GSC itself isn’t very appropriate for any in-depth analyses, and it has numerous limitations. So this add-on is a superb workaround with out having to make use of the GSC API instantly.

Recommended studying: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve search engine optimisation (Beginner’s Guide)

Spreadsheets are a every day device for a lot of entrepreneurs. Google Sheets is my alternative, given it’s cloud-based and built-in with different Google apps. I’ve at all times beloved digging into knowledge and deciphering it, however I suppose most colleagues don’t share my sentiment.


Favorite use case: Gaining knowledge insights from pivot tables

The official help page for pivot tables explains them completely: They provide help to summarize knowledge, discover patterns, and reorganize data. They’re particularly helpful when you’ve an even bigger knowledge set.

To create them, click on on Insert > Pivot desk, choose the info you wish to base the pivot desk on, after which reorganize the info to your liking.

For instance, right here’s one among my newest makes use of of pivot tables for my Wirecutter search engine optimisation case research. I wanted to have a simplified view of an even bigger dataset with some filters utilized to it:

Example of pivot table in a Google Sheet on left; pivot table editor on right

Creating experiences could be a repetitive and time-consuming activity. This requires automation, and Google Data Studio (GDS) is right here to assist with that.

Creating experiences in GDS relies on pulling knowledge by connectors of the info sources. At the time of writing, there are 610 different connectors, so the reporting capabilities listed below are large.

Favorite use case: Combining a number of knowledge sources

The major use case can also be my favourite one. You can mix knowledge from most, if not all, of your advertising platforms into one neat report that will get up to date with contemporary numbers (or based mostly on no matter time-frame you select).

Here’s an instance of me placing collectively knowledge from GSC and Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker into one report:

Data on the Ahrefs blog from GSC and Ahrefs' Rank Tracker, respectively, pulled onto one report

These are the fundamentals of GDS. Once you get comfy creating such experiences, you may attempt to do extra fancy stuff like mixing knowledge from completely different sources or no matter else pleases your reporting needs and wants.

Final ideas

Is this it? The full checklist of instruments you’ll ever must do digital advertising? Well, no. But it is going to cowl an enormous proportion of your potential wants.

That being mentioned, there are digital advertising disciplines I’ve by no means been concerned in a lot, similar to natural social media or something associated to design. So, actually, I can solely advocate utilizing MeetEdgar as a social media scheduling device and Canva as a foolproof design device based mostly on the expertise of my colleagues and mates.

Got any questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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