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What tools do the best marketing sites use?

How does your 'marketing stack' compare? Do you use the same tools as the best in the business?

Marketing tools can speed up processes, automate messaging and boost conversion rates. Whatever area of digital marketing you are involved in, you can bet they’ll be a plethora of tools to choose from which could help you do your job better. Tools can be incredibly useful, but with so many different types to choose from it can be really tricky to decide which is the right fit for your business.

We've been inspired by Scott Brinker's awesome map of the vendors across the Martech landscape which we have featured on the blog. While Scott's visual does a great job at highlighting the many opportunities for deploying different 'Enterprise marketing tools', it is less helpful for smaller businesses or for highlighting the many 'hands-on' tools including free services to improve SEO, Social media. Although awesome, it is also scary, but in a good way since it prompts marketers and technologists to consider how their marketing stacks - the combination of marketing services which are deployed and integrating different data sources compare. It also prompts the question of do we select all-in-one or marketing cloud solutions where possible, or are best-of-breed services best in some cases.

Comparing the web services used by seven different sites

Smart Insights members will be familiar with our capability reviews that benchmark your progress across different areas of digital marketing, such as SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media. We produced these reviews because comparing your marketing efforts to the industry standard or the best in the industry can be a very useful way to establish what you need to do in order to take your marketing to the next level.

Building on that idea we thought it would be useful to review what marketing tools some of the best websites in the marketing world utilise, to establish if there were any tools used across sites that stand out as industry leaders. It also might reveal some nifty little less well-known tools that are worth checking out.

We used SimilarTech and Builtwith to find out what tools were being used on site by HubSpot, Kissmetrics, Moz, Sprout Social,, Salesforce and even our own site! There was a big mix of analytics tools, CRO tools, Content management systems and testing tools, as well as much else besides. The social sharing tools of the big four social networks were present on just about all the sites analysed, but we haven’t included them here because they are standard across just about all sites and everyone will be aware of them already.

The word cloud below shows all the tools we found in use of the sites mentioned. The larger the word the more times they were found across the sites.

tools used by marketing sites

Kissmetrics, Optimizely and Mandrill stood out as the most popular tools across the seven sites we examined. Kissmetrics is a market leader in proving analytics which shows customer acquisition data for each user. It’s far from cheap, so isn’t right for every business, but if you market a SaaS product using a lot of content marketing it is well worth considering because you can review what content is drawing conversions and what pattern of content interaction leads people to buy.

Optimizely is a A/B testing platform which is easy to use and has a free version which although much lighter than the full platform does have some useful capabilities which may be enough for certain small businesses. With testing so important it’s easy to see why it’s so popular across many of the top marketing sites.

Mandrill is perhaps less well known than Kissmetrics or Optimizely. Named after the Mandill monkey, the branding seems odd until you realise it’s owned by MailChimp. It lets you send personalised, event-triggered emails, so it's great for e-commerce sites and some SaaS businesses. Mandrill works with MailChimp templates so it’s a good solution if you already use MailChimp.

If we were to discuss every single tool used by these marketing sites we’d be here all day (and so would you!), but If you’re interested below are the tools used by each of the sites we analysed, with the ubiquitous social sharing buttons not included.


  • HubSpot (surprise surprise)
  • Perfect Audience (Facebook retargeting platform)
  • Facebook retargeting pixel
  • – updates your traffic data in real time
  • Pingdom – web performance monitoring
  • Crazy Egg – Heatmaps
  • Optimizely – A/B testing
  • Facebook connect
  • Wistia – Video hosting
  • Youtube – embedded videos from YouTube
  • Google Tag managerKissmetrics


  • Pardot – Marketing Automation
  • Kissmetrics (Obviously)
  • Bounce Exchange – conversion analytics
  • Crazy egg – heatmaps
  • Optimizely – A/ B testing
  • Facebook Connect

Moz moz

  • Google Ad Words conversion tracking
  • Double Click Conversion tracking – measure ad effectiveness
  • AdRoll – ad retargeting platform
  • Google Remarketing – ad retargeting platform.
  • Google Analytics
  • StatSounter – analytics
  • Facebook Domain Insights
  • KissMetrics -Web analytics
  • MixPanel – engagement tracking
  • Quantcast – Analytics
  • Optimizely – A / B testing
  • Facebook Connect
  • Qualaroo – User feedback and web survey tool
  • Disqus – comments system
  • Intercom – customer messaging tool
  • Eventbrite – online event registration
  • WordPress
  • Pingback support – Notifies when somebody links to an article
  • Mandrill – Email infrastructure service
  • Sendgrid – Transaction email delivery system

sprout-social-Sprout Social

  • Marketo
  • Google Analytics
  • New Relic – Application performance management
  • Facebook connect
  • LiveFyre – real time conversation
  • Jazz – track job applicatants
  • Wistia – Video hosting
  • Maxymiser – Multivariate texting
  • Mandril – email infastruture service

  • Bizo – ad targeting platform
  • Facebook connect
  • Cvent – event organisation
  • Demandbase – web analytics


  • Pardot – marketing automation
  • Chartbeat – web analytics
  • New Relic – Application performance management
  • ClickTale – Heatmaps
  • WuFoo – online form builder
  • Salesforce- obviously!
  • Vidyard – video hosting
  • Rocket Fuel – Programmatic ad tracker
  • Mandrill – email infrastructure service


  • Infusionsoft – CRM / Marketing Automation
  • WOW analytics – Real-time traffic stats
  • Kissmetrics – Web analytics
  • Gravity Forms
  • FancyBox – ‘lightbox’ display tool
  • HelpScout – live support
  • Kampyle – Feedback management
  • WordPress- Content management
  • Pingback - Notifies when article linked to.

What digital marketing tools do you use that you find particularly useful? Let us know in the comments. We'll be covering digital marketing tools in more detail over the coming weeks, so stay tuned if you're currently considering what tools to use for your business.

By Robert Allen

I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.

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