Raven software helps marketers manage and report on online marketing campaigns. Features include social media monitoring and management tools; content marketing tools, including press release distribution through a partnership with PR Newswire; SEO research, link building and technical analysis tools; and tools that simplify and automate management of Google AdWords. Marketers can also brand and automate monthly reports.
Starts at $99 per month. A free 30-day trial is available.
Kelly Campbell, president and chief responsibility officer at Liqui-Site Designs, has been using Raven since June 2012.
How do you use it?
Raven is a very robust and comprehensive platform, which is why we chose it.
We use it in many different ways. Anything related to SEO changes almost daily, so our scope of work changes often. We can use the different reports inside Raven to get exactly what we need.
All of our team members have access to it, and we use it collaboratively.
Everything is custom-tailored to our clients’ needs. Once we log on, we review dashboards for each client account (we have more than100). The dashboard provides a bird’s-eye view of all recent client activity.
We can customize the dashboard to show whatever information is most relevant for us. For example, for an e-commerce client, we want to look at the number of conversions, site flow, and top referring domains. All of that information is easily gleaned and updated daily in the dashboard in conjunction with the goals we set up in Google Analytics.
We don’t have to go into each client’s Google Analytics account and cull through the data – all the information we need that we have specified is in the dashboard.
For clients that are running specific campaigns, we can view all comments, reviews, articles, and relevant mentions inside Raven’s platform.
Raven’s customer service is amazing – they’re very responsive.
If we have a problem, a digital help center is accessible from inside the platform. It is visible across all the profiles we manage, so help is literally at the click of a button.
Raven also has a number of useful tools for getting started and learning about features.
For troubleshooting questions, we can email the support staff. The system automatically logs what account you’re in when you report a problem, which is great because we have so many client accounts and it also helps Raven identify if the problem is specific to the account you’re in or if its across the entire platform.
How does it serve your business needs?
We use it in many ways, including for two signature programs that we offer clients – our SEO priority program and our social ROI program.
We use it for our SEO program in a couple of different ways. We offer complimentary technical website audits that identify critical issues. This is a great new business development tool for us. These audits used to take four to five hours to put together, but with Raven they take maybe seven minutes.
We use it as a social media monitoring and publication tool for all of our clients that are on social media. This is also a huge time saver for us because posts can be scheduled in advance, and a monitoring tool scours the Web for real-time mentions of any terms we’re interested in monitoring for clients.
We monitor key word rank for clients in different search engines.
Raven is completely integrated with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, and we use it for link building with a tool called Site Finder that identifies relevant opportunities to build links from other websites to our clients’ websites.
There’s a huge push now for content development. SEO is not about ranking key words anymore – it’s about publishing fresh, authentic content so we write a lot of content, including press releases. Raven has an integration with PR Newswire that makes distributing press releases really easy. We can distribute a release for one of our clients (even if they are a PR Newswire client) for $120 per release, which is great.
How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
It’s Web-based. Once you authorize each client’s Google account and social media accounts you never need to do it again.
What are the main benefits?
We conducted a productivity survey between June 12 and July 12, 2013 and discovered Raven increased our productivity by 40%, which is absolutely huge. It’s a difference we can see in our bottom line.
It centralizes all the performance reporting for the work we do, including SEO, social media management, and new business development. It’s amazing to have one system that can help in so many different areas.
We can customize any type of report our clients’ request, and generating a report doesn’t take us very long.
What are the main drawbacks?
Raven’s social monitoring feature has a limit of 50 terms that can be tracked in the cost of our monthly subscription. The surcharge for going over is pretty significant.
With more than 100 different clients being managed, each requiring monitoring of five to 10 different terms every day, that cost adds up. It’s not a deal breaker, but I feel there should be a plan more custom-tailored to what we use because there are things in our current plan that we’re not using, and I hate to pay overages for what we are actually using.
The integration with social media platforms is limited to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We manage dozens of platforms for our social media clients, including Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Foursquare, and Yelp, and it would be nice to loop them into Raven so it could become even more valuable for us. I realize there aren’t APIs available for all of the platforms, but I feel there could be a creative solution to bring that information in.
What would you like to see improved / added?
We’ve made several feature suggestions and Raven has rolled them out.
I’d like to see integration with other social platforms.
Also, the latest algorithm change to Google called Hummingbird is a signal that content marketing is the future of SEO, and Raven lacks a content discovery tool and a blog management tool (WordPress and Tumblr are not integrated right now).
For the most part, reporting is the point of Raven’s platform, and it’s fantastic at reporting. However, reports need to be pretty concise for our clients. They don’t want 55-page reports. You can customize reports, but there’s often a lot of unnecessary data in reports that we cannot strip out. I would like to be able to customize on a more granular level.
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