If you’re looking for a sales and marketing platform, you’ll find plenty of contenders vying for your business. They may seem similar at first glance, but just like snowflakes, no two are alike. Knowing the differences will help you make a smart decision when choosing a system for your business.
Two of the top platforms are Act-On and HubSpot. Here at Foremost Media, we’ve worked with both systems and have in-depth knowledge of each.
Act-On, launched in 2008, is a marketing automation platform geared toward B2B, B2C, and email users. Unlike other platforms, Act-On focuses strictly on marketing automation, making it a great platform for beginners. Act-On offers native integrations with five major CRMs:
- Zendesk Sell
- Microsoft Dynamics
Two-way data synchronization ensures leads and contacts shared between Act-On and your sales and marketing reps are current and up to date. Advanced automation options allow you to set rules to automatically push leads from Act-On to your CRM. Duplicate leads and contacts are automatically removed to ensure data integrity.
Act-On features impressive data syncing tools, customization, and inexpensive monthly pricing plans. Its simplicity makes it a popular choice for those new to the world of digital marketing, but that may become a liability over time. As you grow more familiar with digital marketing, you might find yourself craving more functionality than the basic service offered by Act-On.
HubSpot, founded in 2005, is ranked the #1 platform by marketers on G2. It differentiates itself from Act-On by providing an integrated marketing, sales, service, and operations platform. All data on HubSpot is available on a single dashboard that boasts a user-friendly interface.
With an all-in-one platform, users benefit from the convenience of having a wide variety of tools available in a single location, all of which work together seamlessly. The software is easy to use but robust, giving you powerful analytics for each tool in the platform. Integrated data is turned into actionable reports that don’t require any manual tracking URLs or integrations, limiting the chances for errors.
An integrated platform allows you to:
- Compare the effectiveness of various marketing channels in producing visitors, leads, and customers.
- View all campaign details on one dashboard and quickly determine which touch points are most effective.
- Monitor social media interactions and automatically identify which ones are target leads in your database.
- Create personalized content to target leads across landing pages, emails, blogs, and your website.
Comparison of Features
Both Act-On and HubSpot offer great features designed to complement and enhance your digital marketing efforts — and both have the awards to prove it. G2, the world’s largest peer-reviewed software marketplace, named HubSpot the #1 global software company in 2023, unseating Microsoft from the coveted top spot. The HubSpot Marketing Hub vaulted from 20th place to 3rd for best software products. Act-On has also been ranked by G2 as an Enterprise Leader, High Performer, Best Established ROI, and Highest User Adoption.
To truly make an informed decision, let’s take a side-by-side look at some of the most important features offered on both platforms.
Email Creation & Deliverability
Email may be considered elderly in terms of technology, but it still plays an important role in sales and marketing. HubSpot maintains a clean database of contacts who have voluntarily opted in to receive emails, which results in high email sender scores and deliverability rates. This ensures emails are delivered to prospects instead of bouncing or ending up in spam folders.
Act-On’s lead generation strategy often forces customers to purchase email lists. When people who have not opted in receive emails, they are often marked as spam or may not even reach the recipient’s inbox. This causes sender scores and deliverability rates to plummet.
Analytics & Reporting
While Act-On provides more data versus Google Analytics and similar tools, the information provided is fairly basic. For instance:
- Customers can see how many visitors and leads are generated in a month but are unable to ascertain which marketing channels they came from.
- Closed-loop reporting means only the information stored in a CRM is available. There’s no comparison of leads generated via social media, PPC, and other channels.
- Revenue reporting must be manually exported from a CRM and imported into Act-On.
- Social media traffic metrics are limited in scope, excluding information such as number of customers or ROI generated by social media platforms and other marketing channels.
More in-depth reporting requires manual tracking URLs and integrating multiple tools — hardly the definition of an “all-in-one” solution.
HubSpot’s analytics are far more robust, and users can customize reports to track the progress of their marketing efforts versus goals. HubSpot reports offer:
- Visitor, lead, and customer generation data for every tool and channel.
- A Campaigns Dashboard that displays the progress of content associated with a campaign across different channels.
- An option to receive engagement analytics for calls-to-action, social media, and website click-throughs.
- Fully integrated tools that don’t require tracking URLs or integrations.
As mentioned above, HubSpot’s integrated platform provides a wide range of tools that work together seamlessly to give customers access to robust data. Act-On appeals to beginners with an interface that offers basic information, but much of it is lacking. Drawbacks to this limited functionality include closed loop analytics that aren’t available without a separate CRM, landing page conversion metrics that don’t indicate which channels drove the most conversions to that particular page, social media publishing tools that lack the ability to monitor interactions with hot leads, and lead scoring that is limited to native Act-On fields.
Choosing Your Platform
Act-On and HubSpot are great platforms that will appeal to different customers depending on the level of functionality they seek, as well as their experience and comfort with digital marketing.
Act-On can be considered an all-in-one solution for beginning marketers but lacks features many businesses find useful as they learn how digital marketing efforts impact their long-term growth. HubSpot is a true all-in-one platform combining a wide array of tools into a single location, and is a better solution for those in need of more detailed reporting and analytics.
Foremost Media can help you set up and manage a marketing platform perfect for your business, or help you migrate from Act-On to HubSpot if you prefer a more robust solution. Contact our team today for more information!