SendGrid vs IBM Marketing Cloud: Which is the best Email Marketing Software?

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective tactics for driving customer engagement, sales and retention. It’s also the preferred communication channel for consumers, with 77% of consumers saying that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communication via the channel, according to a study by ExactTarget. Here at Star Digital, we’re constantly being asked what is the best email marketing software. While there’s no single solution that fits all requirements, there are some great email marketing solutions that allow you to manage and segment your contacts, create custom email templates and view a suite of insightful reporting that you can use to optimise campaigns. Our resident email expert, Hannah, put SendGrid to the test against IBM Marketing Cloud, to see how it compares.

5 Reasons We Love SendGrid

  1. Better Analytics and Tracking – SendGrid allows you to view a full statistic overview of your account, for example, the number of emails sent, opens and clicks. You can filter it by specific dates and you can also see who is opening emails geographically.
  2. Slick Design – IBM Marketing Cloud looks a little out-dated, whereas SendGrid has a much more modern design and is updated regularly.
  3. User-Friendly Navigation – unlike IBM Marketing Cloud, SendGrid has everything you need in one simple tab, including your email templates and contact lists – this makes it a lot easier to navigate around.
  4. Quicker Loading Times – In general, we find SendGrid loads much quicker – making email design & optimisation a whole lot easier.
  5. Fast Support – SendGrid offers immediate support to all clients via telephone, support tickets or live chat support, helping to resolve any issues much quicker. Unlike IBM Marketing Cloud, where you must raise a support ticket and wait for a response.

3 Things IBM Marketing Cloud Does Better

  1. Heat-mapping – IBM Marketing Cloud has a click through report where you can view total clicks for each link overlaid across the email that was sent. Whereas, SendGrid only shows you the link that was clicked on most.
  2. Frequency Control – SendGrid doesn’t have frequency control which can cause a problem for some people. For example, if you send to two different lists, SendGrid won’t stop the same person receiving two emails, as IBM Marketing Cloud would.
  3. Image-rich Emails – If your email design is heavy on the image side, SendGrid may not be for you as it removes display: block;. When removed, this brings out a white space meaning if images are in two parts, there will be a white line between them. When display: block; is there, it removes the white space and the images look like they are one.
Best Email Marketing Software

2 Useful Features on Both Platforms

  1. Code/Preview View – Both platforms have Code View and Preview View. Preview View allows you to view what the email will look like when it is broadcasted. Code view allows you to see the HTML code for the email.
  2. A/B Testing – Both platforms have A/B Testing. This is perfect for testing various elements of an email. For example, if you are unsure on which subject line to send, you can set up an A/B test where both are sent to a small sample of your base. Once you discover the most effective subject line, you can send this to the rest of your base.

2 Key Feature Differences

  1. Mobile Application – SendGrid offers a mobile app that allows you to monitor email performance, manage unsubscribes/suppression lists, export CSV files and enable multi-user credentials for secure sign-in. This is useful when you’re on-the-go, allowing you to view performance from your phone or tablet.
  2. Training Centre – Unlike SendGrid, IBM Marketing Cloud has a useful training centre where you can take a course and gain a qualification. Once you have gained the professional qualification, you can take more courses relating to IBM Marketing Cloud.
Both platforms are fantastic options for executing your email marketing strategy. However, as you can see, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, leaving it up to you to decide which features are most important for your business’s needs. If you would like to learn more about Star Digital and our award-winning Email Marketing services, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly marketing team on 01604 696385 or email

A guide to adding goal tracking to Magento websites.

Goal tracking on Google Analytics is a vital element for any online commerce business. Through measuring the effectiveness of your site in gaining conversions, marketing teams can see what content converts and what elements need improving. For Magento websites, this goal tracking process is relatively easy to complete. All you need is a google Analytics account, access to your Magento admin area and access to either the html code or a developer. Here’s our simple 3 step guide to setting up Goal Tracking on a Magento site: 1. Add Google Analytics Tracking code to your site The first step in implementing any goal tracking on your site is to add the Google Analytics tracking code generated for your Google Analytics profile. All you need to do is add your Analytics account ID into the Magento backend via the Google API menu on the Sales tab. The difference between Magento 1 and 2 is simply down to where the Google API is found in the back end. On Magento 1 – You navigate to System > Configuration > Sales > Google API, compared to Magento 2, where it’s found in Stores.

Magento 1 configuration panelMagento 1 configuration panel Magento 2 configuration panel

Implementation of standard google tracking remains the same on Magento 2 – a simple process of adding your Google Analytics Account ID.   2. Enable Ecommerce tracking on Google Analytics To do this, simply navigate to the admin section on your Google Analytics account, under VIEW go to E-commerce Settings and swipe the button to on. Magento automatically pulls through ecommerce tracking.   3. Set up your goals The final step is to set up the goals and what they track within the admin section of your Google Analytics profile. To do this, simply click Admin > Goals > + Goal. If completed actions go through to an individual thank you style page, then you can set up a destination goal. For Ecommerce sites, it is recommended to add a funnel of important pages which allows you to see where and when people drop out before completing a goal. Through the identification of drop off points, you can analyse the reasons for these drop-offs and develop possible fixes, thereby optimising for your all-important conversion rate.

goal tracking set up

Goal details screen

Alternatively, event goals are useful for content that can be tracked separately from the webpages, such as downloads, button clicks and video plays. To implement this, you set up the event fields in the admin section like the example below.


goal event conditions

Then using JavaScript, you create the tracking code which would mirror the details inputted in Analytics.

ga event tracking code

If using Google Tag Manager, the goals can be added via the platform, without Google Tag Manager, you will need a developer or webmaster to add the JavaScript event tracking code into the html of the site. So, if you are tracking a goal that completes on a button click, that code is placed within that element.

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Goal tracking code

Once your goal tracking is in place, you have a ready source of insight into how your customers interact with your website. If you have any questions or issues, call our friendly digital marketing team on 01604 696385 or email  

Move from Magento to Shopify with Star Digital

Upgrade from Magento Enterprise now and get 6 months FREE Shopify Plus licensing. With Magento 1.x end of life scheduled in 2018, customers on Magento 1.x will be forced to decide whether to upgrade to 2.x over the next 12 months. After 2018, Magento 1.x Community and Enterprise customers will no longer receive support, patches or upgrades, so now is the perfect time to consider Shopify Plus. Until the end of June, Shopify Plus is offering 6 months FREE on a two-year contract and help with data migration up to 500k SKUs and 1 million customers*. There is no doubt that Magento is the king of on-premise eCommerce.  Built specifically for developers, it offers tremendous flexibility and extensibility. But SaaS is changing the world, and eCommerce is no exception. Many retailers are looking for a simpler, more manageable way to manage complex customer experiences. Shopify Plus is innovating how enterprise merchants manage and rapidly deliver commerce to consumers. It allows retailers to refocus their budgets and human capital away from costly infrastructure and development, and onto more important matters like strategy, customer engagement, social influence, and data-guided marketing.

The launch of Magento 2 represents a line in the sand. Over the next one to two years, tens of thousands of Magento 1.x clients will be faced with a tough decision: re-platform to Magento 2, or evaluate other options in the market, and Star Digital, recently named as a new Shopify Plus partner agency, are here to help.

If you’re considering Magento 2 or Shopify Plus, contact the team here at Star Digital on 01604 696385 or email The future of commerce starts here…

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