If you work in social media marketing, you know what a headache the marketing approval process can be. The labyrinthine journey of content, shuttling between departments, clients, and back-and-forth emails, can be a real headache.

One of the easiest ways to streamline your content approval process is by using approval software tools. These tools automate the process of obtaining client feedback and managing content approvals, saving you time and effort chasing your marketing clients. Plus, they bring clarity to your approvals as they offer features such as version control, commenting functionality, and audit trails.

So, which are the leading approval tools for marketing agencies? Our research has identified five distinct options, each offering various price points and features.

5 Best Approval Software Tools for Marketing Agencies

  1. Best Overall: Gain
  2. Ideal for Client Contracts: Filestage
  3. Great for Project Management: ProofHub
  4. Best for Design Approvals: Approval Studio
  5. A Visual Tool for Approvals: Planable

1. Gain

We at Gain designed our multi-feature tool with agencies and marketing teams in mind. Our app integrates all of your client-related processes into one easy-to-use platform. From creating to managing, collaborating, and finally approval and posting, Gain can help every step of the way.

Our tool works with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, and supports all file formats so you can bring your content to us in any format it comes.

The approval software tool has a multitude of features to keep your approval workflow on track. After all, we believe that approvals shouldn’t take all of your time.

Approval Features

  • Customizable approval workflows to suit your team’s and clients’ unique requirements, including creating as many rounds of approval as you need
  • Magic Approver Login allows accessing content securely from an email on any device
  • One-click approvals
  • Annotations that allow approvers to leave feedback in context
  • Automated approval deadline reminders
  • Role-specific access and private approval queues
  • Public previews, so you can share with users outside of Gain.

Price Plans

We at Gain offer a 14-day free trial (no credit card required) to potential customers looking to check us out. If you like what you see, our tool is $99 a month but if you purchase a yearly package you’ll receive a 16% discount, reducing the monthly fee to $83.23. 

This flat fee gives you access to all of the app’s features including unlimited workspaces, storage, and approval workflows. You receive 10 free users and each additional user costs just $10. Gain also offers a 50% discount to non-profit organizations.

What Do Actual Users Say About Gain?

According to user reviews on Software Advice, Gain’s automated approval workflows are what makes the tool stand out among similar solutions. Here are what customers say about Gain’s approval workflows:

“When I sent content for approval to clients, I’ve never had an issue with anyone being confused. It’s very user-friendly, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy.”

“One of the best features of the app is the review and approval process. We can send posts out for review and monitor changes and approvals. We work within a compliance-controlled industry and this review process is critical to our workflow.”

2. Filestage

Filestage is a content review platform designed to streamline the process of reviewing and approving various types of digital content. The app can help with reviewing social media content, videos, text pieces such as contracts, and websites.

With Filestage you can share unlimited files securely as they use encrypted servers based in the EU and are dedicated to protecting your data.

Approval Features

  • One-click annotations for comments anywhere on the media 
  • Viewable version history
  • Ability to invite unlimited reviewers.

Pros and Cons

One benefit of Filestage is that it boasts a range of packages, including a free version for freelancers or start-ups. Their Professional Package is pretty affordable for agencies too.

A drawback, however, is that there is not currently an iOS or Android app so you can only access it through your browser. This can be inconvenient for people working on the go.

Price plans

Filestage is free for freelancers and small start-ups, $49 for the Basic Package suitable for small teams, and $249 for the Professional Package for larger teams.

3. ProofHub

ProofHub is a proofing software and project management tool designed to bring all aspects of your project to one place. It boasts a simple design with a range of tools to help make your job easier. You can use it for communication, designing workflows, creating Gantt charts, and more.

Approval Features

  • You can review items and leave comments in threads to keep the conversations clear
  • Supports a variety of file formats
  • ‘File versioning’ allows you to track changes.

Pros and Cons

ProofHub offers a notable advantage in that all of its pricing plans provide unlimited users. Nonetheless, customer reviews on G2 indicate that the application occasionally experiences glitches and slower loading times.

Price Plans

ProofHub offers a free trial and the Basic Package starts at $45 a month. The Full Package is $150 per month.

4. Approval Studio

Approval Studio is an approval software tool primarily designed for creative teams working with designs. The app has a mobile-friendly design for proofing on the go and as of August 2023, they have a completely revamped UI.

Approval Features

  • Easily shared for external reviewers
  • In-screen chat tool you can use whilst reviewing
  • Four compare modes for checking all edits are actioned.

Pros and Cons

The good thing about Approval Studio is they are constantly tweaking/adding features and post regularly about their updated features on their blog. Their video proofing software, however, is still in development and is currently only available as a beta version.

Price Plans

Approval Studio offers four tiers in their price plan called Lite, Pro, Pro XL, and Enterprise, with the former priced at $45 a month for 5 users going all the way up to $599 a month for Enterprise, which includes all features, unlimited users and dedicated support.

A free trial is available for all tiers.

5. Planable

Lastly, we’ve got Planable, an app designed to automate your marketing approval process, with content creation and planning all in one place.

Approval Features

  • Social media post previews that show you exactly how the final post will look
  • Customizable permissions
  • In context commenting.

Pros and Cons

They have a fun, youthful vibe, and a per-user price framework which make them an attractive choice for freelancers and smaller businesses but you have to pay each time you add a client to a workspace. This can quickly ramp up your costs if you work with many different clients.

Price Plans

The Basic plan starts at $11 per user for unlimited posts but only one a day. The Pro plan is $22 per user and offers extra features, more space, and unlimited tweets. Enterprise pricing is custom and available on request.

How to Choose the Best Approval Software Tool for You 

Whatever the size of your project, using approval software tools can save you valuable time and money. Whilst it can be difficult to compare these tools as they have a variety of features and price points, our top 5 showcases a broad spectrum of options.

You need to consider how many team members you have for pricing and which tools are vital to your process. Taking advantage of free trials can help you narrow down these choices, and give you some experience with each user interface.

We think Gain has everything you need, with our affordable plans and comprehensive suite of features, and a staggering 9.17/10 of our clients (as per GetApp data in Aug 2023) recommending our product.

Conclusion: Getting Started with Gain

As you see, there are a wealth of worthwhile options when deciding how to automate your marketing approval process. We highlighted the best for saving you time, money, and the stress of endless email chains, but ultimately the choice is yours.

If you think Gain is the right approval software tool for you, get started today with a Free Trial, no credit card or commitment is required.

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