The most popular Headless CMS products in Finland and in the Nordic countries

The online presence of an organization usually includes many channels. Practically everyone has a website and almost everyone uses some social media platform, too. Slightly larger players have several online services for different needs: website, online store, campaign pages, etc. For example services from partners, mobile apps, and various means of digital marketing can be used to add to the digital presence.

Today, there is also discussion around composable entities. There is composable commerce, composable DXP, Digital Experience Platform, and composable architecture.

North Patrol is a consulting firm specialized in the design of digital services and information systems. We shape ideas into a vision and service concept, find the best architectural and technological solutions, design a functional user experience, and compete to find the ideal partner for implementation work. We do not sell implementation projects, nor do we sell licenses; we are genuinely on the side of the customer.

10 January 2023

Mikko Jokela

A content management system (CMS) plays an important role in managing the online presence and various entities of it. With such wider entities that include different services, interface-based content management systems are a popular choice (Headless CMS, API-first CMS, API-Driven CMS). It seems that the popularity of such headless CMS products is growing.

Especially developers prefer these API-driven solutions, but for those in marketing communications these products do not necessarily offer the needed tools and user experience.

Our previously published article on Contentful shows many practical examples that apply to all headless CMSs.  

We researched the use of headless CMS solutions by looking into the data from BuiltWith service, which gathers data about web technology solutions. The chart below shows a selected sample of this data about the usage of the most popular headless content management systems in the Nordic countries. 

Contentful3396011531731 266
Sanity76255732991 162
Source: BuiltWith, sample 16.12.2022

Of course, other headless solutions are used but the share of those is marginal. It is also likely that BuiltWith scanner does not recognize all cases but it is safe to assume that the ratios between numbers are somewhat right.

Contentful rules, Sanity grows popularity

Based on this sample, Contentful is the biggest headless CMS in Finland, Sweden and in Denmark. Contentful has long been an innovative forerunner and thought leader in the market. They have gained a significant share also in international comparison (article in Finnish). You can get to know the official partners of Contentful on the partner search on their website. You might also be interested in our article about using Contentful as a CMS.

In Norway again, the Norwegian-origin Sanity is clearly the most popular choice. Sanity seems to be growing so it is likely that it will become more popular in Finland, too. The essential difference in Sanity compared to Contentful is that the front-end as well as content creation has been separated completely from the actual data. In this way, the user experience of content creators can be customized for each need. Sure, also Contentful has improved the content creation user experience along the way. In Finland, at least Contrast and DK&A have used Sanity for their implementations. Also Knowit Experience can deliver for Finnish customers.

Both Contentful and Sanity websites show the license prices for smaller packages that can be bought with credit card. If the customer needs a so-called enterprise-level service, both products also offer an enterprise/premium-level license. The price of these more exclusive licenses is tens of thousands of euros per year. 

Selecting content management system should be considered carefully

There are also many other headless CMSs on the scattered field. It seems that in many cases, it is software developers who make the choice of a CMS. In some cases this works, but it is good to remember that with bigger entities, choosing a headless CMS is not only about choosing a CMS but a whole architecture. It completely depends whether the front-end should be a custom solution.

Our web technology review also considers customized solutions and different JavaScript technologies being used.

It is, however, a trend that architectures are moving more and more headless and having multichannel solutions is relevant for many organizations. In this regard, considering using a headless CMS is a good idea. It is good to remember that the market share of traditional publishing systems is still significant, and for many, this kind of solution makes more sense and is more sustainable.

The following chart shows examples of using different CMS solutions in the Nordics. Although Nordics could be thought to have similar technology trends, countries have significant differences. Locality is one criteria to consider for those looking into different CMS solutions. 

WordPress121 656274 557103 960217 782717 955
Joomla!3 5006 6914 4459 23723 873
Drupal2 9783 1101 2925 79513 175
Episerver (now  Optimizely)2472 9024281903 767
Adobe Experience Manager962557196518
Umbraco6481841221743 468
Source: BuiltWith, sample 19.12.2022

These numbers are not directly comparable. For example sites built with bigger commercial products are typically wide and large entities, whereas sites made with lighter solutions are often smaller or campaign sites.

It depends on the situation whether a commercially licensed publishing system, open source code solution or a headless solution is the right choice. The choice should be done carefully as it has many long lasting effects.

(This article has been translated from the Finnish original. Read the original article.)

Mikko Jokela

Mikko Jokela is an expert on web and digital business.

Mikko consults the customers on web platform and vendor selections, defining functional requirements, and especially on how digital channels could support business needs more effectively. His areas of expertise include utilizing web and digital channels for better business, and web technology selections.

Mikko has been working for IT vendors in several roles. He has been in charge of a business line, responsible for web business development and a consultant in several web projects. Mikko’s main focus has been in private sector customers but he has also work experience on education and public sector.

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