Spying on competitors isn’t exactly new - for generations, business owners have looked towards competitors for ideas. While some look to learn more about the audience, others want ideas for advertising, new products, and other areas of the business. There’s a thin line between using competitors as a research tool and just copying them. If you’re copying competitors, you’ll lose the respect of the industry, customers won’t value your service, and you’ll always remain in the shadows of others. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t use competitors at all.
As well as getting ideas from competitors, some businesses can avoid mistakes by watching the competition. Why make the same mistake when you can learn from their actions? As long as you’re watching to learn and further your marketing strategy, your competitors are often a great resource.
The next question you have is likely the following - where do I start? Great question - we’re glad you made it onto our guide here today. You don’t need to do everything manually when looking at competition because there are now some effective monitoring and analysis tools for this very area. Let’s look at some of the best!
As an SEO tool, Ubersuggest provides value to users in numerous ways. For example, this includes competitive analysis, keyword analysis, and SEO data. For those struggling with content ideas, this is the tool for you. Within moments, you’ll learn the keywords that find the balance between traffic and competition. You’ll also learn what the competition is doing, and possibly discover new competitors.
While the free version is enough for some users, others will want to invest $29 per month to get more advanced features. Value also comes through the Chrome extension - as you browse, the tool highlights traffic and keyword data.
Next up, we have a tool focused on automating many of the mundane tasks that come with competitor analysis. Unmetric uses machine learning and other technology to tell businesses how they perform in relation to the competition in areas like engagement and voice. Are you currently competing with others in the niche? Are others performing much stronger?
One thing we like about Unmetric is that it assesses average response time (ART) as a metric. As the name suggests, this reviews the response time of all competitors alongside your own service. In other words, how long does it take for different businesses to respond to mentions and comments on various social media platforms? If competitors are significantly quicker, this could encourage prospective customers to go elsewhere.
With detailed reports, analysis across many platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube), and several other benefits, Unmetric is an effective tool for competitor research and analysis.
3. Google Alerts
Google seems to always have a helpful tool. In this case, competitor monitoring is done through Google Alerts. As you would expect from Google, the tool is simple to navigate and easy to use for beginners. While using this tool you will receive alerts when competitors are mentioned online. Reports are sent straight to your inbox whether it’s a mention, a social media post, or a link.
Additionally, you can monitor specific keywords to see which competitors are most active and devise a strategy to rise above them. The benefits of choosing Google are the reliable name, the simple platform, and that you can also track your own company.
Just like Google enables businesses to monitor all competitors, the same is true for the social listening tool Awario. Serving all the major social media platforms, Awario tracks competitors, your brand, and the industry as a whole. If you want to learn more about your customers, Awario is a great place to start - you’ll soon learn about their behavior, the platforms they interact the most, the best content for engagement, and much more.
While most competitor analysis tools assume that you already know your competitors, Awario goes back a step to help businesses highlight their biggest competitors. Even if you fall into the former category, we still recommend taking advantage of the industry term alert system because you may identify new competitors. Just track specific industry terms and Awario will recognize when companies promote similar products.
Like others in this guide, Awario works across several social media platforms. Additionally, it works on Reddit too (not something we can say for every competitor analysis tool). Awario is also useful for sentiment analysis and to measure conversations around brands.
SocialMention is designed specifically to monitor mentions across social media. While some choose to monitor specific terms, others type in the name of a competitor and check their mentions online. How many times is the brand mentioned? How frequently? What are people saying? To prevent checking manually, you can subscribe to an RSS feed for competitors or terms and get updates.
6. Fanpage Karma
On a basic level, this tool helps businesses to monitor the social media profiles of competitors. After entering the name of a competitor, it displays the following data:
Over time, you’ll learn which competitors perform well on social media and which don’t perform so well. From here, you’ll learn from the former while avoiding the mistakes of the latter. With plenty of graphs and reports, users learn about growth, posts with the most engagement, best times for engagement, content types, and other details.
While Awario is one of the best for Reddit, what we like about Fanpage Karma is that it has support for Pinterest. Not every business/niche relies on Facebook, so the support for Pinterest is appreciated.
In this guide, we’ve focused quite heavily on social media. Although this is a huge section of most marketing strategies, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention monitoring tools for other aspects…and this includes email marketing. How are your competitors using email marketing? Owletter allows you to monitor certain websites by setting up the tool to work autonomously. You’ll see how frequently it sends emails, what the emails say, the keywords contained in the emails, and long-term trends.
Sometimes, we all need some organization in our lives. If you’re someone who has 47 different tabs open on your mobile browser, you need Instapaper. Rather than opening dozens of tabs, simply add web pages to your list on Instapaper. This tool saves web pages and allows you to add a bookmarklet to your bookmark bar to keep all web pages in order.
This one sounds a little sneakier than all the others, but don’t worry, the website is legitimate and used by many companies around the world. This time, we’re looking at the resources belonging to the owner of specific websites.
To get started, type one of the following into the search bar:
If you’re interested in learning domain information, this is an excellent place to start. With one URL, you’ll learn all the IP addresses associated with that website.
10. Trapica’s Competitor Ad Research
Another area we haven’t addressed in too much detail is ad campaigns. Trapica is an artificial intelligence and machine learning tool ready to help in this regard. As a free resource, small businesses and those with small budgets are welcomed with open arms by Trapica. After entering your name and email address, you’ll see six empty boxes - this is where you’ll enter the Facebook URL of your competitors (or their names).
Why do this? Once set up, you’ll receive notifications when competitors launch new ad campaigns. Alternatively, it might be that a competitor has launched a new creative. Either way, you’re notified and can keep an eye on the actions of other brands in the industry. Do the creatives match your own strategy? Are competitors trying something new?
With this in mind, you now have some effective competitor monitoring and analysis tools. While some cover social media engagement and activity, others monitor paid ads, websites and IP addresses, or organize the web pages you want to read in the near future.
When choosing a tool, think about what you want to achieve. For example, a desire to keep tabs on competitor ads will draw you towards Trapica and the Competitor Ad Research tool. On the other hand, you’re better off with one of the earlier suggestions with a desire to monitor social media engagement. Whichever you choose, enjoy monitoring the competition and allow this research to improve your understanding of customers, the efficacy of your strategy, and more!
Discover valuable tips, tricks, and industry news with a specific focus on the role of artificial intelligence in social media advertising.