No company exists in isolation, we all have rivals - if you don’t, you may have a larger problem with your business model.
The best thing about competition is it forces us to lift our game, to improve our tactics, while competitors in the space can also help inform our approach by learning from their efforts, both the wins and the slip-ups.
Competitive analysis can be a highly valuable tool, and in the age of social media, it's more accessible than ever.
In this post, we're going to look at some key tools, and tips on how to use them to gain more specific intel on your rivals' digital marketing efforts.
Listen to social media with Awario
You’re probably already checking your competitors’ social media to see what they’re up to, but with social media listening, you can get access to a much broader picture.
Awario enables you to track what people say across social media networks are saying about your chosen keywords - which can obviously include your competitors and their products. Awario also monitors various blogs, forums and websites, and enables you to interact with your audience right from the mention feed.
When you follow your competitors, you can track negative reviews, for example, then be the first to help people find a better solution (yours, obviously). You can accomplish this by narrowing down your search only to negative replies with the Sentiment feature in the tool.
Awario also helps to identify the biggest influencers in your competitors' audience, which can be key info when looking to boost your own messaging.
Awario offers a 14-day trial, after which you can choose one of three price options which start at $29 per month. The most suitable for small businesses is the PRO solution that costs $89 and allows you to export your data and share reports.
Investigate where competitors’ traffic comes from with SimilarWeb
SimilarWeb comes in handy when you need to discover where your competitors’ traffic comes from - referrals, search, and social. You can compare yourself to your competitors in terms of overall visits, page views per visit, and time on site.
SimilarWeb is free for 5 results per metric, including one month of mobile traffic and three months of web traffic data, which is generally sufficient for individuals or small companies.
Steal rivals’ backlinks with SEO SpyGlass
A great tool to try for backlink analysis of competitors’ sites is SEO SpyGlass. There’s a handy Domain Comparison module that lets you analyze backlink profiles of several competitors all together - then, you can use the link Intersection dashboard to see websites that link to several competitors, and those are likely golden link building opportunities for your own website.
The best part is that the tool can check all the links in real-time, so you can analyze your existing links in-depth.
SEO Spyglass has a free version which lets you analyze up to 1,100 links per website, and compare backlink profiles for two sites max. To go above that, you'll need either the Pro version ($124.75), which is perfect for website owners and webmasters or Enterprise ($299.75), which is devised for professional optimizers and SEO companies. The Enterprise plan has the advantage of white label reports, saving reports in PDF and HTML, and data export in CSV.
Analyze their content strategy with BuzzSumo
As you might recall, content is king, and BuzzSumo enables you to monitor your competitors’ content efforts. BuzzSumo provides insight into the content strategy of your opponents, thereby giving you the opportunity to adjust your own. The data provided can give you powerful insight into what content is working, and the influencers amplifying it on social platforms.
You can track your competitors’ content performance and do detailed comparisons. If you create an alert for a keyword, you'll find out what's resonating most within your niche by tracking the content with the most social engagement, via shares and links.
BuzzSumo also helps you analyze content lengths and formats to see what fits each audience. And if you have a closer look at the top performing content, and spot the common traits making it so popular, you can then reshape your own strategy in the right way.
BuzzSumo offers a 14-day full trial with phone verification required. Paid plans start at $79 per month, with the most popular option at $139 per month.
Detect where opponents’ ads come from with iSpionage
If you want to discover competitors’ paid ads, iSpionage will be of great use. The tool will show you how much your competitors are spending on AdWords, while you'll also be able to see who else competes for PPC ads for a particular topic. The tool is essential for keeping realistic expectations for ad spend, and it may also help you lower cost per click, write better ads, and improve conversion rates.
The Basic plan starts at $29 per month.
Disclose how they built their app or site with BuiltWith
BuiltWith is a great tool to figure out what a competitors’ site is based on - just type in the URL and you'll be able to see what systems the website uses so you can implement them for yourself or look for even better alternatives.
BuiltWith also identifies analytics tools in use, site widgets, email marketing services, along with all kinds of front- and backend technologies.
Checking technologies on websites is free, but more advanced features like importing a list of websites using given technologies are included in a paid version. Basic plan is $295 per month.
Always be aware with Leadfeeder
Chances are that your competitors will be spying on you too - you can use such instruments as Leadfeeder to track who’s visiting your website, analyze visitors’ IPs, identify companies among them and see what exactly they watched.
Leadfeeder offers you 30 days to try the project for free, but after that, plans start at $53 per month. The Premium feature offers you faster service, detailed analysis of visits and more.
There’s so much information about your rivals on the Internet that you’ll never be able to wade through all of it by yourself. Monitor your competitors' efforts with the tools listed above will definitely ease this task for you.