Competitive analysis has gone far beyond the manual qualitative assessments it once was. Luckily, we have smart marketing technology to dig up the golden nuggets of competitor intelligence. The process remains intricate; to decide which metrics matter and to benchmark yourself against the competitor landscape. But the tools are there to help.
First and foremost, Google Analytics and Search Console (Webmaster Tools) are critical for benchmarking your own performance. For more information about benchmarking against competitors, check out my recent article on the subject. Thereafter, a mix of technology will gather data on the competitors accurately and efficiently. But which ones must you consider?
General competitive analysis
SimilarWeb: This market intelligence tool is a must when conducting competitor analysis. It provides granular insight into the websites of competitors, including traffic and engagement, keywords, audience profiles and interests, popular pages, and more. It offers similar options to apps, meaning you can track metrics such as installs, daily active users, user retention, and more. This is the perfect benchmarking tool for measuring up against others in the industry.
PPC competitive analysis
WhatRunsWhere: This is another premium tool that provides insight to competitor advertising campaigns. It helps you see the most important brand and affiliate ads, and provides a holistic view of the digital ad landscape.
iSpionage: This tool identifies your biggest AdWords competitors, and unveils their monthly advertising investment. There’s a lot of data to sift through with so many advertisers in the marketplace, but iSpionage can help cut through the noise.
SpyFu: Similar to iSpionage, SpyFu provides brilliant assistance for PPC. Not only does it track all the keywords that your competitor has ever bought, but it also has plenty of tools to assist your AdWords campaigns after go-live.
SEO competitive analysis
A couple of previously mentioned tools also offer SEO and keyword analysis. iSpionage and SpyFu are relevant, and SimilarWeb is also suitable for comparing SEO performance. That said, the following tools are what I’ve picked out for SEO competitive analysis.
The functionality of SEO tools is similar across the board; covering backlinks, rankings, and keywords. Your choice is a matter of taste and budget.
SEMrush: This SEO and search analytics tool is used worldwide. You can see your competitor’s most valuable keywords, monitor emerging competitors in organic search, and track dynamic changes in the SERPs.
Ahrefs: This is our favourite SEO tool, due to its sheer comprehensiveness. Ahrefs is arguably the most robust SEO tool on the market, suitable for agencies and in-house. You can compare keywords, rankings, and backlinks against any other website - and conduct thorough research to inform content and outreach strategy.
Content and social competitive analysis
Content is integral to your digital campaigns. If you want to get a handle on competitor content and social activities, try the following tools.
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is fantastic for understanding the content that is making an impact on any given topic. It highlights your competitor’s best performing content, which networks they are using, and who is engaged with their content. It has fantastic reporting functionality, and alerts for when a competitor publishes something new.
SocialBakers: This is a comprehensive social media analytics tool, geared up for holistic tracking and measurement. The tool also features predictive intelligence and competitive insights. You can monitor brand sentiment for yourself vs competitors, and benchmark social performance against the market.
Other great tools for social include Mention, where you can track websites that link to or mention competitors. Simply Measured (owned by Sprout Social) is the other one on the radar. As Steve Burnett outlined in his article, Facebook Audience Insights can be highly effective for competitive research. Follow the guidance in his piece for a step-by-step to uncovering secrets.
This technology is designed to speed up and simplify the process of competitor analysis. These tools will enrich your data, and unveil hidden nuggets of information. Depending on your goals, audience, and industry, you’ll need a different mixture of the above tech stack. In some cases, one tool will do the job you need; especially when combined with free tools on the web.
Before you build a tech stack, always consider scalability and ensure that you don’t pay for overlapping functionality. Integration with CRM, automation, and project management software may also be required.