Beating your competitors in the markets you're selling into begins by knowing what your competitors are up to, tracking what they do, learning from their efforts, and analyzing their strategy.
Not too many years ago, doing a competitor analysis was a heavy lift full of tedious, manual work. Luckily, today there are many great tools you can use to analyze your competitors without lifting a finger. Every year sees new tools launching, so we've rounded up our favorites and the best we feel existing in 2022 and outlined them below. Skip to a section using the links below or just keep scrolling.
- SendVIew for Competitor Email Analysis
- Sociality for Social Media Analysis
- BuiltWith for Marketing Technology Insights
- Google Alerts for Press & News Tracking
- Feedly for Blog Post Tracking
- Monitor Backlinks for Backlink Tracking
- WhatRunsWhere for Competitor Ad Intelligence
SendView for Competitor Email Monitoring
Despite all the time we spend in our inboxes, email marketing can be one of the hardest things to track because inboxes aren't designed to help you read emails, not teach us about what our competitors are doing. SendView changes that by allowing you to subscribe to your competitors emails using special tracking addresses instead of your personal address. Instead of a Gmail-like interface, you get dashboards that tell you how often your competitors send emails, what days they usually send, which tools they're using, the most popular subject lines and keywords.
Email marketing is the money maker for most marketing teams and SendView gives you the competitive insights you need to get maximum value out of email whether you have a few competitors to track or hundreds of competitors you want to monitor.
Sociality for Social Media
There are quite a few social media tools for tracking your competitors, but we've been impressed with Sociality for a few reasons. First, you can track more than just the usual suspects. They let you keep tabs on your competitors across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from one place. Next, they keep their visuals simple and to-the-point as you explore and compare your engagement and performance to that of your competitors. Third, they make it easy to export data and don't limit those reports like other platforms do.
Like other platforms, Sociality makes the most of their integrations to these platforms so you can also manage your own profiles from the same platform, but the competitor analysis aspects are worth the price on their own. Every plan comes with a 14-day free trial so you can dig in, understand their competitive tools, and see if it works for your needs.
BuiltWith for Marketing Technology
If there's one tool we turn to over and over again to understand the technology behind a competitor or company we follow, it's BuiltWith. Enter the web address of the company, hit enter, and see an itemized breakdown of their tech stack. Curious what CMS they're using? What ad platforms they have tracking installed for? The analytics system they use? All of this and more is easily available.
Best of all, much of the data BuiltWith provides is free. If you're curious what's behind the curtain of your competitors' marketing technology setups, this is a perfect place to start. I can't overstate how many times I've found myself on this site to analyze a competitor, market, or segment within our market. Their insights are priceless when it comes to analyzing your competitive landscape.
Google Alerts for Press & News
Google Alerts is one of those free tools that's easy to take for granted. Not only is it incredibly powerful and accurate, it also has features and settings that rival $1,000/mo news-tracking alternatives. Choose a name, keyword, or phrase, set how often you want to receive alerts, filter the results by quality or region or language, and then tell Google where to send these alerts as they happen.
It's an amazing tool for sales or research, but it's especially effective for tracking when your competitors get press coverage or launch a new product. And for the price, Google Alerts can't be beat. Seriously, search around for alternatives and you'll find that most options come with a shockingly hefty pricetag to monitor just a few competitors.
Feedly for Blog Post Tracking
I've used this tool for the better part of 15 years, but it wasn't until the last half 3-5 years that I really saw the power of this tool for competitor tracking. Feedly is not only super fast and reliable when it comes to fetching new blog posts from the companies you follow, they display the results is a really tidy, easy-to-read format that makes keeping tabs on competitors news, case studies, etc. super easy.
And the company has pivoted around this use case a bit more lately as well. The price is great and the reliability is second-to-none. If you want to track your competitors' blogs or podcasts, Feedly can't be beat. Keep in mind that lots of stuff has an RSS feed that you wouldn't expect (like YouTube channels) so you really can built out a fairly robust competitor monitoring dashboard with this tool alone.
Monitor Backlinks for Backlink Tracking
Like many of these tools, Monitor Backlinks has a lot of competitor. What I like about their platform, however, is both the fact that they're really built out a tool that is has features purpose-built for teasing out not just data about your competitors but their actual strategy. Which I think is a key point. Data doesn't do much in terms of competitor analysis unless you can actually figure out what the data means.
Even more, and you'll find this is a theme of mine, it's simple. You're not overwhelmed with donuts chart for the sake of donuts charts, if there's a chart it's useful and thoughtfully designed. Monitor Backlinks has a simple, obvious name that absolutely delivers what you expect it to and more.
WhatRunsWhere for Competitor Ad Intelligence
Individual ad platforms have done a much better job of giving the public more insight into an advertiser's activity. But while the public might be okay with those interfaces, doing so individually for a dozen brands across multiple platforms is a great way to waste a week unless you use a tool like WhatRunsWhere. As the name implies, they've able to show which ads are running on which sites for any company you choose.
And, again, WhatRunsWhere has kept things simple and purpose-built so it's easy to tease out the lesson, insights, and inspiration you need to compete. They do tend to be geared for larger, enterprise type clients (hence the lack of pricing on the site), but definitely worth a look if the competitive intelligence you need involves ad campaigns.
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