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Ignoring your competitors is no doubt an unwise option in today’s business world. Their actions, policies, and plans may affect yours. Hence, conducting competitor analysis is an essential process for large and small businesses.
Based on different business functions, different tactics and tools can be helpful with the competitor analysis. This article shares some of the generic tools I used in the past for business and marketing analysis, including tracking brand mentions, social media analysis, advertising, email campaigns, and pricing monitoring of your competitors.
Monitor Mentions of Your Competitors on the Web
Where your competitors’ brands or products show up could ring a bell on their business activities. A few online tools could come in handy for that purpose.
Google Alerts – Free Tool to Monitor Mentions
Google Alerts has been there for a while. As a free tool, it’s quite powerful and easy to set up monitoring keywords (which can be your or your competitors’ brands or product names). You can get emails when new results for a keyword show up in Google Search. For example, you can get information about competitors news, products, and other mentions.
It’s easy to set up and use. However, deploying your creativity to match the business functions you are in can then realize its power.
For instance, if in charge of search engine optimizations, this tool can help you monitor and identify your competitors’ link building trail. For people in PR, it’s useful to track the angles of your competitors’ offerings and craft your best messaging.
SEMRush – More Powerful Brand Monitoring Feature
One of SEMRush SEO tools, brand monitoring, provides more powerful features. It also refines your results for a more thorough and in-depth analysis. Mentions can be filtered by their source (the entire web, news feeds, or blogs) and date, as well as segmented for better navigation with the help of various tags.
You can research your competitors’ past and current promotional activities, test and adapt their best tactics, identify new channels for your content using SEMRush. The bad news is, it’s not a free tool; but, you can follow this link to get 7-day free trial.
In my experience, this tool could identify pages with mentions that Google didn’t “alert” me. If you just want to get some news about your competitors, Google Alerts are often adequate.
Social Media Competitor Analysis Tools
Monitoring social media conversations is crucial part of the competitor analysis. Many free and paid tools are available such as the following:
Comprehensive social media analysis tools
You can use one or more of the following tools to monitor multiple social media channels
BuzzSumo. This is one of my favorite tools. Its Content Analyzer allows you to run a report for a topic (your competitor brand or your own) and see the total number of articles over the last 6 months, the total shares and the average shares. Use the average shares to establish a benchmark for content sharing performance.
You can also use it to identify your competitors’ influencers and and track brand mentions. These features of BuzzSumo are not free. So you may want to test it using its free trial offering.
BoardReader helps track online community discussions with different filters available. You can also use it to plot a line, bar, or pie charts.
Other integrated popular social media monitoring tools you can check out: Mention (paid tool with free trial; track brand mentions on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page), Social Mention, Hootsuite apps
Twitter conversation analysis tool
TweetReach provides detailed information on Twitter conversations including the reach, exposure, activity, top contributors, and etc.
Competitor’s Facebook Channel Analysis
Likealyzer analyzes your competitor (or your own) Facebook page as illustrated above using a local telco company SingTel. It shows you how well the Page is doing and how it can improve. It can also provide you a fully accurate and up-to-date LikeRank™.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may weigh more emphasis on a specific channels. I’m not going to list out all social media tools monitoring your competitors here but a few more below. Google will better serve that purpose.
Monitoring Competitors’ Advertising Campaigns
SEMRush and SpyFu are my favorites. On SpyFu, you can compare your keywords with your competitors’ to see the shared organic and paid keywords. It also provides top AdWords buy recommendations, AdWords history, the list of paid keywords with CPC and cost info.
SEMRush provides competitive information on paid search (keywords, CPC, cost,
These two tools are quite affordable for companies both large and small. You can also try iSpionage, KeywordsSpy, and AdBeat. I’ll not cover other advanced ad intelligence tools here such as this one and this (each costs a few hundred dollars a month).
Monitor Competitor’s Email Campaigns
You can also try NewsletterMonitor (which I haven’t).
Competitor Pricing Monitoring
Prisync is a competitor price tracking and monitoring software for all sizes of e?commerce companies. Essentially, competitor price tracker allows companies to track market pricing more efficiently without requiring programming knowledge.
Pricecy.io allows you to monitor your competitor’s products price in any country, currency or marketplace (e.g. Amazon and eBay), on daily basis. Unlike Prisync, it requires no URL to paste, just import your products in
Keys to using competitor analysis tools
This article gives you some ideas WHAT online tools can identify in competitor analysis. You need to further clarify this WHAT and integrate the results you will find into your work processes by understanding WHY you identify that information.
HOW is the least difficult part as most tools are pretty easy to navigate and use or you can delegate or hire someone else to do it.
Let me know your favorite online tools for competitor analysis in the comment below.