Every business has competitors, and monitoring what they are up to is critical and doesn’t need to be costly or time-consuming.
The post below shows the 5 steps to set up robust competitive intelligence monitoring in less than 5 minutes.
One of the biggest threats to any business is competition within the industry. From new entrants to already established players, your competition can be the one thing preventing your business from taking the next big step or simply declining to oblivion (Yahoo!, MySpace, thinking about you!).
Business managers are always thinking about competition and are naturally irritated when a competitor announces a new release, a promotion, or when they hire a stellar manager you had an eye into.
As such, it is essential to establish a thorough competitive intelligence strategy, but this, in general, is tedious, expensive, and time-consuming. But it doesn’t need to be this way if you use clever automation.
Who should be using Competitive Intelligence tools?
Everyone should be doing competitive intelligence!
When we think of competition analysis, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the great opponents. Such as the legendary rivalry between Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi or Apple vs. Samsung.
These companies are regularly innovating and releasing new marketing materials to gain market share against each other. And this would not be possible without large competitive analysis teams.
However, no matter what size company you are in, having a competitive intelligence process is key. The good news is that nowadays, you can automate competitive intelligence without much effort and investment.
You can now monitor your competitors’ prices, new product releases, hired staff and promotions, changes in web traffic, social media accounts, and anything you want to watch closely.
We have compiled below five steps you can follow to leverage easy-to-use online tools for competitive intelligence automation in less than 15 min.
All the tools are free (with a premium subscription), and most do not need you to create an account to experiment with.
Visualping is an online service to monitor changes in any website, and you will receive an email alert with a screenshot of the page you are tracking with a highlight of the change.
According to its website, it is used by more than 1.5 million users and 250,000 companies, including 83% of Fortune 500 for various uses, including competitive monitoring.
All you need to do is insert the URL of the page you want to track, select the area of the page you are interested in, and let the system know which email address you want to be notified to. The system will check the target pages at the frequency of your choice: every five minutes (when time is critically important), hourly, daily, or weekly.
With Visualping, you will be on top of your competitors’ changes. Important pages that we suggest monitoring are the home page where key features are customarily posted, the pricing page, the product(s) page(s), and the team page.
You can also monitor YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages with Visualping as well as changes in the other tools outlined below.
The example below shows the DropBox monitoring Box’s pricing page. You only need to input the URL of the page you want to monitor and the email to which you want to send the change notifications.
Time to set up: 10s. Cost: Free.
SimilarWeb allows you to analyze your site’s traffic and compare it with your competitors.
This tool provides a wide variety of information, from different traffic sources and emerging competitors to location and engagement metrics.
The service has a really nice feature that allows you to select two websites to compare to each other directly and compare your traffic against your competitors and how it evolves.
If your competitor has a spike in traffic, you might want to look where that traffic is coming from and whether it is coming at your expense.
A typical traffic spike can come from a better rank in Google (usually at your expense if you drop in ranking on some critical keywords), a media mention, or a marketing campaign.
SimilarWeb is updated during the first week of every month, so you might want to use Visualping to automate checking whether new traffic data about your competitor has been published.
Below is an example of DropBox vs Box traffic changes, total visits per month, average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate. As with the previous tool, you only need the website URL you want to track.
Time to set up: 5s. Need to create an account: No. Cost: Free.
Depending on your business, most of your traffic will come from Google, and search rank will depend on a key metric called Domain Authority.
The higher your Domain Authority score, the better chance your website has to rank higher in search results. If you rank at the bottom of a search or appear on the second page, chances are that you’ll see a drop in traffic.
All companies try to maximize your SEO score but, since Google ranks your site vs your competitors, you need to monitor your competitors’ domain authority too to be alerted for any changes relative to yours, which makes Domain Authority another key variable to track.
In order to use this tool, start by entering the website URL you want to track and press check to see the Domain Authority Score. This approach can be useful when planning your content strategy to ensure you are pursuing content that will yield positive results.
Below is an example of DropBox vs Box domain authority and the number of domains and backlinks to each site which are the main criteria for calculating domain authority. As with the previous tool, you only need the website URL you want to check.
Time to set up: 10s. Need to create an account: No. Cost: Free.
Moat is a digital marketing analytics tool that allows you to search for any company’s banner ads, placement, dates of display, etc. This tool is handy as it will enable you to keep tabs on what types of messaging and creatives your competition releases.
Moat is fantastic to get inspiration from your competitors about what creative direction would work for your brand and what would not and adjust your strategy accordingly. The library of banner ads is continually updated, so when your competitors release new ads, they will be available on Moat immediately.
Below is an example of DropBox ads. As with the previous tool, you only need the name of the competitor you want to check.
Time to set up: 5s. Need to create an account: No. Cost: Free.
You can use Mention for competitive intelligence as well and monitor what is being said about your competition, measure your performance against them, and determine their share of voice.
Staying in touch with your audience is crucial in building a solid relationship with your current and potential customers.
With Mention, you can get notifications of new mentions of your brand through social media, blogs, forums, and the news. This allows you to expand your brand awareness and engage with your audience more meaningfully.
This strategy allows you to effectively discover what your audience likes and dislikes about your competitors and make more informed business decisions.
Time to set up: 10s. Need to create an account: Yes. Cost: Free.
So these were some free tools to manage competitive intelligence to outsmart your competition. However, you can also up the ante with these premium alternatives.
Concerned about the keyword strategies of your competitors–try SpyFu. This tells you everything, what worked and what didn’t for the subject sites over the past decade.
You get all organically ranking keywords and Google Ads data about your peers with a few clicks. Besides, you’ll also have crucial suggestions about the PPC keywords based on your website profile.
In addition, SpyFu includes powerful SERP analysis with keyword tracking to help you stay on top.
Not just this, the backlink analysis reveals what partnerships to forge for the best results. SpyFu also finds vital contact information for domains for effective pitching.
Finally, there are easy refunds with its no-question-asked money-back guarantee should you feel otherwise.
This is another tool built to ace competitive intelligence to outsmart the opposition. Talkwalker relies heavily on social listening via text, video, audio, and image analysis to unearth hidden gems.
You get real-time information tracing online conversations for up to the past five years, giving you insights to uplift your business’s growth.
This gives you an edge in tapping upcoming opportunities, providing the crucial first mover advantage.
It also helps you check the competition against the rest of the market with their products, strategies, and website traffic.
And the best way to take the call would be to sign up for its free demo.
Crayon is about tracking every move of your competitors–website, social media, employee reviews, news, and even their SEC filings.
This also includes keeping tabs on every change on their website design and copy to see what’s cooking.
Not just this, you can compare yourself to your rivals and see the complete picture on 100 different data points.
Crayon is collaboration friendly and AI-driven to help things get done quickly in less.
But you don’t have to take my work for it. Instead, take its demo to see why industry leaders trust Crayon.
While large companies may have dedicated teams to perform competitive intelligence tasks, these tools can offer you valuable information to keep tabs on your competition for free in less than 15 minutes. All the tools featured have free plans with various additional paid plans to meet your business needs.