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13 Competitor Analysis Tools to Spy on Your Competition

Let’s talk about a subject that’s honestly a bit uncomfortable to some marketers.


It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in–marketing is a game of competing for the attention of your audience. With so many marketing channels available today, that competition is oftentimes fierce.

Think about it.

Competition for traffic, ad placement, followers and sales. The list goes on and on. And while the idea of conducting competitive analysis isn’t particularly “fun,” it’s absolutely necessary.

Why Competitor Analysis Tools Are a Must-Have

The good news, though? There are a ton of competitor analysis tools out there to help you quickly and efficiently assess how you stack up against your top competitors.

And with the right tools on deck, you can spend less effort trying to dig dirt on your competitors and more time actually marketing.

Rather than spending too much time trying to spy on your competitors, why not let some smart tools do the legwork for you?

We’ve broken down a comprehensive list of competitor analysis tools that’ll help you do exactly that:

Competitor Analysis Tools for Social Media

1. Sprout Social

Social media is a natural starting point for competitive analysis.

From figuring out a competing brand’s messaging to how often they’re pushing content, a brand’s social presence can be a goldmine of data.

With the help of Sprout Social, acquiring and organizing that social data can be done without a single spreadsheet. Features such as our Facebook Competitors report allow you to compare your own growth with competitive pages without having to creep on their Facebook day after day.

Facebook analytics are essential to using Sprout as a competitor analysis toolSprout offers the same competitive analytics on Instagram too.

You can conduct Instagram competitor analysis with SproutAccess to these metrics makes competitive analysis a more passive process rather than an active one. You essentially have a constant pulse on your competition’s performance without chasing them around.
Get ahead of what your industry is talking about on social with Sprout
Find out what your audiences and competitors are buzzing about with Sprout’s social listening features.
In addition to finding all your brand mentions, you can track discussion and sentiment around the latest topics emerging in your area.
Find out how Sprout can boost your competitive analytics and research with a free trial today.

2. Phlanx

This Instagram engagement calculator clues you in on how active any given account’s followers are. This is an awesome resource to analyze your competitor’s Instagram presence. Plus, it doubles as a way to figure out whether or not an influencer has a legitimate following.

Phlanx’s engagement ratio is calculated based on the number of followers an account has versus the rate that followers interact with content (likes, comments, etc).

For example, Trader Joes has an engagement rate of 2.56%. This is a fair score for a larger brand that posts on a consistent basis.

Phlanx engagement analysis for TraderJoes' InstagramBut compare that to the likes of Denny’s, well known for their cult-like social following and rabid fans:

Phlanx engagement analysis for Denny's InstagramThis score isn’t the be-all, end-all of a brand’s Instagram presence, but it does offer some much-needed perspective.
Take Adidas, one of the most followed accounts out there, for example. They do get an insane amount of engagement on their posts, but it’s low relative to their massive follower count.

Phlanx engagement analysis for Adidas' InstagramThis speaks to a bigger point about competitive analysis on social media. Context matters. It’s easy to get caught up in follower counts, but engagement is arguably a much more important metric.

3. Social Blade

A fun tool for checking out bigger brands is Social Blade. It assesses follower counts on the likes of Twitter, Instagram and YouTube among other services. Although often used to assess the popularity of celebrities and YouTubers, there are some interesting insights here for marketers.

For example, their Twitter competitor analysis applies a “grade” based on their average number of retweets and likes.

SocialBlade assigns a grade to every social profile you searchPerhaps most notably, Social Blade provides a day-by-day follower update as well as a live follower count.
SocialBlade tracks Twitter follower growthAnother cool feature is the ability to stack brands’ social presences against each other.
SocialBlade compares the activity of multiple Twitter accounts at the same timeCompetitor Analysis Tools for SEO
4. SEMRush

SEMRush is one of the most widely-used SEO tools on the market, but its competitor analysis features set them apart from the pack. For starters, you can use SEMRush to pull your competitor’s backlinks and monitor changes in their ranking.

Here’s a sample dashboard after running a domain analysis for FreeCodeCamp:

SEMRush examines your competitors' backlink profile and traffic sourcesAnd here’s the piece of the analysis which provides a by-the-numbers view of who’s competing for their keywords:
SEMRush can tell you who else is competing for your trafficThis is an invaluable tool for understanding who your competition is from a strictly SEO perspective. Likewise, highlighting what keywords are targeted by competitors directly influences your own content strategy.
5. Ahrefs

Another staple competitor analysis tool for SEO is Ahrefs’ site explorer, which allows you to check any URL’s top organic keywords. Additionally, you get a rough estimate of how much traffic a competitor receives on those keywords.

Ahrefs examines your competitors' organic trafficIt’s easy to check out a site’s highest-performing content based on backlinks (as opposed to shares) too. This information teaches you what sort of products or messaging is working best for a brand.
Ahrefs can identify the source of your competitors' backlinksAnd in addition to highest-performing content, you assess what keywords bring in the most traffic to a competing site.
Ahrefs provides a detailed list of your competitors' keywordsThe takeaway here? Your competition’s traffic doesn’t have to be a guessing game when you’re regularly running your own reports.
6. MozBar

This browser extension from Moz provides a surface-level view of how authoritative a site is in the eyes of Google. Based on Moz’s own metric of domain authority (DA), MozBar assigns sites a DA score based on its likelihood to rank in search engines (based on factors such as backlinks). The higher the DA score, the better.

Settled atop your browser, the MozBar is a useful tool to quickly determine a site’s search potential performance at a glance.

MozBar is a competitive analysis tool that looks at a site's Domain AuthorityWhen enabled, you also see how competing sites compare in a Google query.
MozBar analyzes the domain authority of competing Google resultsMozBar allows you to conduct a sort of passive competitive analysis as you examine competing sites to figure out how long they’ve been around and whether or not they’re winning backlinks.
Competitor Analysis Tools for Content
7. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo allows you to look at the top-performing content for relevant topics for your brand and specific competitors. The tool looks at a piece of content’s engagement on social sites as well as its total shares across the web.

Buzzsumo highlights the top-performing content in your industryNot only does this clue you in on who’s killing it in terms of industry content, but also it helps you identify potentially hot topics to explore yourself.
Buzzsumo highlights your competitors' most popular pieces of contentWhether you’re looking for movers and shakers in your industry or simply a new idea for a blog post, Buzzsumo provides you with definitive answers.
8. Similarweb

Similarweb is an insanely comprehensive tool for both content and SEO. The tools helps you dig deep into your competitor’s content and where their traffic comes from.

For example, you can determine a site’s referral traffic and likewise where a site ends up sending its visitors.

SimilarWeb provides a report of where your competitors' referrals are coming fromAnd more importantly, for content marketers, you see what topics visitors search for and what other relevant sites they visit.
SimilarWeb tracks what users are interested in on any given site9. Feedly

If you’re looking for a way to keep an eye on a competitor’s content without checking up on their blog constantly, look no further than Feedly.

Feedly is a content aggregator that stores and organizes content as it’s published, including that of your competitors. This allows you to see hot topics covered by your competitors, all on one page.

Feedly allows you to compile a list of popular industry contentAnd as an added bonus, Feedly integrates directly with Sprout Social!

Competitor Analysis Tools for Emails, Ads and Industries

10. Mailcharts

Email marketing is arguably one of the most tedious channels for competitive analysis.

Recognizing this, Mailcharts aggregates emails from competing campaigns to help influence your own. In addition to grabbing subject lines, Mailcharts pulls data such as send frequency and compares it to your business’ campaigns to see where your emails stand.

Additionally, the tool compares your campaigns to their own massive library of marketing emails to ensure you’re in tune with best practices (think: timing, frequency, subject line length, etc).

Mailcharts tracks the performance of competing email campaignsNot only is Mailcharts a powerful competitor analysis tool, but its website offers a ton of email examples to draw inspiration. Pulling from some of the biggest campaigns out there, you get a better idea of what today’s top-performing emails look like.

11. Owletter

This tool automatically aggregates emails from competitors and organizes them into a simple, user-friendly dashboard. Owletter’s analytics spots changes in your competitors’ email frequency, and likewise picks up on trends to help you optimize when you should send your own emails.

Owletter aggregates competing email campaigns for analysisThis represents an efficient, data-driven alternative to keeping up a dummy email account to spy on your competitors.
12. iSpionage

If you’re interested in a competitor’s paid ads, iSpionage is definitely for you. This tool analyzes multiple aspects of PPC campaigns, including how many keywords a brand is targeting on AdWords:

iSpionage tracks the performance of paid adsAdditionally, you see what their target PPC keywords.
iSpionage provides a list of competitor keywords for PPC adsYou also see who else competes for PPC ads for a particular topic, in addition to how much they’re projected monthly budget is:
iSpionage can determine which competitors are paying for ads on a certain keywordFor brands considering PPC, such a tool is essential for keeping realistic expectations for ad spend.
13. Owler

Last but not least, this industry analysis tool uses community data to curate data and content from startups relevant to your niche. Again another tool reserved for bigger brands, you input brands to create your own custom dashboard of industry names to watch.

Owler stacks competitors against each otherAnd that wraps up our list!
Quick Tips for Conducting Competitive Analysis Related Articles How to Perform a Social Media Competitive Analysis (Free Template Included)
  • 41 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools to Help You Grow
  • Social media listening: Your launchpad to success on social
  • 11 of the best social media analytics tools for brands
  • While each of these tools can effectively help you analyze your competitors, you also need to keep in mind what happens after you run the numbers. Below is a sort of “final word” on how to make the most of any competitor analysis tool.

    Analyze Your Actual Competitors

    There’s no use in trying to punch above your weight. A local coffee shop with 1,000 followers shouldn’t beat themselves up because they don’t have as many followers as Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.

    As noted earlier, context matters. Sure, take a look at what the big players in your industry are doing. But when assessing your competition, focus first on those who are the most similar in terms of size and target audience.

    Focus on Metrics First

    When looking at competitors, it’s tempting to obsess over messaging.

    However, it’s more prudent to take a data-driven approach to analysis first. Try to pick out as many metrics before trying to break down the “why” of their marketing.

    For example, how often do your competitors post new content? What’s the ratio of promotional versus non-promotional posts? What are their top-performing keywords and hashtags?

    The answers to these questions are arguably as important as understanding someone’s messaging.

    Turn Analysis into Action

    Finally, make sure the data you uncover translates into some sort of action.

    Maybe you uncover a new set of keywords to target in your content based on your research. Perhaps you haven’t been pushing your content nearly hard enough based on how active your competitors are.

    Either way, the end game of competitive analysis is to improve your own marketing strategy. The more information you glean from competitors, the better.

    Which Competitor Analysis Tools Are You Using?

    Competitive analysis is a crucial component of fine-tuning your marketing strategy. By using the right set of tools, you can run your analysis quickly and actually spend more time focusing on your own efforts.

    So, how often do you spy on your competition? Any tools that you consider essential to conducting competitive analysis? Let us know in the comments below.

    This post 13 Competitor Analysis Tools to Spy on Your Competition originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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    About Daniel Rodgers

    A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

    Check Also

    10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

    Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

    Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

    However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

    B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

    Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

    via GIPHY

    #1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

    A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

    Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

    We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

    #2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

    Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

    1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
    2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
    3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

    So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

    #3:  Register with Podcast Directories

    Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

    Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

    1. Apple Podcasts
    2. Google Podcasts
    3. Stitcher
    4. Podbean
    5. Spotify
    6. TuneIn

    Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

    I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

    B2B Podcast Tracker

    #4: Promote Internally

    Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

    How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

    That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

    #5: Activate Your Influencers

    Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

    • Sample social messages
    • Social media images in the correct sizes
    • Embed codes

    If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

    #6: Publish Blog Posts

    The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

    To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

    #7: Add Paid Promotion

    As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

    Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

    It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

    #8: Solicit Listener Feedback

    Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

    The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

    #9: Keep Up Your Cadence

    As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

    Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

    #10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

    In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

    Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

    Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

    Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

    Check, Check, One Two

    Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

    Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

    B2B Podcasting Face

    *Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

    The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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