If you ask industry leaders – they’ll tell you how important competitive intelligence is, though you probably already know this. Staying on top of what competitors, and the industry as a whole, have going on in any given context is critical. Competitors are busy gathering competitive intelligence about your company right now, and they likely aren’t eager for you to up your competitive intelligence gathering game. Let’s pull back the curtain and show you what they may already know – and you’re missing!
What Is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence monitoring isn’t just ‘nice to have’ – it’s mission critical. What is it exactly? It’s creating an informed, consumer and market-driven understanding of your brand position in the larger category, combined with in-depth audience understanding so you can be alerted to conversations by both influencers and detractors before they blow up online. Competitive intelligence is what savvy brands use to track how they stack up and which competitors are new to the scene or gaining in a given space. It helps brands develop a fuller picture of emerging trends in their marketplace and offer novel solutions that matter before competitors do – or after competitors try and fail. Each of these alone can be category-defining for a brand prepared to pivot as their transparent and accurate analytics dictate. And taken together, this insight is game-changing, separating those who dominate in a category from those who are constantly lagging behind and struggling to catch up. There’s never been a better use case for this social media analytics and market intelligence combo.
Right now, competitors are capturing your site traffic and keywords, site changes and traffic sources, and are identifying or dominating white space opportunities, and they’re doing this unchallenged. Their crystal ball is data intelligence, and it’s yours for the taking. You should be moving first on trends that you’re allowing to slip through your fingers. And it’s time to change that.
When it comes to identifying these new opportunities, you need powerful competitor auditing capabilities and top-notch market intelligence. And this is where competitive intelligence tools come in. Say hello to your new best friend. Our best practices guides covers The Importance of Competitive Intelligence beyond what you’ll find share here. Be sure to check it out!
Competitive Intelligence is Essential – Here’s Why & How to Use It
Competitive Intelligence helps you understand your audience and their needs. It also helps you to stay up-to-date with your competitors, ultimately inform your own strategic business decisions. Actively and effectively keeping tabs on your competitors gives you a leg up in your industry, always keeping you one step ahead. When you have a strategy in place for using competitive market intelligence tools, like Quid, you’re setting yourself up to be successful:
· Drive new business pitches
· Measure brand perception
· Map customer reviews
· Conduct competitive analysis
· Discover cultural patterns
· Gather creative inspiration
Which competitive intelligence tool may be right for your business? Keep reading, as we take you through a few of the top tools in the market. We promise, there’s a tool out there for you to meet your business and marketing needs.
Competitive Intelligence Tools to Consider
NetBase Quid: Comprehensive media coverage and sentiment trend analysis NetBase Quid empowers businesses to make smarter, data-driven decisions quickly and efficiently by bringing billions of pieces of data into a fully integrated competitive intelligence platform. It scrapes billions of social media posts and millions of data sources to answer the most important business questions, including:
· The ability to identify trends that matter most to your consumers and/or market
· Understand your consumers, competition and industry on a deeper level
· Understand what drives consumer sentiment and behavior
· Establish critical vs. non-essential business issues
· Identify new opportunities for new and innovative products, services and business investments
This platform delivers innovative data visualization in a number of different formats, enabling unparalleled visibility into any landscape analysis including:
· Brand coverage
· Industries they serve
· New opportunities for strategic brands
There’s a reason why so many brands like Coca-Cola, American Airlines and Walmart trust this competitive intelligence tool as a partner and source for data to help drive strategic decision making within their businesses.
Price: Contact for info
Crayon: Alerts and analysis on product/messaging changes and campaign launches Crayon is a competitive intelligence platform that allows you to capture, analyze and act on everything happening outside the four walls of your company, giving you complete competitive insights. It offers the ability to monitor a competitor’s digital footprint, on or off their website.
Their software helps you capture and analyze competitive intelligence that is pulled in from more than 7 million sources, using AI to prioritize insights. And it strives to provide actionable intelligence to key stakeholders across the business. It’s a solid, basic offering for brands to get their feet wet in the space. Price: Crayon Intel is free to use. Crayon Intel Pro is a paid option of the competitive intelligence tool. Contact the company for more info on pricing.
SEMrush Market Explorer: Analyzes your brand against market benchmarks If you’re looking to understand the market situation for your industry, or are looking to expand your business to a new niche, SEMrush Market Explorer can help you understand the following by simply entering a company domain in the search field.
· Share of Visits: Includes total direct, referral, search, social and paid traffic
· All Market vs. Narrow Focus: Learn company positions in the ranking of all the relevant sites among the closest competitors online
· Relevant Sites: Figure out who the direct and indirect customers are, and how you stack up
· Total Traffic Trends: Look for spikes and declines in site visits to uncover these trends
· Market Traffic Sources: Understand which traffic sources perform the best allowing for budget allocation estimates
Market Explorer also gives you the ability to set industry benchmarks to compare against your own marketing goals. And it offers audience insight around interests, gender, age and traffic trends. It’s important to note that this insight in isolation is only valuable to a certain extent. Having context around what people are saying and why is key to unlocking the full competitive intelligence and consumer picture. Price: There are four pricing plans to choose from. Pro ($99.95/month), Guru ($199.95/month), Business ($399.95/month). Contact SEMrush for Enterprise plans, which are customizable to your business needs. Market Explorer is free to try for 10 days.
Spyfu: Competitor search ad monitoring at a keyword and copy level Spyfu is a competitive intelligence tool that aggregates competitor data into one easy to use and navigate platform and dashboard. You can search for your competitor’s domain (or your own!) and see every:
· Place they’ve shown up on Google
· Keyword they purchased on AdWords
· Organic and paid rank
· Ad variation or test they’ve run in the last ~13 years This allows you to avoid making the same mistakes your competitors have and zoom straight to success. Price: There are three plans to choose from that range from $0/month to $58/month.
The Importance of Competitive Intelligence best practices guide helps you uncover how you stack up with competitors, which competitors are gaining on you, and developing a fuller picture of emerging trends in your marketplace.
Google Trends: Benchmark searches for your product against overall market trends Google Trends is a free tool that shows how frequently a search term is entered into Google’s search engine over a certain period of time. This market intelligence tool provides keyword-related data, like volume index and demographic information, about search engine users. When a search is performed on Google Trends, an unbiased sample of data is pulled to help users measure interest in a particular topic across search from around the globe. The data is:
· Anonymous – no private information is shared
· Categorized – determining the topic
· Aggregated – grouped together This is an extremely powerful tool to use when determining how users react to current events or how often they are searching for you, your competitors or your industry. Price: Free
VisualPing: Detect changes on your competitors’ sites VisualPing is a service that allows you to monitor for website changes, alerting you when any site change is detected. With packages to fit every need, they integrate with many tools that you are probably already using, you can choose to receive alerts with the click of a button by installing a chrome app, receive an email notification or Slack team notifications. Once you set up what you are monitoring, VisualPing does all the work for you in the background, so while you’re busy building your business, you don’t have to worry (too much) about keeping track of your competitors in real time. They do it for you in the following steps:
1. Take a screenshot of a certain page on a site you are tracking
2. Wait a set amount of time – one day or 5 minutes
3. Take another screenshot
4. Compare the two screenshots
5. Alert you if there is a difference VisualPing is not only a great competitive intelligence tool to have to keep tabs on your competition, but to alert your own site visitors of changes you’ve made, too. Think about it as the “new” RSS, giving you the ability to alert visitors when importance updates have been made on your site.
Pricing: Free to $58/month, 5 Plans to Choose From
AdBeat: Monitor competitor display campaigns and creative AdBeat is a competitive intelligence platform allowing you to spy on your customer’s ad strategy, focusing primarily on display ads and not search ads. Beyond the visuals and copy of a competitor’s ad, you have the ability to uncover traffic sources, media spend and what publishers’ ads were run on. From data to insights to analytic reporting, by using AdBeat you are giving your business the ability to improve your own display advertising campaigns using competitive insights from 15,000+ advertisers and publishers.
Pricing: Starting at $249/month, 3 Plans to Choose From
Owletter: Monitor your competitor email campaigns Owletter is a powerful tool for marketers, agencies and retailers looking to understand their competitor’s email marketing campaigns and strategies by capturing and analyzing all emails sent by a website. Retailers, marketers and agencies alike can get a competitive advantage by keeping track of what the competition is or isn’t doing well, what is happening with their own email sends, and using all of this data to their advantage within their own campaigns.
Owletter lets users see SPAM reputation, send days and frequency without having to flood their own inboxes. With the ability to set up tags and alerts, you’ll receive emails that contain specific key words, topics or trends you want to monitor. And the best part of all? All emails are stored forever! You are able to look back on emails you love, or reference emails that may have missed the mark, always giving you one step ahead of the competition. Price: Starter, Pro and Unlimited Plans Available. Starting at $19/month
Tubular: Video specific competitive intelligence monitoring tool Tubular is the video competitive intelligence platform your business needs with the data you need to understand the context of your video performance, competitor performance for benchmarking purposes and the ability to identify unique audience growth opportunities. As a global cross-platform video intelligence tool, Tubular has the following capabilities:
· Market Intelligence: Analyze millions of video creators in every genre and industry, giving insights and data on their video strategies
· Audience Analytics: Understand the unique insights of digital viewing habits of 2.5 billion consumers, including age, gender, location and affinity
· Content Strategy: Analyze any video with more than 10,000 views published to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Through a deep dive of performance insights, you are able to detect which types of video drives views, what an optimal video length is, and generate an understanding of performance by platform, duration, format and genre.
Price: Contact for Info Which One is Right for You? Each of the tools detailed above offers a different type of competitive intelligence that your company could benefit from depending on how it interacts with potential customers online.
Reach out for a demo of each to get a sense of what’s available, and be sure NetBase Quid tops that list, as it does here, to have something to act your home base as you explore other options. You’ll be glad you did!