No company exists in isolation, we all have rivals – if you don’t, you may have a larger problem with your business model.

The best thing about competition is it forces us to lift our game, to improve our tactics, while competitors in the space can also help inform our approach by learning from their efforts, both the wins and the slip-ups.

Competitive analysis can be a highly valuable tool, and in the age of social media, it’s more accessible than ever.

Today’s article will show some key tools, and tips on how to use them to gain more specific intel on your rivals’ digital marketing efforts.

Listen to social media with Awario

Awario enables you to track what people say across social media networks are saying about your chosen keywords – which can obviously include your competitors and their products. Awario also monitors various blogs, forums and websites, and enables you to interact with your audience right from the mention feed.

When you follow your competitors, you can track negative reviews, for example, then be the first to help people find a better solution (yours, obviously). You can accomplish this by narrowing down your search only to negative replies with the Sentiment feature in the tool.

Pricing: 14-day trial, after which you can choose one of three price options which start at $29 per month. The most suitable for small businesses is the PRO solution that costs $89 and allows you to export your data and share reports.

Investigate where competitors’ traffic comes from with SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb comes in handy when you need to discover where your competitors’ traffic comes from – referrals, search, and social. You can compare yourself to your competitors in terms of overall visits, page views per visit, and time on site.

Pricing: SimilarWeb is free for 5 results per metric, including one month of mobile traffic and three months of web traffic data, which is generally sufficient for individuals or small companies.

Steal rivals’ backlinks with SEO SpyGlass

SpyGlass – a great tool to try for backlink analysis of competitors’ sites. You can use the link Intersection dashboard to see websites that link to several competitors, and those are likely golden link building opportunities for your own website.

Pricing: A free version which lets you analyze up to 1,100 links per website. To go above that, you’ll need either the Pro version ($124.75) or Enterprise ($299.75).

Analyze their content strategy with BuzzSumo

Content is king, and BuzzSumo enables you to monitor your competitors’ content efforts. BuzzSumo provides insight into the content strategy of your opponents, thereby giving you the opportunity to adjust your own. The data provided can give you powerful insight into what content is working, and the influencers amplifying it on social platforms.

You can track your competitors’ content performance and do detailed comparisons. If you create an alert for a keyword, you’ll find out what’s resonating most within your niche by tracking the content with the most social engagement, via shares and links.

BuzzSumo also helps you analyze content lengths and formats to see what fits each audience. And if you have a closer look at the top performing content, and spot the common traits making it so popular, you can then reshape your own strategy in the right way.

Pricing: 14-day full trial. Paid plans start at $79 per month, with the most popular option at $139 per month.

Detect where opponents’ ads come from with iSpionage

If you want to discover competitors’ paid ads, iSpionage will be of great use. The tool will show you how much your competitors are spending on AdWords, while you’ll also be able to see who else competes for PPC ads for a particular topic. The tool is essential for keeping realistic expectations for ad spend, and it may also help you lower cost per click, write better ads, and improve conversion rates.

Pricing: The Basic plan starts at $29 per month.

Disclose how they built their app or site with BuiltWith

BuiltWith is a great tool to figure out what a competitors’ site is based on – just type in the URL and you’ll be able to see what systems the website uses so you can implement them for yourself or look for even better alternatives.

BuiltWith also identifies analytics tools in use, site widgets, email marketing services, along with all kinds of front- and backend technologies.

Pricing: Checking technologies on websites is free, but more advanced features like importing a list of websites using given technologies are included in a paid version. Basic plan is $295 per month.

Always be aware with Leadfeeder

Chances are that your competitors will be spying on you too – you can use such instruments as Leadfeeder to track who’s visiting your website, analyze visitors’ IPs, identify companies among them and see what exactly they watched.

Pricing: 30 days to try the project for free. After that, plans start at $53 per month.

Conclusion

There’s so much information about your rivals on the Internet that you’ll never be able to wade through all of it by yourself. Monitor your competitors’ efforts with the tools listed above will definitely ease this task for you.

7 Competitive Analysis Tools to Help Improve Your Marketing Approach

PS. I use SimilarWeb daily, and BuiltWith almost as often. I even have Chrome extensions for both, for quicker use. Both tools let me immediately learn how much traffic the site is getting, and what kind of technology it uses. For example, if they get 1 million visits per month, and they use A/B testing tools on the site, I know it’s a serious website, not a freshly hosted WordPress blog.

BuzzSumo is also great, for content marketing.