16 tools to help make your competitive analysis easier

Competitive analysis is a tactic that every company should use regularly.

But without the right tool that suits your needs, it’s easy for manual competitive analysis to take up a big chunk of time.

A competitive analysis is essentially a strategy where you identify your competitors and research their products/services, sales and marketing strategies. Of course, your analysis can be as simple or as complex as you need to satisfy your goals behind it.

For example, perhaps you’re only interested in how your competitors are approaching the overall design and usability of their websites. Or, you want to evaluate a more broad look at their overall digital marketing strategies.

See more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours.

The following are 16 tools that you should consider as you perform your competitive analysis, divided up by the focus of each tool. The best tool for your business likely will come down to your goals and competitive analysis needs.

Overall competitive analysis tools

Pi Datametrics

Pi Datametrics allows you to measure the impact of your brand campaigns against your competitors. This tool analyzes emerging trends and audience intent to help you match your messaging and timing to consumers’ needs.

Features include SEO tracking, daily rank tracking, market analysis capabilities, identifying market leaders and overall industry analysis.

It’s an all-around competitive analysis tool that can give your company the edge through insightful data that goes beyond digital marketing.

Kompyte

You can use Kompyte to compare traffic, referrals, visitor behavior, keywords, search rankings, paid ads and social media metrics.

In addition, you can stay updated with your competitors’ emails.

Kompyte also will auto-suggest potential competitors based on the keywords you’re tracking.

Social media focus

Phlanx

Phlanx is an Instagram engagement calculator that helps you understand how active an account’s followers are. This is a great tool if your competitive analysis is focused on Instagram. In addition, it can help you figure out whether or not an influencer has a legitimate following on the visual social media platform.

Phlanx’s engagement ratio is based on the number of followers an account has versus the rate that followers engage with content, such as with likes, comments and so on.

While this calculator doesn’t give an ultimate say on an Instagram account’s value or success, it does give some perspective that goes beyond the simple follower count.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social helps you understand competitor performance on social media from multiple angles and data points across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can use this tool to get a sneak peek at what your competitors are posting or benchmark your growth against the average of the profiles being compared.

Sprout Social also offers an advanced social media listening feature, with interactive charts and graphs that you can customize for your goals. Learn more about social media listening.

Social Blade

Looking at a wide range of social media platforms (including Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, among others), Social Blade interprets the followings and engagement actions on competitor accounts.

You can get a day-by-day follower update, as well as a live follower count through this tool. Plus, you can stack competitors’ social profiles against each other for a larger overall analysis.

SEO focus

SEMRush

One of the most popular SEO tools online right now, SEMRush also offers several competitive analysis features. And it’s ideal for understanding your competition through an SEO-specific lens.

The tool, for example, allows you to pull your competitor’s backlinks and monitor shifts in their search engine ranking. You also can get a by-the-numbers view of who’s competing for particular keywords.

MozBar

MozBar is a Chrome browser extension that offers a surface-level view of a website’s authority as perceived by Google. This tool assigns websites a domain authority score based on its likelihood to rank in search engines for a variety of factors.

Because it’s a browser extension, MozBar is very accessible, making it easy to see a competitor’s potential search performance at a glance. You’ll also see how competing sites compare in a Google search query.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another popular competitive analysis tool as it relates to SEO. It enables you to check any URL’s top organic keywords, as well as provides you with a rough estimate of how much traffic a competitor gets from those keywords.

You also can see a competitor’s highest-performing content based on backlinks. This all helps prevent you from engaging in a guessing game when it comes to your competitors’ referral traffic.

Content focus

Similarweb

Similarweb is actually a competitive analysis tool that addresses both content and SEO. It helps you dive deeper into your competitors’ content, as well as where their web traffic is coming from.

This tool can help you see what topics visitors search for and what other relevant sites they visit.

SimilarWeb is free, but you can upgrade to gain access to more competitive analysis tools.

Buzzsumo

Looking for top-performing content on relevant topics for your brand and your competitors? Consider Buzzsumo. This tool looks at both engagement on social media platforms and total shares across the web for each piece of content, giving you an idea of who’s successful in regards to strong industry content.

Of course, on the flip side, the pieces of content identified by Buzzsumo can help you with new ideas for content of your own.

Feedly

A content aggregator, Feedly stores and organizes content as it’s published. So, you can see the topics covered by your competitors in one place.

This tool also features AI (artificial intelligence) that can be taught to prioritize the topics and trends that matter to you.

Miscellaneous

iSpionage

iSpionage helps you dig deeper into your competitors’ paid ads by analyzing multiple aspects of PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. This includes how many keywords a competitor is targeting on Google AdWords and what their target keywords are.

You’ll also see who else is competing for PPC ads on a particular topic and how much they’re projected monthly budget is.

Mailcharts

Need to analyze competitors’ emails? Mailcharts aggregates emails from competing campaigns. This tool grabs subject lines, pulls send frequency and compares everything to your brand’s campaigns to see how your emails compare.

In addition to comparing your emails to competitors’, Mailcharts compares your campaigns to its own library of marketing emails to ensure you’re in line with such best practices as timing, frequency, subject line length and so on.

You’ll also have access to email examples to help inspire your current and future campaigns.

Owler

Owler curates various business data points for your competitors. You can access exclusive information, including annual revenue, employee count, funding and top competitors.

This tool also allows you to filter a real-time feed of the latest news to uncover events that could move your business forward, including funding, layoffs and more.

Owletter

Not to be confused with Owler, Owletter aggregates emails from competitors and organizes them into a simple dashboard. 

This tool will spot changes in your competitors’ email frequency, as well as trends that can help you better determine when you should send your own emails.

SpyFu

SpyFu helps you research and download your competitors’ most profitable keywords in PPC ad campaigns. It reveals not only the paid keywords, but also the organic search keywords that can help you improve your own SEO performance.

In other words, this tool doesn’t just cover PPC competitive analysis, but SEO as well.

Once you find the perfect competitive analysis tool for your goals, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Competitive analysis: What it is and how you can start yours

How often do you perform a competitive analysis for your brand?

If the answer is “not often” or “never,” your business is missing out on valuable insights. 

About 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies practice some form of competitive analysis regularly.

A competitive analysis is essentially a strategy where you identify your competitors and research their products/services, sales and marketing strategies. Of course, your analysis can be as simple or as complex as you need to satisfy your goals behind it.

For example, perhaps you’re only interested in how your competitors are approaching the overall design and usability of their websites. Or, you want to evaluate a more broad look at their overall digital marketing strategies.

It all depends on what you’re hoping to discover with each analysis.

Researching your competition can help you:

  • Discover new trends
  • Anticipate shifts in the market
  • Find successful tactics
  • Stay on the cutting edge within your industry

A true (and effective) competitive analysis is more than just surfing the social media accounts of your competition and subscribing to their email lists. The following are seven recommended steps you can take to start your first competitive analysis as it relates to marketing specifically.

Step #1: Identify your competitors

You likely are already aware of your top two or three competitors. But if you’re struggling to fill out a list of six to 12 for the most effective sampling in your competitive analysis, consider searching on Google, Amazon and/or even Alexa for products or services that are similar to yours.

Just make sure that the competitors you choose:

  • Have a similar business premise
  • Sell similar products or services
  • Target similar audience demographics
  • Range from well-established brands to newcomers in the market
  • Are within a relevant geographical location as you (if you are a hyper local business)

The more similar you can find, the more relevant your analysis will be.

Once you’ve identified your competitors, label them either “direct” or “indirect,” where direct competitors offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute (like Coca-Cola and Pepsi) and indirect competitors offer products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem (like Walmart and GNC).

This will help you weigh the insights and data you gather in your analysis. While direct competitors are a higher priority, you can still learn a ton from your indirect competitors as well.

Step #2: Create a spreadsheet

Documentation is a must but can be organized in a very customized way, depending on your preferences. There are various tools and templates available online that can help get you started.

However, key pieces of information about your competitors that could include are:

  • Target customers
  • Main “claim to fame” (or market differentiator)
  • Key features or benefits of their products/services
  • Price points for their products/services
  • Website features, which include the design, layout, search tools, imagery and so on
  • Customer experience features, including how customers can check out, overall customer support, any mobile apps and so on
  • Social media approach, such as the platforms used, posting frequency, overall engagement
  • Content marketing tactics, such as blog and/or vlog topics, content types and so on
  • Overall marketing tactics, such as the types of promotions being run, types of discounts (and their frequency) and so on
  • Customer reviews

Again, every competitive analysis can be different, depending on your goal. If certain information is simply not relevant, leave it out.

Step #3: Determine exactly what your competitors offer and at what price

It’s important to understand the range of what is offered by your competitors and at what price (and discount).

During your research, be sure to ask:

  • What is their market share?
  • Are they pricing differently for online versus brick-and-mortar?
  • How are products and/or services distributed?

Because discounts can be at the heart of many marketing campaigns, do your best to nail down how often your competitor runs sales and how much is discounted. On the flip side, rather than a discount, perhaps perks are thrown in from time to time. Either way, it helps to understand the different promos being offered to your potential customers.

Step #4: Evaluate your competition’s overall marketing efforts

Auditing the websites and social media profiles of your competitors is one of the best ways to understand the scope of their marketing efforts.

Questions you should be asking:

  • Do they publish a blog?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • Are they offering premium content, such as whitepapers or eBooks?
  • Do they have a podcast?
  • What sort of visuals are they using? Stock photos? Infographics? Custom content? Something else?
  • Do they have a FAQ section?
  • What about a media kit or case studies?
  • Any online or offline advertising campaigns running?
  • What social media platforms are they using?
  • How are they using social media? Are there different tactics being used on different platforms?
  • How big are their social media followings?
  • Are they responsive on social media? 
  • What coordinated campaigns can you find?

The more you can understand about the scope of their marketing practices, the better. But keep in mind that you’ll never have an “insider perspective” of the overall strategy. However, the benefit of being the outsider is that you’re likely only able to find what any other potential customer can find, and that’s incredibly relevant.

Step #5: Dig deeper into your competitors’ content strategy

Content is like the lifeblood of a marketing strategy. You competitor could be posting a new video every day, but if the quality is lacking, it’s simply not as impactful as it could be.

Take note of:

  • How accurate the content is
  • Any visible bylines (and whether those appear to be in-house or from contributors)
  • Whether spelling or grammar errors can be found
  • How in-depth the content is
  • Any internal or external links being used
  • Any images that are engaging or eye-catching
  • Whether you can identify a singular tone that’s being used. If so, what is it?
  • If content is readable and/or skimmable (easy to digest)
  • Specific keywords being used and how

Step #6: Understand the level of engagement visible on your competition’s content

By getting a sense of the average number of comments, shares and likes (or reactions) on your competition’s content, you’ll see if:

  • Users respond better to certain topics
  • The engagement actions are positive, negative or a mix
  • Certain calls-to-action work better than others
  • The images used help drive engagement

Of course, this research will largely focus on social media platforms, but be sure to check all published content for comment threads and the like.

Step #7: Round out your competitive analysis with a SWOT analysis concurrently

Yes, this basically means you’re doing two analyses at once. But don’t worry. A SWOT analysis is nothing more than a simplified look at your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

In essence, your competitive analysis will result in SWOT takeaways.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your competitor doing well? Any advantages over your brand?
  • Where is the weakest area for your competitor? What advantage does your brand have over the competitor?
  • What could your competitor do better with?
  • In what areas is your competitor a threat?

You can keep this SWOT strictly to marketing strategies or expand to your businesses at large. But the takeaways are something that you can then easily incorporate into your own digital marketing strategy moving forward.

See our Digital Marketing 101 to-do checklist that will help your business.

Once you’ve executed your first competitive analysis, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.