The best competitive intelligence tools help you uncover and analyze the digital footprints of your competitors.
Is this legal? Absolutely!
Why would you do this?
To grow your business. Perhaps even gain an advantage!
Knowledge is power. And with this invaluable data, you can find gaps, and refine your business and marketing strategy. You may even be inspired to either match or outperform the competition.
In this article I’ve carefully selected 10 of the best competitive intelligence tools currently available. My choice is based on the most powerful and versatile CI tools with a track record of providing the most valuable and up to date data.
Obtaining up-to-date intelligence is crucial for two reasons. One, because you need to make precise and informed decisions for your business to thrive. And secondly, because there can be no margins for error in advanced market research!
Let’s find out what competitive intelligence tools are, before we get started with the best CI tools.
What are Competitive Intelligence Tools?
CI is not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact some people call it spying.
Whatever the ethical debate, competitive intelligence enables you to collect and review information about your rivals for strategic business planning.
Competitive analysis tools give you insight into who is doing what and doing very well in your niche or industry. They also show you how to match or outperform them.
CI tools provide an insane amount of data on the digital footsteps of your competitors. They let you go under your competitors’ hood to see what’s working and what’s not working. With this amount of data you can plan your strategy from a position of strength and knowledge.
If you’re ready, let’s dive straight in.
The 10 Best Competitive Intelligence Tools
Now that we understand what marketing intelligence is, let’s take a look at the best CI tools you can use!
SEMrush is the all-in-one marketing suite trusted by over 5 million digital marketing professionals worldwide.
It has over 18 billion keywords and over 40 million domains in its database.
SEMrush is designed to overcome your challenges. It gives you accurate and up-to-date data to help you make the most precise and informed decisions to grow your business. It has over 40 different tools.
With the SEMrush Competitor Research tool, you can:
- Analyze any website’s traffic
- Reveal your competitors’ top pages
- Identify market leaders, established players and game changers
- Find growth opportunities in current and potential markets
- Uncover your competitors’ success secrets
- Close the gaps in your marketing strategy
- Get actionable data to make solid business decisions
- See your competitor’s marketing from all angles
- Effectively monitor your competitors
- Optimize your marketing strategy
- Improve your online presence and performance
- Find and follow market trends
- Stay on the top of the competition
SEMrush is perfect for…
- Keyword analytics
- Competitor analysis
- Website content optimization
- Building backlinks from authority sites
With SEMrush, the possibilities are endless.
SEMrush offers a free trial period, after which it offers 4 plans to choose from –
- Pro for $99.95/mo
- Guru for $199.95/mo
- Business for $399.95/mo
- Enterprise – A custom made subscription. Price on application.
#2. The SEMrush Competitive Intelligence Add-On
SEMrush has launched its brand new, Competitive Intelligence Add-On. It comes as an add-on to the SEMrush Pro subscription.
The CI Add-On has two fundamental tools, the Market Explorer and Traffic Analytics.
#2.1 Market Explorer
With the Market explorer, you can research new niches with a few clicks.
The tool enables you to go into any niche, in any country, and instantly gain insight into your target audience and their interests.
This is invaluable, particularly if you’re going into a new market, even if it’s in a different country.
#2.2 Traffic analytics
The Traffics analytics tool helps you spy on your competitors.
Legitimately, of course!
You’re able to have insight into your competitor’s traffic straightaway. With this tool, you can analyze your competitors, find gaps, and develop a winning marketing strategy.
You can do much more.
It will scrutinize your rivals’ paid traffic, and assess their organic traffic. The add-on will even reveal how your competitors generate traffic.
You can also ‘spy’ on your competitors’ websites and:
• See their top web pages, including cart, trial, and checkout success pages
• Identify new any landing pages that they promote
• Reveal their most popular products, service, and categories
Unbelievable Insight into Traffic Sources and Content
The Traffic analytics tool will give you unbelievable insight into the competition.
It will reveal your competitors’ marketing mix by their traffic sources — direct, search, referral, paid and social. You will be able to find out the countries where their traffic comes from. It will even show you the websites that are visited prior and after your competitor’s site!
The tool helps you analyze the competition’s top content and their social media engagement. There is a lot you can do here. For example, you can uncover the topics that generate the most backlinks and mentions.
CI Add-On Tools for Market Share and Strategy Optimization
With the Traffic analytics and Market explorer tools, you can also identify your direct and indirect competitors and their market shares.
You can also pinpoint any new competitors and their market shares. Here you can effectively find areas for improvement within your industry.
To help your planning and preparation, the tools also help you spot the industry seasonal ups and downs.
The in-market audience demographics and interests will help you optimize your marketing strategy.
Try the SEMrush Competitive Intelligence Add-on for Free
Want to test drive the SEMrush competitive intelligence add-on?
We’ve partnered with SEMrush to give you a FREE 7-Day trial of the amazing tool.
Alexa is an analytics tool owned by Amazon. It has some amazing features including: Site Comparison, Traffic Metrics, Engagement Metrics, Traffic Sources, and Reputation Metrics.
Alexa will show you how each site you’re searching for holds up against their industry’s standards.
For instance, the Engagement Metrics will reveal page view per user, time on site, bounce rate etc.
The Audience Overlap tool will help you find sites that share an audience. You start by adding up to 10 seed sites. The tool will show you sites that share visitors or keywords with the seed sites. You can then save the sites to a list or analyze them in other Alexa tools.
With the audience interest tool you can discover the interests of a site’s audience. Learn more about your competitor’s audience by knowing what other sites they visit (by category). Use those categories of interest or sites visited to do further research into keywords or backlinks.
There is also the Keyword Share of Voice tool. It will reveal how much share of voice you have among the competition.
Alexa has different price pans for Marketing Stack, Website Traffic Analysis, and Certified Alexa Rank.
The Marketing Stack has two price plans:
- Advanced for $149/mo
- Agency for $299/mo
Moz allows you to dig deep into your competitors. It provides a lot more than many marketing intelligence tools, as you can see from the image below.
When you use their tools to gather data, you are also able to follow your competitors through their platform. This gives you the most comprehensive and detailed information about things such as their PPC, keywords and ad copy. You can even monitor their pages. Their tools also provide you with what you need to run your business better.
Moz allows you to set up a free trial account with limited features. After your 1 month trial, prices for an account will be $149 a month plus tax.
SimilarWeb is one of the most popular tools used for competitive intelligence. It provides insight, ideas and solutions to improve your business and marketing plan.
You can gain valuable insight into what your competitors are doing to succeed within your niche. You can watch what your competitors are doing well, and be inspired to either match or beat them.
They also provide you with a detailed report on how you stand up against your competitors. The report will compare things such as marketing channels, engagement referral traffic, and more. They provide the tools necessary for marketing, sales, research, and even investments.
You can sign up for a free SimilarWeb trial. This allows you to use their basic features and compare two sites.
However, if you require more, you will have to upgrade to Enterprise. For this you need to talk to a SimilarWeb consultant.
More Competitive Intelligence tools
We’ve got five more CI tools for you to consider.
But first, a free ebook for you!
That’s right. We’ve partnered with SEMrush to give you a free copy of their ebook: Competitor Analysis in Uncertain Times.
Now, if you’re ready, let’s go right into the remaining five CI tools.
#6. Sprout Social
If social media fascinates you, then Sprout Social is a great intelligence tool to use. They specialize in social media analytics. Their tools give you insight into what people are saying and doing on social media.
You can review overall engagement and see the social growth of all your competitors. Unlike the other intelligence tools, Sprout Social isn’t quite as effective for website analytics. Their main focus is your social handle and those of your competitors. So if you’re all about social media, this is the tool for you!
Sprout Social offers a completely free 30-day trial. Once your trial has ended, they give you 3 joining options –
- Standard for $99/mo
- Professional for $149/mo
- Advanced for $249/mo
With Crunchbase you’re able to research and prospect. You can find investment opportunities within your industry.
You can also research competitors, and find the necessary tools to start enhancing your SEO rankings.
In addition, the platform can give you information about companies such as founders, leadership, and funding. This is a great tool to analyze where your competitors are from and how they are continuing to grow.
You can sign up with Crunchbase for a basic free account that is designed for individual use. If you’re looking for tools to run a business they offer 2 plans –
- Pro for $29/mo
- Enterprise – You’re required to speak with a representative.
#8. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification tool, offered by Google. The tool allows you to monitor the web for new content on a topic that interests you. This can be anything from newspaper articles, as web pages, blogs to scientific research.
And here’s the awesome thing about this tool.
You can also use it to monitor what is being said about your brand, product category, or even competitors. The tool sends you an email when it finds new result on anything that matches your search term.
Owletter automatically captures all emails sent from a website to their mailing list. It then takes a screenshot, stores it and analyses it, alerting you about the email if it’s important to you.
With Owletter, you’ll never lose another email. Plus you’ll learn a lot about your competitors’ email behaviour, such as:
- Do they have a great SPAM reputation?
- Do they send on specific days?
- How does their frequency change seasonally?
Discover all this and more about your competitors with Owletter.
Owletter has three price plans. There is a 14-day free trial with all plans
- Starter for $19/mo
- Pro for $39/mo
- Unlimited for $79/mo
#10. Talkwalker Alerts
Talkwater Alerts claims to be the best free and easy alternative to Google Alerts. As you would have guessed, it is very similar to Google alerts.
With this tool, you can monitor the Web for interesting new content about your name, brand, competitors, events or any favorite topic.
Talkwalker Alerts monitors every single mention of your brand and keywords across the internet – including news platforms, blogs, forums, websites and even Twitter. They consolidate all your social mentions and send them directly to your inbox.
With Talkwalker Alerts, you can receive the top results and tweets that make up your competitor’s digital footprint.
How do You do Competitive Intelligence?
We will now consider how to conduct competitive intelligence.
But first, a special offer for you:
Get your rival’s SEO on a silver platter!
The 10 competitor analysis tools we’ve reviewed are truly exceptional.
Each one will give you an insane amount of data on the competition. However, the data in itself is of no use, unless you can leverage it to your advantage.
The data will tell you two key things:
- Why your competitor is ahead; and
- What you can do to outclass and outperform them
Here then are a few ideas about how to conduct competitive intelligence with the goal of outperforming your competitors:
- From the available data, study and evaluate their site traffic. This is because site traffic analytics is key to assessing the strategies and tactics of any organisation.
- Then take a careful look at SEO ranking factors such as their backlink profile and search engine reports page (SERP) positioning. If they have paid traffic, examine the keywords they’re bidding on. Your goal here is to understand what’s making them succeed. Remember, success leave clues.
- Identify your competitor’s best keywords. Seek to rank for those same keywords. If necessary, outbid them in PPC campaigns, especially if you’re unable to beat them in terms of organic traffic.
There are five steps to conducting competitive intelligence.
- First, identify your competitors.
- Secondly, decide areas of interest to track in your competitors’ digital footprints.
- Next, gather your intelligence using any of these amazing CI tools.
- Now, analyze your data.
- Finally, turn the data into results.
Wrapping Up – The Best Competitive Intelligence Tools
Here’s the reality.
If you want to run a successful business online and outrun your competitors; you need accurate and up-to-date data, to make informed decisions. And these are the best competitive intelligence tools to help you.
If you have questions about marketing intelligence tools or need help with your online venture, head over to our contact page and send us a message.
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