Competitive intelligence tools can turn the luxury of custom market research into a regular practice for many small and medium businesses.
Hiring a dedicated analyst or ordering a ‘state of the industry’ report can be a heavy burden for such businesses, so the best competitor research solutions can prove to be a smart alternative.
In this post, we have compiled a list of the top tools for high-level market research and online competitor analysis. They will help you gain insight into your competition, collect marketing growth ideas in a few clicks, and ultimately achieve your business goals.
Tools for Top-Level Market Research
Your target market is more than just the people you want to reach. The key players in the competitive landscape (those other established businesses, as well as newcomers) play a critical role in shaping your success.
As a result, you should not only research the market size, or customer segments, but also understand every business that wants to outperform you.
Three competitive intelligence tools can help you conduct this research quickly and effectively:
Crunchbase allows you to access information about private and public companies, review market and industry trends, and spot hot newcomers entering your space.
With Crunchbase, you can evaluate the data about competitors you already know about.
Also, you can explore beyond your familiar landscape using various filters to discover more competitors in your industry and region.
With Craft, you can unlock historic insights about companies. From growth over time, social presence, and brand trends to market positioning, and latest news, Craft lets you review how a particular competitor of yours has been growing and gaining market share.
What’s more, all data in this market research tool is reported in real-time, giving you an up-to-date snapshot of the company.
Semrush Market Explorer
The market analysis tool from Semrush only requires a company’s website to start researching the whole market. After you enter the domain, Market Explorer makes a list of the corresponding industry players and organic competitors.
Suggested rivals are split into four categories in the Growth Quadrant, based on their website’s audience size and growth rate.
Semrush Market Explorer offers more in-depth details on competitors’ traffic statistics, market trends, and audience characteristics.
In business, timing is everything. Staying on top of market seasonality, new trends, and emerging audience interests is beyond critical to communicating with the market effectively.
You must continuously measure and monitor shifts in user preferences to plan strategies that deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Luckily, you can spot those by analyzing what other brands publish on topics relevant to your offering. You can research market trends with these tools::
The search engine’s tool allows you to monitor the web for new content on any topic — from your business’s area of expertise to entertainment and general interests. You can also use Google Alerts to monitor what is being said about your exact product category, brand, or competitors.
Talkwalker Alerts works similarly to Google’s tool. Its results also include tweets, further expanding the insights you can glean.
To avoid an alert overload, the tool has in-built analytics that can filter the most important mentions, and send them to you by email.
As a more advanced step, you may consider extending your subscription to the entire Talkwalker platform to boost your market research with more social listening data and insights.
Market and Competitor News
Every day and every hour, your competitors create new content. While some of it ends up on their blogs, other pieces might appear in top industry publications and other outlets.
Wherever the publication took place, you can stay updated on the new content with a competitive analysis tool.
Feedly is incredibly simple to use, and yet it is a versatile news and RSS reader. It allows you to follow blogs and publications and get regular updates of any new content they publish. You can group by channel, making it easy to track specific competitors.
You can also get keyword alerts for the competitor’s brand, products, industry, or any other topic you care about. Feedly has a robust mobile app too, meaning that you don’t have to be glued to your computer to track the competitor’s content and news.
Tools for Competitive Marketing Intelligence
Competitors’ Digital Marketing Strategies and Tactics
What is the shortest path to understanding your customers, their needs, preferences, or buying behavior? It is simple — look at what your competitors are doing, and which of their strategies generate the most significant results.
For example, knowing which channels drive the most traffic to your competitor’s website will reveal where you should focus your efforts. Understanding which countries their best traffic comes from will help you plan international marketing campaigns. What tool could provide you with competitive intelligence of this kind?
Semrush Traffic Analytics
Traffic Analytics is a competitive intelligence tool from Semrush that allows you to check website traffic and analyze marketing efforts of any company. This way, you can find out where they invest the most resources, and use that insight to power your online strategy.
All you need to do is enter one to five domains in the tool. You will get reports on the most critical website traffic metrics — number of visitors, user engagement, audience overlap, traffic sources, top landing pages, geo-distribution, destination sites, and subdomains. This data can help you reveal other companies’ strategies and tactics in detail and also detect their business partners, affiliate programs, backlinks providers, and more.
For more insights on competitors’ marketing campaigns and activities on specific channels, use more tools from the Semrush Competitive Research solution. In particular, it can shed light on other companies’ advertising expenses, SEO and social media performance, and content gaps.
Email is a critical channel for customer communication, engagement, and sales. Your competitors might be taking full advantage of it. They can be sending irresistible offers, promotions, announcing new products, and using many other strategies to engage and convert more of their subscribers.
Unfortunately, unless you know what they do, there is little chance that you can match or outdo their efforts.
Owletter is a fantastic competitive intelligence tool in the sense that it captures all emails of a specified website, analyzes them, and alerts you of anything that is important to you.
With the tool, you can deep dive into your competitors’ offers, promotions, product announcements, and any other communications with their list. And you can do it at scale, without having to be actively subscribed to their newsletters.
Based on all this data, you can discover what engages the audience — from subject lines that make them open those emails to the content that entices them to act — and use this insight to drive better results yourself.
This goes without saying; if done right, video can boost engagement, brand recognition, conversions and generate revenue, but that is provided that you do it right. The problem for most people is determining whether their video marketing strategies are working well enough or not. One way is to benchmark your performance against the competition.
Tubular Intelligence, a part of the Tubular platform, delivers the data you need to understand your video performance in the context of the competition and helps identify new ways to grow your audience.
Tubular analyzes continuously 14 million video publishers across a whole range of industries. When using the platform, you get access to all those insights and unravel your audience’s content preferences based on top-performing videos. Demographics data lets you learn about your audience and even show your potential audience overlap with other publishers.
(Image source — Tubular)
Technology can give a business a serious competitive advantage. The right content management system, for example, can help deliver content to users faster. With better marketing research tools, a company can gain more in-depth insights into their users’ behavior, and hone their initiatives.
Some of the web technologies are easy to spot, of course (particularly if you use a similar stack already). Others require expert knowledge to identify on a website.
Overall, it is always a good idea to understand what technologies your competitors use on their website. And here is one amazing tool that allows you to do it in a jiffy.
Wappalyzer is a simple browser extension that analyzes and reports on what technologies are used on a site. The tool can detect the content management system or an e-commerce platform used, web frameworks, server software, analytics tools, advertising networks, cache tools, CRMs, dev tools, CDNs, and a ton more. The full list of supported technologies is impressive.
With Wappalyzer, you will never wonder how your competitors make their website what it is, and how they gain insights about users to improve it even further.
Changes to a Website
The critical role a website plays in conversions and business growth is irrefutable. With it, you attract the target audience and convey your message to them. It is where you present your offers and convince them to convert, be it purchase directly or with an inquiry.
This also means that, most likely, you (and competitors) will test and try new ways to improve the website to reach your conversion goals. Naturally, monitoring a competitor’s website manually would be too time-consuming. Luckily, there are several competitive intelligence tools that can do it for you.
Visualping is a simple tool that lets you select an area on a webpage, and get notified when that section changes. You can also select at what frequency you want to receive updates – from every 5 minutes to once a week. Visualping will check that area at that predefined interval and email you if it detects changes to the selected area.
Deep Dive Duck
Deep Dive Duck is a more complex tool, designed specifically to monitor overall changes on competitor websites. It tracks up to 10 competitor websites at once and tracks 100 pages on each competitor's website. The tool will report on a whole range of changes, including new staff members added location changes, pricing changes, new product ranges, and a lot more.
The tool will then send you a weekly email highlighting any changes detected, giving you an overview of what has been happening on your competitors’ websites.
(Image source — Deep Dive Duck)
Competeshark differs from the two competitive intelligence tools above by allowing you to monitor changes to a competitor’s website in real-time. The tool will visit your designated competitors’ websites and notify you of changes like content updates, layout changes, or new promotions.
The truly amazing feature is the ability to see the before and after of each change. Using a visual slider, you can preview the new version and the one before it to evaluate the depth of the change in detail.
(Image source — Competeshark)
Knowing how much money your competitors invest in cloud infrastructure and digital products can shed light on their strategies. For example, knowing what email platform your competitors use and the specific price plan they are on can suggest the extent of their email strategy. A company using a basic email platform on the free plan will use the channel differently than the one with a comprehensive platform; this information can help give you a competitive edge.
Intricately is unique in that it analyzes cloud infrastructure and reports on metrics like the products used, spend intelligence, renewals, and usage details.
Furthermore, Intricately can also analyze the competitor’s product usage and notify you where they gain market share and growth globally.
(Image source — Intricately)
App Performance Analysis
If you offer a mobile app, then gaining mobile market intelligence is beyond critical. You must know which markets generate the most downloads and app revenue, and which of your competitors gain market share and experience growth of downloads, revenue, usage, and engagement.
You also need to keep track of any newcomers that could threaten your app’s position on the market. Here are two apps that allow you to do it all effortlessly.
AppAnnie delivers mobile market data you can use to drive more downloads, revenue, and gain a competitive edge in the industry. It includes several products with Intelligence delivering the market data to uncover growth opportunities from competitive insights.
(Image source — AppAnnie)
AppMagic is another mobile market intelligence tool. It allows you to compare the performance of apps and publishers to identify the trends and patterns to drive your growth strategies.
With AppMagic, you can investigate your competitor's revenue, downloads, and other metrics, correlate the data and analytics to find ideas and opportunities for future development.
(Image source – AppMagic)
E-Сommerce Pricing and Product Intelligence
E-сommerce has become a crowded market. Unfortunately, with so many online stores selling the same products, you face harsh price competition. As a result, you have to change fees frequently to always offer the most compelling prices in the market.
The problem is that monitoring all your competitors' prices daily is an impossible task. How can you do it and keep track of thousands of products across so many stores? Well, there are tools for that too.
Prisync is a pricing software for e-commerce stores. It monitors how much your competitors sell the same products as you for, as well as their stock availability, reports on that through a beautiful dashboard, and provides you with email alerts.
With Prisync, you can track prices across all your competitors and for every product you sell, and act immediately on any promotions or price changes they make.
BlueBoard not only offers price tracking for e-commerce but expands those insights with additional data — assortment tracking.
With BlueBoard, an e-commerce store can monitor their competitors’ prices, track competing products as well as their own to understand how the competition structures their product range and identify new distribution opportunities based on the competitors’ strategies.
Any Competitive Analysis Tools Missing?
Are there other competitive intelligence solutions you recommend for market research? We would love to know which tools you use and how they contribute to your brand’s success.
Let us know in the comments!