Content Marketing
10 Competitive Intelligence Tools to Crush the Competition

10 Competitive Intelligence Tools to Crush the Competition

May 5, 2021
5 min read

Gaining a competitive advantage in today’s fast-moving business world is more challenging than ever. Over 4.9 billion internet users are vying for space and attention.

Gaining an advantage online through digital marketing involves knowing what your competitors are doing. To stay on top, your business must always remain at least one step ahead.

According to Crayon’s 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report, the average business has as many as 29 competitors. And organizations with defined KPIs for competitive intelligence are twice as likely to see revenue increases as those without clearly defined KPIs.

Competitive intelligence (CI) tools can give you a snapshot of your competitors’ digital marketing strategy. You’ll gain key insights into how they execute their SEO strategy, email and social media tactics, advertising, and content marketing initiatives.

CI solutions can range from free, basic tools to enterprise-level analysis programs that will help you take your business to the top of the heap – and stay there.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Competitive intelligence tools can help you gather and analyze crucial information about your competitors, so you can learn how to outperform them online.
  • The average business today has 29 competitors.
  • If you want your CI efforts to be as effective as possible and long-lasting, you have to put in the time and effort to monitor and adjust key marketing strategies consistently.

What are Competitive Intelligence Tools?

Competitive intelligence tools are software programs and apps that enable you to gather and analyze specific information about your competitors. You can use this data to form new, practical strategies to help you reach your marketing goals. CI data includes information about a competitor’s business, movement, and online marketing strategies that your business can leverage to get ahead.

Top 10 Competitive Intelligence Tools

Use these top CI tools for digital marketers to learn more about your competitors so you can compete with them online.

1. Open SEO Stats

Open SEO Stats is a Chrome browser extension that gives you a quick, free snapshot of any competitor’s domain. You’ll see their Alexa, Quantcast, and Compete rankings, an overview of their backlink profile, and the number of pages on their website.

Open SEO Stats can be a helpful tool when you see a potential competitor website in passing, wonder how it stacks up next to yours, and need to decide if you should keep an eye on it.

2. BuiltWith

Have you ever looked at a competitor’s website and felt hopeless – like your website or business could never compare or compete? Paste that website’s domain URL into BuiltWith to get a rundown of every program that goes into running the site.

From its content management framework to its email integration and advertising partners, you’ll get a glimpse into what goes into making a website – and why it’s outshining yours. Then you can incorporate smart alternatives into your own domain to enhance it.

BuiltWith plans range from $295 to $995 per month, with discounted pricing available for yearly commitments.

3. iSpionage

iSpionage will help you understand your competitors’ search marketing strategies by identifying which keywords websites rank most effectively for. Discover the best keywords for your industry using the iSpionage Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI). The tool can also analyze ads to show you which ones are performing best. That way, you can imitate strategies that are working well for your competitors.

Try the free version of iSpionage to get a feel for the program, then sign up for either a monthly or yearly plan to unlock more advanced features and capabilities. Prices range from $50 to $299 per month.

4. BuzzSumo

You may have used BuzzSumo’s free services to discover top-performing content related to your core topics, niche, or industry. You can also use the software’s paid tools to gain competitor intelligence.

Discover which content pieces are your competitors’ top performers and which of their social networks have the highest engagement. For example, you could analyze a competitor’s domain to determine what types of content they publish, filtering by elements like topic and publication period. You can also create alerts to notify you when a competitor publishes new content.

In addition to competitive intelligence, BuzzSumo is an excellent tool for content marketing. It can help you generate new ideas, create high-quality content, monitor content performance, and identify influencers in your space.

Pricing ranges from $79 to $499+ per month.

5. Semrush

Semrush gives users a dashboard snapshot of a particular URL, including top-performing keywords and backlink information.

Semrush’s PPC advertising section is where this software shines. Semrush will give you estimates of what competitors pay for specific AdWords keywords and Keyword Difficulty rankings to help you decide which keywords will deliver the best ROI for your advertising dollar.

Semrush offers plans that range from $99.95 to $449.95 per month.

6. Alexa

Alexa has more to offer than domain rankings based on engagement and traffic. Its Audience Overlap tool can help you identify up-and-coming competitors who may not yet be on your radar. Audience Overlap can also help you pinpoint guest blogging opportunities, select sites for media buys, and develop new partnerships.

With its built-in SEO audit tools and keyword-tracking capabilities, Alexa is a good bargain for small to mid-sized businesses. Monthly pricing options range from $19.99 to $299 per month.

7. Similarweb

Using Similarweb is almost like having a Google Analytics dashboard for competitor domains. You can see traffic numbers, referral sources, geographic traffic origins, and engagement metrics (like time on page). You can also go deeper to learn about your competitor’s audience (like their top interests) and find other websites with similar audiences.

Similarweb research can help you uncover partnership opportunities and develop relevant content ideas. You can even investigate data from competitors’ mobile apps.

Try the free version to get a feel of what insights the software offers, and then contact their team for paid plan pricing options.

8. TrackMaven (via Skyword)

TrackMaven delivers personalized metrics and reports for tracking competitors so you can monitor what matters most to you. Set up a feed of your competitors’ activities, including alerts when they publish new content. Over time, you’ll track their performance on multiple channels that you can compare to your own website’s performance. You can also test various content messaging strategies to determine which ones perform best.

Contact TrackMaven directly for pricing options.

9. Owletter

Source: Owletter

Owletter is a good tool for small to medium enterprises that want to focus on monitoring the email marketing performance of their competitors. Gain insights into other companies’ spam reputation and send times and frequency. Learn what does and doesn’t work for your competitors so you can create better email campaigns for your brand in the future.

Monthly pricing plans range from $19 to $79 per month.

10. SpyFu

SpyFu is a popular tool for tracking and monitoring SEO and PPC data. Learn about your top-performing keywords compared to your competitors and if there’s any overlap. SpyFu is easy to learn – with comprehensive explanatory videos to guide you. Key features include site auditing, data visualization, SERP rank tracking, keyword research, and competitor analysis.

Pricing ranges from $33 to $299 per month.

CI Takes Time and Consistent Effort

Competitive intelligence – like digital marketing in general – isn’t a one-and-done process. It takes time and consistency. With the right tools in place and the commitment to monitor and adjust your strategies over time, you can learn how to stay ahead of your competitors, attract your ideal audiences, and win loyal customers.

Hand Over Competitor Intelligence to the Content Marketing Experts

At MIG, we live and breathe content marketing. That includes gathering critical data, analyzing competitor information, and implementing smart SEO strategies to stay ahead of the competition. We’ll develop a customized content marketing strategy and editorial plan to help you stay on track.

After researching your business, audience, and competition, we’ll create quality content consistently that targets your ideal customers. Then we’ll calculate and measure your ROI to ensure we’re getting you the results you want.

Learn more about our Content Builder Services.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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