The success of your business depends on a wide range of factors. This includes various tasks that range from drafting a good business plan and implementing an effective marketing strategy to ensuring efficient workflow and adapting to customer needs. However, many business owners overlook a crucial factor that can play a determining role in their success: competitive analysis.
Rather than seeing competitors as a threat, savvy business owners understand that competition is integral to their own success. In fact, being able to occasionally peer into a competitor's strategies and marketing efforts can give you a good idea of what needs to be improved in your own business and reveal areas where you're lagging behind your industry peers.
Naturally, conducting a thorough audit of your competitors requires using several competitive analysis tools. In this article, we outline what you should look for when choosing a competitor analysis tool and provide you with a list of some of the best tools available today.
The Main Types of Competitor Analysis Tools
Competitor analysis tools cover a wide scope of uses. Below is an overview of the main categories these tools fall into.
Search engine optimization (SEO) analysis tools give you valuable insight into a competitor's SEO strategy and link building efforts. By using these tools, you can get a comprehensive look into your competition's backlink profile, the organic keywords they're ranking for, and their position in the search engine results pages (SERPS). SEO tools can help you conduct keyword research and give you a framework for implementing your own SEO strategy.
An important part of auditing a competitor is analyzing their paid advertising efforts. Ad intelligence tools reveal your competitors' ad campaigns, their target audiences, the amount of money they spend on each one, and the ad sets that yield the most revenue. Gaining such insight can help you avoid wasting money on split-testing campaigns.
Website Traffic and Content Marketing
These tools help you learn about the traffic that your competitors' websites generate and provide you with an inside look into the content strategy that allowed them to achieve those results. Insights provided by these tools include the number of monthly page views competitors' sites get, the bounce rate for each page, and the type of content that generates the most engagement and interest.
While most social networks provide access to a number of proprietary analysis tools, you may still need to use third-party solutions if you want to get an in-depth look at your competition's social media presence. Social media tools can quickly identify the top-performing trends in your niche and provide a benchmark for your own social media efforts.
Choosing the Best Competitive Analysis Tools
The tools that you choose for your competitive analysis should allow you to gain a complete overview of your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. To that end, here are some tools you should be using to carry out a thorough audit of your competition.
Ahrefs is a tool every marketer should be using. As a business owner, you can use its Site Explorer feature to view competitors' backlinks, analyze their search traffic, and assess their SEO status.
Ahrefs provides data for both paid and organic traffic. Besides traffic and backlink analysis, Ahrefs generates an organic search report that reveals your competitors' keywords and the amount of traffic each one brings in.
Ahrefs offers four plans to choose from: Lite ($99 per month), Standard ($179 per month), Advanced ($399 per month), and Agency ($999 per month). It's worth noting that users who chose the Lite or Standard plans have access to a seven-day trial for just $7.
This is another great tool geared toward facilitating website optimization for search engines. Like Ahrefs, SEMrush makes it easy to identify digital marketing and link building opportunities by giving you a complete overview of your competitors' content marketing efforts, website search rankings, backlink profile, and organic keywords.
SEMrush is also helpful when it comes to helping you determine page and domain authority. The metric used to evaluate a website's quality is aptly named "Authority Score." This metric takes into account a multitude of variables, with the main ones being backlink and traffic data.
As for pricing, SEMrush offers the following plans: Pro ($119.95 per month), Guru ($229.95 per month), and Business ($449.95 per month).
Adbeat gives users the ability to monitor and analyze the ad campaigns of their competitors. By simply typing in a competitor's website in the search bar, you'll be provided with data regarding everything that pertains to their ads. This includes ad format, placements, ad copy, and landing pages.
Adbeat offers four plans: Basic (free version), Standard ($249 per month), Advanced ($399 per month), and Enterprise (custom pricing depending on client needs).
Pathmatics is an all-in-one marketing intelligence platform that gives users the ability to analyze their competitors' ad spend, impressions, placements, and overall digital strategy. A major selling point of this tool is its user-friendliness. Unlike the vast majority of competitor research tools, Pathmatics boasts an intuitive interface and provides easy-to-understand insights that aren't too technical.
Pathmatics has different packages at varying price points depending on the user's preferences and data needs.
Traffic and Content Tools
Marketers and business owners who have found themselves at an impasse when developing their content strategy are keenly aware of the importance of content analysis tools like BuzzSumo. By revealing your competitors' top pages in terms of links and shares, BuzzSumo gives you a first-hand look at the content strategies that work best in your niche. The data provided by BuzzSumo can also be leveraged to craft an SEO strategy for your business.
BuzzSumo users have four plan options to choose from: Free (limited to 10 searches per month), Pro ($99 per month), Plus ($179 per month), and Large ($299 per month).
This has long been a heavily used tool by marketers, and for a good reason. Alexa provides a host of insights about website traffic and offers users valuable data that aids them in optimizing their online presence. Examples of some metrics you can get from Alexa include page views, page views per visitor, bounce rate, and daily time on site.
Alexa's current plans consist of the following: Basic ($19.99 per month), Insight ($79 per month), Advanced ($149 per month), and Agency ($299 per month).
Social Media Tools
Tracking and analyzing your competitors' posts across multiple social media platforms is neither time-effective nor practical. Sprout Social offers a simple solution to this issue by aggregating data from all networks and organizing it in a single platform. Having access to such data enables you to identify social media strategies and trends in your industry, which is crucial to your long-term success.
Sprout Social offers a 30-day free trial, after which customers can opt for one of the following plans: Standard ($99 per month), Professional ($149 per month), and Advanced ($249 per month).
Like Sprout Social, Fanpage Karma allows users to conduct competitive analysis across multiple social media platforms. Fanpage Karma is particularly effective in retrieving the growth and engagement stats of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube pages. This sort of information is typically only available to the page owner — having access to it gives you a competitive edge over your competition.
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Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a business advisor or a marketing strategist to ensure that you're getting the necessary professional guidance.