My Top 6 Competitor Analysis Tools
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
“Great artists steal,” - Picasso.
If you’re not spying on other companies' marketing, you need to start. It’s great for:
Competitive research / market share for fundraising
Generating ideas for your own marketing
Identifying how they address a challenge you’re facing as well (e.g. pricing, lead gen.)
Best practices in a certain domain (e.g. SEO, copywriting, UX)
Developing your overall strategy and defining an area of focus
Over the next few weeks, Nopadon and I will explore the dark arts referred to as "competitive analysis” in polite company. There’s a lot to cover! So today, I’ll just talk about how I take a peek at a competitor’s site when I want to check out their overall approach.
First, I check their tech using the BuiltWith plugin. Are they clever or using basic kit? Can they sprout landing pages and iterate fast? Or are they handcuffed to a custom-built site? Do they use A/B testing software? Do I see a Facebook pixel? You can learn a lot about the competition based on their analytics tools - GA (basic), Amplitude (advanced) or Mixpanel (expensive). If they’re using Heap, it shows a certain level of sophistication on the product side. 🧐
Next, I use Similarweb to review their overall traffic and major channels.
If it’s all “direct” and / or trademark search, they have a lot of brand awareness. Great for them, but it doesn’t really help you think of a “strategy.”
If there’s a lot of natural search, I check their top keywords in SEMRush (free alternative = Ubersuggest). Is it all “high-intent” like people searching for their product name? Or are they clever about finding upstream non-trademark search terms like "how to ____"?
If there’s a lot of paid search, I look into what they’re buying via SEMRush (free alternative = Spyfu).
If they’re relying on paid social, I go to the Facebook Ad Library to check out their creative. Do they have a mix of low-intent attention grabbers (top of funnel) and high-intent offers (bottom of funnel)? What value propositions are they testing? What does their copy emphasise? How is their design style thumb-stopping?
For influencers, I go on the major platforms (IG, YT, etc.) and search for the brand. I look at posts where they’re tagged, sort by using the “Most Popular” filter, and identify who’s promoting them and how. I also look to see if they have affiliate tracking in their URL - are these paid promotions?
Note: For B2B, I also check if they’re running paid ads with lead magnets on LinkedIn. (Visit the Company Page, then Posts > Ads.)
Finally, I do a deep dive on their landing pages. How’s the copy? What do they understand about their customers? Do they have a compelling next-step for medium-intent visitors? Or is it just “Buy Now” or “Book a Demo”? Does all the traffic go to one landing page? Or do they have different ones for certain terms or traffic sources? (How are they segmenting their audience?)
You could obviously go a lot deeper on any of these steps. (And I will, just not in this post!) The points I briefly listed give me a high-level overview of what a company is doing and how clever they are. After all, we only want to copy the best!
I hope this helps! Next week we’ll talk about the best companies to study. (Hint: it’s probably not your competitors.)