30 Crafty Online Tools to Help you Spy on the Competition

“There’s nothing new under the sun.”

It’s a quote most of us a familiar with, especially in the business arena.

No matter what your line of business is, there are quite certainly, many more like it out there.

The word, “competition” is one you must become acquainted with because you will face your share of competition in the ruthless world of business.

Other businesses like yours are, even now, vying for the attention (and wallets) of your target audience. But rather than vilifying your competitors, what if you could study their business strategies and learn from them?

That’s what competitor analysis is all about! Let’s look at it in a little more detail...

What is Competitor Analysis?

Competitor analysis is basically assessing the business strategies of your competitors, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and gaining fresh insight that can help you steamroll your business forward.

Whether your business is fairly new in the marketplace or been there awhile, it won’t take long to identify who your competitors are. A systematic study of a few of them will reveal what kind of digital marketing strategies they follow and how get their business in the spotlight.

This kind of information will certainly play a major role in helping you assess your current digital marketing scenario and tweak it to get better results.

Why Perform Competitor Analysis?

There are three main reasons why you must periodically conduct a competitor analysis.

1. Discover How the Competition Works

Competitor analysis gives you insight into what exactly your competitors are doing. It helps you understand the digital marketing strategies they utilize and how they get results. In some cases, it’s even possible to measure the results of their marketing efforts.

This kind of competition analysis will help you carve out your own digital marketing strategy so you can figure out how you can win the game.

It also helps you identify gaps in the services/products of other businesses so you can bridge it through your own business. If you find a crucial element not addressed on a competitor’s website, you can easily create content to bridge the gap and reach your target audience.

You get to find a unique angle that might not have been touched by other competitors. This insight sheds light on how you can position yourself and makes space for your business within your niche.

2. Assess the Market Demand

Competition research helps you understand how the market is working and what the current demand is for the products and services in your industry sector. A basic research of industry trends will give you input on how you can expect the market to sway. This will help you plan your business strategy accordingly.

By assessing the products put out by your competitors, you’ll see how they are trying to feed the current market demand. A study of their services and rates will help you understand the areas where you need to focus to supply according to the customer’s need.

3. Confirm Business Scope and Profitability

Competitor analysis helps you decide if your product or service is viable. When you see ads for other similar products, you know there is enough competition. If there competition is high, you know there are enough buyers and therefore there’s scope for your business offerings too.

Even if you are just starting out, competitor analysis helps you identify areas where your business can profit. This is simply done by analyzing keywords your competitors place ads for and trying that in with the services you’d like to offer.

No matter what type of business your run, competitor analysis can give you a distinct edge.

There are some great tools available online that you can use to subtly spy on your competition and understand how they work. These tools will help you get relevant data, analyze the findings and gain fresh insight. From there, you can tweak your digital marketing strategy and take your business to greater heights.

Let’s move on to the tools now, shall we?!

Competitor Analysis Tools

1. Kompyte – A Competitor Analysis Tool


Kompyte helps you track your competitors and the changes they make on their website, products and digital marketing campaigns. It monitors competitors’ websites in real-time, alerts you when they publish new ads, updates you on the latest search engine rankings and provides real-time analytics on the competitors’ blog and content strategy.

Price: 14 day free trial (credit card not required)

2. Rival IQ – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Rival IQ

Rival IQ lets you study the performance of your own social media channels as well as that of your competitors. It helps you track the content and engagement of your competitors’ posts, as well as see how they are gaining new followers. You can also increase your own social engagement by identifying trends and hashtags that are performing well for the competition.

Price: 7 day free trial (no credit card required), then starts at $199 per month

3. Brandwatch – A Social Listening Tool


This is a social listening tool that picks up chatter on the internet about specific brands, industries and keywords. This helps you understand the conversations that engage your audience and pick up new opportunities to showcase your brand. Also available are products to give you insight into images shared on social media and present real-time time alerts for social trends.

Price: Unspecified, could vary based on the features required.

4. Zuum Social – A Social Reporting Tool

Zuum Social

This tool delivers reports on the social activities of your competitors straight to your email inbox. It gives you insight on how competitors are promoting posts to boost engagement, optimal times when they’re scheduling their posts, content that is shared the most and a comparison of where your business ranks amongst your competitors.

Price: Free 3-week trial (no credit card required), then starts at $119 per month

5. Alexa – A Stack of Competitive Analysis Tools


Alexa provides a marketing stack which includes SEO tools and competitive analysis tools. These tools help you find competitor websites, compare their website traffic against yours, discover the demographics of their audience and where it overlaps with yours, and analyze your performance metrics against other top performers in your industry.

Price: Free 7-day trial, then starts at $99 per month

6. SimilarWeb – A Comprehensive Competitor Analysis Tool


This tool provides analysis for websites, apps and specified industries. You can use it benchmark your website against that of a competitor based on its traffic volume, SEO keywords, audience interest and popular pages. You can also analyze industry wide metrics and find the top websites in your niche.

Price: Free for limited features

7. Spyfu – A Keyword and Ad Monitoring Tool


Spyfu lets you download a list of your competitors’ most profitable keywords as well as the ads they’re using for organic and paid ads. It also enables you to track your own SEO rankings for specific keywords and compare them against that of your competitors. This tool could be very useful to find how your competitors are getting traffic from search results.

Price: The basic plan is $33 per month

8. Simply Measured – A Social Analytics Tools

Simply Measured

This is a tool that monitors relevant conversations across social networks and helps you understand what your audience’s interests are and how they interact with brands. It also helps you discover influencers in your niche, analyze their performance, track the content that is shared and measure conversions.

Price: Unspecified

9. Ahrefs – A Link Monitoring Tool


Ahrefs provides a suite of premium tools help you research your competition, monitor your niche and discover how you can grow your search traffic. It has specific tools to monitor backlinks and present relevant SEO metrics to aid your marketing strategy. It also monitors keywords and sends email alerts when there is significant activity.

Price: $7 for a 7-day trial. Basic plan is $99 per month.

10. Moz Open Site Explorer – A Backlinks Research Tool

Moz Open Site Explorer

It’s one of the older, more reliable tools with a simple functionality. It helps you find all the sites that link back to a particular URL, the top pages in a particular website, and compare page specific metrics with that of your competitors. It also identifies bad links that might damage your website’s authority so you can get them removed.

Price: Basic tool is free. Premium subscription is $149 per month with a 30-day free trial.

11. The Search Monitor – A Keyword and Ad Monitoring Tool

The Search Monitor

This premium tool allows you to monitor the ranking of major keywords used by competitors in your niche. It performs hourly craws to find out changes in the search results. It also has the ability to monitor ads of your local competitors and provide precision data to help you make better decisions. The results can be viewed both on mobiles and desktops.

Price: Basic tool costs $399 per month.

12. Searchmetrics – An SEO Research Tool


Searchmetrics has an advanced suite of tools that helps you identify competitive keywords, discover the kind of content your competitors publish on their websites, analyze mobile SEO factors and discover new competitors in the industry. It provides extensive reports that can help you analyze your digital marketing strategy and make it better.

Price: On request

13. Klear – A Social Influencer Discovery Tool


This innovative tool helps you discover major influencers in your industry, analyze their audience demographics and top content, get contact information, manage outreach activities and monitor the online relationship. It allows you to directly interact with more than 700,000 influencers, who are currently registered at Klear.

Price: Free for upto 5 influencer profiles a day.

14. Social Mention – A Real Time Social Monitoring Tool

Social Mention

This tool has been around for a while but it is quite effective. You can enter any term, keyword or brand name and get a list of all the websites, blogs and social media sites where it is mentioned. You can also see how many times the term has been mentioned and how often it is used. You can also sign up for real-time alerts for specific keywords.

Price: Free

15. Mention – A Social Media Monitoring Tool


Mention allows you to monitor mentions of your brand name or keywords across various websites, blogs, forums, social networks and news sites in real time. It can also alert you on mentions of your competitors across the World Wide Web. This tool makes it easy to monitor your brand image online, find influencers and study the competition.

Price: $29 per month for a solo user.

16. Awario – A Social Conversations Monitoring Tool


Awario provides real time updates on important conversations regarding your brand or specific keywords happen on the web or on social media channels. It crawls over 13 billion web pages on a daily basis to find conversations relevant to your industry. The tool can help you research your market, engage with customers, reach out to influencers and find sales opportunities.

Price: Free 14-day trial (no credit card required), then starts at $19 per month.

17. Quintly – A Social Media Analysis and Benchmarking Tool


Quintly helps you track, benchmark and optimize your performance across a number of social media networks. You get valuable insights on your competitors which will help you benchmark the social media performance of your business and take your marketing strategy a notch higher. You can track all the social networks in this tool and manage all the analytics from the central dashboard.

Price: Free 14-day trial (no credit card required), then starts at $129 per month.

18. BuzzSumo – A Content Analysis Tool


This tool helps you analyze popular content based on a keyword or a particular website. You just need to enter a particular keyword or your competitor’s domain name and it will return the content that has been shared the most across social media. The pro tool also allows you to monitor the backlinks of your website and that of competitors.

Price: Free for limited features. Pro tool starts at $79 per month with a 14-day free trial.

19. WooRank – An SEO Audit Tool


This tool helps you check the websites of your competitors to see how they are performing on various SEO parameters and other factors such as mobile friendliness, usability, backlinks, social media engagement, keyword rankings and site traffic. The pro version allows you to compare the SEO metrics of your competitors and analyze the findings.

Price: Basic tool is free. Pro version is $ 49 .99 per month with a 14-day free trial.

20. SEMrush – An SEO and Ad Monitoring Tool


This versatile tool enables you to get information regarding the search traffic, backlinks, display ads, keywords and search rankings of your competitors. It gives you in-depth, accurate data on how they’re placing ads, how effective the ads are and how much traffic they get through paid searches. You can also research country specific search data for mobile and desktop.

Price: Free for the basic functionality and limited results. Pro plans start at $99 per month.

21. WhatRunsWhere – An Ad Research Tool


WhatRunsWhere enables you to gain insight into your competitors’ advertising strategy – which ads they’re promoting, where the ads are showcased, their most profitable ad mediums, etc. This makes it easy for you to understand major trends across desktop, mobile and native channels, identify new traffic sources, craft successful ad campaigns and reach a larger audience.

Price: $299 per month for the basic plan.

22. iSpionage – A Competitor Research Tool


This is again a versatile tool that helps you perform effective competitor research. You get data on your top competitors across various search engines, their PPC, profitable keywords, how much they are spending on ad campaigns, their landing pages, product offers and traffic estimates for specific ads.

Price: Free for limited functionality. Basic plans start at $29 per month.

23. Link Alerts – A Link Monitoring Tool

Link Alerts

Link Alerts sends you email notifications whenever there is a new link to a domain you’re monitoring. You can keep track of your own backlinks and also gain insight on your competitors’ link building efforts. This helps you monitor the health of your website’s backlinks, and identify ways you can gain new links like other competitors in your niche.

Price: Plans start from €359 per month

24. SEO SpyGlass – A Backlink Analysis Tool

SEO SpyGlass

This is a single tool that helps you perform link research, clean up bad links and perform competition analysis. You can unearth all the backlinks to your competitors’ websites, find out their link building secrets and spot backlinks that generate high traffic. It also shows you which keywords you should focus on and protect your site from Google penalties.

Price: Free for basic functionality. Pro license costs $124.75.

25. Feedly – A Content Aggregator Tool


This is a great tool to keep track of the content published by your competitors. It subscribes to the RSS feeds of a number of websites relevant to your niche and keeps you updated on the content they’re posting. This will help you analyse the type of content that your competitor’s are publishing and help you tweak your own content marketing strategy.

Price: Free for 100 websites, pro version costs $65 per year.

26. Rank Signals – A Backlink Checker Tool

Rank Signals

This tool helps you unearth the backlinks of your competitors’ websites as well as their major traffic sources. It also helps you identify your competitors’ best links and social metrics. You can use the same tool to identify your website’s bad and broken links, and find out the link metrics for internal and external links on your website.

Price: Free

27. VisualPing – A Website Monitoring Tool


This unique tool sends you email notifications when a competitor changes something on their website. You can select which element of the site you want to monitor, such as, pricing, content, terms of use, a new page, etc. You will receive an email alerting you to the change so you can take immediate action.

Price: Free for 2 pages a day, basic paid plan starts at $4 per month.

28. Google Alerts – A Keyword Monitoring Tool

Google Alerts

You can set up alerts for particular keywords, trends or competitive brands, so you are notified when there is new content published online for that particular search term. You can set up keywords related to your niche or to be alerted every time a new article or news item is posted. This helps you stay connected with the industry and remain in the know.

Price: Free

29. Adgooroo – An Ad Intelligence Tool


Adgooroo provides comprehensive insight into the paid ad marketing data of competitors across your industry. You get details such as ad spend, impressions, clicks, search volume, ad copy, landing page, cost per click, clickthrough rate, search engine rankings, etc. The tool covers text ads and paid product listings across both desktops and mobile devices.

Price: On request

30. Moat – An Ad Montitoring Tool


Moat has a free tool that lets you check out the ads put out by a competitive brand. The pro version gives you more actionable insight such as the brand’s media strategy, their latest ads and deals, high traffic brands and industry trends. It also provides a mock tool that lets you try out your ad and see what it will look like online.

Price: Free for minimal functionality

Final Thoughts

There are so many more tools available online that will help you discover what you’re competition is doing. We’ve chosen just the best of the lot. But what you really need is to personally find out more about them.

You can:

  1. Follow other popular brands in your niche on social media. This will help you follow their updates and see how they interact with their audience.
  2. Visit their website once in a while. This will give you added insight on how they’ve designed the layout, what their lead magnets are and what kind of products they sell.
  3. Subscribe to their email newsletter. This can be pretty insightful because you’ll know the kind of deals they offer and how they prime their audience for a sale.

Your competition doesn’t have to be a threat. As Gianni Versace said, “It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.”

When you know who your competition is and understand how they work, it will compel you to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level and excel in your business.