With the help of some web competitive intelligence tools and techniques, you can grow your business significantly.
They allow you to research and analyze your competitors on the internet as well as track ever-changing market trends.
Thanks to the internet and social media, there is a huge range of effective tools and techniques for competitive intelligence collection, analysis, and information gathering.
On this page:
- What is a marketing intelligence tool?
- List of 50 best online competitive intelligence tools, techniques, sources, examples, and tips you can use easily like a pro.
- Infographic in PDF
What is a competitive intelligence tool?
Simply, it is a tool a company uses to gather and analyze information about its industry, business environment, and competitors.
Today, the variety of tools and sources of information are impressive.
You can collect information through online searches, free or premium competitive intelligence software, or just by talking to people.
With the tools and techniques mentioned below, you not only can learn a lot about your competitors and their market strategy. Moreover, in the long term you can:
- Understand better your competitors and thus stay ahead of them
- Be more nimble and react quickly to your competitor’s actions
- Learn from successes and failures in the market
- Target the right market segments and attract qualified customers
- Avoid pitfalls and innovate successfully
- Get inspiration for new ways to grow your business
50 Best Online Competitive Intelligence Tools, Techniques, and Sources
1. Evaluate the content on the competitor website
Begin by auditing the website of your competitors to determine what type of content is housed.
See what types of content creation do your competitors focus on and how often they are publishing.
Different types of content can include: blog posts, white papers, eBooks, videos, podcasts, Press releases, case studies, etc.
It gives you a good idea of where you should spend more effort and resources.
Pay special attention to their blog. Blogging is still a key component of any digital marketing strategy. Check if your competitor’s blog is an uninspiring place full of keywords, or if it discusses hot industry topics that aim to resolve consumer problems and needs.
Subscribe to the competitor blog’s RRS feed.
Once you’ve researched their content, you can determine the frequency of publications and the quality of the text, and most importantly you can see how it compares to yours.
You may find your competitor has 300 blog posts (publishing once every business day), 35 case studies, 50 podcasts, and 10 videos. You also note that this competitor focuses on three topics in their content: data mining applications, business intelligence, and data visualization. But they have pretty low content related to artificial intelligence and its rising importance in our age! This is a weak place where you could easily overtake their market share.
In the competitive market research on content, it is critical to check also how engaging your competitor’s publications are to their readers. In other words, how their target audience responds to the content.
Check the number of shares, comments, and likes on your competitor’s content. Determine what topics gain the most of the shares and comments and find out if the comments are negative or positive.
2. Check any of the product-related pages on your competitors’ websites
This includes product descriptions, product reviews by customers, help articles, forum activities, product photography, and more.
For example, the forum topics can give you valuable information about user experience (UX) and to show you which product areas are difficult to use.
The product description will give you an idea of how competitors explain their products and communicate details and benefits. Spot what information is missing in descriptions and think why.
The key point here is to check regularly competitor’s page to stay updated with the new movements and offers.
3. Track testimonials and case studies on competitor’s website
To stay on top of who are the most valuable customers of your competitors and how they are winning or losing clients, you need to track and analyze their testimonial pages, case study pages, YouTube channel, and other pages where they feature quotes.
Are competitors adding new case studies or customer testimonials on or off their web pages?
Check these pages regularly as they are an important part of the competitive market research that shows how effectively your competitor builds brand strength across your industry.
4. Don’t stop at the competitor’s website
Content takes on various forms, and it won’t always be only on your competitors’ websites.
While a lot of content may be shared on their website, you should analyze other very powerful web competitive intelligence resources such as press releases, off-site blogs created by important industry influencers, events, sponsorships, announcements, news in magazines, etc.
Monitoring press releases is one of the easiest ways to find out how your competitors want to be perceived. A great tip here is to set up Google Alerts on their brand names to follow announcements and important updates.
Tracking news mentions is a very powerful web competitive technique as the strategic press is an efficient way to create a brand and gain popularity within your industry.
Monitoring industry press will tell you what people are saying about your competitors and how they’re positioning themselves against you. Again, use Google Alerts to be informed of these mentions.
5. Research social media posts
Presence on social media is increasingly important as social media networks are a wonderful way for companies to interact with users and customers.
Evaluate how your competitors are utilizing social media to catch valuable social signals and determine how competitors promote their brand identity and voice.
Visit these social media sites to see if your competitors have a profile: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+
For each social network, pay attention to the number of followers they have, the frequency of posting, the type of content, and note how frequently fans interact with that content.
Consider using social mentioning tools – they are doing a great job.
For example, Hootsuite is a social mentioning tool that allows you to see how often competitors post, how they engage with customers as well as allows you to manage greatly your own social media presence.
Note especially what is the type of articles that people like, and don’t like. Spot the times of day when people engage the most with your competitor posts, and when people are less active.
6. Keep an eye on your competitor’s product reviews
The number of third-party review sites for sharing customer feedback is constantly growing. It makes it incredibly easy for you to gain valuable info about your competitors.
For example, review websites such as G2 Crowd and Software Advice in the software industry, are full of customer advice, praise, recommendations, or complaining about your competitor’s products.
Other popular examples of sites where people share their experiences are Google Plus Local and Yelp.
Pay attention to how many reviews your competitors have in comparison to yours and how satisfied people are.
7. Research LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a very useful place when it comes to finding employee-related information for your competitors. Sign up on LinkedIn to follow a company and get alerts when updates are published on its LinkedIn page.
Check in the profiles of your competitor’s employees – their qualifications, previous jobs, positions, skills, certificates, and etc.
This is precious information about the people’s level of knowledge, experience, and professionalism.
8. Check Who’s on Quora
Quora holds a tremendous database of interesting competitive questions on various topics.
Regularly, company employees provide professional answers and they reply using their true identities to promote the company where they work.
Find the answers of your competitor’s staff and pay attention to their writing style, profile, company presentation, etc.
9. Keep an eye on the team page on the competitor’s website
Keeping track on the team page can show you not only more detailed info about the team but also will give you a clue about the employee retention rates and other details for web competitive intelligence.
For example, if a competitor’s Sales Managers leave often, it may be a sign that employee retention rates are low or that sales are not on the desired level.
Also, research the employees who hold respected and leadership positions by reading the “About Us” page and employee bios on the company’s website.
10. Read employee reviews
This is one of the easiest ways to research employee information. Just go to third-party review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed and check what current and ex-employees are saying about the company.
Do not forget to check regularly these sites to be updated about the latest ratings on you and your competitors.
11. Monitor hiring pages, job ads, and the key job boards
Knowing the open job positions can provide insight into where are the competitor’s efforts on future growth. Are they developing a new solution or technology?
Are they going international? Are they hiring in marketing or project management?
Job portals like Indeed are a massive place for position postings because it compounds listings from many online job boards.
Keep special attention to the skills a company wants to hire. They’re a leading indicator of new initiatives and moves.
12. Perform SEO competitive analysis
A comprehensive SEO analysis is a great web competitive intelligence technique that can show you how your competitor is winning organic visibility, what keywords bring traffic for them, and which backlink strategies are successful.
Finally, you can use this information to grow your own site’s organic traffic.
At the heart of that competitor’s SEO analysis process is keyword research.
You need to identify how well are your competitors using keywords. Are keywords included in the page title, H1 tags, content, internal links, etc. This will show you how serious is your competitor about the keyword strategies.
For the purpose, specialized SEO tools like SEMrush and Moz work the best. They are wonderful web competitive intelligence tools as show you which keywords your competition rank for and their percentage of organic and paid traffic.
SEO tools like these also help you analyze how well your website is performing against your competition and which keywords are generating quality leads to your site.
Besides keyword research, you will want to check the competitor backlink portfolio. Backlinks are of great importance as the healthy backlinks lead to a huge improvement of the site’s domain authority.
It is worth the efforts to target the same domains for quality backlinks. You can offer them guest posts or other values in exchange for the links.
13. Use customer intelligence tools
Today, there are powerful customer intelligence tools that show you key insights into customers’ needs, desires, motivations, and behaviors.
They allow you to track competitors’ customer updates at scale.
For example, UserVoice is a tool built from rich data analysis methods. It allows you to understand customer needs and assess the potential impact of product features. With UserVoice your team can capture feedback from customers, no matter where they are.
Qualtrics is another powerful enough platform to provide an omnichannel view of the customer experience across any digital interaction.
14. Use Hootsuite – social media intelligence
Hootsuite is a popular free web competitive intelligence tool and social media search software that aggregates content from across the universe.
It allows you to collect valuable information for what your competitors and your customers are saying across the web’s social media landscape in real-time.
Hootsuite is one of the best free social media listening tools that covers many social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and much more.
Price: limited free plan and premium plans
15. Use Google Alerts
Google Alerts is one of the most popular free alert services that allows you to follow mentions on the internet about practically anything you want – company, brand, customers, competitors, purchasing patterns, and so on.
16. Check Glassdoor to see your competitor’s reviews
Glassdoor is one of the world’s largest and most popular job and recruiting sites. It provides a free database with millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, interview reviews and questions, salary reports, benefits reviews, office photos, and more.
Glassdoor also is a useful web competitive intelligence tool as it gives you answers to questions such as why people like working for particular companies, what the employees of your competitors say, and etc.
17. Crunchbase – platform for finding business information
Crunchbase is one of the best and most innovative platforms for finding business information about private and public companies.
Crunchbase data include investments and funding information, news, and industry trends, individuals in leadership positions, mergers, and etc.
Examples of things you can do with Crunchbase: follow companies you care about, find a unique list of companies, access company’s data as web traffic information and mobile app analytics.
Price: free and premium
18. Crayon Intel Free – monitor competitors content and design changes
Crayon is a comprehensive market intelligence platform that helps businesses track and analyze competitor’s activities. Crayon Intel Free allows you to get a sample of competitive intelligence on companies, including their blog posts and video content. You receive daily email digests.
Moreover, this software tool allows you to assemble a collection of your toughest competitors or favorite brands. You can track any number of companies.
Price: Crayon Intel Free is completely free to use. The company also offers Crayon Intel Pro that is a paid option but it is one of the greatest market and competitive intelligence tools with powerful analysis.
19. Follow – competitor monitoring
Follow is a web competitive intelligence tool that allows you to get insights on any website you want. Over 30000 people use it to gain valuable competitive insights which help them make better business decisions.
Follow lets you see a high-level overview of any site including traffic estimates, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, display advertising, affiliate marketing, demographics, and etc.
They combine multiple sources to bring you a very comprehensive and high-level overview of any site’s marketing data.
Price: free and premium plans
20. SimilarWeb.com – monitor competitor traffic
With this tool, you can: benchmark against your competitors and industry; reveal your competition’s analytics and online strategy; discover new partners, leads or affiliates; identify trends; understand consumer intent and journey.
SimilarWeb is a very easy to use software solution. It gains insight into any website’s statistics with the click of a button.
Price: free and premium package
21. SEMrush Competitive Intelligence add-on – derive insights from competitors’ traffic
The SEMrush CI package includes two tools:
- SEMrush Traffic Analytics reports on website traffic stats and digital performance metrics of any domain and helps you to get a broader view of competitors or score leads, prospects, and potential partners.
- SEMrush Market Explorer lists all the relevant industry players and their market shares and draws a portrait of the in-market audience. This is the tool for you if you’re researching a new market or niche.
Note: unlike other similar solutions, these tools provide historical and regional data in their paid subscription by default.
22. Quantcast Measure – monitor competitor traffic
Quantcast software platform is one of the biggest players in the world of web competitive intelligence and data mining companies. Quantcast provides a full audience demographic and geographic profiles for your website as well as your competition’s.
It gives you details such as interests, shopping habits, brand preferences and more. You can see the audience’s gender, number of children, age, education, and etc.
Quantcast is a powerful software engine for brand marketers, publishers, and business owners to make smarter data-driven decisions.
Price: Quantcast Measure is free. Quantcast Measure Enterprise is a premium solution.
23. SiteAlerts – monitor competitor traffic
SiteAlerts competitive intelligence tool gives you instant insights on any website you want. It answers questions such as “How much traffic do they get?”, “Where does it come from?” “What tools do they use?” and many others.
You can easily track things like marketing stats, traffic sources, social media stats, funding rounds, press mentions.
And SiteAlerts also let you see which technologies your competitors use (particularly SaaS products).
Price: Free and premium monthly subscription.
24. Fanpage Karma – social media intelligence
Fanpage Karma is a social media intelligence tool. With Fanpage Karma, you not only analyze your profiles and those of the competition but also you are able to manage all your customer conversations in one tool.
Fanpage Karma can analyze your and your competitors’ presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Pinterest. The social monitoring is always on alert for you – keeping you up to date with what is happening on Twitter and Google+ while also keeping an eye on the competition.
Their free plan provides you with detailed analysis for 1 fan page, basic dashboard, weekly reports and alerts for 90 day analysis period.
Price: free and paid plans.
25. Visualping – tracking competitor site changes
Visualping allows you to track competitor site changes. Visualping is a new, easy to use and very convenient tool to monitor website changes.
Their Chrome app allows monitoring pages with only 1 click directly from the page you wish to monitor. Users receive an email when changes are detected.
What differentiates this marketing intelligence app from the other ones is the fact that it detects visual changes (hence the name Visualping) not text.
Price: free and paid plans.
26. Pagescreen – website monitoring and screenshot automation
Pagescreen is a very simple platform and web competitive intelligence tool to capture and archive visual copies of different web pages.
With its screenshot automation and change detection technologies, it is a piece of cake to monitor your competitors’ websites, to build and collect intelligence.
Pagescreen facilitates the monitoring of any website.
Price: free and pro.
27. Competitor.email – competitors email analysis
If you want to uncover your competitor email marketing strategy, Competitor.email can be your solution. It is an email marketing intelligence tool that allows you to view, track, analyze, and report on your competitors’ email marketing communications.
Competitor.email is a software platform that lets you gain invaluable insight into your competitors’ eCRM strategy.
With several clicks, you’re able to discover, compare and understand your rivals’ email marketing efforts.
Finally, Mailody lets you compare your email data vs your competitors.
Price: 2 levels of pricing, depending on your priorities and needs.
28. Datanyze Insider – reveals the competitor’s technology
Datanyze Insider instantly reveals high-level information about the website you’re browsing and the company that powers it. It lets you see data points like employees, revenue, and current technology providers. You also can visit the company’s social pages right from the window.
Moreover, the tool list builder allows you to add new contacts to Salesforce or a Datanyze list in one click.
In addition, it allows you to export the contacts to a CRM, spreadsheet or other sales automation tool to fastly turn them into a targeted outbound campaign. And more importantly, you can identify the technology choices your competitors use.
29. Whatruns – reveals the competitor’s technology
Whatruns is a free but powerful browser extension that helps you identify technologies used on any website. One of the most simple competitive intelligence tools.
WhatRuns shows you everything that powers a website. Are you wondering, what web apps your competitors pay for? Which CDN they’re hosted on? How they track their visitors? WhatRuns is one of those competitive intelligence tools that answers all of these questions and even much more.
Also, this app keeps you updated with the pace by letting you know when a website starts or stop using technology.
30. Mediatoolkit – competitors mentions
Mediatoolkit is a powerful web competitive intelligence tool for monitoring online mentions of your brand or your competitor’s brand in real-time. Mediatoolkit makes sure you know about every article, hashtag, and comment relevant to the name you want to track.
Be it profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or updates from websites, blogs, and forums, you can find mentions from any source in the world.
With Mediatoolkit, you also can compare with competitors, track current industry topics, find social media influencers, identify engaging posts and analyze brand sentiment.
Price: free and premium plans.
31. Rank Signals – competitor’s backlinks and traffic sources
Rank Signals is a backlink checker tool and SEO software to easily uncover SEO backlinks and traffic sources of your competitors.
Finding and identifying your competitors’ best links is one of the most effective link building strategies you can use. Rank Signals builds a solid foundation for your link building strategy.
In addition, the tool shows social media metrics across major social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
32. iSpionage – uncovering competitors conversion strategy
iSpionage is a web competitive intelligence tool that allows you to easily steal your competitors’ traffic and uncover their conversion strategy.
iSpionage is a quite valuable tool because it lets you find profitable keywords faster with competitors’ PPC keyword list, find out how much your competitor spends per month on Adwords, download competitor’s SEO keywords list, and more.
This a software solution that helps you to increase conversion rates, generate more leads and drive targeted traffic.
Price: premium plans
33. Moat – competitors ad creative
Moat is one of the top digital-ad search engines. It displays ads used by companies across the web.
MOAT is a great free tool that allows you to view not only the ad unit but also many other details such as what website it appeared on, what are the dimensions of the ad, file size, and file type and etc.
Simply type in the company name and see the ads that they’ve used in the past.
Price: free and premium plans
34. RivalIQ – for tracking social media success
RivalIQ is an online marketing analytics platform with web competitive intelligence.
It helps you track social media success, improve your social strategy, and finally keep an eye on everything your competitors are up to.
Price: free and premium plans
35. Talkwalker – social media monitoring
Talkwalker is a very powerful tool that lets you convert real-time customer conversation into a marketing campaign.
Talkwalker’s Free social search monitors every conversation about your brand, or your competitor’s brands, hashtags, and competition on social media.
The tool is so easy to use that you can get in on every single conversation about your brand with just one click. It also lets you know everything about your competition across the internet.
Price: free and premium plans
36. Owler – community-based competitive insights
Owler is a community-based competitive insights software tool. It provides business information and help you uncover the latest industry news and alerts.
Owler is great web competitive tool when it comes to identifying who your potential competitors are and how you stack up.
You can use it to view a snapshot of the core details for your top competitors.
Price: free and premium solutions
37. SpyFu – research your competitor online search traffic
SpyFu is one of the top web competitive intelligence tools when it comes to understanding how you compare to your competition in online search traffic.
It exposes the search marketing secret solutions of your most successful competitors. It shows you the competitor’s most profitable keywords and ads for paid and organic search.
The tool focuses on the performance of your website as well as your competitor’s website as part of your overall competitive marketing strategy.
Price: premium plan
38. Ahref – link popularity and backlink analysis
Ahref is one of the best SEO tools out there. It can provide you with a wealth of information on your competitor’s external links, top pages, linked domains, and much more.
Ahref allows you to learn why your competitors rank so high and what you need to do to outrank them.
Price: premium plans
39. Alexa – web ranking tool
Alexa is also one of the top SEO tools. It helps you to grow your search traffic, find untapped opportunities and monitor your niche.
Alexa also is a very powerful web competitive intelligence tool as it can help with benchmarking your site against your competitors.
You can discover how you can outperform the competition in traffic, keywords, backlinks, identify competitor strengths and weaknesses, and do more with a competitive website analysis.
Price: free and premium plans
40. BuzzSumo – discovering competitors’ content strategies
BuzzSumo is a great tool that will let you know the current trending topics and what content your competitor is focusing on.
Actually, there’s no better web competitive tool to find out what content is working best for your competitors.
Moreover, BuzzSumo can help you create your own marketing content strategy.
Price: free and premium
41. Built With – website profiler and competitive intelligence
Built With is one of the most powerful and top website profilers, web competitive intelligence, and business intelligence tools.
Their product range is quite comprehensive and includes sales intelligence, lead generation, and market analysis tool for web technology, and much more.
Price: premium plans
42. Feedly – monitoring competitor’s content
Feedly is a great tool that allows you to keep up with all the topics that matter to you including your competitor’s content.
You can very easily monitor news about your company or your competitors. You can also use Feedly to find new competitors.
Price: free and premium plans
43. Prisync – competitive pricing intelligence
Prisync is a competitor price tracking software tool for all-sized companies.
Competitive pricing intelligence is critical in today’s dynamic market and Prisync acts as a secret marketing weapon.
Prisync is an extremely flexible and automated way for gathering competitive pricing intelligence. It allows you to analyze competitor prices to come up with a smart competitive and pricing strategy.
Price: premium plans
44. Intricately – monitoring competitor’s CDN, video, and security technology
Intricately is a different web competitive intelligence software tool.
It can show you details about how your competitors are using CDN, video, and security technology and more across the cloud.
The tool also notifies you when the competitors add new technology to their site or renew a contract with a competitor.
Price: premium plans
45. US Census Bureau – data about companies, economy, and trends
US Census Bureau is the federal government’s largest statistical agency.
It has an enormous amount of data about people, companies, economies, and trends.
You can get very relevant data about your market.
46. Pew Research Center – tracking key market trends
Pew Research Center is a powerful tool you can use for tracking key market trends. It provides information about issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world.
They conduct content analysis, demographic research, and other data-driven social science research.
47. SurveyMonkey – a powerful online survey tool
SurveyMonkey is a popular tool that works great for web competitive intelligence.
It allows you to perform any type of online survey, be it for the purpose of market research, competitive analysis or customer feedback.
The platform is very easy to use and the huge amount of data collected can seamlessly be analyzed through advanced data analysis methods.
Price: basic free plan and premium options
48. Qualtrics Research Core – one of the best enterprise market research platforms
Qualtrics Research Core is one of the most trusted and best enterprise market research platforms across the globe.
It allows you to get the data you need to make key business decisions.
From product testing to customer feedback and competitor’s brand tracking, Qualtrics has it all you need for comprehensive web competitive intelligence.
The platform also uses Artificial Intelligence in analyzing survey data for predicting market trends.
Price: basic free option and premium plans
49. Google Maps – Business
Google Maps – Business can show you a more broad insight into your competitive location.
Your competitor’s business profile appears right when people are searching for their business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps.
On the other hand, free registration in Google Maps – Business helps you to grow your competitive advantage and increase your online visibility.
50. Open Corporates
Open Corporates is an open database of companies and businesses – widely available for the public benefit.
If you need information about your competitor’s revenue, employees or how long the company exists, Open Corporates can be very useful.
Web competitive intelligence should be an ongoing business priority for corporate giants as well as for small companies.
Competition is no longer something that hides deep secrets and inspires fear.
It’s an amazing thing. Today, competition is source of valuable information and insights that help you improve your business.
No matter how competitive of a market you operate in, there are a huge range of tools, techniques, and sources you can use to grow.
And researching and understanding your competitors strengthen your place in the market.
Use the tools in this article and you’ll have a great competitive edge.
What tools do you use to research your competitors?
Share your thoughts with us.
Silvia Vylcheva has more than 10 years of experience in the digital marketing world – which gave her a wide business acumen and the ability to identify and understand different customer needs.
Silvia has a passion and knowledge in different business and marketing areas such as inbound methodology, data intelligence, competition research and more.