For businesses of all sizes, good competitive intelligence is crucial for success. Business owners and marketers need to understand the competition, stay ahead of industry trends, and adapt quickly as markets shift.
Conducting custom market research or purchacing quality market intelligence software can be prohibitively expensive. And cheaper options, like “state of the industry” reports, can lose their value quickly as markets evolve. These factors often leave small to medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage.
Fortunately, the advancement of competitive intelligence solutions in recent years has leveled the playing field. With affordable, powerful, and usable tools now widely available, smaller businesses can turn the luxury of custom market research into a regular practice.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 market intelligence tools for market research and online competitor analysis.
Before drilling down into the details about specific competitors’ marketing strategies or product offerings, it makes sense to develop a general understanding of your overall market. Who are you competing against? What direction is the market heading? Who’s getting the most attention from consumers? Questions like these can guide your strategy moving forward.
There are many tools available to help you understand the nuances of your market and customers, identify your closest competitors, and gain high level information about their businesses.
These tools will serve as a starting place for gaining a high level view of the market landscape and emerging trends:
While G2 Crowd may seem like a simple peer-to-peer review website, it offers tools that can be of great help when it comes to gathering overall market intelligence, identifying competitors, and understanding the competitive landscape.
Searching by product category — for example, desktop publishing — brings forward an overview of top players and a variety of filtering options to pinpoint the information you need.
Click the “View Grid” button in the upper left hand corner of the screen, and G2 provides a competitive matrix that depicts the market landscape in terms of market presence and customer satisfaction.
With this tool, you can see a lay of the competitive landscape and better understand the position of different businesses in your market.
The Market Explorer tool from Semrush .Trends allows you to research the entire market by simply entering a single domain. After you enter the domain, Market Explorer compiles a list of the corresponding industry players and organic competitors.
The first thing you’ll encounter on the Market Explorer Overview Report is the Market Summary section. It shows the levels of market competition, market shares among competitors, and the market size.
Scroll down and you’ll discover the growth quadrant. This graph separates competitors into four categories — niche players, established players, game changers, and leaders — based on their website’s audience size and growth rate.
The combination of the market summary and the growth quadrant are all you need to gain a solid overview of the full market landscape.
With Craft, you can unlock historic insights about companies to gain an overall picture of their operation. From growth over time, social presence, and brand trends, to market positioning, and the latest company news, Craft lets you review how a particular competitor has grown and gained market share.
What’s more, all data in this market research tool is reported in real-time, giving you an up-to-date snapshot of the company.
The tool also offers the option to follow businesses and compile competitors into a list for easy tracking and ongoing analysis.
Feedly is incredibly simple to use, yet remains a versatile news and RSS reader. It allows you to follow blogs and publications and get regular updates of any new content they publish. You can group by channel, making it easy to track specific competitors and stay up to date with their activities.
You can also get keyword alerts for the competitor’s brand, products, industry, or any other topic you care about. Feedly also has a robust mobile app, meaning that you don’t have to be glued to your computer to track your competitor’s news and new content.
Social Searcher is a social media search engine that can reveal emerging trends and topics of interest related to your market. It allows you to search across social media networks for specific keywords, content, mentions, users, and trends. And a variety of filters allow you to specify the information you’re seeking.
Along with posting real time updates of social media activity, the tool also provides deep analytics data and tracks metrics like mentions, users, and sentiment. If social media is a big part of how businesses market in your industry, this tool is a gem.
What’s the shortest path to a stronger marketing strategy? It’s simple — collect competitive marketing intelligence, analyze competitors’ strategies, and learn from the ones that generate the best results.
For example, knowing which channels drive the most traffic to your competitor’s website can help your strategic decision making. Understanding which countries their best traffic comes from will help you plan international marketing campaigns. Gathering competitive intelligence for search engine optimization can help you become more competitive in terms of organic traffic.
These tool will help you better understand your competitors strategies and hone your own marketing plan:
Traffic Analytics is a competitive intelligence tool from Semrush that allows you to check website traffic and analyze the marketing efforts of any company. Discover where they invest the most resources, and use that insight to power your online strategy.
All you need to do is enter one to five domains into the tool. It then generates reports on the most critical website traffic metrics — number of visitors, user engagement, audience overlap, traffic sources, top landing pages, geo-distribution, destination sites, and subdomains. It will also reveal other companies’ strategies and tactics in detail and also gain information that can assist in identifying potential business partners, affiliate programs, backlink providers, and more.
For more insights on competitors’ marketing campaigns and activities on specific channels, the Semrush .Trends solution provides a variety of tools. In particular, it can shed light on other companies’ advertising expenses, SEO and social media performance, and content gaps.
Wappalyzer is a simple browser extension that analyzes and reports on what technologies competitors use on their sites. The tool can detect the content management systems, ecommerce platforms, web frameworks, server software, analytics tools, advertising networks, cache tools, CRMs, dev tools, CDNs, and a ton more. The full list of supported technologies is impressive.
Because technology can give a business a serious competitive advantage, it’s important to understand what tech your rivals use on their website. Knowing what the competition is working with can help you become better equipped to compete. And as a side note for Semrush users, you can integrate this Wappalyzer using the Semrush Client Manager tool.
Owletter is a fantastic competitive intelligence tool for tracking competitor email marketing efforts. The tool captures all emails from a specific website, uses artificial intelligence to analyze them, and alerts you of anything important you should know about. It also provides analytics that can help you spot trends, track seasonality, and understand target audiences.
The tool lets you deep-dive into your competitors’ offers, promotions, product announcements, and any other communications with their email list. And you can do it at scale, without having to be actively subscribed to a million newsletters.
Based on all this data, you can discover what engages the audience — from subject lines that make them open those emails to the content that entices them to act — and use this insight to develop your own digital marketing strategy.
Competeshark allows you to monitor changes to a competitor’s website in real-time. The tool will visit your designated competitors’ websites and notify you of changes like content updates, layout changes, or new promotions.
The truly amazing feature is the ability to see the before and after of each change. Using a visual slider, you can preview the new version and the one before it to evaluate the depth of the change in detail.
This feature can go a long way in developing an understanding of how product development, product lines, and pricing structures have shifted over time.
Market Intelligence Websites for Ecommerce Insights
The popularity of eсommerce in our digital world has led to inundated marketplaces. With so many online stores selling the same products, you may face harsh price competition. As a result, you have to change fees frequently to always offer the most compelling prices in the market.
Realistically, manual monitoring all your competitors’ prices daily is an impossible task. How can you do it and keep track of thousands of products across so many stores? Well, there are tools for that too.
The tools below will assist with tracking product, pricing, and promo changes on rival websites:
Visualping is a simple tool that lets you select an area on a webpage, and receive notifications whenever that section changes. You can also select at what frequency of updates — from every 5 minutes to once a week. Visualping will check that area at that predefined interval and email you if it detects changes to the selected area.
For tracking competitor product offerings or promo pages, this simple tool can provide the timely ecommerce insights you need to stay ahead of your rivals.
Prisync is a pricing software for ecommerce stores. It can help you identify what products your competitors sell, track changes in pricing and stock availability, and benchmark your ecommerce efforts against your rivals. And all of this reporting is delivered through a beautiful dashboard and streamlined email alerts.
With competitor tracking, historical data, and in depth information on product availability, pricing, and positioning, you can gain a deep understanding of your market and act swiftly on any sudden changes in pricing or promotions made by your competitors.
With the EyeOn tool from Semrush, you can track up to 5 competitors for data on their advertising and content marketing efforts. The Trends graph depicts Google Search Ads and Blog Post trends over the selected time period.
Below the Google Search Ads Trend and Blog Post Trend section, you’ll discover the Timeline. Here, the tool presents all of the ads and blogs from the selected competitor over a defined period of time.
Each item in the timeline includes the title, landing page, and a short block of text to help you quickly understand the nature of the advertisement or blog post.
Finally, the EyeOn tool will send you a weekly email outlining all of your competitors’ activities, making competitive ecommerce promo tracking a cinch.
Make the Most of Your Competitive Intelligence Apps
In this article, we’ve selected our favorite competitive intelligence solutions. We understand our selection is only a small portion of what’s available on the market. Furthermore, new products are constantly arriving, and older products are always evolving. Chances are, whatever your needs, there’s a tool out there that can help you accomplish the task.
As a regular part of your market research, it can pay dividends for your marketing team to keep an eye on updates to products you’re familiar with as new features may add value to your competitive intelligence toolkit and help streamline your research. It can often feel like a lot to keep up with, but familiarity with updates and new features can ensure you’re getting the most out of your competitive research efforts.