21 Best Competitor Research Tools

Continuous development plays a crucial role in the success of any online business. The key to continuous development is getting ahead in the learning curve: learning about past performance by using analytics, learning about the future by monitoring trends in the data, and learning about the present by exploring the competitive landscape.

You should understand how your competitors operate, including their sales and marketing strategies. When you don’t know what your competitors are doing, it’s more difficult to make decisions that will retain your current buyers and attract new clients. You’ve got to stay ahead of the competition, or at least make sure you’re operating using the same best practices.

21 Best Competitor Research Tools

You can learn a lot from your competitors’ online marketing strategy – especially from the companies that outperform you. Recognizing your competitors’ strengths can help you prevent them from becoming your weaknesses!

You don’t need to reinvent your marketing strategy overnight to gain a competitive edge – it’s better to think about the leading businesses in your industry as models of best practices in order to compete with them – or even outperform them.

In this article I’m going to present 21 competitor research tools that help you explore the competitive landscape – discovering your competitors’ strategies and analyzing them to see what you can apply to your business. Once you’ve identified the best opportunities, you can design a successful online marketing campaign or improve your existing campaigns with new insights. Ok, let’s take a look!

Content Research Tools

    1. Buzzsumo
    2. Mention
    3. Feedly

Social Media Research Tools

    1. Fanpage Karma
    2. Followerwonk
    3. Social Searcher
    4. Simply Measured

SEO Research Tools

    1. Traffic Travis
    2. Web CEO
    3. KW Finder
    4. Open Site Explorer
    5. Serpstat
    6. iSpionage
    7. SEMRush
    8. SpyFu
    9. Adbeat
    10. AdGooroo

Traffic, Visitor Activity, Web ranking Research Tools

    1. SimilarWeb.com
    2. Alexa.com
    3. WooRank
    4. Marketing Grader

Content Research Tools

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1. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo enables you to analyze the best performing content by topic or competitor based on the number of social shares via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

Buzzsumo

Using this competitor analysis tool, you can evaluate the performance of your competitors’ content and keywords. You can even check out how many mentions your competitors’ brands have gotten. Starting with a view of your competitors’ most successful content facilitates your own content-creation process.

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2. Mention

In addition to monitoring social shares, Mention also makes is possible to monitor other media. You can follow any content, brand or topic on different websites, news sites, blogs and forums in 42 languages.

Mention can send you realtime notifications, and there is an excellent mobile app as well.

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3. Feedly

A simple way to keep up to date with your competition is to monitor their RSS feeds. Feedly is a great application, which is absolutely free and allows you to subscribe to your competitors’ RSS feeds. Using Feedly, you’ll be notified when your competition posts any new content. In addition, you can search by topic in the news feed as well.

Feedly

You can analyze when and how often your competitors publish new content. You can easily get an overview of the topics that are used in their content and make sure your content is relevant to your industry and audience.

This also helps you discover new link building opportunities by identifying websites that have written content about your competitors.

Social Media Research Tools

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4. Fanpage Karma

Using Fanpage Karma you can follow your competitors’ social media channels. You only need to enter the name of your competitor into the search field, then you can check out everything: from their best performing posts to their the increase in number of followers on a weekly basis, etc.

Fanpage Karma

Here is where you can learn about customer engagement, the best-performing post topics, the best time for posting and much more.

In addition, like Feedly, you can find new link building opportunities – use Fanpage Karma to discover who is sharing your competitors content.

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5. Followerwonk

After signing in with your Twitter account, you can analyze your competitors’ followers, the people they follow and their overall Twitter activity free of charge.

Followerwonk is great for learning more (e.g. demographics) about your competitors’ Twitter followers and the people they follow. You can even see the time when your competitors are the most active on Twitter.

It’s also possible to compare Twitter profiles for additional insights. You can even compare your own profile to see how you stack up to the competition.

Overall, Followerwonk provides you a comprehensive insight into your competitors’ presence on Twitter – and best of all, most features are free.

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6. Social Searcher 

Social Searcher offers realtime search on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. You only need to enter the name of your competitors to check who mentioned them, and how often, on the most popular social media sites.

Social Searcher

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7. Simply Measured

While Simply Measured is focused on analyzing your own social media performance, it’s also one of the best tools for analyzing your competitors through the lens of social media. It provides comprehensive measurement and reporting capabilities. Using this tool, you can easily analyze the social media presence of your competitors as well as discover their best practices.

Simply Measured

SEO Research Tools

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8. Traffic Travis

Traffic Travis allows you to track the rank of your competitors based on any preferred keywords. You can also check how this rank is changing: whether it’s increasing or decreasing.

This tool helps you understand why your competitors may outperform you in ranking of certain keywords. You can also see which keywords perform best for your competitors.

Traffic Travis

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9. Web CEO 

Using Web CEO you can check your competitors’ SEO strategy and adapt their successful strategies for your own campaigns. This tool can be used to monitor who mentioned and shared your competitors’ content, and also helps you learn your competitors’ best performing keywords. You can analyze their backlinks, social media activity, site traffic and more.

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10. KW Finder

KW Finder presents monthly search traffic from the Google Keyword Planner and time charts from Google Trends. In addition, it also presents data about the top 10 keywords in Google search results and the SEO difficulty of each keyword that is presented. Using the free version you can run 5 searches per day.

KW Finder

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11. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a free tool from Moz that provides statistics about backlinks, anchor texts and some important SEO indicators – making it an excellent tool for competitor analysis. The full version requires Moz Pro membership, but the free version still provides a lot of useful information.

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12. Serpstat

Serpstat is a competitor analysis tool that helps to gather competitive intelligence for strategic decision making, creating a targeted digital marketing program and tailoring your services and products to position your business against the competition.

Serpstat

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13. iSpionage

iSpionage gives you a bunch of reports to analyze your competitors paid traffic.

It shows the keywords used in your competitors’ PPC campaigns, as well as the CPC, average search amount, average position in ranking, and more. You can also use iSpionage to analyze your competitors’ advertisements and landing pages as well.

iSpionage

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14. SEMRush

SEMRush is another popular tool for analyzing your competitors’ paid traffic. You can get the most out of SEMRush by subscribing to a plan. However, the free version also provides limited reports about organic and paid traffic, and backlinks.

SEMRush

After entering a domain to review, you can check the top 10 organic keywords and the organic position distribution, as well as additional information that can be especially useful if you use PPC advertising. Using this tool for competitor analysis, you can also see how many of your competitors’ URLs can be found on the search result page for a given keyword.

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15. SpyFu

SpyFu is a tool for monitoring your competitors’ AdWords activity. It provides some really deep insights.

Using SpyFu, you can check what works in your competitors’ AdWords campaigns. You can also track your competitors’ activities to avoid the mistakes they’ve made. In other words, you can use your competitors’ efforts to test the market and then you can go with the strategies that produce the best results.

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16. Adbeat 

Adbeat gives you a huge number of dashboards and reports to analyze your competitors. The primary focus is on text advertisements.

Adbeat covers Google Display Network, MSN Content Network, Doubleclick, Adsonar, Pulse360 and more than 20 further networks.

You get a timeline overview of your competitors’ ads which shows the ad network activity and provides ad type breakdown as well as the list of top publishers.

You can even see your competitors’ ad creatives, including images, texts, flashes and text-image creatives.

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17. AdGooroo 

AdGooroo gives you a daily insight into the world of paid ads. You can check your competitors’ keywords, spends, cost-per-clicks, CTR, ad texts, landing pages, and product listing ads.

You can use this tool to estimate you’re the advertising budget, traffic volume and CTR of each of your competitors. You can also view your competitors’ landing pages and identify their keywords.

Traffic, Visitor Activity, Web ranking Research Tools

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18. SimilarWeb.com

Using SimilarWeb allows you to analyze more of your competitors’ online marketing channels. You can easily compare their strategy with yours. Using this tool, you can discover the gaps and opportunities to make your own marketing campaigns more effective.

SimilarWeb helps you understand which fields require higher attention from you now, and which channels and strategies need more efforts in the future. You get comprehensive information about your target market and the traffic sources: direct, search, social and paid.

You can analyze data based on search engines and other attributes as well, such as web, news, images, and videos. In addition, SimilarWeb presents data about shopping searches, ranking and best performing pages.

SimilarWeb

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19. Alexa.com

Alexa.com is a mostly free tool that helps you analyze the traffic of a competitor’s website. You only need to enter the URL of your competitor, and Alexa will show their global traffic rank, number of pages linking to their website, search analytics, audience insights, average page load time, and more.

You can dig really deep with Alexa. However, it’s worth noting that the information is not completely accurate because the data comes from visitors who’ve installed the Alexa toolbar on Internet Explorer and Firefox, or downloaded the Google Chrome extension. So handle these numbers with caution.

It still is a useful tool in many ways. By using Alexa, you can easily identify the keywords that generate the highest traffic to a particular URL.

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20. WooRank 

WooRank makes intelligent suggestions to help your improve the performance of your site. To achieve this, you create a project, and then work to improve your ranking and online visibility. The goals you set are typically based on improving your performance and improving performance compared to your competitors’ performance.

Using WooRank you can track your progress in the context of the overall competitive landscape to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. Plus, if you haven’t got any marketing experts on staff, you can use the proposals of WooRank to save money and get a packaged overview of your efforts.

WooRank

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21. Marketing Grader

Marketing Grader is a free Hubspot tool that evaluates websites from different points of view: blogging, social media, SEO, lead generation and mobile. All of the data points are gathered to calculate a total score for each site.

This is a great tool for discovering your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Marketing Grader

Improving your success online is all about continuous development and learning. Use the tools for competitor analysis above to stay ahead of the learning curve and on top of your competition. E-commerce requires you to find the best and most effective strategies quickly. The 21 tools I mention in this article give you a complete toolkit to learn what works and the mistakes to avoid with your online marketing efforts.

And, believe me, your competitors are doing exactly the same thing. So if you don’t stay ahead of the curve, you’ll find yourself left behind. However, when you analyze your competitors’ online marketing strategies carefully, and build their best practices into your own campaigns, you can gain a competitive edge and stay ahead of the game.

(Note: Have you heard of OptiMonk? It’s a powerful onsite messaging solution that helps you convert up to 15% of abandoning visitors to sales and leads. Give it a try – click here to create a free account now.)

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17 comments

  1. Joe Putnam says:

    Hi Optimonk Team, thank you for including iSpionage on this list. If anyone has any questions about our service, they’re welcome to message us on Twitter via @ispionage.

  2. Patricia says:

    Hi Csaba,
    Great post! Really thrilled to see Mention in this list. We are big fans of at least half the tools.
    Thanks you for including us!
    Patricia
    Community & Customer Success @meniton

    1. Csaba says:

      Hi Patricia,
      Thanks for your comment. Mention is one of the best tools that helps exploring the competitive landscape – it should be on the list! 🙂

  3. Nick says:

    Hi, Csaba
    Thanks for the article.
    By the way, you have a really great service, I think that optimonk.com one of the best Exit popup software providers.

  4. You have collected all the golden SEO tools to beat up the competitors & we every time use the Ahrefs, SEMRush & Majestic to keep track our competitors activity.

  5. liam Jason says:

    It’s a decent and clever rundown. We are enormous aficionados of in any event a large portion of the instruments. Useful for following spaces however when I’m taking a shot at ventures for littler sites. Well written article.