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Tools for Market / Competitor Intelligence

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

A pivotal part of planning your marketing is to do adequate research on your competitors. If a tactic is working for them, then given it is not oversaturated, it may work for you too. Conversely, you may find an opening where no one else is competing. And, if you do, that’s the sweet spot! Your costs to operate there will be lower as there is limited competition and your reward for doing so may be larger, given that there is no one else grabbing the attention of your prospective customers.

In this guide I provide you with a few tools to gain an insight on your competitors and the market. By using these tools you'll have a high level understanding of web traffic, search keywords, social ads and emails that your competitors and the market are using to drive traffic and conversions.

So, let’s dive into a few ways to generate this intelligence.

Website Traffic

Spy on your competitors' website traffic with a market intelligence tool

The best free competitor intelligence platform out there today is SimilarWeb. They have paid versions, but for many small businesses, the free version will give you the start that you need.

You’ll get:

  • Basic Web Stats such as monthly visitors, bounce rate, pages per visit and average visit duration.

  • Geographical Stats to see what countries are visiting the website.

  • Audience Demographics to see gender and age distribution.

  • Marketing Channel Distribution so that you can see which channels are driving traffic to their website (Direct, Referral, Search, Social, Email, Display).

  • Keyword Search Traffic so you can see the breakdown between paid and organic search marketing and the 5 highest traffic driving keywords.

  • Social Network Distribution so you can see which social channels your competitor is using (e.g. Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, etc.)

To get started, all you need to do is input a website into the search engine and you'll be provided with the information.

By running this analysis on a few of your competitors you will instantly have a high level understanding of who their audience is, where they attract their audience from and how they interact with their website.

This may help you to tap into the same audiences and channels for your own business, or highlight areas of opportunity that your competitors are missing out on so that you can capitalise on them.

Google Search Terms

See what people search on Google to land on your competitors' websites

Getting traffic from Google is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. It’s earned traffic that isn’t going to cost you per click. Your established competitors are likely generating (possibly quite significant) traffic to their websites organically from Google.

To find out an indication of what terms they are generating traffic from you can use a keyword research tool. I like to recommend Ubersuggest for this as it has great free level access and provides a user friendly interface. You can simply search your competitor’s website and it will spit out a list of keywords that the website is currently ranking for on Google. It will provide you with:

  • Monthly Search Volume so you can see the average amount of searches on Google for that term per month, averaged over the last year.

  • Estimated Clicks to Website so you can see how many clicks it is estimated are going to your competitor’s site.

  • Current Ranking so you can see how high on Google search your competitor’s site is ranking for each term.

  • SEO Difficulty so you can see how difficult it is to rank for that term yourself.

  • Paid Stats so you can see how competitive it would be to bid for those terms as well as an indicative cost per click per term.

You can then use this to highlight keywords that you could use on your website to generate traffic.

The next step is to learn how to integrate this (and more) research into your website so that you can start to drive your own earned search traffic. For this, I’ve written a detailed guide on everything you need to know about SEO optimisation.

Social Ads

Look at your competitors' and market leading social ads

Meta (Facebook’s parent company) provides an awesome tool to see the ads that any Facebook or Instagram page is running at any given time. It’s called Meta Ad Library. You can input any Facebook or Instagram page and it will show you all the ads that those pages are running, which you can filter by country.

This will show you the exact creative that your competitors are using in their Facebook/Instagram ads. It will also show you the the date that the ad started and which platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, other) each ad is running on. Hot tip -> if an ad has been running for a while, it is probably working well for them (no one keeps running ads that fail).

TikTok also provides a great tool to see high performing ads that other brands have made on TikTok, called Top Ads. You can view each country’s best ads segmented by industry, objective (e.g. sales vs traffic vs reach) and video length duration.

While you can’t see the exact ads that your competitors are running, you can see real ads that real brands are running and are best performing. Even more, you get actual stats from these videos like click through rate, conversion rate, clicks and conversions based on when in the video the audience took the relevant action.

This is a great tool to understand the market landscape on TikTok and guide your understanding of which brand are using the platform best and how.

For more information on Facebook / Instagram, see my detailed guide on Facebook and Instagram Ads 101.

For more information on TikTok, see my guide on how to make your TikTok content more engaging.


See your competitors' and the best emails in the world

Okay, let’s get real here. Seeing your competitor’s emails is probably the most simple one in the list. Are you ready? Visit their website and drop your email in the newsletter subscribe from. You’ll start getting their automated emails and monthly newsletters from there.

But what about the rest of the world? You can see examples of the best emails in the world on Really good Emails and filter by email type and industry. It’s a great way to see what emails the world is sending and be inspired by their design.

And, there you have it - a few ways for you to gain market and competitor intelligence on websites, social ads, Google search data and email marketing to help you take your next steps with your marketing.

Happy marketing!


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