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One of the best ways to prioritize your organization’s efforts is to focus on shoring up your risks and seizing opportunities. But, how do you know your risks and opportunities are? Start by using competitive intelligence tools available today.
Knowing what your competitors are up to, how they’re positioning themselves, and where they’re showing up are critical to developing your strategic plan. With so much information available, it can be a challenge knowing how to collect this data and turn the information into meaningful (and actionable) insights.
Whether you’re facing a challenge that’s organization wide or launching a specific program, product or initiative – your first step should be to gather competitive intelligence by researching and analyzing the existing efforts for your organization, as well as your competitive set. Our team continually evaluates useful competitive analysis tools to collect and turn data into insights for our clients.
Here are our top five recommended competitive intelligence tools to help you get started:
RivalIQ is a digital marketing analytics platform with competitive intelligence. It quickly gathers data from social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Instagram. In addition to showing how you perform compared to your competitive set, it offers insights into the content shared on social channels, as well as your SEO and overall social performance.
Instead of manually collecting insights through each social channel, use Talkwalker or a similar social media monitoring and data intelligence platform. Talkwalker collects data from social media channels and online sources, and helps you to quickly identify engagement, followers, key influencers and sentiment.
Download Ghostery’s free browser extension, and you’ll be able to browse websites and have control over whether or not your activities and data are being tracked. Ghostery allows you to see what trackers and digital assets are installed on a website, giving you insights into the digital tools that your competitors may be using. For example, we use Ghostery to discover if our clients are using an analytics tool to track visitors and how they are interacting with the website.
4. Google (Alerts, Analytics, News, Trends and Webmaster Tools)
Google offers numerous free tools that are essential for analyzing website traffic and behavior, keywords that are optimized for search, as well as samples of media coverage for news and thought leadership.
- Alerts: Set up alerts to stay up-to-date on news and information that impacts your organization and industry.
- Analytics: Ensure Google Analytics is installed on your website to access actionable information about who is visiting your website, how visitors are accessing your website, how they are interacting with the content on your site, and more.
- News: Use Google News to gain insights into how you and your competitors are showing up in the news.
- Trends: Google Trends shows how a specific keyword or search query is searched compared to the total number of Google searches over a specified period of time. It provides an at-a-glance look at the keyword’s popularity with a graph showing how the term is trending.
- Webmaster Tools: Webmaster Tools is a free tool that provides you with an additional layer of detail about your website. The tool helps identify errors within your website, which keywords are being used in search and inbound links to your website.
As part of a competitive analysis, it’s important to gain insights into both your organization’s and your competitors’ messaging. By looking at information sources, such as marketing materials and recent press releases, you’ll begin to see differences and commonalities in the way each organization is describing who they are, what they do and why they are unique. This competitive intelligence tool provides a different glimpse into messaging by looking at the density of the keywords that are appearing on a website. At Standing Partnership, we use this tool to see commonly used words by our clients and their competitors.
Use these competitive intelligence tools, among others, to take a deeper look into how your organization stacks up compared to your competition. Standing Partnership’s free Competitive Analysis Template will walk you through how to gather competitive intelligence and turn that into meaningful insights for your organization, especially as you embark on strategic planning.