No website exists in a vacuum. While SEO emphasizes unique content as the pillar of online marketing and advertising success, there will always be at least dozens of websites out there that offer visitors something strikingly similar to yours. You could bury your head in the sand and develop a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign that’s solely focused on what you want to achieve. That will however only take you so far. It also forces you to reinvent the wheel when there could be great ideas in use by your competitors out there that you could tap into.
In fact, all successful advertisements (and business ideas as a whole) are a mashup of different people’s thoughts. Spying on your competitors is, therefore, necessary if you want to get some practical, tested tips on what to do and what not to do. It can save you plenty of money and time you’d otherwise use perfecting your PPC advertising craft. There are multiple tools you can use to get optimization ideas and stay current on the changes taking place in the market.
SEMRush is one of the more indispensable tools in search engine marketing but is an especially powerful weapon for competitor analysis.
In fact, your biggest challenge with using SEMRush will be the time it might take you to learn how you can leverage all the different modules to extract maximum insights into your online rivals.
SimilarWeb lets you delve into your competitor’s audience demographics and digital marketing strategy mix. You can track their top sources and nature of traffic such as the volume coming from PPC versus what originates from organic SEO. SimilarWeb also allows you to see the top referral sites.
Importantly, SimilarWeb works as well for mobile app analytics as it does for website review. It allows you to build custom categories and benchmark your competitors more holistically than many other competitor analytics apps.
Ahrefs is one of the oldest and most popular tools for managing SEO campaigns. And with good reason. Ahrefs helps you analyze your competition’s landing page experience and search performance.
The rank tracking module allows you to monitor your keyword ranking based on location and user device.
Wordtracker works in an uncannily similar fashion as Google’s Keyword Planner but goes further to include keyword information from Amazon and YouTube. You can search for keywords, save keyword lists and filter your lists.
Other than the ability to facilitate your PPC keyword planning and research, Wordtracker can extract expansive competitor data in addition to highlighting the opportunities and gaps you could exploit to give your own campaign an edge.
With iSpionage, you get insightful information on the number of PPC ads your competition is running, for how long they are running the ads and what specific keywords they’re bidding on. It shows how competing advertisers group their ads, keywords and landing pages.
You can see what ads draw the most traffic, how well they rank on Bing, Yahoo and Google, and what terms are the most profitable.
6. Search Monitor
Search Monitor navigates the web to determine how well your ads perform on different devices and locations. Search Monitor’s services fall into two categories: competitive insights and brand protection. With brand protection, you can keep an eye on landing pages, offer content, brand bidding, online travel agencies pricing and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliance. With competitive insights, you can capture data on SEO, SERP, PPC benchmarks, brand bidding and product listing ads benchmarks.
Use Search Monitor to pick up brand violations, verify pricing parity and track affiliates. This is particularly useful for hotels who can use the information to track changes in room offers and rates. The geo-monitoring feature means Search Monitor can work with brands that have a global presence.
7. Campaign Watch
Campaign Watch seeks to provide information in such detail and with such speed that would be akin to your competitor presenting you with their marketing strategy each morning before they execute it. You can track your competitor’s visibility in landing pages, new ads, average position and search. Keep track of everything from market share, desktop vs mobile user mix, seasonal spend and more.
There’s no single tool that’s perfect for competitor analysis for every organization and in every situation. To make sure you pick the most appropriate tool, determine the objectives of your digital marketing campaign overall as well as your competitor analysis then work backwards to find the tool or tools that will best help you meet that.