Competitor analysis tools are increasingly popular amongst leading marketers since they provide them with invaluable real-time information about their fiercest rivals. This information can then be used to optimize businesses’ KPIs. Just as with any digital marketing tool, the market is crowded with different SaaS providers for every type of solution: from affordable and specialized niche-focused tools to expensive and comprehensive digital marketing solutions.  There are a bunch of options out there. So what are the main features and different functions of these tools? Let’s take a look:

7 Main Types Of Competitor Analysis Tools

Different competitor analysis tools each serve different uses. We’ll divide them into the following seven categories based on the type of information they can provide:

1. Search Engine Rankings & Keywords

What keywords are you and your competitors ranking for on search engines? Which keywords perform best? Which ones are most difficult to rank for? Tools that reveal information about rivals’ SERP, search volume and competition are very popular among firms looking to step up their SEO. They’ll help you identify your biggest search engine competitors and the best keywords to target for your business.

2. Authority & Backlinks

Another type of tool that is part of the SEO repertoire is one that gives you insights on how powerful competitor domains are. The metric used is usually called domain authority, domain score or page strength. Tools that track it enable you to answer questions such as: how popular and credible is your competitor’s website? Are they likely to outrank your website? Which websites are linking to them? All these details are essential for keyword selection and discovering new opportunities for PR, marketing outreach, guest blogging and more.

3. Advertising

When working with SEM, it’s vital to understand which AdWords your competitors are using, how much they’re spending on ads and which keywords can offer you the highest amount of traffic, leads, and ROI. The free Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a great source, to begin with, but if you’re looking to step up your game, you might want to opt for one of the more powerful paid solutions that will boost your campaigns through real-time updates, smart algorithms, and ad optimization tips.

4. Website Traffic

Which competitors get the most traffic to their website? Who is their audience and what are the demographics of the audience they attract? It’s easy to access this data about your website through tools like Google Analytics, but this can become complicated when you want to understand your competitors’ traffic. Fortunately, there are a few competitor analysis tools that can help you out and support you in your marketing research.

5. Social Media

Most social media channels offer their own free tools to track your own social media performance. However, this can become difficult when you want to obtain the same data about your competitors. Still, thanks to digital tools, it’s possible to at least shed some light on your rivals’ social media campaigns. They’ll let you identify which company performs best on different social media channels and which of your competitors’ articles and messages are being shared most. This information is great for benchmarking and gaining insights on article topics that could prove popular with your audience.

6. Technology

If you want to know which software, technologies and tools your competitors are using for building their websites and marketing their content, competitor analysis tools can provide you with this information too. Whether it’s their hosting provider, content marketing system, analytics software or digital marketing toolbox, these tools will give you a great overview in a matter of seconds. This competitor information can reveal new technologies that you’re currently missing out on, that are bringing a great advantage to your rivals.

7. Marketing Strategy

Are your competitors adjusting their pricing strategy? Has someone launched a new feature? Are they changing their communication, voice and branding? Obviously, there is no legal way to hack into a company’s servers and access their marketing strategy information. However, there are smart tools that let you monitor your competitor websites and track any changes made. You’ll get alerts on pricing news, feature updates and new product launches the moment they are implemented into a firm’s landing page – a huge advantage when you’re looking gain a competitive edge over your rivals.