How To Spy On Your Competition With These 5 Free Tools
While I don’t think companies should obsessively focus on their competitors, everyone wants to stay ahead of the game. Small companies, large multinationals, everyone snoops on their competition one way or another.
With today’s easily available technology, you don’t need to send real spies deep behind the competitor’s offices in order to gain access to informations. All you need to know is how to do a little bit of research and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Ready to start snooping on your competition ? Let’s get started.
1. SimilarWeb plug-in
SimilarWeb is the undisputed champion of website analytics for businesses. Their Chrome plug-in is free to install and displays 10 advanced views for each website:
- Overview: displays SimilarWeb traffic rank, estimated monthly visits, time on site and bounce rate.
- Referrals: top referring and top destination websites.
- Sources: the traffic sources for the last 3 months.
- Geo: top countries and percentages of their traffic.
- Search: top organic and top paid keywords.
- Social: top social network sources.
- Ads: top publishers and top networks.
- Audience: other websites which people also visited.
- Similar: a list of most similar websites (competitors).
- Apps: related mobile apps in Apps Store and Google Play.
Make no mistake, SimilarWeb’s plug-in is not a basic tool. It’s an advanced, (and yet easy to use) tool which seamlessly displays detailed informations at a click of a button.
2. Alexa Traffic plug-in
Alexa Traffic was not designed as a spy tool, but more like a ranking tool that enables you to see how a specific website is ranking globally, based on it’s traffic. The more monthly traffic a website has, the higher it’s rank will be.
The Alexa Traffic plug-in is effective when you want to check where you are ranking against your competition or check which of your competitors is ranking highest.
After installing the Chrome plug-in, all you need to do is navigate on your competitor’s website, click on the icon and you’ll see:
- The Global Alexa Traffic Rank: how are they ranked against all the rest of websites on the planet
- The Traffic Rank in the country they are most popular
- Number of sites linking in
- Wayback Machine: a great tool that shows you how a website looked in the past.
- Similar Sites: 3 of the most similar sites based on their traffic.
- Average load time: how fast is the website loading compared to others.
Semrush is the world’s most sought after SEO analytics tool and it provides 10 free searches (reports) per day for basic users. They also offer monthly subscriptions should you need more searches per day.
The amount of informations Semrush provides can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with analytics software. They even provide a user manual, so if you’re serious about knowing your competition I recommend start learning Semrush.
4. Wappalyzer plug-in
Wappalyzer Chrome extension is a utility tool that identifies technologies used on your competitor’s website. While this is not primarily a marketing tool, it does a fantastic job showing informations such as:
- Analytics technologies used
- CMS used
- Programming language
- Payment processors used
- Advertising networks used
All these informations can give you an upper hand by showing you how your competitor’s platform is built and what technologies they’re using.
5. Facebook’s Info & Ads tab
With recent allegations regarding the security and transparency of Facebook, they decided to take proactive steps towards providing more transparency in relationship to their users.
One of the major actions they took was to make all active Facebook ads publicly available for anyone via Info and Ads tab right onto a business’ Facebook Page.
To see your competitor’s active Facebook ads open their Page, navigate to the bottom left tab “Info and Ads” and select the location you want to see the live ads from. Scroll down and you’ll see every single live ad.
While getting to know your competitors can be of tremendous help in today’s fast-moving business environment, blindly following the competition is not the way to go so you can stay ahead of the game.
Use the tools above as a source of inspiration for your marketing and business development strategies, but make sure to always innovate and think outside the box. It’s better to position yourself as a leader, not a follower.
What’s your favourite tool for spying on the competition?
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