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How to spy on your competitors and the best tools to do it

Monitoring what your competitors are doing online is essential for every business, whether you’re a start-up, SME or large corporate company. If you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors then you need to be observing their online activities on a regular basis.

How to spy on your competitors and the best tools to do it-2As social media and indeed the World Wide Web have evolved so has the amount of data that is becoming easily available making spying on your competitors so much easier using a variety of different tools.   Don’t just think about the obvious things you can find like pricing but also consider looking at:

  • How they wish to be perceived online (is their core message/brand consistent across the various social networks/their blog?)
  • How they differentiate themselves from the competition/you!
  • How their website performs (is it mobile friendly, user accessible, modern or dated? etc.)
  • Service level promises (do they offer a guarantee, price match for example?)
  • Their customer portfolio (and any testimonials they may have)
  • Do they share their future plans – what’s coming next?
  • What collaborations/partnerships do they have?
  • How much traffic do they have? Where from? And how does it perform?
  • How engaged is their audience?
  • And so on.

Keep an eye on your stats and analyticsDigging further into your competitor’s analytics will help you understand how their customers are taken down the customer journey and how they manage their customer behaviour. We would also recommend using these tools for your own website and social media, it’s a fantastic way to be able to identify what’s working and what isn’t.

Below we’ve listed our favourite tools that we use for clients to compile website and social media audits as well as competitive analysis. As with all tools, for best results you do need to apply a little “human intelligence”.

Social Media

1.  Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a very powerful social media monitoring and analytics tool. They have a plethora of features that allows you to get instant social data. Their competitive intelligence feature allows you to compare your brand activity, social performance and audience engagement against your competitors. You can also compare and benchmark the performance of your own social channels against your competitors and much more!

2.  Agorapulse

Agorapulse unlike other scheduling platforms also offers a cool unique feature whereby you can spy on your competitors. So that you can see how well (or not so well) their social media campaigns are performing. You’re able to view a breakdown of their following, fans, people talking about them, fan posts, page posts, interactions and engagement.

3.  Simply Measured

Simply Measured is a great social media analytics tool that provides analytics for Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, Klout and even Google Analytics (with Pinterest soon to join), but their reports are also beautiful, and very thorough. You can choose to see your reports either in Excel or online, or even export them directly to PowerPoint, and get very in-depth analysis of your competitors online behavior, followers, fans and much more.

4.  Rivaliq

A fabulous tool that allows you to track and compare key metrics like social engagement, keeping taps on what your competitors are saying and sharing.  It has a host of very cool features helping you stay one-step ahead and learn from your competition.

5. Buzzsumo

A very simple tool that analyses which content performs best for any topic or your competitors.  It also helps you to find key influencers to promote your content.

6.  Bottlenose

A helpful tool that provides you with live social intelligence by analysing activity across all the major social networks. You can use it to search, monitor, analyse, target and engage in real-time. Analyse trending topics, people and emotions.

7.  Twitalyzer

A useful Twitter tool that evaluates the activity of any Twitter user and reports on relative influence, signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity, klout, and other useful measures of success in social media.

 8.  Twitonomy

Twitonomy has a variety of different methods of analysis: tweets and retweets, replies, mentions, hashtags, links, followers and people you are following, tweets per day of the week and per hours of the day…and the list goes on!

9.  Foller

Provides you with rich insights into any public Twitter profile, with near real-time data about topics, mentions, hashtags, followers, location and more.

WHERE'S YOUR AUDIENCE10.  Socialmention

Socialmention is similar to Google Alerts, only it is for social media only.  It allows you to do a real time social media search and analysis on any keyword/subject. You will also be able to get a feel for the sentiment surrounding the particular subject and its popularity.

11.  Retweetrank

Retweetrank measures and tracks retweets. Simply enter the username in the search bar to see how they rank. It will then look up recent retweets, number of followers, friends and lists, compare these numbers with other users’ and then assign that username a rank.

12.  Sharedcount

Useful tool that tracks URL shares, likes, tweets, and more. Enter a website address in the search bar and you will find out how many people have shared the URL on different social media platforms.

13.  Sentiment140

Sentiment140 helps you discover the sentiment of a brand, product or topic on Twitter.

14. Whos Talkin

Find out what people are saying on social media about any given subject, by simply entering your keywords in the search bar.

15. Fanpage Karma

Great tool that allows you to analyse your competitors Facebook Fan Page’s.


Know your website customer16. Compete

Want to know how your competitors are doing in terms of attracting customers to their site or how they are faring against you in terms of traffic? Compete enables you to find out what keywords are sending users both to your website and to your competitors. A very good spying tool where you can see your competitors website analytics.

17.   HubSpot

You can use the HubSpot Keyword Grader Tool to monitor and track the keywords your competitors rank for.

18. Moz

Previously known as SEOMoz, Moz has an impressive list of free and paid tools. There are too many tools and features to mention here but some of their features include: tracking daily changes in Google ranking, save and compare search engine ranking for pages and keywords, keyword analysis and many others.

19. Affilorama

Fantastic tool that allows you to keep an eye on your competitors. Easily see how your competitors are moving up (or down) in the rankings. View your competitors backlinks and get advanced warning of any potential threats.

20. Woorank

This is a fabulous insightful tool that allows you to see how a website performs. From traffic estimations, to how your competitors are ranking. What keywords they are targeting, to mobile speed and usability plus much more.

21.  Open SEO Stats

Formerly PageRank Status is an SEO extension for the Google Chrome browser. It will show you Google PageRank as well as AlexRank, Compete Rank and Quantcast Rank of the current web page. You will also get information on backlinks, indexed and cached pages, Geo IP location and much more.

22. Advanced Web Ranking

You can use Advanced Web Ranking for rank tracking, as well as competitor monitoring and for detailed and branded SEO reports. You can also monitor an unlimited number of keywords and analyse your competition thoroughly.

23.  Analytics SEO

Another great SEO software tool that allows you to do a competitive site audit and provides a wealth of competitive intelligence.

Traffic vanity, conversions sanity24. Web Ceo

A very cool tool that provides you with an estimate of how many prospects your competitors get as well a host of other useful features.

25. ISpionage

If you’re doing AdWords then iSpionage should be part of your toolkit. Quite simply it allows you to spy on your competitions keywords and ad copy allowing you to implement your findings to ensure that your PPC campaigns perform well.

26. Spyfu

Another great tool that helps you outrank your competitors and get to the top position. You can also download your competitor’s most profitable keywords and ads for paid and organic search.

27. SimilarWeb

If you want to spy on your competitors traffic SimilarWeb provides insights for any website or app. A full Traffic report that shows everything from visits to engagement, time on site, bounce rate, demographics of visitors, traffic referrals and much more.


Don’t be put off by the amount of tools available to help you spy on your competitors once you’ve found the right tool for you it’s easy to stay one step ahead. However, it’s key to ensure that you’re measuring the right data so don’t get side tracked and focus purely at the volumes, it is the engagement and how the website performs which is much more important and will give you better picture.

It can also take lots of valuable business time to audit your competitors, which is why many of our clients come to us to provide comprehensive and competitive audits without the hassle of having to evaluate the right tool(s) to use for their type of business.

What tools are using? Please do leave a comment, share your favourites or get in touch if you need us to do your audit for you!

Dan Purvis
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Dan Purvis

Head of Integrated Marketing Communications at Fintrax Group Holdings
Dan Purvis is Head of Integrated Marketing Communications at Fintrax Group Holdings, and is also a Media Champion for the Alzheimer's Society, helping spread awareness and understanding of this cruel disease.

Previously, he was Director at Comms Axis, a full service marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes.

Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and more.

Dan was also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
Dan Purvis
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  1. Dmitry Says:

    Excellent tools list Lilach, for the Free Social Monitoring I’d also suggest Social Searcher with useful analytics and email alerts.

    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Dmitry, haven’t heard of Social Searcher before so will check you guys out 🙂

  2. This is an impressive list of tools, Lilach. I’ve filed it away for future use.

    Although I grew up a Nancy Drew fan, I don’t do as much spying on competitors as I probably should do. I do look at the web page source to see what keywords they are using, but I know I could be doing a lot more.

    Thanks for sharing these tools.

    All the best,

  3. Hi Leslie,

    We’d love you to look at BirdSong Analytics. We are ideally suited for competitive analysis. We can deliver competitive insights into any Facebook fan Page, Twitter account, Instagram account or YouTube Channel.

    We can show you when they post, what they post, what content works best and when. You can export all post data to .csv for your own offline analysis.

    BirdSong will also let you export ALL Twitter followers for any account.

    You only pay for the reports you need, with no monthly fees.


    • Lilach Says:

      Thanks Jamie, we’re certainly take a look. We offer a product review service, do let us know if that’s something of interest, happy to chat through in more detail.


  4. George Raboy Says:

    SEMrush’s last update was like in the middle of 2015! After using it for quite some time I switched to Serpstat.
    I’m using many SEO tools but paying only for those that offer something unique.

    • Dan Purvis Says:

      Yes – this is a great point; must be sure that the tools you use provide great customer support, are updated regularly, and have something different to offer from all the others out there.
      Thanks for your comment, George!

  5. Michael Birch Says:

    Does SpyFu shows your competing URLs like in Serpstat?.

    • Dan Purvis Says:

      I’ve seen this question asked on various blog posts…without any answers. I’m not 100% sure but believe it doesn’t offer this.

  6. Larry darvis Says:

    Nice article:)

    If you gonna spy your competitors site, I would recommend http://www.visitorsdetective.com
    Gives you the essentials for traffic monitoring and it’s totally free.

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