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    Do You Spy on Your Competitors Online?

    Guest Contributor: Corey Morris
    Directory of Digital Strategy

    The word “spying” is fun, but it isn’t really what we’re doing. It isn’t hard, as I’m talking about using timely public information and snapshots to ensure that we get ahead and stay ahead in digital marketing, content, and PR efforts. The biggest challenge for many is getting the right mix of tools, data, and information in a means that is easy to digest in order to make decisions from. Over the years we have used many different tools and want to share what we have learned so you can maximize your intelligence information.

    We probably don’t need to go into detail on why it is important to know what content, messaging, and marketing your competitors are doing. I guarantee that your sales team knows what is being said by competitors and what their pitches are. However, maybe because we’re not constantly out in the field and, due to the number of big data sources coming at us each day, we’re not always paying as close attention as we feel like we should.

    For search engine optimization and pay per click advertising–two specific types of intelligence information are critical to success. The first is our audience and ensuring we’re targeting the right people with our efforts. The second is our competition. We’re likely not the only ones going after our target audience so we need to profile the strength of each relevant competitor.

    The first step is to identify our competitors list. This can come from the list we know off the top of our heads of the traditional competitors we go up against all the time. From there, we need to supplement with competitors who we find ranking prominently in organic search results or advertising on the topics and terms that our audience would find us through. Once we have the competitors list, we’re ready to get to work building out the competitor profile.

    Here are the specific competitor metrics that I recommend starting with as you build your competition profile baseline and start ongoing tracking:

    • Organic search keywords targeted, website content, keyword rankings, domain authority score, page authority scores, inbound links
    • Paid search keywords targeted, ad copy, estimated media spend, landing page strategies
    • Social media follower audience size, post engagement, brand mentions, frequency and volume of posting, types of content posted, mix of paid vs organic
    • Email marketing frequency of sending, segments, list growth CTAs, types of content promoted, use of automation

    This is a lot of stuff and we’re just scratching the surface. However, there are many tools that will help us compile this information as well as make it visible so we see it on a regular basis, can analyze it, and make informed and strategic digital marketing decisions. There are many different dashboard tools out there that are solid and combining those with the right mix of intelligence tools can get you to a goldmine of meaningful competitive intelligence.

    About The Author

    Renae Krause

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