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    do you spy on your competitors online

    Do You Spy on Your Competitors Online?

    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.

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    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.

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    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.


    What is competitive intelligence in digital marketing?

    Competitive intelligence in digital marketing involves using publicly available information and data to gain an edge in marketing and PR efforts. It’s not spying but rather staying ahead by analyzing tools, data, and information to make informed decisions.

    Why is it important to know what competitors are doing?

    Knowing your competitors’ content, messaging, and marketing strategies is crucial because it helps you stay competitive and adapt your own strategies. Your sales team likely knows what competitors are saying, but staying updated is essential in the fast-paced digital landscape.

    What intelligence information is critical for search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising?

    Two critical pieces of intelligence for SEO and PPC success are understanding your target audience and analyzing your competition’s strength.

    How do you identify competitors for competitive intelligence?

    Start by listing your known competitors and supplement that list with those ranking prominently in organic search or advertising on relevant topics. This forms your initial competitors list for further analysis.

    What specific competitor metrics should I track?

    Key competitor metrics to track include organic search keywords, website content, keyword rankings, domain authority, page authority, inbound links, paid search keywords, ad copy, media spend, landing pages, social media audience size, engagement, brand mentions, posting frequency, content types, email marketing frequency, segments, list growth, CTAs, content types, and automation usage.

    What tools can help gather and analyze competitive intelligence?

    There are various dashboard tools and intelligence tools available that can help compile and visualize competitive intelligence data, enabling you to make informed digital marketing decisions.

    About The Author

    Elton Mayfield

    Elton's career spans media, production, digital and building industry expertise. His diverse experience makes him nimble, innovative, and curious – always pushing the envelope to create extraordinary work that delivers real results for our clients.

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