Spying on the Competition: Three Simple Ways to Gain an Advantage

Gerri Knilans
3 min readJun 1


The best marketers learn from others’ mistakes and successes. Yet, many marketers struggle to find ways to get ahead of the competition in an increasingly crowded marketplace. If you’re not already monitoring your competitors, it’s time to start. Spying on your competition isn’t as nefarious as it seems. Regular competitive analysis is critical to developing a marketing strategy and consistently observing your competitors is essential to refining your ongoing marketing efforts. Plus, your competitors are likely spying on you, too.

Three Simple Ways to Start Spying on Your Competition

The word “spy” might conjure thoughts of James Bond, but snooping on your competitors doesn’t have to be treacherous. Here are three simple ways to spy on your competitors — without getting caught.

1. Get on the VIP List.

The first step in monitoring your competitors is to subscribe to all types of communications from each of your rivals. Sign up for email newsletters, mailing lists, blogs and news alerts. Follow their social media accounts on all channels and subscribe to notifications to ensure you never miss a post. When you take these steps, you’ll get the inside scoop on new features, product updates and other industry news that can provide valuable insights about what they’re doing and what they’re about to do. It’s also important to regularly review competitors’ websites for news announcements, case studies, and other relevant updates.

2. Social Listening Is Key.

Simply put, social listening allows you to monitor your competitors and their online mentions. It’s not limited to social media. Many social listening tools monitor mentions across the web, including blogs, forums, news sites and other online publications. Companies like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Brandwatch, Mention and BuzzSumo offer comprehensive social listening platforms that enable users to perform extensive research at the click of a mouse. Also, many platforms offer additional competitor analysis tools as well. For example, Sprout Social provides useful social listening features like audience demographic analysis, customer sentiment tracking, influencer identification, campaign analysis, and competitor comparisons. Remember, your competitors’ audience is likely your audience, too. Learning what your audience says about your competition in real time can be incredibly valuable to marketers.

3. Go Digital.

Monitoring your competitor’s keywords and website traffic sounds complicated and time-consuming. Luckily, tools like SEMrush make it easy for marketers to monitor competitors’ digital presence and SEO strategies. SEMrush is one of the most popular competitor analysis tools on the market thanks to innovative features that reveal top-secret insights into your competitors. It identifies top-performing web pages on competitors’ sites and improves your search engine rankings by identifying and analyzing their top keywords. The platform also shares insights about the paid traffic of your competition, so you can optimize your ads and target top-paid keywords.

A Strategy for Success

All great marketers understand the importance of spying on the competition. It’s not about stealing their secrets or copying what they do. Instead, it’s a way to keep a pulse on your industry and find new ways to understand audiences on a deeper level. It’s also how you can spot your competitors’ shortcomings and turn them into your successes. Want to chat about how a competitive analysis can transform your marketing efforts? Reach out and schedule a call with one of our experts.

Originally published at https://www.tradepressservices.com.



Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.