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Image of a desktop computer with a screen showing a changing sentiment graph. Guide to competitor monitoring.

The Ultimate Guide to Competitor Monitoring

TJ Kiely

Mar 23, 2023

Businesses turn to a variety of strategies to grow their bottom lines: search engine rankings, social media, pricing, digital presence, branding, and more.

Aside from mastering these for your own business, you’ll also need to track your competitors’ performance. Competitor monitoring lets you see how your own efforts compare, which can help you get ahead of the curve, reach more customers, and build a stronger business.

Let’s look at how to do competitive monitoring, make it a part of your competitive intelligence strategy, and use it to your advantage.

Table of Contents

What Is Competitor Monitoring?

Competitor monitoring is the intentional and consistent process of evaluating essential aspects of your competitor’s performance.

This process has many moving parts, including but not limited to:

  • Checking a competitor’s content performance
  • Discovering keywords your competitors are ranking for
  • Gauging website traffic to specific content or campaigns
  • Reviewing their most shared content
  • Staying alert when they publish new content
  • Seeing which sites are linking to your competitors
  • Learning which influencers they’re using 
  • Tracking how much engagement they receive on social media
  • Revealing the hashtags they’re using
  • Seeing how they promote, price, and discount their products or services

Ultimately, your goal is to get inside the business to see how they market themselves and how their marketing performs. Use these findings to review your own approach so that you can build on your strengths, improve any weaknesses, and create a stronger position in the market.

It is important to track your competition’s every move. Competitor monitoring helps you make informed decisions about your business’ marketing strategy. Performing a competitor analysis prevents you from repeating their mistakes and lets you improve on their successes by executing them better.

Business Benefits of Competitor Monitoring

Competitive monitoring is a helpful exercise to improve your business. It allows you to see how you stack up against others in your industry and where you hold your competitive advantage.

1. Get inspired with new ideas

No one likes a copycat. But seeing how your competitors are marketing themselves might inspire your next campaign. You might find opportunities they didn’t capitalize on or ways to put your unique spin on things.

2. Save time and money by avoiding ideas that won’t work

Pouring resources into channels and campaigns that don’t reach your audience can be downright discouraging. Plus, those resources could have been better spent on other initiatives that would drive better results.

Before moving forward with an idea, see if your competitors have done it first. Look into the results they received and whether you’ll be able to get the same or better results.

3. Learn what your competitors aren’t doing

When monitoring your competitors’ marketing, it’s important to look at what they’re not doing.

For example, do they not have a TikTok channel? Are they not investing in video marketing? Are they not posting new content every week? These could be golden opportunities for you to get ahead.

4. Gain actionable insights to drive your own marketing strategy

Data is a core component of competitive monitoring.

Armed with numbers, you can see the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and compare them against your own.

From keywords to traffic to engagement, data paints a compelling picture. Get better insights into what you should do next to match (or overtake) your competitors.

5. Identify potential rivals

Doing competitor monitoring means figuring out who your competitors are. Sometimes, your competitors are obvious. But newcomers may enter the market, while mergers, acquisitions, and closures might remove some competition from the space.

Engaging in formal monitoring gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate who your competitors are and ensure you’re monitoring the right companies.

A basic Google search of your business or industry-specific keywords can show you who your top competitors are and what to pay attention to.

How to Do Competitor Monitoring Manually

There are several ways to do competitor monitoring manually. Here are some options to get you started.

1. Perform keyword research

Tools like Spyfu and Ahrefs can show you which keywords your competitors are ranking for so you can go after those same terms. You can also see how high your competitors are ranking for those terms in organic search. (A tool like Accuranker is great for this).

2. Read online reviews and forums

The qualitative data that comes from online reviews and forum comments can be useful for seeing how others feel about your competitors. They might excel in getting new customers, but their products may have flaws, their service may be lacking, or their policies might not be customer-centric.

These nuggets of wisdom give you direct insight into the customer experience and can help you adjust your own policies, products, and processes to attract new customers.

3. Set up Google Alerts

You can set up alerts for the names of your competitors or keywords you want to rank for through Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a free and easy-to-use tool to help you track and stay informed of your competitors’ online presence.

The tool will send you notifications when it finds new matching content for the search term you set and is a great tool for monitoring your competitors’ backlinks.

4. Subscribe to newsletters and emails

By subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters and emails, you can monitor what they are sending their customers and learn information about new product launches, company news, the type of content they publish, and their marketing campaigns.

This can give you inside knowledge of what is working or not working for their business, which can help you outmatch their efforts.

5. Browse competitors’ websites

Browsing your competitors’ websites can give you access to valuable information as well. For example, a brief glance at a competitor’s career page can tell you what jobs they are hiring for, which can tell you what areas they are planning growth. If they have listings for sales in a different city, you can gather that they might be looking to expand their reach, or listings for web developers could mean they are revamping their website or preparing for new campaigns.

This is also a good opportunity to check out your competitors’ pricing strategies. Beyond the price itself, do they follow a dynamic pricing model? Have they made price changes since your last competitive analysis? Are competitor prices higher or lower than yours?

Also, while monitoring their web pages, pay attention to the layout and flow, any website changes, and what is working and what is not to give you insight on some ways you can optimize your own website.

Reading tip: Learn how pricing fits into the marketing mix.

6. Follow competitors’ social media pages

Tracking your competition through social channels is another useful way to gain insights into your competitors and their marketing strategies.

You can see which social media platforms they are using and what type of content they post where. It can also tell you if a specific type of content is popular and if their social media strategies are effective or not.

Tip: A social media monitoring tool like Meltwater can help you automate that process. Here you find the best social media monitoring tools that are out there.

SEO tools like Ahrefs or UberSuggest give you a wealth of information on your competitors’ website performance.

Backlinks are of particular importance, as these are signals of quality when it comes to SEO. You can discover which sites are linking to your competitors by plugging their URLs into a backlink tool.

Get a list of possible websites you can reach out to and see if they’ll link to you, too.

BuzzSumo is a great way to monitor your competitors’ share of voice on a particular topic.

You can set up alerts similar to Google Alerts and get a rundown of new content on a given topic or brand.

How to Use Competitor Monitoring Software

While monitoring your competitors manually is a great way to discover information, keeping track of all that data on your own can be very time-consuming and tedious. Instead, use a competitor monitoring software tool, like Meltwater.

Softwares make it easy to track and analyze your competitors’ strategies, customers’ intent, and trends in your industry all in one place and at scale.

There are several types of competitor analysis tools that can help you monitor the data you are looking for. You want to make sure to choose the tool that is best for you or combines multiple monitoring tools into one. 

Some important monitoring tools to pay attention to are:

1. Social Listening Tools

Using social listening tools allows you to track and analyze specific content relevant to keywords, brands, and mentions across social media platforms.

These tools gather important information about your customers and help you understand more about what they are looking for. You will gain a more profound knowledge of your industry, its trends, and potential influencers.

Meltwater’s social listening tool can help you track brand reputation and create a powerful social media campaign with demographics, interests, and behavioral data.

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Key features of social listening tools

  • Ad-hoc research
  • Social mention monitoring
  • Consumer segmentation

2. Media Monitoring Tools

Media monitoring software is an automated tool that is constantly scanning various types of media, like online news, print, social media, etc., for mentions of your brand and competitors. Its analytics allow you to gain valuable insights into your industry and your competition.

Media monitoring helps you analyze content specific and relevant to the topics and keywords you choose. See what's working with your customers and decide how to adjust your campaigns.

Meltwater uses a comprehensive media analysis tool that allows you to track your own performance against competitors.

 Key features of media monitoring software

  • Global media monitoring
  • Unlimited keyword monitoring across all channels
  • The ability to build dashboards and share results with stakeholders

3. Sentiment Analysis Software

Tools that conduct sentiment analysis let you see whether customers are happy with your competitors. These findings indicate how likely customers might be to switch to a different brand or service provider. Their weaknesses in the eyes of their customers could become your new competitive advantages.

Meltwater measures customer sentiment to give you context behind what customers express online.

Key features of sentiment analysis tools

  • A complete view of customer pain points and unmet needs
  • Comprehensive coverage to surface insights and deliverable actionable recommendations
  • Real-time analysis

4. Competitive Intelligence Software

Competitive Intelligence is a type of monitoring tool that helps you stay informed about your competitors and analyzes their information so that you can make better strategic decisions. It is an important tool that allows businesses to recognize their competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and use the information to their advantage.

provides your business with a range of beneficial information about your digital marketing strategy and competitors.

 Key features of competitive intelligence tools

  • A comprehensive overview of your company’s position against top competitors
  • Signal detection
  • Reporting information on metrics like organic traffic, app ratings, and competitor ad spend

Competitor Monitoring with Meltwater

Media monitoring for marketers.

Regularly performing an in-depth competitor analysis will help you avoid mistakes and identify your greatest opportunities to come out on top.

With Meltwater’s cloud-based competitor monitoring tool, you can learn valuable insights about your business and competitors to make better decisions.

If you want to learn more about how Meltwater can help you monitor your competitors, request a demo by filling out the form below.