In today’s cutthroat business landscape, gaining a competitive edge is crucial for success. The market is bustling with rivals trying to surpass one another, making it necessary for businesses to stay ahead of the curve.
In this post, we’ll cover what competitor tracking is, why it’s important, and some top examples of the kinds of web sources you should track, before delving into how you can effectively use software tools, like Visualping, to conduct your own competitor tracking.
Competitor tracking is the process of identifying and continuously monitoring your competitors’ products, pricing, sales prospecting, marketing strategies, performance and market positioning. It’s a visual window into your industry as a whole, allowing you to develop competitive intelligence.
Monitoring your competition is an important part of the market research process. It can reveal competitor weaknesses in their product offerings or services, giving you an opportunity to use any shortcomings to your advantage. This data can help inform how you can differentiate your brand according to what’s available in the market.
You can also evaluate how their business plans are performing in the market and adapt yours accordingly to learn from their mistakes or successes. With the right data and quality analysis, you can also get important intel that may hint at future intentions.
From marketing initiatives to acquisitions, reviewing changes to this data, over time, can help you gain valuable insights that allow you to make more data-driven choices. You can then position your business to stay ahead of other businesses in your space.
With competitor tracking in place, you can see where the market is moving and how to fill in the gaps.
By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, competitor tracking is the first step to tailoring your own approach and making informed decisions.
Use Visualping to monitor any web pages to stay on top of the competition.
Below are some examples of the kinds of web pages you can track to identify opportunities and threats in the market, and empower you to generate the insights you need to outplay the competition. Monitoring these web sources will help your company become the leader of the pack and capitalize on market share and growth.
If your competitor offers any kind of pricing content on their website, this is the second thing to keep a close eye on. Especially in software sales, the pricing page tends to be one of those “special” pages that is created with a ton of careful thought, and only updated when something important is changing at your competitor. These pages are typically dense with detail so, Visualping is super helpful for catching a small change you might not have noticed if checking manually.
If you’re a marketer yourself, you know that a few pages on a business' website are special, critical pages. For an update to be made to these pages, a high bar has to be met. That’s why the first page on this list of competitive intelligence sources is your competitor’s home page.
Monitor your competitor’s home page for updates to their main headline or imagery, new special notices, or even subtle changes to the content lower down the page, such as customer testimonials. You can be sure that the change you are detecting is the result of a careful decision.
If your competitor is a publicly traded company (or owned by a publicly traded company), monitor their investor section for new releases. You’ll learn about significant insider stock trades and get notified of their quarterly financial filings.
Most companies like to feature their executive team on their website; this is an excellent page to keep an eye on. The “team page” will reveal to you when there’s a key departure, or a key hire. These updates can tell you a lot about where your competitors are feeling changes are warranted, or bigger investments are needed.
If you want to know whenever your competitor creates a new page on their site, try finding and monitoring their sitemap file. You can usually find the URL in their robots.txt file (above). The sitemap is a technical list of all the pages on a website, and it serves to help bots, like Google, navigate and find pages. Whenever a new, important page is published, it should show up here. If you’re really lucky, their sitemaps will be organized by type of content; so you can choose which sorts of pages you want to watch.
Manually looking up the information you care about is not a recommended strategy for competitor tracking. Spending time looking it up yourself and manually recording your findings in a spreadsheet is generally considered an inefficient and error-prone process, because doing it yourself opens up the possibility of missing important updates, and making accidental errors.
Especially with the widespread availability of competitor monitoring tools, which automate the research process for you, doing competitor tracking manually is considered time-consuming, ineffective and ultimately more costly than investing in automated competitor tracking that, depending on the tool, can do it better.
But, while investing in software is generally considered the way to go, not all competitive intelligence tools are considered equal.
Most industry standard competitive software have garnered somewhat of a reputation for being expensive and dense with overly complicated and specialized functionalities – most of which your team would not make use of.
And so, when evaluating the many different options out there, it’s important to first identify your team’s goals, and review your options relative to your team’s designated milestones.
Enter Visualping – one of the most popular competitor tracking tools.
It’s more affordable than most industry standard tools, and its methodology is simple: enter the web pages you want to track for updates, and Visualping will notify you of changes. It’s the most suitable monitoring tool for teams looking to keep an eye on specific competitor activity, with the flexibility of getting it from anywhere on the web.
Visualping is a competitor tracking tool that offers a simple and convenient way for staying on top of the exact competitor activity you care about – from anywhere on the web.
By automating the process of checking web pages for changes for you, you and your team can save time reviewing competitor activity. And, by sending alerts when there’s an update, you can more easily keep track of the competitor landscape, and keep your competitive intelligence up-to-date.
For example, you can use Visualping to track competitors' websites for changes – their latest headers and homepage content, promotions and product releases. You can conduct competitor price tracking by getting updates every time your competitor adjusts their prices, and watch for any interesting pricing patterns over time.
Monitor their websites’ sitemap, so that you’ll get notifications every time they make a new page on their site. Or, track the search engine results page (SERP) to keep tabs on how your competitors are ranking, relative to the position of your content.
As you can probably tell, you can use Visualping to monitor whatever it is your competitor strategy calls you to.
To track the competition, open the desired webpage on your browser and copy the URL from the address bar. Then, open up the Visualping homepage and paste the URL into the provided search field.
The web page will appear in Visualping’s viewfinder.
Next, select the specific area of the page you want to receive updates on. You can select the area, or specific web page elements. Optionally, you can use Visualping’s advanced features to get notified only on certain keywords of interest – if they’re removed or added to the page.
Specify how frequently Visualping should check the page for changes. Adjust the interval based on your preference, ranging from as frequently as every five minutes to as long as every month.
Next, enter the email address you would like your change alerts sent to.
As a last step, after you click “Start Monitoring”, you will receive an email prompting you to confirm your account – do not skip this! In order to receive alerts on your competitors, you need to confirm your account.
In a competitive market, competitor tracking is the backbone of success. Visualping is the top competitor tracker for efficiently staying on top of your competitor’s activity, so you can make strategic decisions based on up-to-date competitor intel.
Staying ahead of your competitors requires constant vigilance. With Visualping, you can automatically record your rivals, enabling you and your team to analyze the latest updates for insights and make informed decisions.
Interested in finding out more about how your team can use Visualping as a competitor tracker? Contact us today – our support team would be happy to help.