Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Competitive Intelligence Tools

One of my friends has asked me this morning about what resources I use in my reporting to clients. Sharing what I dispatched below, interesting that majority are Google products.

I use Wordtracker for keyword research, and have done now for a number of years. I never just presume a phrase to be correct for a client with their Search Marketing plans and seek to uncover the competitiveness of that phrase and the popularity. This helps me brief expectations and meet them. Otherwise your SEM campaign is based on "just a finger in the wind" ie: not accurate or linked to strategy.

Although only approximate figures, Google Trends is a useful tool to enable you to compare search volume patterns of websites across regions, countries. I also like the fact that when viewing data on the site it will let you know, people who visited this site "also visited" and "also searched for". Trends is pretty addictive so set a good amount of time to really dig into the data and set yourself up with a cup of coffee and a couple of biscuits.

Googles Insights for Search is pretty cool tool and like the rest, once you delve in you can be in there for hours (trust me). The tool is similar to Google Trends, but more focused on words over sites. You can review a keyword trend over time, start with your main keywords (that bring in the most traffic) and then view your performance (against) your competition. The data you find will help raise questions and potentially help you get sign off for search marketing campaign budgets. It is useful to throw a few brand names into Google Insights and see which one performs best and check keyword trends in a number of regions too to highlight interest, which could assist with International expansion. Basically Google Insights can provide you with a whole heap of new opportunities. I saw this post a couple of days ago in the New Scientist: Can Google searches predict Oscar Winners, go check it out.

For paid search keyword reporting, you can get an idea of the volume, cost per clicks of keywords using Google's Adwords Keyword Tool. In all honestly I have never really found this to be very accurate and that the numbers are often inflated. However it does give you some indication of budget that needs to be set to targeted campaign. I rarely use it.

Another place in which you can use a whole heap of time (you have been forewarned!!) is the DoubleClick AdPlanner, similar to Google trends this little portal is pretty addictive and can help you refine your online advertising. It is useful to obtain demographic and psychographic analysis (age, gender, income, education) of a sites audience. I have used this to find new advertising portals and to capture information on bloggers reach to convince clients to run competitions with them, as unfortunately with large businesses, the top table generally what to know about the potential reach numbers. Another handy thing about the Adplanner is that it will let you know "people who visited this website also visited this", which is a really handy feature and can lead you to find a whole heap of new advertising opportunities for your clients.

There is also Hitwise too, which is expensive, but invaluble if you have the resource to make the most of the data, I highly recommend it, very easy to use and the information that you receive on competitors, market share (online) can lead to one thing, progression - which is what we all need.

Before Google existed we had "Brad", these guys are still around and their website states that they provide: "Effective planning with in-depth media intellegence at your fingertips", so if you have the budget you know who to call.

And finally for a bit of fun to compare the results of two competing keywords, opt for Google Fight where an animation helps decide the winner.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

No comments: