Pro tip: Using automation to monitor competitors

By the Editor In Innovation No comments

When it comes to marketing, be it traditional or digital, there’s no escaping keeping your eyes on your competitors. After all, how would you know if you’re ahead if you’re not watching. Today I want to tell you about a small innovative tactic that will assist you in automating the process of watching your competitors.

Wil Reynolds recently spoke at MozCon and during his presentation one of the things he wanted the audience to do was to concentrate on automating parts of a competitor analysis. In order to do this, he speaks about three services: Builtwith.comPage2RSS and IFTTT.

Here’s what the services do:

  • BuiltWith reveals the various technologies a website is using.
  • Page2RSS creates an RSS Feed for a website.
  • IFTTT allows for the creation of recipes around an If This, Then That action.

By combing these three services, it’s possible to track your competitors movements quite easily and in an automated manner. Let me walk you through it:

Running through BuiltWith reveals that we’re using Apache, Google Apps for Business, WordPress, Google Analytics, Twitter and so forth. Placing the results page that reveals the services we use into Page2RSS, we’re able to create an RSS feed. Finally, creating a recipe on IFTTT that adds a note to Evernote each time the RSS feed updates, allows us to collect notes each time the website uses new technology.

In the video below, Wil goes on to explain how this may be useful so I won’t repeat that.

This isn’t a game changing innovation but it’s incredibly useful if you’re competing in an active market vertical. Many years ago I wrote a plugin that collected Google Alerts, fed them into an RSS feed and then did similar when a competitor was mentioned online, thus revealing where the competitor might be appearing, which in turn could create opportunities.

Do you have any useful recipes that you use?