Lee Odden

Competitive Intelligence – Search Insider Summit

Competitive Intelligence
Competitive Intelligence — One of the most powerful aspects of search engine marketing is the intelligence you can gain from it, both about your own brands and your competitors. Just how much can you find out about the competition? What tools and strategies should you use? Here you’ll learn how to gain or retain your competitive edge.

This session featured Patrick Lopez from iCrossing, Tom O’Grady from AdGooRoo, LeeAnn Prescott from Hitwise, Matt Roche from Offermatica and moderation duties were handled by Cam Balzer from DoubleClick Performics, who I interviewed early in the conference.

Overall, this session was a bit light, but it was great to get specific numbers from HitWise, as I would expect, and also both Tom O’Grady and Matt Roche did a great job explaining their products. Matt Roche offered an excellent strategic perspective on online competitive intelligence and he was a standout person on the panel.

Cam gets things rolling by having the panel provide a basic intro.

iCrossing: Uses WebPositionGold for rankings and AdGooro for paid search.
Hitwise: Largest user base of sites monitored.
AdGooro: Keyword and competitive intelligence and trademark monitoring.
Offermatica – Optimize ads in ad networks, text ads, landing pages. Increase engagement and sales for clients. Things to look at: demand going to competitors. Offers made by competitors that you’re not. Finding executions that are more compelling.

Cam: Techniques or tools?

Tom: A lot of information is transparent now, increasing the need for competitive intelligence. AdGooRoo measures coverage (share of voice) pre-click and rank. Those are data points to look at.

Cam: How does coverage work in aggregate?

Tom: AdGooroo tracks paid and naturally separately and together. “Coverage” is % of times showing on the first page in paid search results. With natural listings, “coverage” is the number of times the phrase appears in the first 10 pages. With AdGooRoo keywords are added to different groups for monitoring and from that you make adjustments.

LeaAnn: Understanding searcher intent by the sites they visit. Example: “xbox 360” do consumers go to a retail site or a gaming site? Understanding how much of your own brand traffic is being siphoned off by competitors. Ex: are users going to a Wikipedia entry for your company or to your site?

Cam: What are some ways and sources to mine data?

Patrick: With disparate data resources, it’s important to make the information actionable. Identifying strengths and opportunities is important, but it’s finding terms that no one is going for that generate the most interest.

Cam: What kinds of data sources?

Patrick: WebPosition Gold and AdGooRoo and also a site review by our search team. Also, see what others are doing well and use that information to your advantage.

Matt: What it comes down to is the ability to use competitive intelligence info and take action on it. Example: a negative consumer review can go live seconds later. A site optimization recommendation can take 3 months to implement.

Cam: What is the other guy spending on search?

LeeAnn: Use Hitwise to identify traffic volume, search terms, traffic sources and then compare to your own site to get a round about idea.

Tom: The most direct way is to go head to head and make some assumptions from that.
Cam: In the US Hitwise doesn’t offer a breakout of natural vs paid reporting, but ComScore qSearch does offer reporting of traffic natural vs paid search.

Audience: Are there any synergies with HitWise and AdGooRoo working together?

LeeAnn: Both together would offer a powerful tool. HitWise would provide general numbers.

Tom: AdGooRoo would provide more tactical information for execution.

Audience: What about brand reputation monitoring?

LeeAnn: News sites are beginning to optimize their content. Blogs are starting to get more traffic than mainstream news. For example, the Saddam execution video had more coverage on blogs and traditional news sites.

Cam: Why?

LeeAnn: Blogs and consumer generated media are using the language of most searchers. This gives insight into how people are actually searching for content.

Cam: Should search engines disclose what marketers are spending

Panel: It would be great, but not going to happen.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Thanks for reporting from the event Lee and making your observations available.


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