Social media marketing costs are estimated to grow to nearly $36 billion by 2017 with the average expenditure per campaign being between $4000 and $7000 per month.

The challenges that many companies face in their social media marketing strategies stem from the overwhelming number of options available to select from and which one will yield the highest return value.

While many firms are pretty good when it comes to calculating the return on and results from their web-based marketing campaign expenditures, many companies are completely in the dark when it comes to what their competitors are doing with their social media marketing strategies. And, that’s the area that returns the highest value when it comes to acquiring more market share.

Fortunately, there are several online competition analysis tools available that let marketers peek into their competitors’ social media marketing strategies and gain useful insight about what course of action can be taken to narrow down some of those seemingly infinite numbers of choices to the ones that will produce the highest return value.

In this article, we discuss 4 tools that marketers can use to spy on their competitors’ social media marketing campaigns.

Buzzsumo

One of the best tools available to social media campaign strategists comes from analytics specialists, Buzzsumo. Their competitor research product allows marketers to monitor social media and content activity of their competitors to very specific levels.

Their keyword alert tool generates a notification any time the competitor’s name or brand keyword is mention in any type of Internet content, social media or blog-based. Additional analytics data related to the type of content being shared and by whom can also be output in chart report formats. Marketers can use the provided info to further research the content and respond accordingly.

Buzzsumo’s other analytics tools can be used to monitor competitors’ activity and popularity on popular social media websites. These tools provide side-by-side comparison options allowing marketers to evaluate competitor activity with their own companies.

Facebook Insights – Pages To Watch

Facebook’s Insights analytics toolbar offers web marketers some pretty sophisticated competitor tracking tools. The one of primary interest is the “Pages to Watch” option that provides social media marketers with the ability to track the Facebook pages of their competitors in stealth mode.

Pages to Watch can be used to view data related to periods of peak audience activity, the types of posts the page is getting and key data related to the audience members creating the posts including engagement metrics, posts during that period and date and time of when the posts were published. You can also figure out if their doing pay per click management

The data returned can be useful for making comparisons between their own Facebook posts and content that is generating the most activity and number of shares on the competitor’s pages.

Moz Toolbar

SEO specialist firm, Moz has a couple of offerings of interest to social media marketing professionals. While not social media specific, these powerful tools can provide valuable insight into competitors’ online marketing trends.

Alexa is a component in the Moz toolbar that gives companies the means to monitor both their and their competitors’ worldwide web traffic, keywords, backlink data. This offering provides an excellent means to aggregate key analytics metrics that can be useful in developing and improving social media marketing campaigns.

InfiniGraph

InfiniGraph provides social media software solutions. Their primary offering, Kraken is an analytics tool that uses machine learning algorithms to study billions of Internet user interactions with millions of online videos and then to deliver social media intelligence related to video content engagement, assisting web-based businesses with improving their social media campaigns.

By studying a broad range of content, including that of competitors, Kraken can assist social media campaign managers with delivering highly engaging, effective video with high probabilities of campaign success as measured by Internet user engagement and retention.

Social media competitive analysis promises to increase the quality of Internet and marketing by allowing marketers to study, compare and improve upon the offerings of Internet-based companies. This, in turn, will result in increased sales, decreased customer acquisition costs and a deeper understanding of online consumer behaviors. The accessibility of free and low-cost competitor analysis tools helps smaller online firms understand the social media marketing success and tactics of their larger counterparts.

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