Competitive Research Tools

Do you have additional ones you think should be added to this list? Send me an email.

A generation ago, doing comprehensive competitive research would have meant hiring an expensive market research firm. Today, there are incredibly powerful tools available, many of them free. Here’s my quick list of some resources you should be aware of:

Old-Fashioned Customer Interviews

Your best insights are always going to come from talking to prospective customers. Remember, you’re trying to understand the alternative ways customers address the problem your startup will solve. If you’re making a shopping list app, your competition isn’t just other shopping list apps, it’s spreadsheets, notes on scraps of paper, and all the other ways people create shopping lists. When you do customer development interviews, make sure you ask how they are currently solving the problem that your startup proposes to solve. 

Google, Google Trends, Google News

Google searches are an obvious tool for competitive research, but do you know about Google Trends? It shows search volume trends that can be very helpful for your research. Finally, of course, Google News may help you find press releases and articles about competitors. Remember to set Google alerts for your competitors so that Google will automatically notify you whenever they make announcements.

The Wayback Machine

Did one of your competitors change their pricing two years ago? Would it be helpful to know how their pricing changed? You can use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to see exactly what their pricing page looked like in the past! It’s a cool tool for many facets of competitor research.

Crunchbase and PitchBook Data

Figuring out the financial strength of your competitors may be important. If one of them recently raised one hundred million dollars in new funding, that would be good to know! Crunchbase and PitchBook will give you this data (the free versions will provide some data, but you may have to pay for deeper insights).

Customer Reviews

If  your startup is building enterprise software for digital asset management, you’ll want to check out G2 and Capterra and read customer reviews of current digital asset management platforms. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot. For consumer products, there are many review sites ranging from Yelp to Amazon.

Web Traffic Data

If web traffic will be important to your startup, you may want to see what sort of traffic your competitors are currently getting. Platforms such as Semrush and Similarweb will give you insights into competitors’ web traffic, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), and sales and service management (SSM).


LinkedIn is an underutilized research tool. Find out how many employees work for each of your competitors. See what the employees are currently posting about. Discover whether they brag about funding milestones or operating metrics. Upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator for deeper tools.