Competitive Tracking and Ad Intelligence

This piece discusses competitive tracking and Ad Intelligence: 5 mistakes to avoid. As you will be well aware, your team is busy, and you are struggling to keep up. So adding more work by looking outside your business to see what your competitors are up to can seem a burden you don’t need. After all, you have a product to release, sales targets to beat, customers to keep happy and keep the company going. But it is imperative to conduct Competitive Tracking and Ad Intelligence, and here are 5 mistakes to avoid. 

1. Objectives

Before investing in any software that will track your competitors every move, it is essential that you understand what you are going to look for. Objectives need to be set because the information will swamp you. Then it all gets too much hassle, and you immediately bin competitive tracking and Ad Intelligence idea. So to counter this creating objectives for the project is essential. These could involve the following areas:

  • Developing your business strategy, giving your senior team an excellent understanding of the market landscape, trends and a good grasp of what’s going to happen next.
  • To get to know how your competitors think, how they make decisions and who are the key players in their business. And what they are thinking about the future and what they will do next.
  • Develop products to align with your future business strategy to help you correctly position your company in the right market space.
  • There are not many business problems in which increasing sales can’t sort out. So using the tools to arm your sales teams to win more deals, giving them the tactics they can use against competitors and countering their strengths will improve sales.

2. No magic button

Finding evidence and signals with the aid of Competitive tracking will not bring instant results. Type in a competitor’s name and bingo there are all their strengths and weaknesses. It’s not going to happen. Despite what a salesperson will tell you, it takes time and analytical thought. Start small and look at a competitor and look for the small insights, habits and activities they do. Look at what they are saying and not saying. It takes time and effort. Eventually, you will start to build a picture and develop an understanding of where they are pointing their troops, tanks and resources. Are they looking at other markets? Are your competitors developing a new product that’s going to smash you on the rocks? Or are they being lazy and complacent?

3. Software is an answer

Some software is excellent and is an answer to competitive tracking, but it is not the only answer. Incidentally, some software solutions are genuinely terrible, and we have no idea how they generate sales, but that’s another story. For software to work for you, it is vital to use the information it creates and collates for you to turn it into Intelligence. It’s not Intelligence until a human being has analysed the information.

4. Please leave it to the intern

Having invested in competitive tracking and Ad Intelligence, it is not necessary to build a team of 10 senior Competitive Intelligence experts to make the most of your investment.  However, it is also wholly pointless, leaving it to the new recruit, the fresh graduate or intern to get on with producing automated reports. Without direction, access to decision-makers and importance given to the role. It will not work. They need to be able to ask tough questions and offer challenging opinions.

5. Do something with the insight

There is no point in developing a competitive monitoring strategy if you don’t do anything with the insight. Perhaps, surprisingly, this is all too often the case. So blame the software, marketing or the Competitive Intelligence person. When you find some insight, it is essential to analysis what you can do and then do these three things:

  1. Make a decision and take action
  2. Take action after making a decision
  3. And finally, take action

6. Summary

So, in this article, we discussed competitive tracking and Ad Intelligence: 5 mistakes to avoid. Namely, Not setting objectives, not expecting the software to be a magic button, not analysing the data, not giving the project the level of importance it needs and finally, failing to act on the competitive insight


When you are receiving a demo from the many CI and the data collators, the salesperson will focus on companies like Apple, Shell, Microsoft. Be impressed by finding a lot of information. Look at the smaller companies, companies in your geographical area. Now, you can not expect an impressive amount of information about your local corner shop, but you need to be sure that you will have sufficient data to play with before signing up to a deal. 

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