Competitive intelligence analysis tool Follow.

See What Your Competitors Are Up To: An Introduction to Follow

At Follow we make it easy to monitor everything your competitors do online. We focus on providing our customers with all the data that we think they need in order to analyze other websites. However, without knowing how to interpret that data, even Follow is not that helpful. Let’s dive into some more details on how Follow can help you with competitive intelligence analysis.

The content presented below was produced by us for a presentation to a small group of internet and competitive intelligence marketers called Mellow Monkey Media — based in San Francisco, the U.S. — which took place on Aug. 11, 2014. We thought to turn that same presentation into a blog post.

What Is Follow?

Follow is a competitive intelligence browser extension specifically engineered to monitor and track your online competition.

Our Main Goal

Our mission at Follow is to help companies, large or small, to acquire and engage with customers online. We do that through this blog as well, where you’ll find top-notch articles on customer acquisition strategies.

There are several reasons why you should start using Follow as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at some together.

Follow: Your Central Dashboard

We believe that Follow’s biggest benefit is its ability to summarize a lot of the information you would otherwise find spread out through the web. A huge amount of data is summarized in one central location, or dashboard.

We collect data and statistics from different sources, which are our partners:

  1. Compete
  2. Quantcast
  3. Similarweb
  4. iSpionage
  5. KeywordSpy
  6. SEMRush
  7. AdBeat
  8. MixRank
  9. WhatRunsWhere
  10. Adclarity
  11. BoxOfAds

Thus, by using Follow, you avoid jumping from a website to another one to gather all the information you need. You get a summary of it all in Follow itself. This is one of the many advantages of Follow, and one of our biggest strengths.

Toolbar or Web-Based Platform?

Follow can be used either as a toolbar for your browser — be it Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox — or, alternatively, as a desktop web-based platform, as visible by the two images further down.

Using Follow as a Browser toolbar on Chrome.

Follow may be used as a toolbar extension on several browsers. The image shows how Follow works as a pop-up on Chrome.

Using Follow on its web-based platform.

You can use Follow on its dedicated web-based platform as well. The platform gives you the same kind of data you get access to through the toolbar.

Moreover, you can get access to Follow on the web via mobile phones, for the web-based platform is 100 percent responsive, and perfectly works on almost all smartphones.

Using Follow as a responsive web-based platform on mobile.

Follow’s web-based platform perfectly works on mobile, as it is 100 percent responsive.

Follow Works Best on Mozilla Firefox

Follow works well with any browser, but works just great with Firefox. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go. On any other browser, Follow works, and look like a pop up. In Firefox, however, it behaves more like an extension of the browser itself, working in a much more agile fashion.

Using Follow as a browser toolbar on Mozilla Firefox.

Try Follow on Mozilla Firefox to experience an even smoother session.

What Data to Look At

Let’s now take a quick tour of all that Follow can provide you via its toolbar and web-based platform.

What we are going to explore from now on, is data from a paid account, which has access to all the information. A free account would give you less data than what you can see on this column.

Follow allows you to look up the following bulk of data:

  • Traffic estimates
  • Affiliate network distribution
  • SEO and SEM
  • Display advertising
  • Contextual advertising
  • Demographics
  • Social media mentions
  • Web mentions
  • WhoIs information
  • Reverse lookup
  • Competitors’ website names

From now on, we will be using for the sake of this article the website Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency based in the U.S.

Traffic Estimates Data

This report shows you approximately how much traffic a site acquires. Follow shows you data from different partners — Compete, Quantcast, Similarweb, and Alexa. We show statistics from different companies simply because none of these data partners are 100 percent accurate. They all do their best, but none of them are exact.

Providing you with more than one source for the same kind of information gives you the chance to have a general sense of the situation, and allows you to do an average. Compete, Similarweb, and Quantcast tell you the number of monthly visitors on a certain time frame, whereas Alexa tells you that roughly 0.02 percent of the Internet traffic lands on Equifax. Lastly, Similarweb also tells you the traffic sources for

Traffic estimates for in Follow.

All the traffic data for The report is much useful for gathering an idea of the generic trend in terms of traffic.

Thus, how much traffic does Equifax receive? You’d say that the site acquires something between 500,000 and 2 million visitors per month in traffic.

Moreover, something worthwhile mentioning is that Follow works best with sites that have a reasonable amount of traffic, and that advertise online.

Affiliate Network Distribution

This report shows you if runs any affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are ways of compensating other people to send signups to

For instance, the one reading “(738) – Try Equifax for only $4.95!” has a payout of US$23.25/cpl (cost per lead) — as shown by the image below. The above means that is going to pay US$23.25/cpl to the person that can sign up a customer on that page.

Affiliate network distribution for in Follow. clearly exploits affiliate distribution channels. This is a good way to find out how a website attracts new customers and leads.

Of course, Follow also shows the signup pages: All is clickable in the above report, so you can find out more about their offers, and perhaps get inspiration.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The SEO information within Follow is valid for the root domain name — which is — and not for subdomains or pages.

Follow gives you the top organically ranked keywords that are driving the most traffic to from our partners, iSpionage and KeywordSpy. If you see a keyword appearing on both reports, you can say with a certain degree of accuracy that the keyword is a good one.

SEO (search engine optimization) for in Follow.

Follow shows you the top organically keywords ranks first for, and other keywords the site is ranking for.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Here you may answer the following questions:

  1. What does do in terms of campaigns run via Google AdWords?
  2. How is the company purchasing clicks (PPC campaigns)?
  3. How is the company buying traffic to when someone searches on Google?

As you can see from the below image, Follow shows you:

  1. How much the company approximately spends
  2. How many clicks the company receives from the money spent
  3. The average position
  4. The number of keywords that is purchasing on the three main search engines.
SEM (search engine marketing) information on in Follow.

What does do in terms of campaigns run via Google AdWords and others? The above report provided by Follow can help answer that question.

The above is certainly important, but what we are going to see next is definitely more significant. On Follow, we show the longest running PPC (pay per click) text ads has been using.

The significant element here is the fact that a longer an ad has been running — and you can measure that from the column labelled Days Seen — the more profitable the ad most likely is.

Text ads used by in Follow.

Some of the text ads that are used by This can be a great insight if you want to get inspiration when creating your own ads.

Knowing if an advertisement is an effective one or not is a great insight for you. You should look at the ad, get inspiration on the CTAs (Call To Actions), study the wording uses, etc.

Display Advertising

Display advertising shows you what the company is doing with banner ads across the Internet.

Here, once more, we work with a few data partners: SEMrush, AdBeat, MixRank, WhatRunsWhere, and AdClarity. While this section of Follow is filled with great statistics like the name of the publishers they use, the networks they exploit, etc., the two things that you will find most interesting are:

  1. Top Image/Flash Ads: The longest running image and flash ads the company has been using, including the size of them, and Days Seen. You can see if a display ad has been running for long — like in the example below (nearly one year) — and guess why the ad has been so successful so far.
  2. Top Landing Pages (LPs): The report shows the top LPs that Equifax is sending visitors to, after they click on a display ad. This is basically the top URLs that the visitors arrive to, after clicking on a banner.
Strategy with display advertising in Follow.

A simple strategy: Find the best-performing ads (with high “Days Seen”), and find the LPs that most likely those ads redirect to.

In the Display Advertising section, Follow shows way more than what presented above, but that should give you an example of what the competitive intelligence tool can do for you.

Contextual Advertising

This shows you how many targets (publishers or placements) and creatives (banners) is using on its campaigns.

Contextual advertising for in Follow.

Contextual ads, also called interstitials, are the type of ads that you see before landing on the page you were looking for. A typical contextual ad usually says: “You’ll be redirected to the site in 5 seconds.”


This report shows the demographics of a certain site’s audience. A website, however, needs to implement the Quantcast tag for the demographics to show. has not implemented the tag so far. Nevertheless, for the sake of this article we included below a screenshot of (books related website).

Demographics statistics for

This report in Follow shows the demographics of a website’s audience.

Understanding the demographics is a great strategy to see what customers your competitors attract, so you can then target the same kind of population with your advertising.

Twitter Mentions

The report allows you to see all the people that are tweeting about a brand or company, in this case

It’s worth mentioning that these are not Retweets, which happen within the Twitter ecosystem. These are actually Tweets — a sign that shows, in our opinion, a higher level of engagement. These are people who tweeted from Equifax’s website. Thus, these may be people that you want to try to reach out to. Perhaps they may like your brand, as well.

Twitter mentions report for in Follow.

These are not Retweets, but actual Tweets. The report shows high level of engagement. These are people who tweeted from Equifax’s website.

Web Mentions

Very similar to the Twitter Mentions report, Web Mentions allows you to see which other websites on the Web are mentioning the site you are analyzing.

This is another great tool that allows you to see who talks about whom: Once you find these entities you can try to reach out and build relationships, which may turn eventually into business opportunities.

Web mentions report for in Follow.

The “Web Mentions” report is good for building relationships, create link building strategies, do SEO, and more.

However, keep in mind that Follow allows you to see Web Mentions only when you follow a particular site.


On this report you’ll find’s top competitors on the paid Google Ad Results. The report helps you gather information on websites that have the most overlapping keywords they are both competing on against

As visible by the image, the information is sorted by their estimated monthly budget and then the names of the largest competitors. competitors' information in Follow.

Equifax’s top competitors on the paid Google Ad Results and overlapping keywords.

In this other screenshot below, you can see that Follow also shows the SEO value of’s competitors.

Top Google SEO competitors for in Follow.

Organic competition for on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Overview Vs. NewsFeed

What we have seen so far is part of the Overview section withing Follow. However, we provide you with something else, which is called News Feed.

News Feed report in Follow.

Follow’s data is divided in two distinct sections: “Overview”, and “News Feed”.

News Feed gives you a ton of web mentions, including Twitter of course. In News Feed you can see who talks about the brand or website you are analyzing and studying. Try to reach out, and see if they are interested in your brand, too. It’s better trying to connect to people that are already interested in a brand similar to yours than contacting people and entities that don’t care at all in what you do.

News Feed is not limited in the number of mentions it provides, as it happens instead in the Overview. As you scroll down, you’ll find older and older mentions.

News Feed for in Follow.

This is the “News Feed” information for This report shows you way more “Web Mentions”, Tweets, and other information, as opposed to what you can see in the “Overview”.

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  • Thanks for mentions us :) BTW, Big changes in our project. From here on out, BoxOfAds is going to collect PPV data from 5 countries which includes: USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Germany.

  • Davide Di Prossimo

    Hi Peter, Davide Follow here. Sorry for this late reply, but WordPress fails to send me an email when someone posts a new comment, and I see yours just now.

    You’re welcome by the way. BoxOfAds is a great product :-) Thanks for the the heads-up on your new services. I will make sure to mention that if I write something on the topic on our next article.

    Have a good day!


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  • Denis Smith

    I said “You just wait!” as in the Russian cartoon Nu Podogi
    until I get the money for paid promotion. Thanks.

    • Davide Di Prossimo

      @denis_smith:disqus hi! :-) Sorry, but I am not sure what you mean by that? Can you elaborate?! Thanks.

      • Denis Smith

        Almost Nothing. I just wished I had the money to try paid advertising. Unfortunately I don’t. I usually use free traffic to make some money online. Hard to scale though I have 32+ sites (almost all are autoblogs). I tried some paid advertising with a couple of hundred dollars to no avail.

        But I always wished that I had the money and make some significant money online. So I am saying “you just wait until I have the money!” Then I will make use of the info & service you provide to make even more money. That is it.

        But I still wander why so many marketers never let go of free traffic when they have the money to pay for it. They mostly rely on JVs affiliates etc …

        In the CPA network I am in now, affiliates are making some phenomenal money which I am seeing from live chat. I saw figures of 1k, 3k, 5k .. upto 14k of DAILY income. Insane! Now I call these real marketers and not the others that rely on free traffic and try to sell some IM course.

        I think I messed my response a little bit. But hope you got the point. Thx.

        • Davide Di Prossimo

          @denis_smith:disqus absolutely. I get your point 100%. The way I see it is: If you want to build a brand, free traffic is also good. But yes, real marketers these days (it’s been always like that actually) are those that know how to make $2 for every $1 spent.