A (monster) list of 40+ data, research and insight gathering tools for 2017

40 of the best data, research and insight gathering tools for 2017

Data. Research. Insights. VALUABLE INFORMATION.

We know it’s important, but getting your hands on the good stuff can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to do it on a budget(ish).

I had a lot of trouble finding a list of the most relevant and valuable tools in one central place so I thought I cobble something together.

The tools and resources have been sorted based on four categories:

log Post - Company Competition Category Customer Data and Insights Analysis 2017

Firstly, a couple of notes about the above:

  • When referring to the ‘customer’, it isn’t confined to current customers – perhaps a better way to categorise that bucket is audience but then it would ruin the neatly packaged four C’s (we can’t have that).
  • Additionally, existing/lapsed customers are the ones who often provide the best insight into the company (your brand is what your customers say about you and all that) – so, again, those findings can sit under that heading.

Historically, I’ve used (many) these tools to inform digital and content marketing strategies, but they can be applied to broader brand thinking too (an area I’m trying to really focus on as part of an evolution towards integrated thinking / strategy).

Company and competition analysis

In most cases, analysing company data is only useful if it is compared to the competition (and vice versa) so these tools have been compiled in one section.

ToolCategoryDescriptionPricing modelScore out of 10Free version quality
SimilarWebWebsite analysisCompetitor website analysis which is as a good as it gets (worthwhile investment)Free (limited data), pro and enterprise9Mid
LocowiseSocial media data analysis (worthwhile investment for on-going tracking)Measures and analyses social media performance including competitor data (worthwhile investment for on-going tracking)Paid10N/A
OwlettereDM analysisOwletter automatically captures all emails sent from a website to their mailing list. It then takes a screenshot, stores it and analyses it, alerting you about the email if's important to you.Paid (varying levels)8N/A
Google Display BenchmarksDigital display analysisThis tool lets you pull up-to-date industry benchmarks to help you better plan and measure the success of your display campaigns.Free8High
QuintlySocial media data analysisQuintly is an online social media analytics tool to help you track, benchmark and optimize your social media performancePaid (with free trial)8N/A
BrandWatchSocial media conversation analysisDiscover vital insights within the billions of conversations happening online every dayPaid9N/A
Radian6Social media conversation analysisEnterprise tool to gather and analyse global online conversationsPaid8N/A
SocialbakersSocial media data analysis and benchmarkingOne of the original benchmarking tools, including some handy free tools including the Facebook benchmarking toolFree and Paid9High
HotjarWebsite analysisHeatmaps visitor recording, conversion funnels, form analytics and feedback (I haven't tested this out fully yet but looks solid)Paid (with free trial)N/AN/A
Google Everything, including competitor marketing behaviourSometimes, you just have to get your Google on to get a feel for what your competitors are doing.Free10High

Note: This list isn’t final – more additions on the way.

Category and market data

These resources are often shaped by the market you are in – this list skews slightly towards Australia but there are global resources in here too.

ToolCategoryDescriptionPricing modelScour out of 10Free version quality (if applicable)
The AtlasCategory (and consumer)Data search engine with some real power. Global.Free9High
Ibis World Industry ReportsCategoryA stack of reports by sector. Lovely. Covers Aus, USA, UK, NZ, Canada and China.Free and paid.9High
Roy Morgan ResearchCategory, consumer and digitalThe tool of choice for many agencies. Australian heritage but UK, USA and NZ also part of mix. Free (blog) and paid (tool).10High
EuromonitorCategory and consumer.The world's most comprehensive market research on consumer products, commercial industries, demographics trends and consumer lifestyles (global).PaidN/A (I haven't used this so can't provide an accurate score).N/A
PWC's Retail IndexCategory and consumer (retail)24,000 people survey about retail preferences and trends.Free10High

Consumer research and behaviour

ToolCategoryDescriptionPricing modelScore out of 10Free version quality
Persona AppPersonasCreate quick, lightweight and informal personasFree7Mid
Up Close & PersonaPersonasAn efficient way to create personas by completing a series of questionsFree8High
Facebook Audience InsightsAudience dataFacebook's audience data available in a very easy-to-use interfaceFree9High
Facebook IQAudience dataFacebook IQ offers powerful consumer and advertising insights based on 2 billion people.Free8High
TypeFormSurveysAn intuitive survey tool that makes gathering human perspectives easyBasic (free), Pro (paid) and Pro Plus (paid)9Mid
Google Consumer BarometerAudience dataThe Consumer Barometer is a tool to help you understand how people use the Internet across the world.Free10High
Google TrendsSearch dataVisualisation of Google search data and a handy way to find related topicsFree8High
YouTube TrendingContent popularity A list of the hottest content on YouTube that can help inform creative and content ideasFree8High
Global Web IndexAudience dataGlobalWebIndex is the world's largest study on the digital consumer.
Define granular target audiences and explore their digital lifestyles in detail.
Paid (with free trial)10Low
Google Shopping InsightsShopper dataPopular and trending products in specific cities (US only)Free7High
BuzzSumoContent and influencer popularityAnalyses popular and influential content and influencers (one of my favourites)Free (basic) and paid10Mid
Epic BeatContent and influencer popularityContent and influencer research toolFree (basic) and paid9Mid
followerwonkInfluencer identificationHas several features including an influencer identification tool that allows you to search Twitter biosFree (basic) and paid8High
QuantcastAudience dataAudience insights and real-time advertising - the top sites page is especially useful Free (basic) and paid8Low
KlearInfluencer identificationA really well thought out influencer identification tool which provides unparalleled data (worthwhile investment)Free and paid10Mid

Blogs, articles and newsletters

In addition to the tools listed above, there are a number of places where regular insights-based articles are published (mostly for free).

Subscribe. Bookmark. Learn. Enjoy.

WebsiteCategoryDescriptionPricing ModelScore out of 10
Think With GoogleConsumer trendsGoogle's hub of data and insights - ALWAYS a great place to start your deep dive(s)Free10
eMarketer Consumer and digital trendsOne of the best places to get sourced data from all over the world,Free10
ComscoreConsumer and digital trendsCan be hit and miss but still worth having on this listFree7
Neilsen Insights BlogConsumer and digitalMostly handy stuffFree7
SlideshareConsumer, digital and categorySlideshare can be a decent place to access useful data but you'll have to search and find (limiting results to last 30 days can sometimes help)Free8
eConsultancy/statsDigital trendsPrimarily data relating to digital platforms and trends.Free8

Human observation and manual analysis

ToolCategoryDescriptionPricing modelScore out of 10Free version quality (if applicable)
TwitterSocial media platformA manual dive into relevant topics and conversations from across the TwitterverseFree10N/A
YouTubeSocial media platformA dive down the YouTube black hole can give you a sense for content that is and isn't resonating (reading user comments can be useful sometimes too)Free9N/A
InstagramSocial media platformHashtag searches can give you a sense for what is and isn't resonatingFree9N/A
GoogleSearch engineA manual look at SERPs and related search termsFree10N/A
RedditSocial media platformGet stuck into sub-reddits relevant to your brief and observe awayFree10N/A
Human observationReal life!In store. In transit. Wherever. Free10N/A

I know there is a lot here, perhaps too much.

But, some tools sit better with some people and vice versa – this is really a catch-all repository.

If you have any others you think should be on these lists, drop them in the comments section and I’ll add them in.

Til next time…


Note: This is still a work-in-progress. Will continue to update over time.

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