How to Monitor Your Competitor’s Social Media Prowess with Rival IQ

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Here today is Seth Bridges to demo how Rival IQ serves up rich data on what your competitors are up to in social media, SEO, SEM, and beyond.

Full Episode Details

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Welcome back to Marketing Marvels! Joining me today is Seth Bridges, Co-Founder and Head of Product at Rival IQ.

This amazing piece of software plays a huge role in the work we do at Convince & Convert. Rival IQ provides you incredibly rich data about what your competitors are up to in social media, SEO, SEM, and beyond. It also gives you the tools and reports you need to understand how your social media strategy stacks up to your competition.

With Rival IQ, you can monitor your competitors’ primary traffic drivers, favorite channels, when they launch campaigns, how those campaigns perform, and lots more. And it doesn’t stop there—Rival IQ delivers performance data on your own marketing efforts, too.

Join Seth and me for a closer look, and find out how you can get 20% off your subscription to Rival IQ.

Jay: Hey, everybody, it’s Jay Baer from Convince & Convert, and welcome to another episode of Marketing Marvels where I help you discover amazing marketing technology that you can and should use in your business. Every episode of Marketing Marvels includes an overview of a really awesome software package, a quick demo, some questions and answers about the software, why you might want to use it and, as always, we’re going to have a very, very special offer on today’s featured software at the end of the show. Super special deal, only for Marketing Marvels’ viewers like you.

Now, I am super excited about this week’s episode because this is software that we use every day, like, every single day at my company, Convince & Convert. It is sort of a core piece of the things that we do for our consulting clients. The company and the software is called Rival IQ, and what it does is it gives you really rich, competitive data about what all your competitors are doing in social media, in SEO, in SEM and beyond, and also really deep looks at how your own content is performing. How are you doing on Facebook, how are you doing on Instagram, how are you doing on Instagram versus those other competitors. Also, really robust reporting, including automatic reporting that just shows up in your inbox, which is just amazing, and alert features.

So I monitor Gary Vaynerchuk, for example. He’s a thought leader, of course. Some people would say that I am as well, I don’t really love that term . . . but, whatever, I’ll take it, and so I pay attention to what Gary does. Well, every time Gary has a breakout post or changes the link in his Instagram bio, which, turns out, is every day, I get an email to that effect. And so, it really allows you to stay on top of things very quickly and easily.

And best of all, even though it’s really, really rich in data, Rival IQ is super easy to use. You do not have to be an analytics nerd to operate the software, which makes it available and accessible to everybody. If you’re a content marketing manager, if you’re a social media marketing manager, if you’re a marketing director, if you’re a marketing manager, you can use Rival IQ right out of the box. You’re not going to need a big training course, etc.

So I’m super excited to have Seth Bridges on the show. Seth is a cofounder of the company and head of product. Seth, welcome to Marketing Marvels.

Seth: Thanks Jay, happy to be here, and excited to show off the product, chat a little bit more.

Jay: And fancy background you got there, I sort of feel like you’re, like, one of those mall photo shots, like, it’s . . . this is pretty awesome.

Seth: You know, we built the Wistia photo booth, like, $100 or $150 set-up. If we zoom out you’d see the lighting, you’d see the backdrop, the back lights, the boom mics, it’s all here. And we said we’re going to commit to video this year, I don’t know that we’ve done a ton but it’s really useful for things like this.

Jay: Yeah, looks fantastic, nicely done. So what did I neglect there in the overview of Rival IQ? I’m sure there’s some capabilities or features that I didn’t get into, obviously, we’ll look at more in the demo. But what do you feel like it’s really for?

Seth: I think, more than anything, the philosophy of how we present data to our customers, competitive context is so important. And competitive doesn’t necessarily have to be your competitors, you can compete with yourself. If you’re running an ad campaign with 7 variants of creative and 15 targeting variants, like, you still want to know which are the best, which are performing, which aren’t performing, and everything that we show, everything we do, competitive context and, I think, because that’s our philosophy, it makes it really powerful.

Jay: Yeah, well said. It is super powerful. As mentioned, Marketing Marvels viewers can get 20% off a subscription to Rival IQ. We’ll tell you how at the end of the show, or toward the end of show, so let’s get into it. Seth, let’s fire up the demo and I’ll ask you some questions. This is going to be a fun one because I use it every day.

Seth: Great, let’s do it. Maybe I should make you do the demo.

Jay: I don’t know about that.

Seth: Hey now . . .

Jay: That’s probably . . .

Seth: Can you see my screen?

Jay: I can see your screen, yes.

Seth: Perfect. So here we are in Rival IQ, and what we’re looking at is a list of a set of companies that we are going to analyze together. We call it a landscape. There’s one company that we feel is more important, usually it’s our own brand or your clients’ brand. In this case, I’m using the entirety of the NFL. Football season is upon us and here in Seattle, the Hawks are ready to go.

So for every one of these teams, for every social channel that they’re on, every day, we’re going to bring in every post, every piece of engagement, every change to a bio, change to a profile link. It’s all here, as well as changes to their website, looking both visually as well as title text, meta-text, all that. So we’re bringing all that data . . .

Jay: When you set this up, when you set this up, this, sort of, landscape, a collection of companies that you want to analyze, do I type that in? Do I put in the URL or just say, “Rival IQ, find me Nabisco”? Like, how does that landscape get created and that data get imported?

Seth: You’re going to come and say, “I want to create a landscape,” and we’re going to give it a name and we’re going to start putting in the websites that are associated with the brands that you want to track, or the teams, or the personalities. Doesn’t even have to be a website, say you’ve just got a Twitter handle, cool, just put in the Twitter handle. That’ll become the entity that we use to track the data. And from there, our bots go and crawl the internets to find all of the social profiles for those companies to bring it back here for you.

If, somehow, it’s not right or you want to focus on a particular geo or a particular vertical within a company, you can always come in and simply suggest to us some changes, like, “Nope, that’s not the Seahawks tour handle, it’s,” something else, and suggest that change and it’ll go ahead and get pulled into the system, and we’ll reaggregate all of the data that you actually wanted.

Jay: Fantastic, and as an Arizona Cardinals fan, I take some issue with this demo and the premise of the Seahawks being at the top of the list. But I understand, actually being in Seattle as you are, I’m going to allow it for demo purposes.

Seth: You know, I’ve lived in Seattle for 16 years, before that, Pittsburgh, so there’s a bit of a tension there about what to do. I think I’m a Hawks fan at this point, but it feels like it took a long time, so I understand your pain.

Jay: Just looking at that main screen there, it appears that the Cincinnati Bengals do not have a YouTube channel. Is that accurate, according to that?

Seth: That’s what we’ve got and, the thing is, we go back every week and re-look for these things. Most teams, most marketing teams in the NFL are very savvy, and so they’re doing all the right things to make their handles be samely named and be on brand, and be linked from all their, either, other profiles or, at least, from their website. So typically, when we see that something’s not there it’s actually the case that it’s not there.

It’s not always the case and, certainly, this is a situation where if you’re like, “No, Seth, I know that the Cincinnati Bengals have a YouTube page, here it is,” then you can just come down here, tell us what it is, and it’ll get ingested and we’ll go back and get all the data and, hurray, things are kind of fixed up. So always, always, always try to keep current with the world on your behalf because you don’t really have time to go make sure that these are all the right handles, and that things are happening the way they should. That’s our job.

Jay: Is there a limit to how many companies or organizations you should have in a landscape, either based on how the software is set up or just as a practical matter?

Seth: You know, as a practical matter, we can handle hundreds of companies together but, typically, that kind of analysis, I think, is more looking at industry trends and less about actually trying to discern, what are my closest competitors or comparables or influencers doing in my space. And so I can tell you that our average customer has about 11 companies in their comparison sets, depending on the use case. They might only care about a key two or three, or they might care about 30 but they want to do their average analysis with around 11.

What we have to help provide for that is a way for you to tag these companies. So if I, for example, wanted to analyze just the NFC West, I have a tag that has limited this set to just the Cardinals, 49ers, and the Rams, and as we go through the product, I’ll only see the comparative analysis for those three or four companies. Of course, if I want to go back more broadly, can do that as well, and everything is just real time, just reacting, and reanalyzing based on the exact set of companies that we’re talking about.

Jay: Fantastic. One of my favorite reports is the report in Rival IQ that shows you total followers, so not necessarily just Facebook followers or Instagram followers but everything stacked together, kind of a bar chart of overall social connections. Can you show us that?

Seth: Yeah, absolutely. So with all of those posts and follower accounts and everything that we’re bringing in on a daily basis, that lets us do things from a breadth perspective. So we talk about cross-channel social, it’s not any one, and here, for example, we’re looking at how the Seattle Seahawks compare from an audience perspective to both other teams in the league as well as channel to channel.

So for example, I can see that Facebook is the biggest audience driver for the Hawks, followed by Instagram, and then Twitter. And if I need to see it team by team, of course, all that data here as well, looking at the Cowboys with their biggest audience of, say, 12.8 million, and then running down the list.

Of course, if we need to get really granular, we provide more detailed metrics throughout the product on a channel by channel, or in this cross-channel basis. So now I’ve got a little bit of growth data as well, so I can see that, in the last month, the Hawks have grown their total social audience by almost a percent, whereas the Cowboys, kind of, in there on the same list.

You can see if there’s anybody pretty anomalous, like the Panthers, 1.7% here in the last 30 days. You know, that’s substantially more growth than a bunch of the other teams. We could dig in more there if we wanted to, to see if they ran some campaigns or had a particularly large set of activity in a focus place.

Jay: . . . that shows us social activity. What does that mean?

Seth: This is, where are these teams posting, so how many posts have each of these teams done in the last 30 days. So you start to see some pretty impressive numbers. The Green Bay Packers, leading the pack here, not intended, the pun, 1,700 posts heavily weighted toward Twitter in the last 30 days. You can see they’ve got a fair number of Facebook posts as well, 418 in the last 30 days. And some Instagram, not really any other . . . I don’t see any Google Plus, we’re not seeing any YouTube here.

You start to look for some of those other colors, you can see, like, oh, the Ravens. Wow, Ravens really doing some Google Plus work, whereas practically no one else that we’re looking at here is. The Chargers, you can see this other pop of 69 YouTube posts in the last 30 days.

Really quickly, we can look . . . I mean, you just kind of squint and look at the colors, you start to get an average. Of course, if we pop back here, we can look at these averages. It tells us that, on average, these NFL teams are not publishing YouTube videos, but there is a little bit of work against Google Plus. Heavy, heavy against Facebook and Twitter, on average, across the landscape.

But it’s not just all these numbers. I mean, at the end of the day, this gives us direction about where are there gaps in the social strategy for some of these teams, where are teams seeing results. So we can talk about the activity but, at the end of the day, we want to look at where are a lot of these teams getting their engagement and how’s that changing over time.

And if we get down to just this quick summary of social engagement we can see that, in raw numbers, the Hawks get the majority of their engagement from Instagram, as does the average company in this landscape. And again, if we go look company by company, you only see three colors really popping here. Instagram, Facebook, and a little bit of Twitter, of course varying team by team. But those are just . . .

Jay: Pretty fascinating to see that Instagram’s engagement is actually the highest, almost across the board. Twitter, the lowest of the big three, and that wouldn’t have been the case at one point in the past.

Seth: Exactly, and it’s been both rapidly changing as you compare network to network, as well as you look at changes in time for a single network. At the beginning of 2015, we were seeing engagement rates, that would be how much engagement are you getting, normalized by your audience, so we don’t want to give too much weight to just the raw numbers.

But we were seeing numbers north of 3% on Instagram, and now, as an industry, we’re seeing numbers that are just under a percent. Of course, different segments do better. Universities are off the charts, they’re still pulling in 3-4% engagement rates. But now you can see, for example, the NFL teams, here in the last 30 days, we’re looking at a half percent and down.

As we look at algorithm feed roll-out for channels like Instagram, this is what happens. Too much content, not enough time, not enough swipes, not enough eyeballs, and fewer people are going to see your posts and you’re going to get less engagement. So being able to track that as an industry, and how the NFL’s tending over time, gives a little bit of context to your performance. It’s not that you’ve started to do worse, it’s that the world is changing around you and you need to be able to have that context.

Jay: So you can look at that and say, “The St. Louis Rams,” which is actually the Los Angeles Rams now, “are crushing it on Instagram engagement.”

Seth: For example, yeah. They’re a solid 30% high. At .3 versus .43 there, they’re getting a lot more engagement. And of course, this is really all changing as we move. If we looked a year ago we would see very different results. I love looking at this NFL landscape because they are so active on social and because people are so committed to keeping up with their sports teams that it really does provide a really dynamic environment for looking at both strategy, team-to-team investment, as well as what’s happening for the league as a whole, for sports as a whole and, really, all the way up to the platforms.

Jay: So if you said, “Okay, geez, the Rams are crushing it on Instagram,” I wonder, what are they doing that’s working so well? That’s where you kind of get into the content report that surfaces great posts.

Seth: Exactly. And so if I jump for one second here to what I feel like is the most powerful piece of Rival IQ, it’s called Social Posts, it’s going to bring us access to every single post that every single one of these teams has done in the last 90 days, or we could go back further, we could look at 90 days, we could look at 60 days, we can look at a much longer time. Let’s just stick with 30 days here for a moment because it’s kind of covering the pre-season time period. But that’s 32,000 posts, so we’re looking now at the aggregate analysis of 32,000 posts.

I can tell you, the Seahawks doing 28-29 posts a day during that period, but the average team in the NFL putting out 33. The thing that you want to see, though, average engagement rate per post, Seahawks at .2, about 10% higher than the landscape average.

Again, those are just numbers. Let’s start to look you through asking, which posts, though, are actually resonating. So here’s a couple of top posts, let’s view more here and get access to a little bit of a longer list and see, what are the posts that are either pulling down these large engagement rate numbers or these large engagement total numbers. Let’s pull down the totals and just see, like, what teams are really getting the likes, getting the shares, getting the comments.

Jay: And so this would be the combination of, yeah, likes, comments, shares, etc., rolled up into one metric?

Seth: Exactly, into a total metrics, not weighted or anything. If we want to answer, for example, you really want to know about amplification, we want to know about shares, we want to know about retweets, things like that. Let’s add a column, we have all this data. Let’s bring it in and let’s sort by it. Okay, of the 32,000 posts, which ones got the most amplified in the last 30 days? We wait for this spinner. It’s 32,000 posts, you’d think it would take a long time, maybe five or six seconds, and here we go. Cowboys get the win, “Pre-season game,” back on the 20th, 60,000 interactions that helped drive the virality of that post.

So let’s just grab the post here, 191,000 total reactions as a Facebook post, 127,000 were reactions. But they got 60,000 shares on that post, and you know that drove a ton of impressions for them on Facebook, which is fantastic. If you ever need to get direct access, we just jump right out and we go see the post, right there, live, in Facebook. Of course, I’m not logging into Facebook on this thing. So there you go, we get the nasty “No Facebook.” Yeah, so there we go.

The ability to just drive in and look at these . . . If this is . . . For me, like, this kind of report, what pieces of content are getting shared virally, most often, from my competitors, I want to know this every day. So we have a fantastic feature that lets me, in a one-shot . . . of right now . . . Like, let me download an image of this, give me a slide deck of this. Let me grab an image of this. But, for me, if I want to see this every day or every week, you know, I can schedule it. This is, for me, the most powerful feature within Rival IQ.

Anything you see in our application, I would like to get this top landscape post for the NFL every week, covering the entirety of the last four weeks, and I want that on Monday morning, and I want it as an image. I want it to just show right up in my email. I don’t even need to log into Rival IQ, I don’t need to click anything, it’s just there. I can look at it on my phone, I can look at it . . . I send all my stuff to Slack so I can look at it in Slack. It’s an absolutely fantastic way for me to keep abreast of some of the top content, for example . . .

Jay: One of the things that’s super amazing about that, actually, is if you save it as a PowerPoint, you can go into Rival IQ and customize the slide format. So you can use your own colors, your own layouts, etc. So let’s say you need to give this kind of report to a client, if you’re in a professional services capacity, you need to give it to a client on a weekly basis or a monthly basis. You can have it auto-run, and not only will it automatically run and show up in your email box, it’ll also look like something that you made in your own firm because it uses your colors and your layout, etc. It’s pretty awesome.

Seth: Yeah, it’s fantastic, and I know that you guys have that . . . you got that orange and you rock the orange in your exports, and that’s the way to be. You have no orange, so blue, blue everywhere.

But it’s not just looking at the post. I think there are a bunch of other interesting aggregations that we’re doing, that help drive some of that insight. So we were talking about activity and investment by these teams on channels, but here’s the graph that tells it all. In the last 30 days, the average team is doing four Instagram posts a day. Right there, people who are marketers go, like, “Well, I’m only . . . I’ve been told I should only do one a day, or a half a day.” We work with some CPG brands that work in retail or fashion. Some of these folks are doing 10-plus Instagram posts a day.

Now, of course, as the world changes and the feed continues to evolve, we’ll see how that plays out. But, already, people have reaction. Like you said, that’s a lot, four a day, but 1.5% average engagement rate per post in the last 30 days for these teams, and stacked against YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s not that their content on these other channels is different, it just has to do with the volume of content and how the different feeds or not work on each of these channels. But right now, I can tell you, half the posts every day that the Seahawks do, Twitter. There’s 14 a day. They do 10 more Facebook, and then they do two and a half on Instagram, rolling on down. And the Seahawks are one of our customers, so . . .

Jay: Seth, on the Facebook numbers, is that actual page posts, or does that include comments and replies and all that?

Seth: That is only on outgoing posts, so these are on page posts from the brand itself, not knowing if . . .

Jay: That’s a lot. What about . . . ? When you’re looking at total engagements or engagement rate, what about posts that have been amplified with paid, they’ve been boosted or a dark post or something like that? Is there a way to say, “Hey, this one, I think, has got some ad spend behind it,” or do you just kind of figure some of them do, some of them don’t?

Seth: Right now it’s we figure that some of them do and some of them don’t but, if you want to talk about road map a little bit, we’re cooking something up. So pretty soon we’ll be able to tell you which posts were likely to have had spend behind them driving the engagement numbers that clearly are off the charts. I mean, if you . . . You and I can just tell.

You look at a post, the post has no comments and no shares, or few comments and no shares, they’re not getting lots of viral interaction. And if their average engagement rate is typically in the .2, .3, .4%, and then all of a sudden you see a post that has 7, 8, 9% engagement with no viral action, that didn’t happen accidentally. Facebook wasn’t kind on that one post. They paid to achieve that reach.

So we’re doing some work. We have all this data, both about what’s happened with these posts, lifetime, as well as, sort of, how that evolves over time and using some of that data to make it really clear to our customers.

Here’s a normal question I get asked, “Hey, my boss says we need to do as well as XYZ Company. I need to be able to show them that they’re investing budget into Facebook paid so that that’s what squares, apples to apples,” as opposed to, “I’m not spending and they are and, of course, I’m not achieving the same results” because, for better or worse, Facebook paid is a way to do business and I think it’s an effective way to do business. But, if you need to convince your boss or manager that that is what you need to do, you really need data to back that up.

Jay: Speaking of which, one of the things that we talk to a lot of our clients about is post type, is to say, “Look, at least right now, videos tend to perform well” and previously it was photos, etc., and you’ve got a post-type chart that actually shows engagement rate by the type of post. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Seth: Yeah, absolutely. So in this, both whether it’s on the channel by channel basis or in this cross-channel realm, we can look at how many posts are these teams producing that are photos or videos or event shares, or just sharing a link or whatever, how many are they doing and then what’s the engagement looking like.

For me, I’d look at this and the first thing that I see is that the average team doing 18 photo posts a day and only four videos, the video not having exactly as much engagement as the photos but that could be a channel to channel bearing as we can go dig in and, for example, ask a little bit more specific question, like, “Oh, how does that happen on Instagram,” or, “How is that happening on Facebook,” to maybe get a little bit more resolution.

But then, I quickly look over and go, “The Hawks are only doing one and a half videos a day.” If that were my brand, I want to learn more about that. I want to learn about what are those average of four posts a day that these other teams are doing. And so the way I might get about that is, I’m going to go and filter this entire analysis and say, “You know what? I just want to look at videos, we’re just going to look at videos,” and understand what channels are these going out on.

And now, I can come down and see that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube . . . we’ll come over here on this side and see, oh, the average company, average team here, doing one and a half Facebook video posts a day. So that is the number one video platform right now in terms of activity for the NFL. But Instagram videos, highest engagement, not surprising, Instagram tends to have the highest engagement rates overall. YouTube, it’s in there, but of course, YouTube audiences, subscriber accounts, as we all know, are much, much lower than the follower accounts or fan accounts that we see on other networks. Doesn’t mean people aren’t off watching or . . .

Jay: Certainly for brands.

Seth: For brands, absolutely. And so that’s one of the things you want to dig into here, is kind of what’s happening. But it gets even fancier . . .

Jay: Seth, what about Instagram . . . What about Instagram stories, Seth? How does that get calculated at this point, or does it?

Seth: Right now, Instagram stories aren’t anything that we track and, actually, Instagram isn’t making any public analytics available. And, as you know, it’s just like Snapchat. When you’re using it, there are very few interactions you can actually do, and so the number one thing that we’ll be looking to track as Instagram makes the data available via their API is who’s . . . If we can see who’s viewing it, cool. If not, at least what kind of view counts we’re getting, what kind of engagement are we getting, what kind of . . . Just like Snapchat, I want to know who’s there, who’s snapping, etc., as my stories kind of live throughout their day.

I’m excited for that, but Instagram has tended to be a bit slower in terms of producing data to brands or to third parties like us who use those APIs to bring all this out. They’ve just been slower. Snapchat’s the same way.

Facebook is fantastic. Facebook puts everything out there because they understand people are spending money, people want to validate that what they’re doing is driving the business, and so they are a great partner to be working with as a technology vendor because they just make so much available to end users.

Jay: So we’re just scratching the surface on the number of reports you can get into, and you can get super, super deep at individual channels. You can also look at some SEO stuff, you can hook up your Google Analytics in here as well. Do you want to show the report that you had sent to your inbox?

Seth: Yeah. So for me, I care about what kind of content is trending in my landscape. I care that my social team is continuing to keep the output high and in tune with what we’ve set our strategy as for the quarter. And so, all those things, I can report on very directly, either day by day or for a period. I get those things scheduled up and sent to my inbox and, actually, then I use a little Slack integration. So this is where we live in Rival IQ, we all live in Slack, and I can just sit here and get my Google . . .

Here’s a great . . . Here’s a Google Analytics report that comes right out of Rival IQ. It’s giving me some detailed information about where people are coming from to sign up for free trials of Rival IQ, and I can see that we’ve been doing a little bit of AdWords here in the last bit, lot of organic sign-ups, then some other nice referral traffic from social media examiner. If we look down a little bit further, you’d probably see Convince & Convert in here. So that for me, is something that I want to be in tune with, it’s something that our VP of marketing wants to be in tune with, our CEO wants . . . everybody kind of wants to know, and so, great, I schedule this up, I get them every day.

I can tell you which blog posts are doing well, which blog posts are driving business, which blog posts aren’t. I can share these with my team, either here in Slack or in Rival IQ. I can say, “Hey, my client,” or, “My boss, who doesn’t even have a Rival IQ account, send this report to him, too, every day, please,” and, in that way, our agency customers are keeping their clients even more in tune with the pace of their business because of all this automation. Anything you see in Rival IQ you can schedule up, and here it is. This is for me in my Slack.

Not only that, we’re keeping track of any metric changes, we’re keeping track of positioning language, changes whether it’s in web page titles or Twitter bios, or any in a particular piece of language that these teams might be putting out on their social profiles, posts that break out much more than the average performance for the landscape of the team. And so I get those right in my email, every day.

Here’s my NFL links, like the Bengals changed their Instagram link bio, the Vikings had a breakout post where they got 40,000 reactions with 2.5% of their audience engaged, lot of shares. That was probably all viral. Like, I know that because it just showed up in my inbox. I didn’t have to even log in to Rival IQ. So big things are happening.

The feedback we’re getting from our customers, “Hey, I knew this before anybody else, hey, I could go and for my team and for my boss, and people think I’m really on top of it because I am.” So these integrations, the data, the automation, the scheduling, the ability to really drive everything out of the product, again, PowerPoint, slide deck, doesn’t matter, it’s the way you need it, it’s the way you want it.

You talk about SEO, it’s not just social. We pull in metrics and data from Moz and SCM Rush that gives us really detailed information about what kinds of keywords these teams are doing well on from an SEO perspective. So here, I’m looking at a competitive report that shows me which keywords all these teams are ranking on in common, in the top 20 results of Google, and look at the number one word that these teams are sort of battling over, cheerleaders. Just the keyword, the search term “cheerleaders.”

There are six or seven teams here who are ranking number one. The Cowboys with their cheerleaders’ landing page, and there’s a few other teams in here as well, Broncos, etc. If I wanted to go and just look at what these pages are I can just click right through and get an idea about what page, do a little more investigation, what was it that was driving that search ranking.

And again, all these things, everything in Rival IQ, fully exportable, PowerPoints, PDFs, CSVs. If you need to bring this stuff into Tableau or Excel, do some custom analysis, everything is here for you to do that as well. So yeah, for me, that’s me scratching the surface. There are many, many more reports that we could do. We could sit here for hours and talk about this, Jay, as your team actually sits here for, probably, hours every day and does this strategy work, does this documentation, helps your clients drive their business using the tool. But you told me we don’t have that much time, so maybe I’ll cut it off there.

Jay: That’s fantastic. That’s a good highlight, I think, Marketing Marvels viewers, to understand how important some of these reports are, and just easy to get at as we talked about. It’s just real simple to grab the data and export it into your inbox or customize it as a PDF or a PNG. It’s really slick.

So we talked about having a special offer for Marketing Marvels’ viewers. Here’s the deal, 20% off an annual subscription. Just go to rivaliq.com/l/marvels, rivaliq.com/l/marvels, and make sure it goes in the screen.

Now, Seth, let’s talk about who this tool is for. Obviously, we use it as a consulting firm every day, so clearly it works for professional services providers, for agencies, for consultants, etc. On the brand side, on the business side, on the direct consumer side, who is the right customer for Rival IQ?

Seth: For us, we’ve noticed that the right customer, whether it’s like yourself, more on an agency side or whether it’s more of a client side or brand side thing, teams that are committed to using data to make business decisions and know that they need data to not just use their gut but to actually come in, look at what’s happening in the industry, look at what’s happening in their competitors’ set, look at what’s happening with themselves, and take that information to drive the business forward. That’s one, but there’s a second part, and that is a commitment to take that data and actually do something with it. And I think that’s the same whether you’re working on behalf of a brand or brands, in house, doing the same thing.

Funny story, we had a customer use the product recently for four or five months and came back and said, “You know, I’d like to cancel my subscription.” This is certainly nothing we ever like to hear, but we always have a conversation, and the first thing that they said was, like, “Look, we want to do better, but we’re not going to invest in doing better, and so every month, getting those reports from Rival IQ is just like getting punched in the face because nothing’s getting better, because we’re just not committed to doing better.”

And so, if you’d like to keep knowing, cool, you should keep paying for the tool, but you’re like, “Yeah, I understand, you’re not the right customer for us right now because you don’t have a commitment to do better in social, to do better in digital, to do better in SEO, and to empower your team with the data to drive decision making all the way to the top of the chain.” So that’s, for me, what I look for more than anything.

Jay: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s a really great way to phrase it. The people who . . . It’s not just about knowledge or just about data, it’s about being actionable and having insights, and actually putting those into practice and building your business. I couldn’t agree more.

So how do you charge for the solution now? Is it by number of landscapes or number of companies or number of channels? There’s lots of different ways that Marketing Marvels guests price their software. How do you guys do it?

Seth: We do it based on a combination of how many companies you want to track . . . so when you track a company that’s all the social profiles, one on Twitter, one on Facebook, etc., all across the board, per company, and you can put as many of those companies in a single landscape or you could have 10 landscapes with one company. The landscapes don’t even matter.

You can even track the same company in 17 landscapes, really, we don’t care. It’s how many unique companies are you tracking. So we price our product with a couple of different tiers. As you move up the tiers you get access to more companies as well as you unlock more and more features of the product.

I didn’t show any of this, but we have a really fantastic Facebook insights integration, makes it so much easier to see what’s happening in your Facebook insights and on your Facebook page than some of the native reporting you might get there. That Google Analytics integration, some of the custom exporting options. As you start to move up the chain, you start to unlock more and more of the features in Rival IQ, all the way to the top of where you’re getting API access to some of this data for your own custom integrations, your custom dashboarding.

Some agencies we work with are heavy Tableau users or some other third-party reporting solutions that they use to homogenize, even beyond Rival IQ. Rival IQ brings in a ton of data but there’s your own business data, there’s some other marketing solutions you might have on Marketo, HubSpot, etc. and if you need to get the data out, we’re going to help you do that.

Jay: Fantastic. So you could, in theory, just be tracking your own company. That might be unnecessarily specific, but you could learn a lot just about your own business, even if you don’t look at competitors. You could use Rival IQ with one company, in theory.

Seth: You could, and what I would say about how the product . . . and I told you, everything’s competitive context. You could compete with yourself. We write hundreds of blog posts a year. As you know, some of those blog posts do amazingly well, others don’t do anything. I want to know, what should I do more of, what should I stop doing, which things should I be driving evergreen, paid, behind what things should I be rewriting, what things should I be looking to rewrite on third-party, where should we be going with Medium. Like, all those, that’s just competing with myself, and I can learn a lot just about myself with Rival IQ.

Jay: I love it. So Marketing Marvels viewers, check it out. I am telling you, it’s awesome, we use it every day. It’s super fantastic. I like it so much I’m actually an investor in the company. That’s how much of a believer I am in Rival IQ. Go to rivaliq.com/l/marvels to get your 20% off subscription offer.

Now, Seth, I want to ask you a couple other questions. As you said, you’ve been in Seattle for 16 years. How did you end up at Rival IQ? You’ve done other things in the past in the software business, how did this happen?

Seth: This happened in a lull between my last . . . My last company was in the clean tech space. We sold it, we earned out, and then we were kind of sitting around going, “We like this team, we like this city, we like being entrepreneurs. What next? What should we do? What’s going to be exciting to us?”

And three of the folks that I worked with previously at my last company, together with a fourth guy, T.A. McCann, who’s kind of a big entrepreneur here in Seattle, we got together and we were interested in competitive. And so, we started thinking about what can you learn by bringing together big sets of data, and the first place we went was not any of this. It was not social, it was pricing.

We’re a SaaS business. We sell monthly or annual subscriptions to our product, and any product manager knows that pricing is one of the hardest things that you’ll ever do in your job. And we thought, we can bring data. Like, we’re smart people, we can bring data to bear on this, so let’s do that. And we built a product, we built an MVP and we shipped it, and fast. Let’s lean start-up this thing and learn, and people were like, “That’s interesting. I wouldn’t pay for it” like, okay, that’s cool, “but I would pay for . . . can you track this, can you track more about their language they’re using.”

And it turned into, “Can you track more about what they’re saying on Twitter,” because we were talking to marketers, and marketers didn’t really care about pricing. They really cared about what brands were doing and positioning and saying, and how social strategy was evolving, this was back in 2012, some of these networks didn’t exist or barely existed at the time, and it just kind of snowballed from there.

The feedback we continued to get from our customers and from the people we were speaking with, more of the social, more of the social, more of the SEO, help me with my content, help me with my digital strategy, and now you see where we’re really in this rhythm where every year we’re adding new data sources, we’re adding even deeper analysis for the data that we have, and it’s just continued to evolve. And I’m sure it’s going to just keep on going, based on the fantastic feedback that we get from all of our customers. I love your team, by the way. They are the best for me to give them . . .

Jay: Thank you.

Seth: They’re smart folks, and they speak their mind, and they’re a big reason that this product is so successful. Their feedback is always on point.

Jay: That’s very kind of you, thanks. Yes, I’m very, very lucky, we have an amazing crew at Convince & Convert, and they do all the work and I take all the credit, which is how I like it.

It’s interesting, though, because you have massive job security because these social platforms keep changing, and they keep evolving and they’re adding new things and taking things away, and so you having the pulse on all those in sort of this single source of truth in the data, it’s got to be a little bit frustrating for you because you’re always having to make API changes and things like that, and interface changes, and the product is never really done. But it’s incredibly important, and one of the things I believe is that every company, large or small, if they’re at all serious about social, is going to have to have Rival IQ or something like Rival IQ.

It’s like, at some point, it’s going to be non-optional because just the time you save . . . I mean, look, here’s the reality. You could probably get 80% of the stuff that’s included in Rival IQ manually if you just went and looked it up. But it would take you, like, hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to do that. And so you’ve got to kind of figure what’s your time worth, or what’s your team’s time worth, at some point, and so that’s why I love the way you’ve put it together. It’s so easy to use, and it is a massive time saver, and an insight creator which, I think, if you’re going to do this with any degree of seriousness, is pretty important.

Seth: Yeah, absolutely, and it’s so funny, people ask, “When are you doing big . . . What’s big . . . ?” You get in these conversations about big data or predictive and all these things, and you realize that 99% of the market doesn’t need that. They just need visibility, they need straightforward, clean, clear analysis about where to invest, how to invest, creative ideas for campaigns that will work, and campaigns that might work, and campaigns that won’t work, and to prove that to the people that spend the money so that they can go ahead and do that.

You moderated a panel at Social Media Marketing World this year and I think the fellow from HSN said something like, somebody said, “There’s no faster way to get budget for something than to show your boss how your competitor is kicking your butt with the same thing,” and he’s totally right. It’s absolutely a true statement.

Jay: Yeah, no doubt. Remember folks, go to rivaliq.com/l/marvels to check out full demo, 20% off subscription. That’s very kind of you. Thank you, Seth. What else? Anything else that we should mention before we wrap it up?

Seth: I think we’ve done it. I think if people are willing to invest the 30 minutes to go get that free trial, they’re going to get some insights about themselves. One of the things we love, love and hate to see at the same time – when people write about us is, like, “You can do so much in the free trial that you don’t even have to pay for the software,” I love it and I hate it. I want people to come try it because they’re going to see and believe, but at the same time you’re like, “Maybe you . . . don’t write that.”

Jay: Keep that quiet. I’m going to ask you the last question that we ask every guest here at Marketing Marvels. You’ve been doing this for a while. What is a marketing marvel to you? So outside of Rival IQ, is there a piece of software that you’re like, “Hey, marketers, you need this”?

Seth: For me and for our business, I have to say something that we run our business on and I talked a lot about Slack. I think that’s a great tool, but for us, we’re a small business, we had very little marketing experience in our founding team. The tool that we’ve relied on more than anything to grow our business and nurture our customers who communicate and engage with them has been Intercom. We use Intercom’s amazing targeting . . . Like, our whole database goes into Intercom, everything, and I’m not just saying, like, every demographic thing.

I’m saying, like, when you use features, how long you use them, when you’ve most recently used them, so that we can really, really get precise with what kind of messaging we put in front of people, what kind of offers we put in front of people, what kind of suggestions about how they might better use the product. Look, we’re not a big shop. We don’t run a HubSpot, we don’t run a Marketo, but we’ve run Intercom since Intercom was $50 a month no matter how big you are, and they’ve grown with us, we’ve grown with them. And I’m amazed that we’ve done so much.

They run our support, they run our email nurture, they run our in-app communication, and it’s a fantastic tool, particularly for business who are small and looking to grow, don’t want a big technology overhead. That’s my call for today.

Jay: That’s awesome, that’s a great recommendation, and sounds like a future episode of Marketing Marvels. We’ll talk to our friends at Intercom, get them on the show as well.

Seth, thanks so much for being here. Congratulations on all the success with Rival IQ. We love it, keep on rocking it. Thanks to all of you for watching as well. Of course, new episodes of Marketing Marvels roll out every couple three weeks, approximately. To make sure you get all of them, subscribe to this YouTube channel, or at least this playlist on YouTube. Go to bit.ly/marketingmarvels, that’s bit.ly/marketingmarvels, all lower case, and you’ll get an email notification when new episodes are in fact published. Or, you could track that YouTube channel on Rival IQ, that’d be weird.

Marketing Marvels is, of course, a production of Convince & Convert Media where we do six podcasts every week, including Social Pros, which is one of my podcasts, Content Pros, Influence Pros, The Business of Story, and our own Convince & Convert podcast, among others. Go to convinceandconvert.com/podcasts for more. You can also go to convinceandconvert.com to get our blog, our daily email newsletter, all that kind of stuff. I will see you next time with another amazing episode of Marketing Marvels. Seth, thanks so much.

Seth: Thanks, Jay.

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