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Want to Spy on Rivals? There's an App for That
 

Social media can offer lots of clues into your competitors' strategies. The trouble is capturing all that data. A new app promises to do it for you.

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Smart companies keep a close eye on their competition. Now a new iOS and Android app called Perch claims it can make that task dead simple.

Instead of hopping between Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and various daily deal sites to track what your competitors are up to, Perch shows you all of this data in one place.

How It Works

Perch is powered by Foursquare so it's location-aware. When you first launch it, the app asks you to identify your company either via a list of nearby businesses to choose from, or by manually entering it into the search bar. From there, Perch provides a list of relevant companies near your or company's location.

You can put your rivals on a watch list that will show you at a glance if they've put out a recent promotion or social post. You can also set Perch to email you daily or weekly reports that summarize what your competition has been up to online.

A New Kind of Competitive Research

Perry Evans, CEO of Closely, the digital marketing firm that developed Perch, says during the process of creating it the company followed the behaviors of about two dozen small businesses, looking at things like how they digest digital marketing noise, evaluate competitor activity, and determine what they should do themselves.

He says Closely found small businesses are very focused on several themes of relevant marketplace information.

Social media is one. "They either feel like they don't understand it or they feel inadequate in their current Facebook marketing or Twitter marketing. They don't quite get what they should be doing so they're very curious to see what other people are doing," he says.

Competitor promotions and daily deals are another big thing companies like to track. "We had one restaurant owner that spent over two hours a day going from site to site seeing what his competitors were doing on their Yelp profile and promotions, browsing through email lists of daily deals to see who's doing a deal today," Evans says. As a result, Closely designed Perch to include a relevant stream that combines location and category so owners can monitor promotions and social marketing. It also aggregates daily deal information from more than 800 sites across more than 110 cities through a Yipit integration.

Closely also found that small businesses react viscerally to Yelp data. "Watching reviews of their own business but also watching reviews of their competitive businesses was very important to them."

Get Perch for free at in the Apple App Store or in Google Play.

Last updated: Nov 6, 2012

CHRISTINA DESMARAIS is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech startup community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com.
@salubriousdish




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