How to SPY on your competitor’s EMAILS with this amazing new tool

Spy on competitors

You may think that you would have to be a hacker or do something illegal to get this level of intelligence from your competitors but apparently not!

You may already know that you can use tools to gain a quick insight into your competitor’s search engine rankings and find out what keywords they spend money on via Google AdWords but imagine being able to spy on your competitor’s email campaigns….

Well now you can spy on your competitor's emails with a fantastic new beta email analytics tool from SEMrush.

How does this work?

Just like the other suite of tools contained within SEMrush, the new email analytics tool is extremely simple to use.  You either search using a website’s domain name, in this case I chose, but there is also the option to search using specific keywords across all domains on SEMrush's database.

You are also able to select a specific date range which is excellent if you are looking for ideas for seasonal campaigns.

SEMrush email analytics example

You have the option of searching using a domain name or keyword...

After you enter the required information you just need to click apply and you are presented with a list of results that shows email reach, date the email was sent, subject line and then gives you an indication on how many inbox folders the email has landed in.

SEMrush Email Analytics

You are given the option to preview emails or click through to view the full email that was sent...

The results

After a quick browse of the results it is quickly apparent that Walmart has been sending out a number of email marketing campaigns in January 2016 relating to quitting smoking.  This in itself can be extremely valuable information, and if you have a business that sells similar products, it may very well give you some ideas for an email marketing campaign right away.

I clicked through to view an email named ‘Quit Smoking In 2016’ and found that you are then presented with other information such as what appeared to be the percentage of people that read the email, the percentage of people who read and deleted the email as well as the percentage of people who simply deleted it. I’m not entirely sure how they get this data or if it is even accurate but it is probably worth remembering that the tool is still in beta and probably still needs a lot of work done before you can really trust the data.

Email Analytics Preview

A preview of a Walmart email in Semrush's email analytics....

Personal data removed

I noticed that that at the top of the email preview it reads ‘Some elements have been deleted from the email below as they may contain confidential and/or personal information’  this becomes evident when you scroll down in some emails as you will sometimes find that chunks of data is pixelated.

I’m not really sure how SEMrush gather this data.  I assumed at first that perhaps they have an automated process to sign up for email newsletters and then scrape the content from there.  However, that wouldn't explain how they have to blank out personal data and wouldn't explain how they have information on open rates.

What I would like from the finished product

I really want to understand how SEMrush gathers all of this data, this is to satisfy my own curiosity more than anything but it would be great if they give us an indication into how this data is being gathered so that we can decide how much we should trust the stats related to things like open rates and the volume of people who received the email.

I tested the tool on multiple domains and it worked amazingly well, especially for a beta, but I hope that the final product will let you search across more domains as I found that it was much more difficult to get results for smaller sized businesses.

An option to combine the keyword search function while also being able to pick emails being sent to/from specific countries would be extremely helpful too.  For example, you might want to find a list of businesses based in the UK sending emails about a specific subject.


This feature is an excellent addition SEMrush, and when you combine it with the other tools available, you can really build up a great picture of your competitors online marketing activities.

This tool will be absolutely amazing for agencies pitching for work.  Imagine being able to walk into a client pitch and present to them a list of the keywords their competitors are ranking for, the keywords their competitors are bidding for on AdWords and also information relating to emails that their competitors are sending out.

I cannot wait to see the final version of this tool when it is fully developed and I definitely see myself using it on a daily basis.

Can you think of any interesting uses for this tool?  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.

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1 comment

Jim January 26, 2016

I agree it would be great to know how SEMrush gather the info so we could determine how much of the stats can be trusted.

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