The point of digital marketing and marketing, in general, is to outperform your competition. So, understanding our competition is the first step in achieving this goal, and that’s where competitive analysis comes in.
In this guide, we will discuss some of the key tips in conducting a competitive analysis. Yet, before we begin, let us first discuss the purpose and benefits.
While there can be many different reasons to perform a competitive analysis, in general, there are three core benefits. Performing a competitive analysis will help you:
So, how can we conduct a competitive analysis? Before we begin with the initial steps, let us discuss some of the available tools that can help with your competitive analysis purposes.
Thankfully, thanks to the advancements in technology and the internet, there are many available tools, some free, that help you in your competitive analysis efforts. Here are some of them:
71% of buyers began their purchase journey through a Google search. So, if you hadn’t put enough focus on SEM and haven’t worked with SEO experts, you are missing out.
There are many tools available to compare keywords, search volume, difficulty, and backlinks. The handy MOZ’s SEO Tools and SEMRush are just a couple out of many other examples.
Use these available tools to look at your competitors’ strategies in the search engine realm. Look at the keywords they are targeting, and assess whether you can directly compete with the same keyword(s), or target others.
You can also analyze backlinks using tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer. This way, you can find high-quality backlinks obtained by your competitors. Chances are, the same sites will also want to link your contents, and you can also use the data to develop your overall link-building strategy.
For Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) advertising campaigns, competitive analysis is also important to ensure cost efficiency.
A/B testing, or split testing, is useful in testing the performance of your website, email marketing, or various campaigns. The idea is to test two different versions of your campaign or site, and test which one is performing better. Check out this guide by VWO to help you learn more about A/B testing.
Sometimes, we are not aware of new threats until it is too late.
You can use analysis tools for SEO above to monitor new competitors. If you see any changes in SERP or new bids for PPC ads, you can immediately know and react.
You can also use your social media platforms to monitor a lot of useful things like the number of followers and engagements, content distribution, trending topics, new competitor’s campaign, and many others. There are many social media monitoring tools available that might help you, like these ones.
There are a virtually unlimited amount of metrics, variables, and factors to look for in the digital marketing realm, and it is easy to get lost if you are not careful.
So, here are the key metrics you should focus on:
Competitors’ Social Media Mentions
You can use various social media monitoring tools to track comments about your competitors. This way, you can monitor their reputation, and you can turn those mentions into your own leads. Also, if there are any high-value influencers mentioning competitors, you might want to engage with them immediately and turn them to your side.
Fairly obvious, check various queries where your competitors rank for and look for any increase or decrease.
Track how often your competitors are publishing their contents, the topics, and the keywords they are targeting. Also, you might want to take notes on their posting time to maximize the impacts of your contents and content promotions. For example, if you are facing a heavy competition in the evening, you might want to consider other times to promote your contents.
Followers are arguably the most important asset in the digital marketing world nowadays. You should both track competitors’ growth, as well as your own. Tracking followers growth can determine whether your contents are effective, as well as the performance of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Competitive analysis is also useful in finding the most effective marketing channels for your business. The idea is to look for the key digital marketing channels of your competitors. By considering all the different metrics we have discussed above, you can either use the same channel(s) and attempt a direct competition, or you can exploit other channels where you see opportunities.
Although ideally, we should benchmark our business with all the available competitors, we only have a limited amount of budget and time to analyze so many of them. So, who should we first focus on? There are three key competitors: first is the leaders of your industry, which are pretty self-explanatory. Second, the aspirational brands which might or might not be industry leaders but have a strong following and online presence. Third are the key influencers in your industry.
Understanding your enemies has been the core of any strategy since the ancient days. With all the available tools and technology, we can arguably say that competitive analysis is now easier than ever, and so you must use it to your full advantage.
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