Digital competitive analysis has been a valuable tool in the hands of experienced marketers, but competitive analysis shouldn’t be a big challenge for newcomers. The most important part of competitive digital marketing analysis is understanding what you should actually be doing. Here are the best ways to conduct competitive analysis in digital marketing:
1. Decide Which Metrics You Will Track
First and foremost, you need to decide which metrics you will be tracking as a part of your competitor analysis when looking at their digital marketing strategy. These metrics will be the statistics that you will be keeping an eye on to understand how they change over short and long periods of time. By looking at your competitors’ performance, you will be able to better understand what you should expect from your own digital marketing efforts.
Here is an article that highlights some website metrics to be aware of here: Website Metrics to Track
Other digital marketing metrics to keep track of might be the following:
- Social Media Following
- Post Engagement
- Website Traffic
- Keyword Rankings
Keep in mind that the fluctuations in these metrics largely depend on many different factors rather than purely what your competitors do as a part of their marketing campaigns. This is why such aspects as the correspondence between their marketing claims and their actual value proposition or the growing demand on the market can all influence key metrics you are tracking quite a lot.
2. Choose the Marketing Channels
This step is highly recommended and can help you be more prepared for your competitor analysis. The thing is that before you actually conduct the analysis, don't feel like you have to know each and every competitor on the market. You will be discovering more competitive companies as you do your research. However, if you really are able to make a somewhat accurate list of competitors beforehand, you will be more prepared.
Think of it this way: it’s better to have something than nothing. If you have at least a vague idea of who your competitors are, it’s better to compile even a short list. Then, once you do begin your research, you will be able to direct your efforts at analyzing these companies or entrepreneurs more attentively. This will also mean that you will spend less time analyzing the wrong people and businesses.
3. Compile A List of Competitors
The second thing you should do is choose your marketing channels wisely. Digital marketing is a broad concept which is why it includes so many elements that together constitute what we know as online marketing channels. Many of these channels (or platforms) can intersect with each other. They can also be used to cross-promote one another. But in the end, each of them has a specific purpose, target audience, abilities, and so on.
Some popular digital marketing channels include social media platforms, email marketing, paid ads, content marketing, video marketing, and web traffic. Social media marketing can include influencer marketing; paid ads are often connected to the broader notion of web traffic; video marketing is sometimes included in content marketing. Depending on your own plans for digital marketing, you might want to focus more on one or more of these channels when dissecting your competitors' strategies.
4. Make Your Own Report
Another thing you can do beforehand to better prepare for digital marketing competitor analysis is to make your own report. Ideally, this report will cover your own business and provide you with a more in-depth look at your company. If you haven’t started a business yet and are doing competitor analysis precisely to prepare for starting a business, you won’t be able to make a report like this. But if you can make the report, it will serve two main purposes.
Firstly, you will have an example of what your competitor reports should look like. You will already have a template to help you gather information on others by checking what you compiled about yourself. Secondly, you will now understand your company much better and see all of its strengths and weaknesses. You will also be able to compare your company to other brands and businesses.
5. Consider Using Outsourcing
Outsourcing is not popular with all kinds of companies, but it can be very useful for those just starting out as well as for those who have been in business for a while now. Basically, outsourcing helps you save a part of your budget, have more time for essential tasks, help you get through a crisis, and more. Besides, it can also help you with your competitor research and analysis if you know how to use it correctly.
For example, you can hire a professional writer from a custom writing reviews site like Online Writers Rating. The writers there can be chosen based on their reputation, skills, knowledge, prices, etc. Once you choose the right writer for yourself, they can do the research and complete the necessary competitor analysis. Then, they can write a comprehensive report on your competitors instead of you having to perform all of these tasks.
6. Compare Marketing and Efforts
One thing that almost every marketer, business owner, and entrepreneur seem to be forgetting about is the difference between marketing and efforts. Even though one of your competitor companies may claim to have 100% cotton-made clothes in their ad campaigns, the reality might be that many of their clothing pieces are actually just 70% cotton and the several pieces that are left are truly 100% cotton.
This is the difference between marketing and efforts (or claims and reality). By researching this difference for your competitor analysis, you will be able to better assess the actual state of the market and find out whether your competitors are honest with your customers. Some industries thrive on ignoring such details about their products, so it is important to find out what your niche does and whether you want to follow the trend.
A good example of this would be the Canadian skincare brand The Ordinary. Their products don’t have fancy packaging – instead, they are plain white with black text and that’s the uniqueness of this company (which, by the way, kind of revolutionized the market a few years ago). They were open about the fact that most skincare products have unnecessary ingredients. Instead of being the same, they only use the most important ingredients.
7. Analyze Competitor SEO Strategy
Though your analysis will mostly focus on a variety of metrics related to marketing, it’s great to concentrate your attention specifically on their SEO strategy. You can use various competitor analysis tools to do this which are pretty much the same tools you use to analyze your own SEO metrics in the campaigns you launch. Here are some things to pay attention to:
- Website Performance: How many website visits do they get on average? Do they get any comments on their website? Which keywords do they use and how high does their website rank in search results for these keywords? Do they only use English on their website or do they use other languages too?
- Social Media Performance: Which platforms do they have accounts on and how many followers do they have there? How many likes, comments, and reposts do their posts get on average? Which hashtags do they use and how high do they appear in search results for these hashtags?
8. Take a Look at the Audience
It’s not enough to just look at your competitors’ performance – you should also take a look at their audience. By understanding who their audience is, you will be able to determine your own potential target audience. Moreover, you will be able to compare their audience to yours and see if you have a lot in common and what differences you have as well.
When analyzing your competitors’ audiences, try to first find out the basics (e.g. age, gender, sexuality, location, education, occupation, family status). Then, you can move on to more specific and nuanced details (e.g. interests, strengths, weaknesses, fears, needs, dreams, religious beliefs).
9. Check Up on Traditional Marketing
Indeed, traditional marketing is not a part of digital marketing. However, the two are sometimes used together to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. This is why looking at your competitors’ traditional marketing techniques can also help you get a better picture of what you can plan for your own business.
Besides, traditional marketing is known for being very efficient and powerful. For example, direct-mail marketing is still used a lot in the U.S. because it allows to get an instant response and can rival its digital alternatives.
10. Make Your Final Conclusions
Last but not least, you need to make your final conclusions based on the information you found out about your competitors. Did you gather enough information? Are you satisfied with the results? Is this what you expected or were you surprised? How different are your own campaigns compared to those launched by your competitors?
It is necessary that you answer all these questions honestly because they will help you better understand what your competitor analysis actually means. In addition to that, you should also adjust your digital marketing campaigns to meet the latest trends or use more effective techniques.
To sum up, competitors marketing is very important for your marketing strategy, so make sure to do your research well. After all, the marketing analysis of your competitors will help you get a better picture of the market and help you form your own campaigns.
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Melissa Mauro is a freelance writer who creates quality and original content. She is working for the company Best Writers Online in the translation department and wants to find new platforms for professional growth. She believes that creativity and improvement are things, which distinguish a good writer.