Competitor analysis is crucial if you want to improve your company’s decision-making processes and enhance your business growth. In the past competitor analysis was carried out manually and used to be quite a dull and tedious process. Nowadays, there are efficient automated tools that can collect information about your competitors, monitor the updates, and turn them into useful business intelligence with much less human intervention.
Before we dive deeper into the topic, there are many forms of competitor analysis, so let’s first define competitor analysis in the context of Digital footprint: it refers to the identification and evaluation of your competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses in comparison to yours based on their online presence. The collected data is then used to enhance your company’s efforts and gain an advantage in the market.
In other words, competitor analysis will enable you to outsmart your competitors. It will also:
- Improve your marketing strategy.
- Help you make the most of your competitors’ weaknesses to increase market share.
- Ensure you can create sustainable competitive advantages.
- Help you in the planning of your future investment.
You need competitor analysis especially in the following cases:
- Your competitors are outperforming you; even if you are growing at say 5% year on year but your competitors are at 6% or more, then it’s reasonable to assume they are taking market share from you.
- You are getting diminishing returns, i.e. your costs are increasing at a higher rate than your revenue.
- Your competitors have changed course, but you haven’t yet and are wondering what move to take next.
Other than these cases, a regular analysis of your competitors’ strategies is essential for your business survival and growth.
What Type of Information Should Your Competitor Analysis Deliver?
A successful competitor analysis uses the web information as important business intelligence delivering such data as:
- Competitors’ price, product, and company information can be found on their websites.
- News about their products or company on the media. Check the news portals for this.
- Use social media to find out about their customers’ feedback and community impacts, as well as the general company or product news.
- Look up their search engine rankings.
To help you further with your analysis, here are several questions you should be able to answer when undertaking competitor analysis:
- What threats do your competitors pose to you?
- What impacts did their latest competitive move have on your business?
- What are your competitors’ goals? How far have they gone in achieving these goals?
- What are the main strategies of your competitors? Are they successful?
- Can you list the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
- What are the possible responses of your competitors in case you make changes in your business strategy?
What are the Types of Competitor Analysis?
There are a few types of competitor analysis based on what your goals are, what kind of competitor data you are more interested in and what metrics you will keep an eye on most.
Let’s have a look at the main types of competitor analysis:
1. Comparison and Analysis of Competitor Content
Analysing the content of your competitors will give you better insights into their overall strategy and help you understand if customers are engaging with their content. Have a look at the following content elements:
- Blog posts, white papers, case studies, eBooks, newsletters
- Videos, podcasts, webinars
- Their digital footprint and activity
- Their messaging and shifting market focus
- Press releases
Are they doing anything you are missing? Are they publishing more posts per week than you? What are their topics of discussion? Having the answers to these will help you fill in the gaps in your business.
2. Analysis of Competitors’ SEO Structure
Why are your competitors ranking higher on search engines? What’s the thing they do differently to your business? Explore their SEO strategies to the core to get the necessary answers.
Keep an eye on the following points:
- Keyword placement (page title, URL architecture, H1 & H2 tags, content, internal links, image alt text, meta description, social media, ads, etc.).
- Domain authority
- Page templates (How good is their site design? Is it responsive? How about yours?).
- Backlink strategies.
- Blog topics and publishing frequency.
3. Analysis of Social Media Presence
You should know how your competitors are using social media in order to improve your social media strategy.
Check the social networks they use and determine the ones that work best for them. Compare the results to your social presence.
How often do your competitors post? What about you?
How many followers they have across different channels? How fast are they gaining new ones? Compare the results to your own growth.
It’s also important to see who they are following. Maybe you should follow them too?
How are they dealing with customer support? Do they own a separate account for customer service? Are their responses personalised? Helpful or aggressive?
Gain points on their weaknesses by offering better services. What are they bad at? Poor response rate, inactivity, spelling mistakes, poor images, etc.
Steps to Take for a Successful Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis might be a time-consuming task, however, if structured and executed properly, it’s surely worth the efforts. It’s one of the most important practices you can perform for the success of your business.
We have made a list of the main steps you should take when starting your competitor analysis. These points will help you determine its structure more easily and in a shorter period of time.
4. List Your Competitors
The first important step in your competitor analysis journey is determining and listing your competitors. Take your time with this step and find out all your competitors based on the following:
- Direct: Your direct competitors sell the same or similar product as you in similar markets.
- Indirect: These competitors might not be selling similar products to you, but they are aiming for the same market or industry.
- Complementary: This refers to the companies that sell products which when combined with your own, will have more value to your customers. You both are going for the same market. Keep in mind that your complementary competitors might collaborate with your direct competitors.
- Aspirational: Aspirational businesses are the leaders in the market, the ones you admire and want to be like.
5. Decide the Metrics You Want to Track
You need to know which metrics you should track when conducting your competitor analysis, e.g., social media following, post engagement, website traffic, keyword rankings, etc. We elaborated more on these above. Keep in mind that you need to monitor these metrics regularly to always have up-to-date statistics.
6. Choose the Right Competitor Analysis Tool: Semrush vs SpyFu
There are multiple competitor analysis tools out there, Semrush and SpyFu being some of the most popular among them. You need to decide which one works best for your business goals.
Semrush has a comprehensive set of tools for website audit, keyword research, position tracking, SEO and PPC competitor analysis, on-page SEO checker, backlink analytics, and more. The tool has control of over 20 billion keywords and 818 million domains in 142 geodatabases.
SpyFu was founded in 2006 on the idea of turning your competitors into your best advisors. It lets you spy on your rivals’ online strategies and analytics. You can use SpyFu to get information about your organic and paid competitors.
While both are great for competitor analysis, Semrush offers more features than SpyFu. The latter lacks brand monitoring and social media tracking features which are crucial for any successful competitor analysis.
Besides, Semrush offers a more in-depth research of keywords. With its tools, you can find the most relevant keywords in your niche with insightful analytics for a variety of keyword ideas, including semantically related long-tail keywords. Semrush also lets you determine the topics and subtopics that are interesting to your target audience. Unlike this, SpyFu offers more surface-level keyword data.
7. Organise the Gathered Data
Bulk up the information you have on each of your competitors. Turn to the good old SWOT analysis. List the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Identify the threats that your business faces from them. This way you will frame your competitive analysis and have a clearer idea about the further steps you need to take.
Now that you have a large amount of competitor data at hand, it’s high time to analyse it to make well-thought-out and strategic decisions for your own business.
Act as a consumer and evaluate each of your competitors. Make your ranking list.
How do new users treat each of your competitors? What campaigns are they conducting? What can you tell about their customer journey? Analyse and take notes of every detail: starting from creative assets to landing pages, from the onboarding process to their solutions, etc.
9. Make Meaningful Decisions
Now you can get the most of your competitor analysis by making meaningful decisions for your company. Integrate your analysis into your business’ decision-making process to reap the long-awaited rewards.
With your competitor analysis data, you will have a wealth of information to use in the planning of every campaign you want to run.
Measuring is crucial if you want to achieve success and get actual, tangible results. Measure yourself regularly against the benchmarks, standards, and goals within your competitor analysis.
Use the results to boost and optimise your digital marketing strategy and surpass your competitors in no time.
As you can see, a well-conducted competitor analysis can be a source of highly valuable information about your rivals in the market and can get you a step closer to achieving your business goals.
At TME, we conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis before we start building a website or digital marketing campaign. It allows us to determine best practice and ensure whatever solution we execute is going to deliver maximum returns for our clients. So let us handle your digital footprint and help you make better business decisions by providing you with real-time competitive intelligence, an in-depth understanding of your competitors’ marketing strategies, and constant monitoring of your competition.
Our experts would be happy to help you beat your rivals in the market. Follow the link below to get a FREE consultation call.