A competitive analysis for digital marketing is a practical way to define your company’s standing. Let’s see how to compare yourself against competing brands and identify the strengths and weaknesses of other market players.
Okay, you may have heard of the superpowers of a digital marketing competitive analysis. Digital marketers swear by it, saying it has a magical impact which can uncover some of the highest-intent marketing tactics and most researched keywords in the industry.
There are tons of competitors to sift through, lots of different tools you may use, and hundreds of keywords to consider.
It can be a bit overwhelming at first.
How in the world can you harness that magic? How can you conduct a successful competitive analysis without spending endless hours in front of your laptop to gather accurate data?
The answer is simple. By reading this post you will follow a proven process that cuts off all of the unnecessary noise.
We have put together all of the processes and tools needed to be your full guide when conducting a complete marketing competitive analysis. In a few steps you will be able to usurp competitors and uncover many secrets and position yourself atop of the market.
But first, we need to define what competitive analysis means.
What Is Competitive Analysis?
In business, the process of competitive analysis is vital to inform strategic decision-making. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors or the major players in this area, you can make informed decisions about the best position of your products and services in the marketplace.
Competitor analysis can take many forms, but some common methods include SWOT analysis, benchmarking, and customer surveys.
SWOT analysis involves taking a close look at a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This information can be gathered through financial reports, company websites, and other public sources.
Benchmarking is another common method of competitor analysis. This involves comparing your company’s performance against that of your competitors. For example, that can be done regarding financial metrics, customer satisfaction levels, or other measures.
Customer surveys are another valuable source of information for competitor analysis.
So, if you want a clear definition of a competitive analysis, it is typically the process of researching and analysing the business characteristics, units, and marketing plans of the companies operating in a given industry or market.
Your ultimate goal from this process is to define your company’s standing relative to your competitors and spot any gaps, along with estimating your potential to fill them.
Why Does it Matter?
First off, competitive analysis is the only way to know your position in the market compared to other businesses like yours. You will identify how your company stands in the marketplace.
That’s why it enables you to discover two main vital domains:
- The opportunities or gaps that exist in the current market.
- The dangers or threats you need to be aware of.
In fact, if you don’t have a great competitor analysis, your digital marketing strategy will be worthless or at least not be as effective as expected simply because you don’t have the insight about your competitors to uncover what holes you can fill in the market.
Additionally, you know nothing about what weakness you should fix in your own business to stand out.
For example, the data you can generate from the competitive analysis for digital marketing can be used in the following ways:
- Outrank competitors for specific keywords in Google
- Establish a competitive pricing strategy that makes sense for your audience.
- Attract more customers by offering a distinctive value proposition
- Get inspired to craft creative content for your blog and social media channels
- Understand your direct and indirect competitors
- And much more
By analysing your competitors, you will learn how to watch the competitive landscape and explore new market trends on a regular basis to ensure that you’re caught up.
You will gain priceless intelligence, which will help you make strategic decisions based on well-structured and visualised data instead of guessing what you can do next.
There is no room for going with your gut anymore. Every decision is supported by relevant information.
How to Do a Competitive Analysis for Digital Marketing
So, how can we create the proper competitive analysis for digital marketing? What tools to use or steps to take for actionable comprehensive research?
See if paid channels on social media and websites such as Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google Ads are the right approach.
In this section, we will go through many methods to build your competitive analysis, whether from organic performance with SEO or content benchmarks.
Thankfully, all competitors’ manoeuvres can be analysed and tracked in the digital marketing battlefield.
- Determine Who Your Competitors Are
The ultimate goal of competitor analysis for digital marketing is to identify your competition. That’s why it’s worth your investment.
That will take you in an in-depth look at your industry to help you compile a list of the biggest competitors in your industry.
Then you need to determine who represents the biggest threats to your business and who you can beat easily.
But does that mean you should analyse every and each competitor within your industry?
Actually no! It will be time consuming and will waste other valuable resources.
Instead, you should divide your competitors into direct and indirect. So the companies that provide a very similar solution to your typical target audience should take your entire focus.
But from time to time, you should check those rivals who offer a completely different service, but target the same problem you want to solve because they might have the same ideal buyer persona you speak to. Keep an eye on them too but prioritise your focus on direct competitors.
So, don’t forget to analyse their digital marketing strategy and what they offer new that might affect your business.
I know it might be straightforward, but trust me, while conducting different competitive research, we are surprised by how often companies have a misguided understanding of how to define their competitors and who their main rivals are.
Too often, we see companies do their research, uncover new major players, and spend way too much money on digital marketing. Sometimes the result is fascinating, offering them many insights into competition, but most of the time, it’s a disaster, and they gain nothing substantial from the whole thing.
You need a strategy that helps you target the same audience that somehow overlooked or flew under the radar of your competitors.
Investing in tools such as Facebook Ad library, Ahrefs, SimilarWeb, and Semrush will be game-changing to get a better perspective of real competitors in your specific market. You should also focus on what strategies work best for them to inspire you to find your own.
So, what is the best strategy when it comes to finding online competitors?
You could choose 3-5 competitors and then dig deeper online to explore their digital marketing efforts.
You can focus on all of the channels and platforms they use, or you can look into your top competitors in each channel. For example, discover the best brands ranked on Google and the top 3 organic competitors, then the top 3 in paid search and so on.
- Keep Yourself Updated with the Recent Technology
Every day we hear about a new tool that eases the digital marketer’s job. And here is the deal: if you want to stay sure that your marketing plan will help you beat your competitors online, you need to stay up to date on what they use for better digital marketing performance.
You should be aware of any moves and compare their presence to yours.
Let’s see this example. We will use Semrush to analyse Competitor X, a real estate website that helps you find rental houses around you and communicate with the landlord. X wants to catch up with its rivals’ performance, especially online.
Okay, X, let’s do it!
To understand the market profoundly, you have to check up on the overall market and competitive landscape. That’s why you may want to start with a brilliant tool such as Semrush.
So, you only need to enter one website in Semrush Market Explorer. Then, type the major competitor you know who would affect your market in the search field.
Then the tool will conduct a quick and complete competitor mapping for you.
And here is what you get from this tool:
- Identify your competitors: you might explore new competitors you know very little about.
- Map out the competitive landscape in an understandable form and then double-check what you get to analyse each.
- Classify your competitors by their position, current audience size, and market potential.
- Get a dynamic view of your rivals’ online market shares; you can identify the closest competitors and watch changes in their market positions over time.
- Change the results by handing-pack any closest rivals you know based on traffic or market share numbers. You will be able to build a custom market, gathering the competitors you think represent a real threat to your business.
- Explore marketing strategies by tracking these rivals and constantly watch competitors that matter.
Then, if you want to keep more with this tool, you can create a more granular analysis by turning to the Benchmarking report option. Here, you will get a breakdown of the key market trends that might be useful for your audience generation.
This report reveals the most efficient traffic sources and analysing their social media platforms. Explore which channels your competitors use, and you might consider adding them to your marketing mix.
If you haven’t already established your marketing strategy, this will be valuable information that you don’t want to miss.
Then you can frequently revisit this report to quickly uncover any emerging traffic sources you might not have thought of before.
For instance, in Competitor X, Instagram may be an underdog in traffic generation. Yet, many companies are already leveraging this platform for their sake. But you might spot that they start using affiliate marketing and communicate with influencers to their advantage.
Then, it’s an excellent way for you to grow as well.
From time to time, be ready by taking notes of any discrepancy from your initial marketing strategy and rebuild your digital campaign research to enhance your performance.
Not to mention you can gather information about niche overview, the most sustainable and successful plate and seasonal trends.
Note: if you are willing to take advantage of all of the Semrush features and don’t know when you should start or don’t need to pay for a subscription, our team will help you out to make the best of your capabilities. Contact us now!
- Look at Your Competitors
Now that you’ve found out what your competitors are and know some basics about competitive analysis for digital marketing, you can verify their strengths and weakness by conducting in-depth research. Here is a step-by-step process of understanding your rivals better and doing a competitor analysis without missing anything.
Well, do you know what your competitors do?
They use ad platforms to analyse web pages to see what other players do and what trackers they use.
At this point, most of them use Chrome extensions such as Wappalyzer and Ghostery.
These trackers will give you a comprehensive analysis of what ad platforms your competitors use to advertise.
In other words, they spy on their competitors.
And you should do so too!
For example, Builtwith. It’s one of the most powerful tools to tell you what platforms, extensions, and plugins your competitors use.
For instance, if you spot LinkedIn Insight Tag on the Builtwith report, that means this company is running LinkedIn Ads. And it’s a good chance for you to consider it in your next ad campaign.
Also, tools like Hotjar and Mailchimp will help you spot customers’ journeys inside your competitors’ websites. So, you know which section attracts visitors more.
Actually, there are many tools to use to examine your competitors. You just need to stay focused and invest in the right tool in each step to cut off any possible hassle caused by an abundance of resources.
Also, you can get a consultation session with our marketing experts, who will advise you on the best practice, software, program or tool to use to achieve your objectives.
- Determine Areas of Your Competition Research
After we dive a little deeper into the competitor landscape, your competitor analysis can only be completed by conducting competitor research.
Many facets are jumping up when you carry out this research— even more so when you’re ready to form your business plan or funding pitch.
For the sake of this competitive analysis of digital marketing, we recommend investing in these topics:
Website Review: Compare your competitors’ websites to yours. Find their strengths and weakness and test out their service if there is any on the website (like reservation or shipping an order). You need to have an authentic experience.
Brand Positioning: Explore your competitors’ brand voice. For instance, pricing and language are good indicators if the brand aims to be luxurious or affordable. You can also look at their website and analyse their messaging. What words do they use to describe their business? What feeling do you get from their site?
Content Review: You need to analyse your competitor’s blog, advertisements, copy, and social media posts. This research will depend on word count, content performance, and common aspects your competitors use, like outbound and inbound marketing.
SEO Analysis: You will need to understand how well your competitors are running in search engines and why they rank high or low. It might be a more technical mission, but you also need to know what spots to look for. For example, where does most of your competitors’ traffic come from?
Customer Acquisition: Check out their social media presence. See the number of followers they have and how engaged their fans are. That will inspire them to explore how effective their marketing is. Also, consider holding interviews and focus groups to reveal this information.
How Can Profiletree Help You?
Competitor analysis is a significant component of your business’s growth.
However, not all analyses are built equal. You need to ensure that your competitive analysis in digital marketing is successful and well-structured to help you further.
That’s what we can make for you:
- Help you understand your competition because we know some of your local competitors. Not just online but also in the real world market. With more than 10 years of experience with building brands online, we have an advantage over other analysis firms.
- Analyse the right competitors after conducting detailed and competitors-centric research to find your direct and indirect competitors.
- Our seasoned team will make sure that you identify companies that offer similar products or services, have a similar business size and target the same audience.
- Use the right competitor metrics that will help you improve your business. Before beginning, we will hold in-personal meetings to determine key metrics that will benefit your strategy.
- Make sure that we use data from reliable sources. We use highly recommended trusted tools such as SEMRush or SpyFu.
- Use the readable template to compile data neatly. We keep it organised to help you reestablish any analysis for further use.
- Make data we generated a starting point for identifying your market strategy that is working for your specific industry. So you can figure out how to build more effective strategies for the entire processes in your business.
You can feel confident that our experts can help you develop a competitive analysis for digital marketing that drives results.
Ready to get started? Contact us right now! Book an appointment with our strategists to put your analysis into play.