The Benefits of A Marketing and Digital Marketing Competitive Analysis
What are your competitors doing to leverage their presence and capture greater market share at your expense?
A competitive analysis is an in-depth review of a wide range of local marketing and web data that reveals your competitors’ digital marketing strategies and tactics, as well as their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your own products or services.
The analysis can be a basis for a digital marketing plan which creates the most efficient path to compete on the web and to win. The analysis allows you to gain the market and competitive information you need to make the right decisions and eclipse your web competition.
How Competitive is Your Industry?
The question of competitiveness in your industry is tricky to answer as many geographical and geo-political factors heavily influence the competitive landscape of your particular industry and region.
Remember, the higher the relevance, quality and reputation of your content in Google’s eyes, the better the visibility or higher ranking your content earns on search engine result pages (SERPs).
It is important for any business to know :
- Why and how their competitors have earned the top visibility for either organic or paid search listings on Google?
- Who are your strongest online competitors?
- What keyword phrases do your competitors rank for to gain visibility and boost their relevant traffic?
- Why are your competitors more visible?
- What have they done differently?
- Are your competitors using landing pages to generate support for very specific campaign messages?
- How much are your competitors paying for specific competitive keywords?
A competitive analysis answers all these questions and more.
A professional analysis gathers and evaluates deep data from search engines, websites, and social media platforms. The detail-rich results are presented in a series of comprehensive charts and graphs that clearly show your competitive landscape on the Internet.
What kind of data matters?
- Domain age
- Domain reputation
- Web presence/web properties
- Quality and standards of coding
- Responsive design to accommodate mobile devices
- Site speed optimization
- Development platform
- Programming errors
- W3C standard compliance
- Navigation structure
- Content quality and depth
- Content sharing capabilities Organic Search (SEO)
- Top ranking keyword phrases
- Other organic keyword combinations and rankings
- Long-tail phrases
- Short-tail phrases
- Search positioning
- Search volume
- Depth of organic visibility
- Variety of organic rankings
- Back-link quality and reputation
- Content depth/number of indexed pages Note: Google uses over 200 ever-changing ranking factors to decide page rankings. Certain basic principles never change though, and this is what professional SEO campaigns must primarily focus on. Paid Search (PPC and Re-Marketing)
- Number of individual PPC campaigns
- Ad copy per campaign
- Targeted keyword phrases
- Search volume
- Click charges (CPC)
- Conversion strategies
- Messages in calls-to-action (CTA)
- Landing pages and their conversion strategies
- Conversion topics/offers
- Re-Marketing setup and coverage Social Media
- Social presence
- Social content positioning
- Content sharing capabilities
- Social impact
- Social visibility
- Social intensity
- User participation
- User engagement
- Social creativity
- Social conversion strategies
Who Do You Compete With?
Almost every business owner has at least one well-known “across-the-street” competitor. Some brick-and-mortar competitors may have a poor or non-existent online presence, and if this is the case, they should be eliminated from the competitor analysis process, even if this is the most despised competitor from across the street.
What Do You Compete For?
Ultimately everybody competes for leads and opportunities. But things are a little more complex these days. Your digital presence and your competitive strategy must address the needs of your potential prospects or clients at various stages of their purchasing decision.
You compete for:
1) Brand visibility
2) Content discoverability
Benchmarking is an ongoing process of comparing your own digital performance against your identified main online competitors. There are multiple components of benchmarking, so the focus should be on the metrics most relevant to your industry and geography.
One of the reasons benchmarking is a critical component of every competitor analysis is an attempt to create an ‘apples-to-apples’ environment by defining measurable and meaningful metrics.
Competitive benchmarking is one of the custom elements of each competitor analysis, but here are some general considerations as well:
There are many diagnostic tools on the market allowing you to check the health of your website. Some of these tools allow quick comparisons of the major web components. Our Webscan, for example, is a comprehensive diagnostic tool designed to assess on-page and off-page factors. It also allows for direct comparisons of various websites and checks web benchmark from various angles. A periodic Webscan report (or similar) allows you to quickly detect changes in your competitive landscape.
A good measure of content quality and depth is a periodic benchmarking check of your competitors’ content changes. Some free tools, like Google alerts or Google site index check, can provide immediate insights into your competitor’s content changes.
Content Discoverability Benchmarking
Brand content discoverability is reflected in the ranking coverage for each particular domain. Due to ongoing content updates in your competitive surroundings, as well as search engine algorithmic updates, it is critical to periodically check and benchmark your rankings and those of your competitors. Being aware of your progress or decline is good, but knowing the competitor’s development versus your own property is much more important.
Paid Advertisement Benchmarking
For the purpose of competitive benchmarking, a constant review of your competitor’s paid advertising activities can bring immediate return. Due to its nature, paid advertising is instant and much more dynamic than any other form of digital marketing. Be sure you are up-to-date with your competitor’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) activity as it can pay big dividends for your efforts. Neglect paid advertising benchmarking and your competitors will thank you for looking the other way!
Social Presence and Activity Benchmarking
Social benchmarking could become your secret weapon, as many organizations still do not take full advantage of social communication and social technologies. Social benchmarking can be as simple as becoming a follower of your competitor’s brands, or just monitoring their social activity. Ongoing monitoring is tremendously beneficial, as you may uncover a competitor’s hidden weaknesses.
A site’s backlink profile has been an important Google ranking factor from day one. The quality and reputation of links pointing back to your domain may be one of the deciding factors for your overall search engine visibility. Backlink benchmarking can help your efforts to improve your backlink profile and to uncover new potential referring domains to earn your new quality backlinks.
Other General Considerations:
- Check overall changes in visual appearance of your competitors’ web properties (web and social)
- Monitor changes in marketing messaging, which may indicate strategy, product, or service changes
- Constantly look for new products, new services, and new price announcements
- Be aware of any seasonal promotions
- Any business expansions or changes in your competitor’s geo-target
- Any changes to key personnel executive team
- Any additions to their project/case study portfolio
- Any new inbound/outbound advertising and/or corporate communications
The Inside Scoop on Your Competition’s Strategic research will also clearly reveal strategies and tactics that your online competition is using to gain brand visibility, win trust, engage, and convert. Coupled with professional interpretation of the results, it will show which paths lead to the best conversions, the ultimate goal of any professional marketing plan.
The Value of Your USP vs. Your Competitions’
One of the most exciting parts of the process is the analysis of your competitor’s unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a critical part of your brand identity, summarizing the value proposition and the unique reason why consumers should choose you over your competition.
The last, but certainly not the least, component of a professional competitor analysis is the conversion strategy applied by your competitors to deliver their messages and to compel their audience to take specific actions.
What are the key calls-to-action (CTA) on their Home page? What other CTA’s are used on the inside pages? How long is the path to conversion? Maybe they request action right in the main Home Page banner?
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The list of CTA variations is endless. Entire teams of digital marketers constantly test the effectiveness of various CTA versions in connection with other messages on landing pages. Simple understanding of what messaging and conversion strategy your competitors are applying can become a treasure chest for your own marketing ideas. It can also help determine the research competitors have conducted. Smart marketers learn from each other. Smart marketers watch carefully to see what the other guys are doing and try to do it better. Marketing is all about ongoing testing, but testing can be accelerated through smart research, like a competitor analysis.
The main reasons why a competitor analysis investment is worth every penny are the lessons learned from your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and the tangible rewards you get from implementation of your resulting digital marketing plan.
A digital marketing plan built on competitor analysis findings will be tailored to your specific competitive landscape and situation, and all the guesswork will be taken out the equation.
Regardless of the reasons why you do it in the first place, a competitor analysis is only meaningful if you follow up with concrete and adequate actions. . Marketing and advertising is a fascinating place to be and the battle for consumer attention is both challenging and exciting. No matter how you define victory, competitive research is a huge part of winning the marketing war.