Competitive analysis has long been an important piece of marketing research. To perform this type of exercise, companies begin to understand the industry best practices and are thus able to see if they should undertake initiatives more effectively to reach their objectives.
In the age of digital marketing, it becomes particularly important to maintain activities related to competitive intelligence on the web, because the available tools and opportunities change rapidly.
What is a web Competitive Intelligence?
When one refers to a web of competitive intelligence activity, we speak of a structured analysis of the competition and its platforms to understand how all of these can play a role in your digital strategy, for example, how they can afford to acquire visitors to a website, to create engagement with these visitors, to convert traffic into sales, to interact with your potential customers, or measure your web performance.
Structure your competitive intelligence in 4 key steps
To optimize and help you make better decision, you should give a structure to your analysis. Following are a list of recommended key steps for the analysis of competitors.
1.Define the objectives of the web project and Competitive Intelligence
The first step in your web competitive analysis should always be defining the scope of your analysis based on your web project and its objectives. For example, if the advertising investment is not a channel that your company is planning in the next year, you will not include this type of analysis in your report. Depending on your vision of what the web can do for your organization, make sure to focus your efforts on what is a priority for the company.
However, for a company that wants to see in all its web presence, all marketing practices to evaluate should be classified in one of the following four points:
- Reach your target audience
- Engage your visitors
- Convert your prospective customers
- Interact with your customers
2.Identify performance indicators to assess
For each of the items listed above, you will identify key performance indicators to help you determine which competitors are performing on specific aspects of their web strategy.
Overall, your performance indicators should be related to one of the following:
- Features on the website – more performance indicators should be used to assess the presence and effectiveness of certain features on the website.
- Ergonomics and design of the website – evaluating the performance of your commitment competitors spend much by the quality of ergonomics and design of the site. An assessment of these websites with a web site evaluation form you will identify performance indicators and then measure them.
- The organization’s marketing initiative – which marketing activities are or are not undertaken by the organizations on the web? Here we can refer to content marketing, SEO, activities on social media or at all possible types of promotions.
3.Select competitors to assess
The next step is to choose the companies you want to compare yourself on the web. Depending on the time you have to devote to your competitive analysis, the number of competitors assessed change. However, you should consider a minimum of three to five concurrent.
When you are selecting your competitors, consider including an indirect competitor and perhaps even as a web marketing benchmark that is external to your industry. This will allow you to expand your horizons and see if the still unexplored avenues could be useful to your industry.
In the next step, you need to collect the necessary data on your industry about the identified performance indicators. To do this, you can fill in for each element of your web strategy, an evaluation table that will allow you to compare your competitors on all performance indicators studied.
To obtain this information, here are several tools that are useful to access information on your competitors and your industry:
- Google keywords planning tool – The keywords planning tool from Google is a free tool and can be used to identify the volume of searches for certain keywords in a specific geographic area. It may be interesting to test the amount of research done on a company name.
- Moz Pro – With Moz Pro package, the company Moz provides various tools to search for keywords, analyzing inbound links, the company mentions on the web as well as data on social media.
- Google Analytics Benchmarking – With Google Analytics, you can get information about various industries in the Audience tab -> Benchmarking. This report shows how your website is performing on some statistics at the acquisition and commitment to the target industry for accurate geolocation.
- SEM Rush – SEM Rush offers several reports for analyzing the strategies of various competitors paid advertising (In Display or Search) and SEO. In advertising, the software allows in particular to check, for a specific keyword, what is the position of the main advertisers and are competitors in the bid for the keyword, in addition to text ads used.
- Social Crawlytics – This is software that allows web content to see which have generated the most sharing across social media platforms. This makes it possible to see what types of content perform well (themes, keywords, structure).
In short, conducting an analysis of the competition will help you make better decision. You should first make sure you understand what you want to accomplish on the web, and then you can define key performance indicators that will tell you what other competitors in the various digital marketing activities. It is important to target competitors to evaluate in order not to waste time on non-relevant players and limited, as possible, to the most relevant information possible.