As a business owner or marketing leader, knowing what your competitors are doing in a competitive industry is essential to success. Without this knowledge your business risks falling behind and losing sales or market share. But how do you find out what your competitors are up to? One option is a competitor analysis in digital marketing. Knowing what your competitors are promoting, the markets they are targeting and the specials they offer will help you evaluate your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
The first step in conducting a competitor analysis in digital marketing is to identify your competitors. Online, that can be any company that show up above yours in the search results. Once you have that list, you will need to identify which of these companies provide the same or similar services to your same target audiences. National companies can often have a local reach online even if they do not have a physical presence. You will need to decide if these national or international companies compete with your market. If you are a retailer, then probably so. We used to think that grocery stores and car dealerships were not subject to national competition (i.e. non brick and mortar) but that changed with the Pandemic.
After identifying your competitors, evaluate their appeal. How does their website differ from yours? What is good about their site, what is not so good. For example, examine what type of content their website has, how fast their sites load, and the overall design of their sites.
It is also a good idea to evaluate the competitor’s social presence to see if they are active, aggressive, or promoting their products and services online. This will help inform you as to where to focus your efforts.
In addition to how your competitors’ websites perform concerning Google rankings, the other aspect of website performance you should review is from a user perspective. For example:
Website A loads faster (both on desktop and mobile) and allows users to begin interacting with the website (clicking a link or button. or scrolling down a page) earlier than website B.
Therefore, website A has a better user experience because of the superior loading times.
In addition, website A is also more likely to be ranked higher in Google as the search engine considers load times and mobile usability when crawling and ranking pages.
So by conducting a competitor analysis, you can see where you may be falling behind your competition’s websites and be able to create a plan to close those gaps.
Some information during this stage of competitor research requires the use of digital marketing tools. Reach out to one if you need help.
Once your competitors are identified, and you have evaluated their online presence from a user perspective, it is time to evaluate their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and see how your company stacks up against the competition. Next, look at the keywords your competitors rank for and targets, then compare them to yours for potential keywords you can or should target.
Another important area of SEO to examine in a competitor analysis in digital marketing is backlinks. Backlinks point to your website from external sources and give your site value. These links are essential to SEO. For example, our digital marketing agency uses SEO tools to show you what domains link to your competitors and their keyword rankings.
Another crucial area to examine in a digital marketing competitor analysis is content. Look at your competitor’s content, and take note of the quality of writing, the style, the topics, and the ideas their content explores. Note the calls to action the content asks readers to take.
If you notice a pattern in their content, or if one competitor publishes different content than the rest of your competitors, consider why this may be happening. For example, one competitor may publish many long-form written pieces. In contrast, others emphasize short-form video content on their websites.
Look for gaps in their content. Using the keyword research from earlier, you can identify your competitors’ topics and find gaps that you need to fill with new content marketing.
You can also improve your content marketing by downloading our free guide here.
You can analyze your competitor’s paid advertising strategy by looking at their ads and landing pages. What is the form of the ad (display, text, or video?) Where are your competitors running these ads? Some platforms businesses can run ads on include search engines, social media platforms, and websites.
From here, similar to SEO, your goal is to discover terms and phrases potential customers frequently use that your competitors’ campaigns may not be targeting.
Monitoring social media activity can yield a wealth of information in a competitor analysis in digital marketing. For example, you can learn what type of content your competitors publish that people engage with the most. You can also see whether your competitors use social media to engage with users or promote user-generated content.
Check the most popular social media platforms as a starting point:
Other social networks include Pinterest and YouTube and TikTok for video content. In contrast, other platforms like Reddit are great for finding user-generated content and communities around your industry’s products or services.
Review sites like Google Business Profiles, Yelp, Houzz and others are also great resources to find competitors’ strengths and vulnerabilities.
After examining all of this data about your competitors, the next step is to make strategic decisions about how you can improve your organization. By having a high-level overview of your competitor’s data, you can better identify their weaknesses and any opportunities that you can take advantage of and exploit.
Contact us if you need help performing a competitor analysis in digital marketing. The consultants at VIEWS Digital Marketing have years of experience helping businesses generate leads and traffic and gain an edge over their competition. We can help you take the next step in your digital marketing strategy to rise above your competitors.