Before we start any new marketing campaign or design of a new website, we always carry out comprehensive competitor analysis. This often comes as a bit of a surprise to the client, as previous marketing agencies have either missed this important part out to keep their charges lower, or haven’t made the client aware of it.

So what is competitor analysis and why do we deem it to be so important?

There’s an old saying that there’s no point in reinventing the wheel and there is some relevance here with your marketing or website. Every company has competition, so it makes sense to check out how well other companies are getting on and if you can learn anything from their success or mistakes. For instance, if a competitor is attracting a large amount of high quality traffic and sales, it makes sense to work out why and how they are achieving this an implement this yourself.

Learning from competitors doesn’t mean you should just go ahead and copy what they are doing, in fact you should go out of your way to avoid this and find a different angle of approach. But having an idea of their strengths and weaknesses will help you avoid falling into unnecessary traps and also provide some inspiration in finding your unique angle of approach.

Benefits of Competitor Analysis

What are the benefits to competitor analysis?

  • Gain insights into who your competitors really are. Very often, people can name a number of competitors who produce the same product or service. However, after carrying out competitor analysis, they realise there are many other companies, who are in the same space – going for the same keywords or phrases and not necessarily a ‘real world’ competitor at all, but an online competitor.
  • Analyse and dissect their strategies. Understand which channels are working right now
  • Benchmark yourself against them in each channel
  • Shape your marketing strategy and tactics
  • Learn from their mistakes and experience

Are there any downsides to competitor analysis?

There are no direct downsides to competitor analysis, but one area you need to avoid is clouding your own ideas and judgement on the direction of your company and marketing. It’s all too easy just to follow suit and presume what others are doing is the right way. It may be the right way for them, but it may not be the best way for your company, so don’t let the data cloud your own ideas and strategy.

Where To Begin With Competitor Analysis

Where to begin with competitor analysis

  1. Identify competitors. Start off by plugging in keywords in Google that you expect to be found for. Make a list of all the websites that are ranking in the first 20 spots.
  2. Input competitor websites into tools such as Similar Web or SEMRush. This will give a breakdown of the traffic, the traffic sources, the location of the traffic and many more data points. Understanding where the traffic is coming from is crucial.
  3. Research how strong their brand is? You can get an idea by seeing how much branded traffic they receive.
  4. How much of their traffic is organic?
  5. How many keywords are they ranking for?
  6. How much traffic is coming from social media and how much is coming from paid sources?
  7. Check out their social media profiles and benchmark their stats. Add in the data and every month, visit their social media profiles and see if they have increased their audience or are stagnant.

Carrying out these steps will give you a basis for competitor analysis. You can go far deeper than this but we recommend covering at least these 7 tasks.

Competitor analysis should be an ongoing process, carried out at least once a month. It’s often very surprising when you find out who your real online competitors are. The competitors you list off the top of your head sometimes really aren’t any competition to you online at all, but other companies you’ve never even heard of are the ones targeting your clients.

Competitor analysis can be quite addictive as you start uncovering facts and figures you had never considered before. You may even end up enjoying the process!

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