June 10, 2019 Last updated June 7th, 2019 41 Reads share

How to Use Your Technology Stack to Analyze Competitors

How to Use Your Technology Stack to Analyze CompetitorsImage Credit:

Competitors in a marathonThe enterprise world is often compared to a jungle, where only the biggest and boldest creatures, or companies, survive – and new entrepreneurs are soon eaten up. But you don’t have to be a fierce corporate giant to beat your business competitors – you just need a little savvy.

In the past, time-consuming manual research was necessary to discover your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in marketing. These days, whilst there’s still time for rolling up your sleeves, you have a wealth of online competitive analysis tools at your fingertips.

This article will take you through a selection of the tools that could form your marketing tech stack, and the specific areas of analysis they can be used for: from PPC and SEO analysis, to content and social media analysis. No matter your business priorities or your budget, there’s a tool out there to help you.

But first, how do you decide what aspects of your marketing strategy should be compared with your competitors? And at what level you should be performing? Let’s take a look at the process of benchmarking…

Benchmarking

The first step in benchmarking is to evaluate your own business performance – in this case, the success of your online marketing strategy. You can start by simply using Google Analytics to analyze the performance and popularity of your website or app.

Only you can know which particular metrics have the most impact on your business goals. However, key metrics to watch tend to be related to the volume of traffic, engagement with web pages, conversion data, and how all these evolve over time. Other indicators to analyze are your content and social media marketing. Once again, Google Analytics can help you measure how your content is performing. You might also want to try a tool like Ahrefs to analyze backlinks and in terms of volume and quality.

With social media, it’s important to look beyond how many followers you have and think about how they’re engaging with your brand. Each platform has its own internal analytics feature, and you can combine these with a third-party social analytics tool for more depth. Once you’ve understood your own performance, it’s time to analyze competitors. If they’re ahead, what can you do to close the gap? Read on, and I’ll take you through the analytics tools that can help you out-pace these rivals.

You can also read more about benchmarking in my recent article here.

General competitive analysis

Many analytics tools specialize in a certain area such as SEO or PPC performance (as we’ll see below). However, some allow you to analyze more broadly using one platform – whether that’s taking in the full spectrum of features on a competitor’s website, or analyzing your competitor’s share of the market.

One market intelligence tool is SimilarWeb, which can be used to track traffic and engagement, keywords, audience profiles and interests, popular pages, and more. You can also use it to analyze apps, monitoring metrics such as daily active users and user retention. For measuring your performance against competitors after a campaign, Pi Datametrics provides a useful tool. It gathers data on consumer behavior that you can use to create more effective campaigns in the future.

With Kompyte’s software, you can not only compare competitors’ websites but also their paid ads and email comms. You can input competitors of your choice or Kompyte will recommend them.  

Explore the tools available for general competitive analysis and you can obtain some valuable quantitative data on your competitors. But don’t forget that a bit of “old-fashioned” manual research can also help you gain some great qualitative data too. Browse your competitor’s website; consider how it has been designed; ask yourself, “Why did they position that there?” or “Why did they use that wording?” Go undercover as a customer – perhaps taking advantage of a free trial – and get to grips with the service and customer experience offered.

Analyzing these manual research insights alongside the data from one of the tools above should give you an in-depth view of your competitor’s marketing strategy. You can then use this to your advantage.

SEO competitive analysis

If you’re particularly interested in uncovering your rivals’ SEO strategies, then you can choose a more specialized tool. Find out which keywords your competitors are using and how successful they are in driving traffic. One SEO tool used worldwide is SEMrush. You can use this to watch emerging competitors in organic search, identify competitors’ most valuable keywords, and track notable changes in the SERPs.

Another tool that we’ve already touched upon in the “Benchmarking” section is Ahrefs. This is a robust SEO tool that is suitable for agencies and in-house. Use it to compare your keywords, rankings, and backlinks against any other competing website. Similar keyword-related features are offered by SEO PowerSuite. They also provide an app that helps you compare how search engines view your website your competitor’s. It reveals SEO issues and provides clear instructions on how to fix them.

SEO tools like these will help you learn from your competitors’ SEO strategies, and allow you to keep up – and hopefully overtake – in the rankings.

PPC competitive analysis

When your competitor runs a successful ad campaign, you want to know about it – how they did it and how much they paid for it. The tools below enable you to dissect your competitor’s advertising strategy and benefit from their success. For a broad view of the digital ad landscape, you could use a tool like WhatRunsWhere. This allows you to discern the most influential brand and affiliate ads that your competitor has commissioned.

To identify your biggest AdWords competitors and uncover their monthly advertising investment, you can use a tool such as iSpionage. It helps you sift through the vast amount of marketplace data, leaving behind what’s most relevant to your business. Other tools allow you to compare ad campaigns with competitors, and give you advice on how to optimize your campaigns in the future. SpyFu, for example, provides templates of ad campaigns that are ready to use.

Advertising is costly if you don’t get it right. Analyzing your competitor’s campaign and identifying what makes it successful will help you create more effective, targeted campaigns for your own business.

Content and social media competitive analysis

Content and social media marketing are tightly integrated, as businesses compel their audience to engage with quality targeted content on the biggest platforms. Recently, Instagram is attracting particular attention from businesses, due to having the highest engagement rates in 2019. But your chosen channel depends on your audience and goals.

If you want to discover which pieces of your competitor’s content is making the most impact, you can try BuzzSumo. This tool also lets you know which networks your competitor is using and who is engaging with their content, as well as alerting you when new content is published. For a comprehensive social media analytics tool, try SocialBakers. It allows you to track and measure your performance across different channels. You can also monitor brand sentiment compared with competitors.

There are numerous other social media analytics tools to explore. Whichever tool you choose, it’s important to bear in mind that more and more competitors are entering social media marketing. For example, 61% of respondents to Buffer’s recent survey said they planned to invest in stories ads in 2019. If you want to stay ahead amid this new flood of competition, analytics tools are invaluable. Learn what is already engaging your target audience on social media, and ensure your content makes its own mark.

Wrapping up…

With so many effective competitive analysis tools now available, benchmarking your performance against your competitors is no longer a time-consuming process. Whilst some manual research will certainly be enlightening, it’s best used to complement technology-driven data analysis.

Explore the different tools to find out which features will best suit your business goals. You may want one comprehensive tool or a combination of more specialized platforms. Remember that a good tech stack avoids financially wasteful overlapping functionality – and will be scalable with your business.

Finally, consider how your chosen analytics tools might integrate with your other business processes: CRM, automation, and project management software. Ideally, your competitive analysis insights should seamlessly feed into and inform the rest of your processes, making you a force to be reckoned with amongst your competitors.

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Oren Greenberg

Oren Greenberg

Oren Greenberg is a growth marketer, and the founder of the Kurve consultancy in London. He helps startups and corporate innovation projects scale using digital channels. He has written for leading marketing blogs and has been featured in the international press.

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