What is Competitor Research?
Competitor research is the process of identifying and describing your rivals via the collection of critical information about them.
The behaviour is a little more polished than watching a business on Facebook or hearing a competitor’s reviews by accident.
Rather than that, competitor research adheres to a predetermined format.
The findings of this study are stored on a competitor dashboard accessible to your whole team. What matters is what we do with this knowledge.
Competitor research done effectively results in innovation, progress, and growth.
What Is the Appropriate Frequency for Conducting Competitor Research?
When you initially launch a firm or begin promoting a brand, it may seem as if there is a sudden surge in competitor research activities. Yet when it comes to the nitty-gritty of business, competition research does everything but droop.
Simply put, competition research is a continuous process.
Each time you make a choice, you will always have to consider your competition.
When you’re trying to grow your business, you’ll have to think about your competition more often.
However, pause. This does not imply that you must become obsessed with pursuing your adversaries.
Additionally, you do not need to schedule time for competition research on a regular basis.
Rather than that, you should maintain a working document that you and your workers can update on an as-needed basis. This is sometimes referred to as a competitor dashboard.
The most intensive kinds of competition study, such as conducting an audit of a full website or marketing campaign, might be predetermined. We propose that you review these results on a quarterly basis.
However, more subtle types of competitor analysis—for example, observation or pricing checking—will occur organically if you are involved with and aware of your competitors.
True; competitor research is more about developing a growth attitude than it is about developing a strong plan.
Why Is Competitor Research Important?
Without competitor research, your brand will struggle to stand out.
This occurs as a result of making ill-informed judgments such as pricing a product too expensively or offering services that are too comparable to those offered by competitors.
Competitor research avoids the possibility of you making these errors by providing you with a bird’s eye view of the larger picture.
You will: As a consequence of competition research
- The ability to distinguish your brand
- Promote the distinct advantages of your brand
- Quickly recognise opportunities
- Keep an eye out for prospective hazards
- Possess the ability to predict trends
- Make prudent development choices
- Possess an innovative spirit
- Take notes from your competitor research
Managers who believe that all competition is either inferior to them or, worse, that they have none at all, often fail to see the benefits of competitor research. Business people often do well when they have a healthy respect for their opponents and a constant desire to outsmart them, but not everyone does.
The grocery industry is an excellent source of inspiration.
Aldi, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco are unquestionably successful brands.
These businesses, on the other hand, are acutely aware of their competitors’ presence—and their behaviour.
Tesco does not just dismiss brands such as Aldi. Instead, they keep an eye on Aldi’s prices, advertising, and products in order to come up with clever ways to beat them.
How To Identify Your Actual Online Competitors
Prior to doing a competition research, you must choose which organisations to investigate.
If you’re attempting to outperform the wrong rivals, your digital marketing plan will be ineffective, since the incorrect competitor research will not share your target audience.
Begin by identifying who you believe your competitors are based on prior experience.
With that out of the way, determine your most valuable keywords and the companies that currently rank for them.
You may do successful keyword research using SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, or any other SEO tool.
Once you have this data, you may either confirm it or add new rivals to your list.
If you don’t have access to an SEO tool, you can also do a local or general Google search to see who appears naturally – and who pays for these terms to be on the first page.
Collect As Much Information About Your Competition As Possible
Once you’ve established who your rivals are, you may do in-depth competitor research and analysis to ascertain their strengths and flaws. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing a competitor analysis that will ensure you don’t miss anything!
Online “Spy” on Your Competitors
Are you aware of the advertising channels used by your competitors?
You may examine any online page using Chrome extensions such as Wappalyzer or Ghostery to see which trackers are being used.
These trackers will inform you of the advertising sites on which they advertise.
For example, if you see a LinkedIn Insight Tag that is active, there is a significant possibility that they are running LinkedIn Ads. Additionally, you may use similar tools to identify additional applications such as HotJar or Mailchimp.
1. Assess Their Social Media Presence
Determine which social media sites your rivals are utilising to examine their organic postings (Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Youtube).
For example, what sort of material do they share and how often do they post it? Which articles get the most comments?
However, you should also investigate sponsored social media advertisements.
You can always check to see whether rivals are running advertisements on nearly any platform by searching the ad library for that platform:
- Facebook Ad Library for Facebook
- When visiting a company page on LinkedIn, click on the ‘Posts’ tab and then on “Ads.”
- Consider their Pinterest boards.
When you come across an advertisement, take notice of the format your rivals are using. Are photos, movies, or carousels being used? Is their copy lengthy or succinct? Which promos are they currently running?
2. Investigate Their Search Engine Visibility
Following that, you should examine how your rivals appear in search engines.
Organic SEO visibility is comprised of three primary pillars:
Manually searching on Google enables you to examine the content-related aspects of your rivals’ exposure. However, to go into the other two, you’ll need a professional SEO tool such as SEMrush.
For instance, how much traffic do they drive to their site? What is the entire list of keywords for which they rank?
Additionally, you’ll want to determine which websites connect to their site, which blog posts, articles, or web pages are the most popular, and get insight into technical data such as:
- Site speed
- Broken links
- Descriptions and titles that are not well-optimized for search engine optimization
By accumulating this knowledge, you’ll not only uncover trends in your rivals’ SEO methods, but you’ll also gain insight into what factors contribute to your market’s great competitor research performance.
Additionally, you’ll get ideas for future articles and which sites to target for backlinks!
2.2 Paid Search
Rather than monitoring each paid search platform individually, you may utilise SEMrush to do a marketing study of your paid advertising campaigns.
You may discover not only the sort of advertisement content your rivals and industry leaders are employing, but also the keywords and search phrases on which they are bidding and how much they are paying.
However, if you’re already advertising on Google or Bing, Google Ads Auction Information and Bing Auction Insights will provide you with very important competition research insights.
3. Display Advertising
Finally, you should investigate your rivals’ display advertising methods.
To begin, visit Moat.com, which aggregates recent Google Display Ads for thousands of businesses.
However, you may also visit the websites of your rivals and check to see whether retargeting adverts appear as you browse.
Outcomes of the Competitor Research
Let’s face it, you and your rivals are vying for the audience’s attention, and your leads will examine comparable sites in their hunt for the finest answer. competitor research should identify regions and channels with excessive competition and unmet development prospects.
Avoid being tempted to copy what your immediate rivals have been doing for years—instead, concentrate on more reachable victories. A comprehensive competition analysis reveals the most rational line of action.
A Wholesome Approach to Researching Your Competitors
At Hop Online, our competition analysis encompasses all four major facets of performance marketing:
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
The objective is to understand the complete breadth of paid and organic digital tactics currently being used by your rivals. This assists in developing a comprehensive picture of your brand’s position.
What measures should I take to do an effective online competition analysis?
There are a few measures you should take to get all of the relevant information on your rivals.
With these five stages, you’ll be able to implement an online competitor research plan (also outlined in the video below).
1. Identify your Competitors
Who are your rivals? You may be able to identify one or perhaps two of them immediately. However, there are undoubtedly other businesses that do not seem to be a danger at the moment but might nibble away at your consumer base with a few tweaks.
Make a list of all the businesses that provide comparable goods and services, are located in your area, or target similar markets. If this is your first time doing a competition study, focus on the top 4-5 firms that pose the greatest danger to your organisation.
As you progress, you may choose to investigate the marketing methods of organisations that are not direct rivals, such as comparable enterprises located around the nation. While your consumer bases may not overlap, their techniques may inspire you.
2. They use online tools to analyse their strategies
Prior to the Internet, it took considerable effort to learn about a firm. Details were not necessarily withheld, but yearly reports, leadership biographies, and other records were only available upon request. After that, you’d either have to wait for the products to come through the mail or pay a visit to the company’s headquarters and facilities.
Now, all it takes is a few keystrokes to get this information on your top rivals.
Scanning their websites will provide you with further information about their goods or services, leadership, and principles. Annual reports and news announcements are available for download. Visit their social media accounts to learn more about what they publish and how they engage with their audience.
Apart from publicly available data, you can also evaluate their websites using competitor analysis tools such as SEMrush and SpyFu. Examine their most valuable pages, the keywords for which they rank, and the kind of material they publish.
The more information you have about your primary rivals, the better equipped your organisation will be to deal with the issues their operations create.
3. Compare them to one another
You want to evaluate each rival against your firm, but it’s also beneficial to evaluate them against one another. After all, although these businesses may be competing for your business, it does not imply that they operate in the same manner. Once you’ve obtained information on these firms, create extensive profiles that outline their operations and the potential harm they pose.
The simplest approach to do this is to conduct a side-by-side comparison. Include the goods and services they provide, the business categories they operate in, their locations, target customers, distribution networks, and any other distinguishing characteristics that make one firm stand out from the competition. Save one spot to create a profile of your own firm. This will assist you with the subsequent step.
4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threat)
Consumers are continuously on the lookout for new venues to purchase goods. Even if they are devoted to your firm, they are still evaluating it against the competition.
Online competition analysis enables you to see your firm through the eyes of your consumers, highlighting its strengths and faults as well as prospective opportunities. What differentiates you from your competitors? Abilities and dangers to its survival. This is precisely the information you’ll want to do a SWOT analysis.
Determine the following using the characteristics of your organisation and its competitors:
Strengths: What does your business excel at? What differentiates you from your competitors?
Weaknesses: Are there areas in which rivals outperform your business?
Opportunities: Are there growing trends or developments in the competitive landscape that might benefit your organisation in the long run?
Threats: What trends or competing activities have the potential to undermine your business?
This research will reveal areas for improvement as well as opportunities for future marketing and branding initiatives.
5. Identify your Unique Position
Despite apparent similarities between you and your rivals, there should be enough differentiation between each organisation to ensure that it has a distinct market position. What will be yours? “
You now have a better understanding of what your rivals provide as a result of competitor research. Now is the moment to assess your position in regard to them.
Determine what you do that other organisations do not, or even what they do not as well, using your profiles and SWOT analysis. This might be a one-of-a-kind item or a broader selection of things. Perhaps it’s a one-of-a-kind service, such as customisation or complimentary technical help.
Perhaps your company model is better aligned with your clients’ ethical or environmental values, or you simply provide cheaper costs. Whatever it is, ensure that it is an objective judgement based on your competitor research and analysis.
Different Areas of Competitor Research
There are several dimensions to competitor research – this is especially true when you are examining your competitors in order to develop a business strategy or a financial presentation.
For the sake of this training guide, we’re going to discuss competition research from a marketing perspective.
We propose allocating your attention to the following six areas:
Review of Content — As a marketer, it is your responsibility to develop content. How can you generate competitive content if you are unaware of what is currently available? You will do a content evaluation of a competitor’s blog, copy, adverts, and social media postings (at least). You should approach this as methodically as possible, tracking the performance of the material, the word count, and any regular occurrences such as a certain writing style or format. Consider the following: Are my rivals doing outbound or inbound marketing? Furthermore, why does material with brief headlines do so well?
SEO Analysis – Conducting a technical analysis of search engine performance is a little more involved. Nonetheless, it is more straightforward to evaluate this kind of data without regard to aesthetic choice or prejudice. Why? because the majority of it is quantitative in nature. It’s all about the statistics when it comes to search. An SEO analysis is the process of determining how well your rivals rank in search engines such as Google. Are they ranked for any of the keywords you’ve specified? Where does the majority of their traffic originate? How are you going to climb that vital leaderboard?
You can do efficient SEO competition research with the help of SEMrush (which we can provide you with a free 30-day trial through thankyouninjas.com).
Website Review – In digital marketing, you’ll want to do a thorough examination of a competitor’s website in order to gain a sense of their customer experience. This is analogous to snooping around at a competitor’s store or contacting their customer service line. Do not just criticise your competitor’s website or envy their success – attempt a direct comparison between your website and theirs. Take note of any significant differences and parallels. These will manifest as opportunities and dangers for you.
Consider this example of our free website evaluation, which is quite similar to how we would assess a competitor’s website.
Price Check – Having an enticing financial advantage is a necessary component of being competitive. Often, the easiest approach to win is to lower a competitor’s rate or provide an additional advantage in exchange for the same price. You’ll want to take notice of price structuring — such as product bundles, pricing packages, or customizable plans — as well as extra cost incentives such as free shipping or a free trial — throughout your price check.
Brand Positioning – At this point, you should have a sense of your competitor’s brand voice and market position. Pricing and language are excellent indicators of whether a business is attempting to be accessible or premium. Additionally, you’ll want to evaluate brand positioning holistically, including the company’s branding, goal, and strapline. How does their situation compare to yours? Additionally, do you need to bolster your client value proposition in order to establish yourself as a more authoritative voice in your neighbourhood?
Finally, you’ll want to have an understanding of your competitor’s sales process. You’ve now grasped your competitor’s bait, but how do they effectively reel in prospects? This information is a bit more difficult to get and is not usually visible on-site. It occurs at the very bottom of the sales funnel, either via one-on-one engagement or through a virtual checkout. Occasionally, ex-employees may supply knowledge, or figurehead interviews may inadvertently provide information. If you’re having difficulty gaining a clear understanding of a competitor’s sales technique, the tried-and-true method of becoming a genuine customer will always provide you with unparalleled inside access.
Competitor Research Tools
Not to worry — you will not be left to your own devices to analyse all of the aforementioned components of competition research.
At the very least, when it comes to digital marketing, there are several instruments available.
Listed here are a few of our favourites:
- Google Alerts – With this service, you may watch the web for specified terms. When doing competition research, you may monitor both your brand name and the names of your competitors. Additionally, you may want to set an alert for broad industry terms in case a rival is interviewed, mentioned, or makes a remark.
- Buzzsumo – This service records the success of material, enabling you to determine the effectiveness of your competitors’ content. This data-driven approach eliminates all subjective judgments. Therefore, before you spend too much time ogling visually appealing content, use BuzzSumo to determine whether it was successful.
- Backlink Checker by Neil Patel — This simple-to-use backlink checker will rapidly display the backlink profile of a competitor. Simply copy and paste their domain and wait for the links to appear. This manner, you can determine the sort of sponsored material your competition publishes and monitor their recent press coverage.
- Moz – This is another useful tool for backlink analysis. Moz, on the other hand, has a great deal more to offer. This SEO programme will display the domain authority of each website and monitor your ranks, allowing you to keep a closer check on how your site compares to that of your rivals.
- Businesses House — It is uncommon for marketers to need this level of structural knowledge about a firm. However, it will benefit senior marketers to be aware of this resource’s existence. Companies House is a government-run portal that educates the public about the structure and financial statements of UK businesses.
- Ahrefs – Another highly regarded SEO tool is Ahrefs. This tool is a treasure trove of competition data, and the website even provides a free seven-day trial if you’re not ready to commit to a regular cash commitment.
- SEMrush – This tool claims to provide competitive information by monitoring your search position in comparison to a small number of rivals. This tool is available for free, as well as a free trial of the subscription service. You may test it risk-free for 30 days with this exclusive offer for Exposure Ninja fans – thankyouninjas.com.
- Mail Charts – For those of you who are email marketers, Mail Charts is an email monitoring application that will save you time and a slew of junk mail. Without subscribing to your competitors’ email newsletters, you may utilise Mail Charts to create competitive reports and sneak a peak at your competitors’ newsletter authoring.
- Quora – This forum-style website enables you to get the most juicy data about your competition — what their consumers have to say about them. This observational tool enables you to effectively eavesdrop on customer conversations without being physically present at the time.
- YouGov — This website, according to YouGov, reflects “what the world thinks” by accumulating data and opinion ratings on companies and issues alike. You can find information about the majority of well-known companies by using the search bar. You’ll be greeted by a dashboard that displays the brand’s popularity rating and ranking, as well as demographic information.