How to Perform Competitive Analysis
It allows businesses to understand the dynamics of the marketplace, monitor competitor activity, and identify opportunities for themselves.
It’s important that you know your competitor so you can stay on top of their game.
Competitor analysis is a set of techniques that managers use to get information about competitors’ products and services. This article also includes how to perform competitive analysis to keep up with competitors in an ever-changing market.
Who Needs A Competitor Analysis Framework?
It’s important to know your competitor in order to stay on top of their game. Analyzing your competitor can tell you a lot about what is going on in the marketplace, and give you the data that will help make sound decisions.
Competitor analysis is a set of techniques that managers use to get information about their competitor’s products and services. It allows businesses to understand the marketplace dynamics, monitor competitor activity, and identify opportunities for themselves.
We can easily observe competitor behavior using reference sites like SimilarWeb or Alexa. Although these tools are not perfect (and each has its specificities), they provide interesting data about competitor strategy.
For example, we can ask questions like:
- How often do they publish posts?
- How much traffic comes from search engines vs social media?
- What are their top contents in terms of views?
The competitor analysis process can be improved by adding data visualization in Excel spreadsheets combined with good narrative content.
This way you will be able to tell a story about competitor activity for different types of audiences.
The competitor’s strengths
The competitor’s strengths are an important part of competitor analysis so you can keep up with them in an ever-changing market.
Here are some competitor strengths to examine in your competitor analysis:
- The competitor advertises with digital channels
- The competitor has a website
- The competitor uses coupons and deals to attract customers
- The competitor has certain brands that they specialize in
- They have a specialization in certain brands
How do your competitors advertise?
There are many ways competitors advertise. Some competitors advertise with television commercials.
If competitors have a website, competitors will often advertise there as well In Google ads, Bing ads, and other social media channels.
Competitors may also advertise using coupons and deals to attract customers.
Why competitive analysis matters for ecommerce
Competitive Analysis is an important part of any online business. It helps us understand what other people are doing so we can get better insights on how to either change our own strategy or take advantage of competitors’ weaknesses.
For example, let’s say that competitor X has started offering free shipping in order to increase sales. If competitor Y still offers the standard $5 fee, competitor Y may then rank higher because customers see their service as superior in comparison.
One could optimistically interpret this situation to be an opportunity for competitor Y by highlighting the fact that they offer services with no additional cost (or even make it seem like competitor X is dumb for giving away something when money should always come first).
Alternatively, you would preserve your original approach and hope not too many people take competitor X up on their offer.
The key is to know your competitor so you can always stay one step ahead of them. Or at least keep an eye on what they’re doing so you can prepare for any sudden changes. With that in mind, here are 10 competitor analysis templates that will help you get started.
You can also use competitor analysis as a part of your internal training program to explain the importance and practice of competitor monitoring. Some competitor analysis templates you can use:
- competitor analysis
- competitor behavior
- competitor strategy
- competitor content strategy
- competitor product strategy
- competitor industry dynamics
- competitor product information and prices
- competitor company profile and history
- competitor distribution channel and channel profitability
- competitor pricing strategy and success factors of competitor pricing strategy
- the cost structure of competitor products, services, or solutions (cost drivers, cost comparison)
- market trends: competitor information, competitive intelligence, and market dynamics
How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis for Your Business
There are many ways to conduct a competitor analysis for your business, but we’ll talk about the two primary ways: competitor interviews and competitor research.
Competitor interviews involve meeting with people who work at competitor companies and asking them questions about their company and how it works.
Competitor research involves looking for information on competitor companies by searching websites, reading articles, and watching videos.
What’s the Difference Between a Competitive Analysis and a SWOT Analysis?
A competitor analysis informs you about your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Competitive analysis doesn’t give anything other than basic information such as market share.
A SWOT analysis is meant to help you determine what your company should do next whereas a competitor analysis is meant to give you a better idea of competitor behavior.
What’s the Difference Between a Competitor Analysis and a Benchmarking Analysis?
A competitor analysis shows how competitor companies are performing relative to your business, while a benchmarking analysis shows how competitor companies’ performance compares with industry averages.
In other words, competitor analysis measures competitor company activities whereas benchmarking measures industry activities.
Benchmarking usually requires extensive primary research because you need to perform detailed statistical analyses on data from different organizations in order to make meaningful comparisons between these organizations and/or your own organization.
How to Do a Competitive Analysis for Your Business: The Competitor Interview
Before you can begin competitor research, you need to meet with people who work at competitor companies and ask them questions about their company and how it works.
You should choose competitor companies that are similar to your own business in terms of size, location, industry, etc.
Make a list of potential competitor companies and contact them by telephone or email asking if they’d be willing to meet with you for an interview.
If an employee says yes then keep the following five steps in mind when doing competitor analysis:
- Prepare a list of competitor research questions ahead of time so you don’t forget anything during the interview. Asking open-ended questions will allow respondents to answer in their own words and will provide you with more detailed competitor research.
- Prepare a competitor analysis form that has the competitor company name, contact details, job title, competitor business category, competitor industry type, and question number as headers so respondents can easily fill out the competitor analysis questionnaire manually. You don’t want to spend too much time during the interview looking for information on your competitor’s website because it’ll take up valuable time which you could otherwise be used to ask questions about your competitor’s business.
- Keep the interviewer objective by asking competitors only questions that are appropriate for each respondent’s knowledge base and position at their respective companies. If possible then try to get interviews from several people who work at competing companies because they’ll all provide different competitor information.
- If an employee refuses to answer your competitor’s research questions then don’t be rude and persistent by asking the same question repeatedly because even if you do get an answer it’ll be second-hand competitor analysis data which isn’t as reliable as primary competitor research. Instead, thank them for their time and end the interview politely. You can always contact another competitor company for competitor analysis information.
- Take notes throughout the competitor interview so you don’t forget anything important that was said about competitor companies. Don’t rely on memory during the competitor analysis process because it’s easy to forget what respondents said in terms of competitor statistics and information when there’s a lot of it involved especially if done in several separate interviews with people who work at competitor companies.
12 Competitive Analysis Templates
- Determine who your competitors are.
- Determine what products your competitors offer.
- Research your competitor’s sales tactics and results.
- Take a look at your competitors’ pricing, as well as any perks they offer.
- Ensure you’re meeting competitive shipping costs.
- Analyze how your competitors market their products.
- Take note of your competition’s content strategy.
- Learn what technology stack your competitors use.
- Analyze the level of engagement on your competitor’s content.
- Observe how they promote their marketing content.
- Look at their social media presence, strategies, and go-to platforms
- Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Collect data with these competitive analysis tools
Once you know which competitors you’ll be studying, it’s time to start diving into research and data collection for your competitive analysis.
Have you ever used Google alerts? Try it.
SpyFu is a great online advertising research tool
SpyFu has been providing SEO services for those interested in understanding their competition since 2001. SpyFu aims to evaluate the online performance of your business as well as competitors so the client can make more informed decisions on what they should be doing online.
SpyFu competitor’s SEO audit looks at competitors’ organic and paid keywords and analyzes how these search engine terms affect both position and click-through rate (CTR). The customer will know how to customize their own campaign strategy by knowing where to allocate budgeting based on accurate data from competitor reports.
Other resources that can help you gather key insights into different aspects of your competition’s marketing approach.
SEO Analysis tools
- Ahrefs: checks any URL’s top-performing organic keywords and gets estimated traffic reports around those keywords.
- Alexa: helps define audience demographics and search rankings.
- SE Ranking: shows competitors’ paid and organic search performance, strategy, and keywords.
- SimilarWeb: gives insights into estimated monthly visits and key traffic sources for a website.
- SpyFu: helps you research and download the most profitable keywords your competition is using in their PPC campaigns.
- iSpionage: shows how many keywords competitors are using on Google Ads and which ones they’re targeting, as well as their projected monthly budget.
- SEMrush: helps identify your competition’s keywords, does a site audit, and analyzes backlinks.
- WhatRunsWhere: provides data around competitors’ advertising approaches across the internet.
Social media performance
- RivalIQ: shows how often competitors post across social channels, their average engagement rates, and their most successful content.
- Followerwonk: provides Twitter insights around follower demographics, key influencers, and performance metrics.
- Sprout Social: benchmarks around competitors’ social performance across social channels, influencer identification, and reporting.
- Owletter: analyses changes in sending frequency and spots trends in competitors’ emails.
- MailCharts: aggregates emails and provides insight into frequency of email sends, subject line tactics, and more.
Content marketing performance
- BuzzSumo: helps you see the top-performing content for topics and for specific competitors, as well as total social shares.
- Monitor Backlinks: helps monitor backlinks each time someone references your content, plus that of your competitors.
- Feedly: aggregates content as it’s published so you can study topics covered by competitors in one place.
Using these resources, start gathering data and dropping it into your competitive analysis spreadsheet so your findings are all stored in a single, organized space.
Wrap Up on Competitor analysis
Competitor analysis is helpful for your business because competitor companies are trying to do the same things you are, so they’ll probably use similar marketing techniques and strategies as yours.
It’s important that you know what competitor companies are doing so you can stay on top of their game.
You should always keep an eye on competitor activity in order to assess competitor performance against industry averages which will allow you to compare how your own business stacks up against competitor businesses, identify new opportunities for your business and gain insight into competitor company intentions.
Now that you’re aware of competitor analysis, why not try using online competitor analysis tools?
They’re free and they make competitor research easy by providing varying types of reports based on different pieces of data you input.
Competitor analysis is a good way to see how competitor companies are doing in comparison to your own business, and competitor analysis templates make competitor research easier.