5 practical competitive insights
Competitor Analysis in online marketing: 5 actionable insights to enhance your strategy
Before you start to read the insights, it is important to remember one thing. Competitive
intelligence is a valuable tool to aid you in your daily decision making. However, in my
opinion a company should never aim to copy a strategy. Being somewhat unique in todays
crowded business world is a strong asset. Nonetheless, intelligence is always valuable in
order to improve the basis for your decision making. Now, let’s get practical.
1. How is the online space divided?
It can be very insightful to divide the digital landscape into relevant segments. Many
consultants quite successfully work with some form of the AIDA model every day. Another
way to divide the landscape is to look at which space you own, which space you earn and
which space you paid for. Once the digital landscape is divided it is valuable to understand
your current position in each of the segments. This can only be done properly when related
to the respective positions of your competition. Knowing the division of the digital
landscape will provide a better understanding of the market which could improve your
strategic decision making.
2. Where am I underperforming?
Following from the previous insight, the obvious thing to do is to check where you are
underperforming relative to your competition. Your own Google Analytics account might tell
you that you are currently generating the best revenue and/or ROI with SEA and the least
with Social. A decision based upon this intelligence could be to increase your SEA budget
and decrease your focus on Social as a channel. However, if the competitive intelligence
shows that your direct competition has a far stronger social following, a more engaged
social audience and is more effectively active on all platforms, you might want to consider
talking to your Social Media manager first. It might be the case that the strategy rather than
the channel is at fault.
3. What is the (digital) market leader particularly good at?
Sticking with the previous example where your social media strategy might not be bringing
you what you expected, it might be time to be inspired. If there is a firm market leader in
the social space in your industry, start with monitoring how they are engaging with their
audience. What are they doing significantly better than you are? When doing this research,
do not stick to your own industry. There are a lot of awesome companies out there where
you can get your inspiration from. Once inspired, benchmark your own strategy and fix the
broken parts in a way that matches your brand and adds value for your customers.
4. Am I providing an on-par mobile experience
‘Insert every year from 2012 onwards’ is going to be the year of mobile. Ever since the
functionalities of mobile devices improved significantly and the adoption rate headed in the
same direction marketers have labeled years as the year of mobile. At least we can say is
that the potential of mobile devices in marketing has been known for a while now.
Therefore, companies have been working on their mobile respective mobile experiences
with differing successes. Considering the potential, value and priority that mobile devices
have for companies it is worthwhile to measure your mobile experience against your
competitors to see whether you are doing as good as a job as you think you are. There are
several metrics available that help you assess the mobile experience of a brand. Examples of
such metrics are mobile app ratings, monthly app downloads and mobile (vs. desktop) SEO
rankings. If your competition’s app is rated higher, downloaded more and they are
dominating the mobile SEO rankings, you might want to evaluate your mobile strategy.
5. What’s our markets’ seasonality (and how do I respond to this?)
Arguably, every industry has a certain degree of seasonality to it. The travel industry is a
very obvious one, but even day-to- day products such as groceries prove to have some
seasonality when you compare Christmas revenue with any other period of the year.
However, for some markets it is less obvious when the favorable buying periods of their
clients (and thus the favorable advertising periods for marketers) take place. Competitive
intelligence with regards to paid advertising could provide insights into the periods that
business is booming in your industry. With this information, you could make one of two
decisions. Firstly, you could increase your advertising spend during the same periods that
your competitors are pushing in order to compete with them during the moments that
matter. However, you could also decide to increase your advertising during a period when
there is a relative low amount of spend in the market in order to have the highest share of
voice relative to your competitors during that period. Whichever you choose, it starts with
The competitive insights provide above are aimed to help you gain the most out of your
data. More, but specifically better information helps you to actively evaluate and improve
your online strategy in order to get the maximum value out of the digital landscape.