What are your competitors doing on the internet? What makes your competitors stand out? If these are the questions that often bother you, then you have come to the right place. Competitive analysis will help you give the answer to these questions.
Competitors can be direct, indirect, big, or small. Your competitors may also have a large presence offline and less online. As you may see on Twitter, brand wars are possibly the most open form of competition on social media platforms.
There is no dearth of content on social media platforms. But, where does your content stand in front of your competitors? Perhaps, your competitors’ social media activity can provide an understanding.
In this post, you’ll learn:
a. What is Competitive Analysis?
b. What is Social Media Competitor Analysis?
c. How to Do Competitor Analysis in 7 Steps?
d. Best Competitor Analysis Tools
. Social Media Competitor Analysis Tools
. SEO Competitor Analysis Tools
. Other Competitor Analysis Tools
e. Brands using Competitor Analysis Tools
Conducting competitor analysis is a smart move that you need to make in order to leverage the power of every platform.
Want to know why?
Well, before we look at the ‘why’ you need to do competitor analysis, let’s look at ‘What is Competitive Analysis’ first?
A) The Basics of Competitor Analysis
What is Competitive Analysis?
Competitive analysis is the process of analyzing your competitors’ brand and marketing efforts. It also includes evaluating the competitors’ products.
Since your brand does not exist in a vacuum, you need to be wary of other players. These brands are fighting for your customers’ attention through their content and marketing efforts.
This is why competitor analysis is an exercise that every brand must carry out. In order to keep up with the industry, and capture your audience’s attention, analyzing your competitors is very important. To make the most of the competitor analysis exercise, it is important that you assess the right set of competitors.
Picking the Right Set of Competitors
You may have direct competitors, who are solving the same problem for the same target market. Some brands that may cater to the same target market but not necessarily offering the same solution in the same stride, could also be a threat to an extent. Alternatively, some other brands may be offering the same solution but may not be catering to the same target market.
At the same time, it would make sense for you to assess which of these competitors have a strong presence online and which ones are offline-only.
What to Learn from your Competitors
As you go on to assess your competitors, have clarity about the facets of your brand that you want to work on. How can you learn from your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? What is their USP? Are there any specific aspects that you need to work on?
Start Looking for Information
Now, this is the main concern. How to find information about competitors and their marketing strategy?
Fortunately, there are tools designed just for this purpose. We will be talking about the different competitor analysis tools in the later sections. But for starters, you can simply track and monitor the competitor activities on social media. See what they are posting about, the kind of response their content is getting on social media, and so on.
Building Holistic Strategies with Competitor Analysis
With the intelligence and insights these competitor analysis tools offer, you can build effective, holistic strategies for your brand. Use the data derived from competitor analysis to create fruitful plans for your brand.
Take cues from your competitors’ brand marketing strategies as well as from any blunders or mistakes they may have made. Use these insights to enjoy a competitive advantage.
Now that you have a basic idea about competitor analysis, let’s jump into social media competition tracking.
B) What is Social Media Competitor Analysis?
Social media competitor analysis is a form of market research where you collect and analyze competitors’ social media data ethically.
Popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Depending on the nature of your business, you need to identify which platforms your competitors are doing their marketing.
It involves gathering all the information and intelligence around your competitors’ social media content. Insights about competitors’ customers and their overall social media strategies help you in building a concrete social media plan for your business.
Social media competitor analysis is a routine practice for building healthy businesses. No business operates in a vacuum. If you want your business to thrive on social media, it is important to keep stock of what your competitors are up to.
Competitor analysis, as a result, should be a part of your overall social media strategy. Analyzing your social media competitors’ performance is important. But, comparing your social media against your competitors’ will help you get the larger picture.
Now that you know what social media competittor analysis is, we’ll help you understand why you need to do it.
Why do You Need to do Social Media Competitor Analysis?
Social media platforms, as you know now, are brimming with competition. Whether you are a B2B brand or a B2C brand, there will be various other brands competing for audience attention.
Besides, competition tracking and competition monitoring are important for staying abreast of the latest trends in the industry.
Here’s why you need to start tracking your competitors on social media-
1) Build a Holistic Social Media Strategy
Knowing what your competitors are doing on social media will help you build a holistic social media strategy. Let’s understand how competition tracking helps you build a holistic social media strategy.
Content is king. It is your content that will drive your audience to take the desired action. Irrespective of your social media goals, your content is the main game-changer. But, don’t forget to consider the fact that there are other brands competing for audience attention and action.
So, is your content up to the mark? Where does it stand in comparison to that of your competitors’?
Competition tracking and competition monitoring provide you with all the vital data you need to figure the answer to these questions. Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media will help you frame a holistic strategy.
Firstly, competition tracking enables you to know what kind of content your competitors are putting out on social media. From the content format to the theme of the content your competitors are putting, every small detail matters. This is where social media competitor analysis comes into the picture.
Instead of having to constantly look up competitors’ content, a social media competitor analysis tool makes the job easier for you.
So, apart from content distribution, competition tracking also helps you analyze the content frequency and consistency. Most tools also allow you to understand how competitors’ content is faring. You can track important metrics including engagement and reach, for your competitors.
If your competitors are generating high engagement levels, what is driving it? At the same time, if some other competitors are not doing so well, what can you learn from them?
Social media competitor analysis helps you capture the content strategy of your competitors, and also the audience’s response to their content. As a result, you can learn from your competitors and use that information to create a sound strategy for your social media.
2) Stay on Top of Industry Trends
With social media competitor analysis, you can stay abreast of all that is happening in your industry. It opens you up to the different themes and topics around which competitors are posting content on social media platforms. At the same time, you get to know what your competitors’ audience is talking about.
REMEMBER- The audience on social media has a very short attention span and staying updated with the trends is inevitable. Competitor monitoring will help you do just that!
3) Identify Gaps in your Strategy
You can benchmark your social media strategy with that of competitors’. What are your competitors doing that is helping them build an effective social media presence?
Let’s assume that you are experiencing low levels of engagement on your content. You put all the efforts into creating high quality content on social media platforms. So, what exactly is going against you?
Watching what your competitors are doing will help you a great deal. Look at the competitors which are generating traction. Study their overall social media strategy.
Consider factors such as the content format and type, frequency, time of posting the content, and so on. Compare your performance with respect to these factors. Identify where you are lagging behind, through this comparison.
Make and implement a fresh social media plan centered on these insights.
4) Spot Opportunities
There are likely many different players in your industry. Competitive intelligence not only helps you point out competitors’ strengths, but also helps you identify opportunities.
People use social media to express their opinions about brands and products. Listen in to what people are saying about your competitors. After all, the customer persona of your competitors overlaps with that of yours. So, by tracking your competitors, you can identify market opportunities.
What your audience is saying about you is very important. But, when you know what they are saying about your competitors, you get a special advantage. Competition tracking arms you with information about gaps in your competitors’ strategy. And, the gaps in your competitors’ strategy can turn out to be great opportunities for you.
5) Capture Your Share of Voice
With competition tracking, you can assess your position in the industry as against competitors. It helps you measure your share of voice. To put things into perspective, your share of voice is a measure of how big your presence is, as compared to your competitors in the industry.
Your share of voice depicts your brand visibility vis-a-vis the industry. A lower share of voice, for instance, means your competitors are drawing more attention from the audience. Revamp your strategy to build an effective social media presence. Regularly capture your share of voice to stay vigilant about your position in the industry.
6) Plan Out Your Social Media Budget
Where you stand wrt your competitors says a lot about whether you are spending your money right, or not. Competition tracking allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, you get to know what your competitors are doing right, and what they need to work on.
Let’s say your competitors are investing heavily into influencer marketing campaigns- which is also helping them generate high levels of traction. Taking cues from your competitors, you may want to consider allocating a portion of your budget to influencer marketing, too.
A quick tip- give yourself 1-3 months for testing the waters, especially when you are trying it for the first time. Competitor intelligence helps you understand where and how you should be investing your money.
Competitor Analysis: What Not To Do
Competitor analysis is all about tracking competitors’ activity to stay on top of your game. The goal is to take inspiration from competitors and not indulge in imitation. Taking cues from competitors’ strategy is important, but ultimately, it is your internal goals that should matter the most.
Competitor analysis, in this sense, should be a customary part of your social media strategy. But, here are a few things you should refrain from, while conducting competitor analysis. This is what you should be doing instead-
Do Not Leave Out Important Competitors
The entire practice of conducting competitor analysis goes in vain when you leave out important competitors. Follow due diligence in researching your competitors. Look out for direct and indirect competitors.
At times,there are competitors who may not be selling products similar to yours. Nonetheless, they may be drawing away your share of voice in the industry. This is why tracking all your competitors is very important.
Do Not Imitate
Tracking competitors’ social media does not mean copy-pasting their ideas. Plagiarized content is not a good practice.Competitor analysis can definitely help you get a sense of what you’re missing out on. However, it is important to avoid straight away imitating what your competitors are doing.
Do Not Rely on Industry Reports
Note that competitor analysis is not the same as industry research. Relying on industry reports will not give you the bigger picture. This information can be too vast and vague to get an idea about your competitors. Stick to a good competitor analysis tool in order to get deeper insights into your competitors.
B. How to Select Competitors
Selecting competitors is the most crucial step in the entire competitor analysis. As we mentioned before, it is important to track all the competitors- direct as well as indirect, in this exercise. Missing out on important competitors renders the whole process in vain. Identifying the right set of competitors is as vital, here.
When it comes to selecting your competitors, it’s not a game of simply naming leading brands in the industry. You need to do a thorough search. To easily identify competitors, let’s divide them into categories. So, here goes-
These are brands that typically cater to the same audience as yours. They offer the same product as you are offering. Moreover, they actually cater to the same market as yours.
These are brands that may not be selling the same products. However, they may be selling similar products, and may not be catering to the same target market. An example of this can be a brand selling fiction novels, could be an indirect competitor to a brand selling encyclopedias.
As the name suggests, replacement competitors are brands that may offer a solution for which you can be replaced. To put it simply, these brands can turn out to replace what you’re offering in the market.
These are brands that offer the same products. It is important to note that they are not yet selling the same market as yours. However, they have the potential to turn into direct competitors in the future when they enter into your market.
Tracking competitors is not a simple activity. To gain a holistic understanding of your competitors’ performance, a proper competitor analysis framework is important.
C. The Competitor Analysis Framework
Conducting competitor analysis involves a whole lot of exploring and probing around. To make a
1. Gain Competitors’ Business Insights
First and foremost, it is important to gain insights about competitors’ business altogether. Thankfully, there is a lot you can find through digital platforms itself.
To begin with, find out details around every competitor’s company location, key people, no. of employees, culture and so on. Perhaps, looking them up on LinkedIn will be helpful. Let’s say you own a marketing agency. Conducting a search on LinkedIn will be helpful in digging deeper.
You can also go on to learn about your competitors on Glassdoor.
As a part of this exercise, it may also make sense to delve into competitors’ customers too. You may also want to find out about your competitors’ revenue. Comparing your revenue figures with your competitors is an important part of the competitor analysis framework.
2. Conduct Product Analyses
When it comes to analyzing competitors, you should leave no stone unturned. In this, knowing about your competitors’ products, their features and pricing is very important.
To gather information about competitors’ products, it will be a good idea to refer to review sites and marketplace. For instance, if you’re in the B2C space, Amazon is one marketplace where you can find out how competitors’ products are being rated. For B2B brands, on the other hand, you can visit product review sites like Product Hunt.
Visiting company websites can further help you reveal the different product features and pricing.
3. Keep a Watch on Marketing Efforts
Today, nearly every brand focuses a major chunk of their marketing on digital platforms. Keep an eye on your competitors’ website, SEO, social media and other digital properties.
As such, tracking competitors’ digital marketing strategy is perhaps the most important. In the next section, we will mostly be focusing on how to analyze your competitors’ marketing strategy.
D. How to do Competitor Analysis in 7 Steps
So, you may have a vague idea about who your competitors are, based on the industry in which you operate. Great! But, having a blurred idea of who your competitors are, is not going to help.
We’ve put together a set of steps to help you identify your competitors more precisely. Other than that, we will steer you through the process of weighing your competitors’ social media marketing activity more effectively.
This is how you can get started-
1) Identifying Competitors
Every niche and industry has different businesses vying for their market share.
So, whether you are a B2B brand or a B2C brand, there will be rival businesses competing for audience attention. But, to answer the question- ‘Who are my competitors?’, this is how you need to approach the situation-
2) Do a Thorough Keyword Search
To begin with, you need to conduct a thorough research on keywords relevant to your brand and business. Firstly list out the keywords for which your website is ranking. Besides that, what keywords are you running your Ads for?
If you don’t have a list of keywords ready, or if you want to dig a little deeper, you can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Now, there are 2 ways through which you can derive the relevant keywords.
One way is to use the tool to analyze your website and provide you with a list of suitable keywords, along with average monthly search volume and competition levels. The other way to find keywords is by looking up target keywords. Google Adwords Keyword Planner provides you with a list of relevant keywords you can work on. Based on the search volume and competition, you can shortlist appropriate keywords.
3) Conduct a Google Search for the Shortlisted Keywords
The next step is to look up the keywords that you had shortlisted. Using Google search, you will find which websites are ranking for the selected keywords. Aside from the organic results, watch out for the brands that have used Ads to get their brands amongst the top results on Google.
It would be a good idea to go through the links of these websites and find out about the brands.
4) Look up Business Listings and Directories
You can use the shortlisted keywords on business listings and directories, as well. Online listings such as Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo Local Listing, and Yelp may also be helpful. Identify potential sets of competitors for the different keywords that you shortlisted.
5) Do a Social Media Search
Apart from conducting web search and scouring through business directories, look up social media platforms as well. Most brands- whether B2B or B2C, have a social media presence today. Again, use the selected keywords on social media handles to find out who your competitors are.
6) Track Your Audience’s Activity
Another smart way to find out competitors is by monitoring your audience. Every brand has a set target audience and it is necessary to know the pulse of the audience to get the intended response. Using competitor tracking tools can help you understand how the audience has reacted to your brand content. Moreover, it also lets you compare the reactions with your competitors.
7) Compare Online Presence
Now that you know who your competitors are, you can start tracking their online presence. For a thorough comparison, let’s look at their website, social media presence, and content.
To carry out competition analysis, you don’t have to manually scan through their digital media properties. Fortunately, there are competition tracking tools to track what your competitors are up to.
Here we’ve rounded up a set of competitor analysis tools to get you started:
D) Best Competitor Analysis Tools
Social Media Competitor Analysis Tools
1) Unbox Social
You can track your competitors’ social media activity, their presence, audience behaviours, and benchmark your performance using Unbox Social. With the help of our social media competitor analysis tool, you can learn how the audience perceives you compared to your competitors. Get the overall picture, and also dig deeper into more important details about your competitors.
You can track competitors across social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
Let’s say you own a sports brand and want to examine your competitors activity on Instagram. Here’s how you can set up your competition tracker and start monitoring competition using Unbox Social:
- Sign Up with Unbox Social
To get started on tracking your competitors, you need to sign up with Unbox Social first. Fill up the necessary details and submit. Our team will get in touch with you to take you through the on-boarding process.
- Go to the Competition Section on the Unbox Social Dashboard
Once you have set up your account on Unbox Social, you can access the tool dashboard. Head to the competition section on the dashboard to get started with competition tracking.
- Add your Competitors to the Competition Bucket
Now, you can track multiple competitors simultaneously on Unbox Social by building buckets of up to 5 of your competitors. You can name the group of competitors that you are going to track. Here, you could name the group of your competitors that you are going to track as ‘Sports Brands’ for instance.
Add the links to your competitors’ Instagram accounts to start tracking. And now, you’re all set!
- Set up your Instagram Competition Bucket
Track multiple competitors simultaneously on Unbox Social, by creating your competitor buckets.
Firstly, name the group of competitors that you are going to track. Here, you could give your group the name ‘Sports Brands’. Following this, add the links to your competitors’ Instagram profile, for tracking their activity. And, you’re all set!
- Capture the Larger Picture
Gauge the overall sense of your social media presence in comparison to that of your competitors. Unbox Social provides you with a summary of competitors’ activity on social media platforms. At the same time, the tool helps you monitor what level of traction their activity is generating. This is a snapshot of the tool:
- Measure Your Share of Voice
Measure your activity and audience interactions as compared to your competitors in the industry. How is your brand faring as against other brands in the industry?
- Find out What Keywords and Hashtags are your Competitors Using
With Unbox Social, you can track all the traction around your competitors’ posts. Identify which keywords and hashtags your competitors are using. At the same time, you get to know how much traction it received.
- Dig into Audience Interactions
You can make sense of how your competitors’ content is doing by measuring audience interactions. The competition tool allows you to monitor audience interactions around competitors’ content. Take cues from these insights to build a smart content marketing strategy for your brand.
- Pull out Competition Tracking Reports
Generate customized reports to gauge your competitors’ activity on social media. Put all the data derived using competition tracking, into perspective, and draw actionable strategies.
2) Rival IQ
Rival IQ is another social media competitor analysis tool you may want to give a try. This tool allows you to analyze your competitors’ strategy across multiple social media channels. Keep an eye on all your social media competitors and uncover their social media plan and priorities with the help of Rival IQ’s competition tracking tool.
3) Social Blade
Social Blade’s Compare is another social media competition tracking tool that allows you to watch your competitors activity. The YouTube Compare System allows you to compare the subscribers and viewers with up to 3 other channels.
With Twitter Compare System, you can track and compare different Twitter users.
SEO Competitor Analysis Tools
SEO plays an important role in generating traffic to your website. Your web traffic opens up opportunities for new leads for your business.
SEO competitor analysis tools can aid you in understanding how your competitors’ websites are performing.
Here are some of the top SEO competitor analysis tools you can check out:
Ahrefs is a great tool to examine your competitors’ search traffic. With the help of Ahrefs, you can identify the keywords for which your competitors’ are ranking. Further, you can derive the amount of traffic that was driven by each of them.
Uncover the pages for which your competitors are ranking. Meanwhile, with the help of the content gap feature, you can find the keywords for which your competitors are ranking but your website is not.
Moz is another keyword research tool you can use to track your SEO competition. With Moz you can analyze web traffic and compare it with other websites. Here, you can find thousands of keyword suggestions and compare these with websites that are ranking well.
SemRush is also a tool you can use to track your competitors’ SEO strategy. Using this tool, you can monitor not only the traffic and keywords for which your competitors are ranking, but also the leads that you are generating in the process.
You can also analyze your competitors’ audience and the regional presence of your competitors.
Other Competitor Analysis Tools
Spyfu is a competition analysis tool that helps you identify which websites are your closest competitors, and get alerted about the domains that are ranking on your keyword.
You can also measure your competitors’ performance by the number of the clicks they received and what these are worth.
2) Similar Web
SimilarWeb is another website comparison tool. Using this tool, you can benchmark your website against that of any of your competitors.
With SimilarWeb, you can benchmark your website’s overall visits, time spent on your site, and bounce rate, against that of your competitors.
Further, you can study competitors’ keyword strategy and traffic using the data that SimilarWeb gives you access to. Lastly, you can look at the top pages for a given website with SimilarWeb.
You can use BuzzSumo to assess competitors’ content performance. Right from the content formats that are performing well, down to the authors of such content, BuzzSumo helps you with all these aspects. Benchmark your content against competitors’ to make sense of your position, online, all with the help of BuzzSumo.
Feedly is a great source for industry trends and information. By staying on top of all the latest trends and happenings in the industry, you can enjoy a competitive edge. On Feedly, you can identify and organize the right set of resources and start generating information updates around your industry. You can then share these insights with your team.
E) Brands Using Competitor Analysis Tools
1) Luxury Fashion Brand, Moschino Grows Online Visibility with Competitive Intelligence
Moschino is a renowned Italian luxury fashion brand. Despite being a big name in the Italian fashion industry, when it came to its online presence, Moschino was not generating as much traction.
Moschino had 24 marketplaces. In such a situation, carrying out a competitor analysis was important for understanding Moschino’s presence in the market. Content was another facet that the Italian luxury brand wanted to focus on. The brand wanted to showcase itself through strong product detail pages.
They deployed Domain Analytics, Keyword Analytics and Market Explorer tools by SEMRush to identify the perfect performance benchmarks. With the help of this data, they wanted to find out about the brand’s strong categories and leaders for every category.
The competitor analysis revealed that their site competitors and brand competitors were not necessarily the same.The luxury fashion brand discovered competitors through the SEMRush Keyword Tool and Organic Research. Traffic Analytics was used to study their competitors’ domain performance in the top 5 countries.
Through the competitor analysis, Moschino discovered the organic keywords, and the paid keywords that competitors were using. Further, they looked into competitors’ ad copies.
For their content creation strategy, Moschino compared their organic keywords with that of their competitors. Following this, they analyzed the keyword difficulty of the selected keywords.
With the help of the keyword search, Moschino was able to identify competitors on organic as well as paid channels. These insights helped Moschino spot the exact categories and brands to compete against.
After using the tool for some time over a year, Moschino saw a 38% increase in their online visibility for non-branded keywords. They were also able to drive quality traffic for their product detail pages.
2) Atkins Nutritionals Taps into Competitor Analysis
Atkins Nutritionals is a leading player in the healthy snacks and foods category. The billion-dollar american brand wanted to build a community and increase engagement for the Atkins Program on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The main challenge was to gain a competitive edge over other players in the somewhat saturating nutritional products market. While they had clear personas of their buyers, the marketing team wanted to explore the potential of expanding this target audience through social media platforms.
This is when Atkins tapped into competitor analysis. With competitive post performance analysis and content insights, Atkins attempted to benchmark its own social media properties against competitors’. They use these data points and insights to drive their social media performance.
By tapping into competitive insights, the team was able to optimize their content by channel and audience. Further they increased their Instagram followers by 75% in less than a year.
They saw an increase of 51% in their engagement rate for every tweet. On Facebook, they saw an increase of 31% in their engagement rate.
Summing It Up
Competitive analysis is an important exercise in enhancing your digital presence. Right from staying on top of the trends in the industry to building a holistic digital strategy and spotting opportunities, competitive analysis can help you achieve your marketing goals.
Like Moschino and Atkins Nutritionals, there are various other brands that are tapping into competitive intelligence for enhancing their digital presence. If you too want to build a well-informed presence online, start tapping into competitive intelligence now.
Get started with tracking your competitors on social media using Unbox Social. Sign up now!
Want to know which tools can help you in your marketing campaigns? Just click the links below!
- Best Twitter Analytics Tools
- Best Instagram Analytics Tools
- Best Facebook Analytics Tools
- Best YouTube Analytics Tools
- Best Influencer Marketing Platforms