Have you ever given serious consideration to competitor analysis in digital marketing? In the pre-digital period, companies mostly utilized traditional media channels such as print, radio, and television advertising. Nowadays, however, digital marketing has taken over in terms of both popularity and success. In 2020 alone, digital ad spending for companies accounted for $350 billion worldwide.

With digital marketing gaining traction and an increasing number of companies allocating for it within their marketing budget, there’s fierce competition. While reviewing your digital marketing strategy and analyzing your data can help, you won’t stay ahead of the pack without competitor analysis. By conducting a thorough competitor analysis, you’ll gain insight into your competition’s strengths and weaknesses and be able to improve your company’s efforts.

What is competitor analysis in digital marketing?

Competitor analysis involves an in-depth review and interpretation of web data along with your competitor’s current digital marketing strategies. It helps illuminate your company’s standing in relation to your competitors and identify any gaps and opportunities.

Why conduct competitor analysis in digital marketing?

There are a few reasons why you should be conducting competitor analysis to improve your digital marketing.

  1. Review benchmarks: Just because you’re performing well in a specific channel doesn’t mean that you’ve captured most of the market. By reviewing a specific set of metrics, known as benchmarks, you’ll have a better idea of how you fare against your competitors.
  2. Know what’s happening in the market: By monitoring the competitive landscape, you’ll have a good idea of the various seasonal trends that occur during the year.
  3. Learn valuable insights: Through competitor analysis, you’ll be able to see what works for your competitors and what doesn’t so that you don’t make the same mistakes they have.
  4. Refine your goals: As you analyze your competitor’s digital marketing strategy, you’ll be able to see a clearer picture of which goals and objectives you’ll need to refine along the way.

Which competitors should you look at?

When conducting competitor analysis in digital marketing, you should look at both direct and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are those that offer the same product or service and compete within the same market. For example, FedEx’s direct competitor would be UPS or Royal Mail. Indirect competitors compete in a different category but are seen as an alternative purchase choice. For example, FedEx’s indirect competitor would be Amazon.

How to do competitor analysis for digital marketing?

There are a few ways to conduct competitor analysis in digital marketing.

  • Analyze their website traffic

A good way to benchmark your performance versus your competitors’ is to look at their website traffic. As a starting point, it’s optimal to benchmark yourself against more than five players. Some useful tools that you can use include WooRank and SimilarWeb.

  • Analyze their SEO efforts

Your competitors maybe receiving a larger piece of the pie – more leads, more clicks, and more revenue. A great way to monitor your competitors’ SEO efforts is through tools such as Marketing Grader and Majestic SEO.

  • Monitor their Ads

Use What Runs Where to get a good idea of the type of ads your competitors are running. You’ll even get an alert every time your competitor launches a new advertisement or publishes new content.

  • Check out their Content Marketing and PR

Content is king, and there’s nothing wrong with looking at the topics that your competitors are writing about. You can check out what they’re posting on their blogs or sneakily subscribe to their email marketing to discover what type of content they publish regularly. You can also use some of the tools available online to track mentions of any word or phrase that has your competitor’s brand name, product, or product category in it. BuzzSumo’s content discovery and monitoring tools are a good place to start looking for content ideas and tracking mentions, trends, and updates.

  • Monitor Social Media

When it comes to conducting competitor analysis, monitoring social media is a must. There are plenty of tools available such as SEMrush, Sprout Social, Hootsuite that’ll help you compare social analytics, social engagement, and determine which platform(s) your competitors are using. You can also track hashtag performance and monitor keyword mentions.

What next?

Now that you’ve conducted the competitor analysis in digital marketing and have all of this data and insight, what’s next?

  • Thoroughly review the information

To start, you should look through all of your findings and review them with your own goals and digital marketing strategy in mind. In sifting through all of the data, you may find that a certain campaign you’ve been running for a while doesn’t cater to the current market’s trends and needs.

  • Share with other departments

While this information will most certainly help the marketing team, it can also include valuable data and insights for other departments. Think about which other teams within your company could benefit from these findings and don’t hesitate to share the competitor analysis report you’ve created with them.

  • Make changes

The data and information are there for a reason. Now that you have these insights, there’s nothing wrong with making some tweaks or changes to your current campaigns. Sometimes, you might even need to rethink your entire strategy, but it’s better to do so now than later.

  • Keeping up with competitor analysis

Conducting competitor analysis in digital marketing will provide you with crucial insights to improve digital marketing results and stay ahead of the competition. When performing a competitor analysis, you should try to do an analysis overview once a month to keep tabs on any growing trends and make necessary adjustments. More thorough competitor analysis can be conducted quarterly to implement prominent changes in your digital marketing strategy.