Crush Your Competition: A Guide To Competitive Analysis For Online Marketers

February 5, 2015 | Analytics, Marketing Strategies

Do you know where your competitors are advertising?

How about what keywords they’re bidding on?

Have you seen and analyzed their banner ads & landing pages?

Do you know where their traffic comes from?

How is their social engagement?

Questions like these and more can be answered with competitive intelligence. In fact, it’s central to every client engagement we undertake and it’s a necessity when it comes to creating an informed digital marketing strategy.

With an in depth competitive analysis you find out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats surrounding your online marketing investment.

You can save time and loads of money by discovering angles, traffic sources, and creative that are already working in your market. Your team can also discover areas that the competition is missing and take advantage to test and validate your way to ROI.

There are some amazing tools available to marketers that allow thorough and in depth analysis of the competition and opportunities.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Paid Traffic: find out the traffic sources, ads, and angles your competition is using to acquire new customers with these tools.

Social Media: understand the audience size, engagement, and content that works in your market.

Website & Market Analysis: understand the big picture opportunities so that you can find out where to dive deep. Analyze market data to find out who the leaders are and uncover their strategies.

SEO:

Below is an example analysis we completed between two companies. The goal was to complete a general analysis to determine the viability of an e-commerce digital sales & marketing strategy and recommend the brand with the best chances for success. Now, obviously there are many variables that come into play when determining which brand will succeed, but our goal was to analyze their current efforts, determine where the opportunities are, and understand what the market leaders are doing in the space.

Based on what was discovered in the overview analysis, the next course of action would be to dive deeper into each individual area (SEO, Social, Paid, Email, and Analytics) with actual data from the companies, and create a customer acquisition plan.

Hopefully the below analysis will give you a helpful template to start analyzing your market & competition. It was completed using SimilarWeb & RivalIQ without access to data from the companies being analyzed.

Side note: if there’s interest, we’ll create reports based on a deeper dive into each opportunity highlighted below and create a full digital marketing plan.

(All info has been removed that would allow recognition of the copmanies involved)


 

Overview

This document includes current website statistics, analysis, and digital strategy opportunities for Company A & Company B. When it comes to digital efforts, both companies lack cohesive strategies to increase website traffic & conversions.

Opportunities

Based on the below analysis, the following channels and strategies could drive significant business growth through digital:

  • Develop high quality content for the websites in order to drive organic search engine traffic and rank for terms in their respective markets.
  • Distribute content across social media channels to build a targeted audience to funnel into promotional strategies that drive repeat purchases.
  • Targeted digital advertising programs would help both websites reach ideal customers with direct response offers. Multiple channels would need to be tested in order to find strategies that show positive unit economics (customer acquisition cost < lifetime value) and potential for scale.
  • Product Listing Ads and Consumer Shopping Engines would allow both brands to increase distribution by advertising & listing products on sites like Amazon.com and Google Shopping.
  • Email marketing is one of the highest ROI digital strategies. Both websites lack user experiences that prioritize the collection of email addresses to increase repeat sales.
Competitive Overview

Two core business models represent digital market competition.

  1. Vertically integrated e-commerce
    1. This includes websites like Company C who develop and sell their own products via their e-commerce site.
  2. Category shopping ecommerce
    1. This includes websites like Big E-commcere Company who aggregates and sells products from a number of suppliers.

Company C sells on both their own ecommerce website and on niche 3rd party websites like Big E-commerce Company and is a relevant market competitor to both brands.

Recommendation

Neither brand currently demonstrates a distinct competitive advantage through digital and market leaders are moving into a multi channel strategy, developing and selling products that compete with both Company A & Company B.

General consumer interest seems to favor “category a” over “category b” when looking at historic Google search volume. General “category a” related search terms also appear to have slightly less competition.

Screenshot 2015-02-05 13.50.43

A digital sales and marketing strategy for either brand is viable with significant upside opportunity and given their past efforts, both brands are a relatively “blank slate.” I would recommend choosing one product category to begin, then eventually moving into “company a category” or “company b category” for a multi product approach based on which brand is acquired.

While they are close, based on the below research, I would recommend Company B. They have a more engaging brand and website, are creating original content, and have shown growth in social visitors. They have multiple products currently which could lend to an agile marketing strategy to find the best products which to focus efforts. Finally, Company C is well capitalized and is a market leader in ecommerce for “category b” – while this could be seen as market validation, it would also mean that “Company A” would be in need of differentiation.

Competitive Analysis

Company C Overview

Fastest growing multi channel “category” brand in the country. Innovating through product development process (speed of release based on customer feedback), growth through social & digital engagement/distribution.

  • URL:
  • Capital Raised:
  • Key Investors:
  • Key Market Competitors:
  • Press:
Website Audience

Screenshot 2015-02-05 13.53.29

Analysis

  • Generates between 1m – 1.5m visitors per month.
  • Traffic decrease could be related to minimized organic reach due to algorithm changes on Facebook
Traffic Sources

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.02.57

Analysis

  • Search & social are significant components to digital sales and marketing efforts.
Traffic Engagement  

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.04.32

Analysis

  • Shows strong traffic engagement likely due to strong focus on developing and including original content on the website.
Social Visits 

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.06.02

Analysis

  • Social traffic has been impacted likely because of decrease in reach of Facebook fans due to algorithm changes.
Social Audience 

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.08.36Analysis

  • Facebook is the top social channel followed by Instagram, and Twitter.

Company A & Company B Analysis

Website Audience

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.09.45

Analysis

  • Both websites have received between 10,000-20,000 visitors per month over the last three months.
  • Generally, traffic is low and neither website is showing positive momentum.
Traffic Sources  

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.10.52

Analysis

  • Company A is the clear leader when it comes to organic search traffic volume.
    • Both websites are in need of Search Engine Optimization to improve organic rankings.
  • Neither website is generating traffic from Social or Display Advertising, which are both areas of significant opportunity.
    • Advertising across the Google Display & Search Network and Facebook could drive targeted traffic and purchases to both websites 
 Traffic Engagement

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.12.17

 

Analysis

  • Company B’s visitors are staying on the site longer and visiting more pages with a lower bounce rate.
  • This is likely due to the fact that Company B’s website includes much more engaging content (Press, Videos, Blog).

Social Visits
 

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.13.21

 

Analysis

  • Company B is generating more traffic from their Social Audiences, the majority being Facebook Fans.
  • Both websites have a significant opportunity to improve their social media channels to drive traffic & purchases on the website.
 Social Audience

 Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.14.22

Analysis

  • Both firms have very low engagement on their social channels given the relative size of their followings. Frequency of posting, content shared, or target audiences are not optimal.
  • There is a significant opportunity to create a new social strategy for both websites and revamp the entire workflow around social media – including analytics, frequency of posting, and content creation.
 Display Advertising

Screenshot 2015-02-05 14.15.20

 

Analysis

  • Neither company is using paid advertising to drive targeted visitors who are likely to convert to their respective websites.
  • As stated above, there is a significant opportunity for both firms to advertise to consumers in order to drive direct response ecommerce transactions.

James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

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