Competitive intelligenceToday we’ll discuss digital competitive intelligence, how to conduct this analysis and what tools we should use. We concentrate on the owned company’s media and how to analyze them (Analysis of competitor’s Earned and Paid media we will discuss in the next article).

To begin with, the fact that before you create a digital strategy or launch a site on the Internet you should know how your competitors are represented online.  In the article I’ll describe a typical workflow of such analysis that is divided by categories.  Depending on your needs, you can use information from the all articles or just from a separate category.

1. A competitor’s site

What we should analyze:

Analyze competitors site

Sites features

What CMS is used, web design quality, usability, social integrations, payment methods that are used. Pay attention for these pages: a main page, landing pages, a page with testimonials, pages with extra-features (plugins, interactive games, widgets, etc.), and a check-out page.

I recommend creating a document with the aid of Excel, where you’ll write a list of such features. In the future you can use this list with the aim of finding weak points in your site functionality and how to improve it.

Useful tools:

  • builtwith.com – this tool helps scan a site and figure out what technologies and services were used on it. It provides such information about a website: a web server, name server providers, versions of SSL, CMS, CDN, frameworks, JavaScript libraries, email service providers, advertising systems, analytics and tracking systems, payment providers, mobile technologies, widgets, aggregation functionality, etc.
  • larger.io– this service a little lower in quality in comparison with builtwith.com, but it less expensive.
  • wappalyzer.com – is a browser extension that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects CMS, eCommerce platforms, web servers, JavaScript Frameworks, analytics codes and any more.

More relevant tools that will help you to conduct a competitive analysis you can find on the Quora page.

competitors' marketing analysis

Marketing. Content that exists on a site

  • What positioning this site (Brand) has. Is it clear what a company offers (its advantages, unique sales proposition)?
  • Quality of content: texts, videos, podcasts, infographics, interactive mechanics etc. Does it have a blog? Periodicity of site’s content updates. What pages have the most shares in social networks? Why did they become viral?
  • What marketing techniques the site uses for capture leads and increase conversion rate (special offers, quizzes, exit popups forms, up-sales and cross-sales techniques, bonuses, discounts, etc.)

Why do you need this?

In the era of a tough fight for clients’ attention, content is the most powerful weapon. For this reason, you should know what kind content they produce and the quality of it. You have the aim to outperform them and attract the attention of their clients to your service.  Do you need more reasons? Read this article.

Also, this research gives you valuable information about marketing mechanics that competitors use. It’ll help you improve your site; implement new techniques of up and cross-sales, get ideas of feature product promotion on the site.

SEO competitors analysis

SEO analysis of a competitor’s site

Firstly, you need to check the quality of onsite SEO optimization, the MOZ trust parameters (DA and PA). What rankings in search results this site has. Quantity and quality of the links point at your domain (external links). The number of users from search engines that visit a site.

  Why do you need this?

You’ll know what SEO strategies your competitors use, a budget that you need with the aim of improving search rankings of your resource. Also, you’ll find relevant sites that have links to your competitors.

Tools that will help you conduct a SEO and Content analysis:

  • SimilarWeb and Alexa – these tools provide information about the digital activities of your competitors. Also they give data of number of visits to the analyzing site from different digital channels;
  • Semrush, Ahrefs and SerpStat – powerful services that can track your competitor’s backlinks, positions, keywords, brand mentions, etc;
  • SEO Quake – shows data on traffic, links, social shares, on-page keyword optimization and more. The SEO Quake website has lots of helpful tips on what to do with all this data;
  • Seositecheckup – an onsite optimization checker;
  • Moz Tools – free tools for search analysis;
  • Spyfu.com– This is an easy-to-use tool that lets you know which keywords your competitors are targeting, both in organic search and in AdWords;
  • Blazecontent.com –inventory, audit and analyze online content;
  • Website.grader.com – this tool analyzes the/your site – then it comes back with a report grading you on things like mobile readiness, SEO, security, and more;

competitors' social media activities

2. Social Networks

Do you know in what social networks your competitors have accounts and how many followers each account has? You should check it. You have to know such: the frequency of their publications in social networks, quality and type of content (text posts, quizzes, competitions, video lessons, etc.), speed of answers, how active their audience and what they tell about the competitor’s brand.

Tools that will help you monitor competitor activities in social networks

  • getsocialanalytics.com– track social engagement of any website;
  • likealyzer.com– get statistics about any Facebook group;
  • simplymeasured.com – free tools that help you analyze competitors on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook;
  • klear.com – monitor competitors and find social media influencers;
  • fanpagekarma.com– analyze social profiles of your competitors;
  • twitonomy.com– analyze and monitor Twitter accounts;
  • quintly.com – The tool provides Instagram analytics for followers, both of your profile and that of your competitors, with detailed follower statistics;

  Why do you need this?

It helps to understand how well your competitors are represented in social networks and how many resources they spend to support such activities. You can find the most effective social networks for promotion and conceive ideas about what content is most preferable for your target audience.

Affiliate programs

3. Affiliate Marketing

Some of the companies get more than 30% of total income through affiliate marketing. For this reason, you should analyze whether your competitors conduct activities in affiliate marketing.  The algorithm of such research is:

  • Find information about an affiliate or a referral program on their sites;
  • Search information about their program in TOP affiliates networks (For example: CJ or ShareaSale);
  • Connect as a partner to their offers;
  • Check what conditions their offers have: the maximum payout, allowed methods of traffic acquisition, geo-targeting, promo-materials, hold of payments, bonuses, etc;
  • Check what software they use;

  Why do you need this?

You will know what percent of profit they share with partners, what channels of promotion they use by themselves and what they delegate to partners.  Do you like their offers? Do you know how to outperform them and give your potential partners a more lucrative proposal? Will you connect to existing CPA networks or use your own software?

other competitor's resources

4. Other resources

Other sites

Many digital companies use several sites with the aim of promoting their products. Some of the sites are used to help the main site obtain higher search rankings. Others are used as independent resources and they have their own promotion strategy.  Sometimes it’s really hard to find connections among such sites and figure out that they belong to one company.

Ho you can find these resources?

Check external links that point at competitor’s resource. You can find sites that are similar with the competitor’s site. Check what content and features these sites have. Evidences that sites belongs to the same owner:

  • The same domain registration information;
  • The same codes: Google Analytics, email software providers, widgets, other third-party systems;
  • Similar design or fragments of programming code;
  • The same content on pages: contact us, privacy policy, terms and conditions, refund policy, etc;
  • Identical content in emails in their sequences;

Why do you need this?

Sometimes, the appearance of new sites that belong to your competitor can signal a change in its digital strategy and promotion channels. What you will do when suddenly you figure out that some of the good niche blogs belong to your competitor? When will you find out that 7 of 10 results in the TOP Google also belong to your competitor’s sites?

Accounts on marketplaces

Do you check the presence of your competitors on the marketplace platforms such as Amazon, Ebay or others? You should do this. Some companies use these platforms as powerful client generation resources.

Forums| Communities

You should check main relevant forums (communities) for a competitors’ presence. The most important information is: whether they have official accounts, how they communicate with users, and how they stimulate users to buy their products.

Useful tools:

  • domaincrawler.com – this service provides information about domains
  • spyonweb.com– reports sites with the same Adsense publisher ID and Google Analytics code as the one you’re researching
  • xaviesteve.com – it helps find other websites with the same email, IP address, Analytics, Adsense, Amazon, Clickbank, HiStats and more
  • reverseinternet.com – you can find related sites networks by: Adsence, Analytics, IP, Clickbank, Hosting, Kontera, Nameserver, Amazon, Chitika, Affinity, Shopzilla

competitors mobile apps

5. Mobile, Social Apps, Messenger bots

We know that every year more users switch their preference of usage from laptops to smartphones. So it’s crucial to know how your competitors use this trend. What apps they have and how they are promoted, how these apps stimulate people to use their main products, and how many users use these apps?  More information about performing competitive analysis on Apps you can find here or here

Why do you need this?

The main question is:

Do you need to spend money and time on creating such apps (bots) or it’s better to concentrate on classical web promotion channels? Competitors can give you this answer.

Useful tools:

  • botlist.co – find out what bots exist for the most popular messengers
  • insights.mobileaction.co – a tool that help track competitors’ apps (mobile data intelligence)
  • appannie.com– a free tool that help track competitors’ apps
  • sensortower.com – get custom alerts when a competitor soft-launches or makes a new strategic move. Know what’s working for your competition before even they do.

track competitor's emails

6. Email Marketing

I think that an email base of subscribers is a valuable resource of new sales. In effect, companies can put in more time and efforts to create the more interesting emails.  You need to subscribe to competitors’ emails and get this information: what emails they send, their frequency and quality, what they offer, pros and cons of their transactional emails and emails in sequences.

Why do you need this?

It helps you create your own email strategy and write better initial emails than your competitors.

Useful tool

Emailstrategy.net – a great tool that stores information about competitors’ emails. Currently, their base includes all emails from more than two thousand companies. Also, you can monitor your own competitors by adding them to your list in the account.

Today I gave you the most detailed plan for competitor analysis in current media. In the next article, I will describe how to monitor earned and paid media that your competitors use.

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