Are you already utilizing digital marketing for your business?
Then you already know that social media campaign is an example of digital marketing. Keeping up with your competitors is a key element of setting up a social media marketing campaign. But who are these competitors? How can you identify them? And how does identifying competitors help you?
I’ve brought you an in-depth guide with the answers to all these questions. The concepts discussed in this feature include:
What Is Competitive Research?
What is competitor analysis in digital marketing?
Competitor research or competitive analysis is the process of observing, analyzing, and documenting all the various statistics, strategies, and responses of your competitive businesses or brands.
To do a competitive analysis for social media, you have to be a strategic spy.
Related Information: 10 tips to perform competitor analysis for social media.
Who are your competitors?
The brands or companies that provide similar services as yours in the same target market to a similar target audience are your competitors. Does that sound too complicated? Don’t worry, I’ll simplify it soon.
Types of Competitors
When conducting competitive research, you will find two different types of competitions:
1) Business Competitors
The brands or businesses that operate in the same market and offer the same services as yours are your business competitors. They might even have the same target audience as yours.
Business competitors can be classified into 3 types:
i) Direct competitors: Your direct competitors are businesses or brands with the same products or services, aimed at the same target audience.
For example Netflix vs Hulu, Pepsi vs Coca-Cola.
ii) Indirect competitors: Businesses that may have different services or products but fall under the same category as your business are indirect competitors.
For example Netflix vs Disney+, RedBull vs Coca-Cola.
iii) Replacement competitors: Replacement competitors offer different services than yours to a different target market. But sometimes they can attract your target audience. They might provide your consumers with a substitute for your services or products.
Replacement competitors are also called phantom competitors.
For example Netflix vs Cable TV, and Coca-Cola vs Starbucks.
You must first identify your direct and indirect competitors before your replacement competitors.
2) Search Competitors
Businesses or brands that show up when keywords relating to your business are typed into a browser are your search competitors. They are competing with your search relevance (or importance). These businesses may not be directly related to your target market or industry. They may even have a different target audience. But they are your competitors in the case of search results.
Maybe a situational example will help. Suppose you run a cafe business. Your unique selling point or USP is that your cafe has books along with various snacks. So open up a browser tab and type in “cafe with books” into the search bar. If you have incognito mode turned off, the search results will show businesses in your area. Note down the names of the top searches that show up.
Notice that the results “Top Bookstore Cafés in Dhaka” and “Top bookshop cafes in Dhaka” aren’t actually the cafes. They are blogs or features about the business. Although these blogs are not competing with your business, they are competing with your search results. So these results are your search competitors.
What do you do after you’ve identified your competitors? It’s time to start analyzing.
How To Run Competitive Analysis In 7 Easy Steps
Competitive analysis can be run in many ways following different modus operandi (Method of operation.). We’ve broken down the basic procedure into these 7 simple steps:
- Competitor identification.
- Competitive audit.
- Competitor’s ad campaigns.
- Platform research.
- Positioning strategy.
- Ideal customer profile.
- Market segmentation.
1. Identify Your Competitors
First, let’s talk about competitor identification.
To find your competitors, start with a simple search:
Open up a browser and input keywords related to your business. Add “in my area” after your keywords. This search will show the names of all the businesses which are the same as yours in your local area. Note down these names and businesses.
Explore your area physically and see which stores gain the most traffic. These businesses may also be your direct, indirect, or phantom competitors.
Talk to other people about businesses in your industry, niche, and network.
Check out the traffic and sales records of businesses nearby as well as online to see which brands are selling the most to your target market.
Now you should have a list of competitors according to the:
- Area/geographical location.
Once you’ve identified your business and searched competitors, it’s time to do some digging.
2. Conduct A Competitive Audit
What is a competitive audit? It is a complete process to keep track of your competitor’s business, social media analytics, and marketing strategies. Once you’ve analyzed all the data, you compare it to your own business to find out the lackings. From a competitive audit, you can plan what else your business needs.
- How To Conduct A Competitive Audit?
A complete competitive audit can include:
- Social media audit: Collect and review the social media metrics of your competitors. Collect data on which platforms your opponents focus on more, where they get the most interactions, and what’s being said about their brand online.
A social media audit is a detailed and time-consuming process.
- Website audit: Through a website audit, you can check which keywords your competition is focusing on, what pages are performing the best, and the content on all of these pages. A site audit brings you the overall information on the website traffic, client retention rate, and conversion rates of your opposing businesses.
A website audit gives you an overview of how a website will perform on search engines. The information collected from a website audit can be used to design and improve your own website.
- Keyword audit: Running a keyword audit will tell you the SEO strategy being applied by businesses in your niche. These same keywords can be the focus when your content, website, and ads are being set up.
- Backlink audit: The backlinks that websites get contribute largely to the traffic driven to the site. Track all the backlinks that the selected website is getting and try to contact these backlinks. Some websites or pages on the website may be referred to in some articles or social media posts. Find the email addresses or contact details of the people who posted the articles or social media posts.
Contact the posters and proposition your business so they can cover your brand as well in the future.
Read also this article: Why Do You Need a Social Media Content Strategy
After running a thorough competitive audit, you can estimate your competitor’s authority score. An authority score tells you how well that domain or webpage will rank on web searches.
3. Monitor Competitor’s Ad Campaigns
Businesses run digital marketing campaign that include ad campaigns. These ads may be run on social media as well as on search engine results, different articles, and video-sharing platforms. Even banner ads are quite popular.
The data you need to monitor when observing your competitor’s ad campaigns are:
- Social media platforms they focused on.
- The budget settled for running the ad campaign.
- Goals of the ad campaign.
- Social media metrics before and after running the campaign.
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) or the total revenue generated from ads.
- Return on investment (ROI) or the revenue generated from the digital marketing campaign.
- What sort of ad performed the best for them: the type of content, the copy used, the format of ads, and the run-time – collect data on all these elements.
Facebook has an ad library that presents data on the different ad campaigns run by companies on Meta services. You can collect campaign-related data from this site.
Recommended reading: How to Measure the Success of Google Ads Campaign
4. Research Different Platforms
One of the key points to keep in mind when running a social media campaign is to focus on different platforms. Your competitor’s target audience is scattered across many platforms and so, they use different marketing strategies to reach these audience segments.
By researching different social media platforms, you can analyze what the consumers are saying about your competitors as well as the social media content strategy the competition is implementing.
Competitor Research on Different Platforms
- Competitor Analysis on Facebook
As Facebook is currently the most used app globally, it also generates the most ad revenue. Over 94% of businesses use Facebook for marketing purposes. Facebook is a great platform to find competitors and analyze how they are reaching out to an audience.
How do I do a competitor analysis on Facebook?
Here are the steps for competitor analysis on Facebook:
i) First step is to identify your competitors. Once you know which competitors to track, head over to their Facebook profiles and pages.
ii) Make a note of their profile layout, the colors they’re using to associate with their brand, and how frequently they post.
iii) Analyze their post timings, content type, and engagements. Follow this structure when conducting your analysis:
- What type of content are they posting?
- Are they all promotional posts?
- Do they use video, audio, or media?
- Which type of content gets the most interactions?
iv) Go through the accounts or pages that your competitors are following. You may find business leads from here.
v) Go through the followers of your competitors. They can be your potential target customers.
Researching your competitor’s audience is also an important part of identifying target audiences for social media campaigns.
vi) Monitor the ad campaigns and social media campaigns that the competition runs on Facebook.
- Competitor Analysis On LinkedIn
There were over 3.9 million LinkedIn users in Bangladesh in the year 2021. This huge chunk of LinkedIn users searches for job opportunities, share content related to their industry, and build up a community through their LinkedIn connections. Your competitors will tap into this large market to find target audiences on LinkedIn.
So you should get on their tails and work out their LinkedIn strategies.
i) Check your competitor’s LinkedIn profiles and pages.
ii) Monitor their content format, posting times, and engagements.
iii) Note down the names of users who comment on the posts and analyze their profiles.
iv) Monitor what’s being said about your competitor’s brand. If there are any gaps in the market, you can cover that in your business.
v) Note down how often they are posting and their posting times.
vi) Analyze the accounts and pages that the competition is following.
- Competitor Analysis On Youtube
In 2021 alone, ads on YouTube reached over 20.6% of the total population of Bangladesh. Marketers consider YouTube a great source for promoting their business.
Here’s how you can easily run a competitor analysis on YouTube. The first step is to narrow down your competitors.
i) Search content related to your business. The top channels and brands that pop up are your search competitors.
ii) Note down the names of channels, the type of content they make, and the posting schedules.
iii) Read through the comments and take note of the topics that people are praising as well as the missing information.
iv) Companies may also run ad campaigns on YouTube. Banner ads or videos may show up while watching YouTube videos or after entering a search.
v) You can take inspiration for running your own YouTube ad campaign from the examples of some successful campaigns.
YouTube ad campaigns are often run as PPC campaigns which means the advertiser has to pay according to the number of clicks the ad gets.
- Competitor Analysis On Instagram
Instagram still isn’t quite big in Bangladesh from a marketing perspective. But brands and companies post on their Instagram pages to keep their clients updated.
i) Identify your competitors and search for their Instagram profiles and pages.
ii) Analyze the type of content, posting schedules, and interactions.
iii) Go through the accounts that these businesses follow and their followers as well.
iv) Be sure to check the comment section under popular posts to learn what the buyers or customers are saying about the brand.
5. Plan A Positioning Strategy
What is a positioning strategy?
Branding tactics or ideas that companies use to highlight their services and set them apart from their competitors make up their positioning strategy. The point of positioning strategies is to make sure your target audience thinks of your brand or company when they hear specific keywords or see certain images.
A good positioning strategy is determined by identifying the strong points or strengths of a business and focusing on them.
There are different types of positioning strategies:
- Product positioning.
- Competitive positioning.
- Price positioning.
- Speed positioning.
Coca-Cola promises that the product will quench your thirst as well as add happiness to the moments in your life. This concept has been associated with Coca-Cola for many years. Even today, when you have heavy meals, having a coke right afterward is a must. This is the brand’s positioning strategy.
Many businesses in Bangladesh follow positioning strategies that make their brand unique.
Sometimes companies change their positioning strategies. This process is called brand repositioning. There may be many reasons for changing strategies such as changes in customer demand, product quality, new business goals, etc.
How should you plan a positioning strategy?
i) Analyze your competitor’s KPI and business goals. When you compare your goals to those of your competing brands, you can plan which areas your business is focused on.
ii) Identify your unique selling point. Compare your USP to that of your competitor.
iii) Conduct a SWOT analysis. (add infographic)
iv) Analyze your current position in the market.
v) Identify tags, slogans, or ideas you want to use for marketing. These slogans will be used to promote your brand.
Through a positioning strategy, market segmentation and targeting become easier.
6. Develop An Ideal Customer Profile
An ideal customer profile or ICP is an outline that defines the geographical, environmental, and firmographic characteristics of the ideal customer of a company. This ideal customer framework helps you adjust your business goals and focus on your target audience better.
Benefits of planning an ICP include more focused product manufacturing, specific ad campaigns, fixed themes for products and services, and more.
Remember that ICP is different than audience segmentation in marketing. They are not your target audiences either.
The point of an ICP is to have a specific type of client in mind when updating your services or changing your products. The group of people, or more essentially, the business that will benefit the most from your services.
A buyer persona is a visualization of the type of audience you want to sell to. Whereas, an ideal customer profile lets you evaluate your clients on basis of their accounts. You set goals according to the budget and needs of your ICP.
How to create an ideal customer profile?
i) First analyze your existing consumer base. Document the locations, purchase intent, purchasing behavior, and psychographic patterns of your existing clients and identify who are your best customers. Your best customers may be categorized depending on criteria like:
- Conversion rate.
- Retention rate.
- Customer interests.
- Industry growth rate.
ii) Outline the common characteristics that your best customers share. They can be segmented based on attributes such as type of industry, number of employees the business has, how much they’re willing to spend on your services, etc.
iii) Identify the demands and challenges of your customers. These demands should be related to your service or industry.
iv) Figure out how to offer solutions to the problems your customers are facing. Try to offer solutions that will benefit both you and your clients.
v) Once you have identified your ideal customers and their needs, divide them into segments and assign them names or divide them into groups. Focus on these groups individually to improve your business goals.
Creating an ideal customer profile amplifies your lead generation rate.
How does creating an ICP help you with competitor research?
Your competitors will also set up an ICP and base their business goals according to it. If you have an ICP set up, you can compare it to your competition and identify your gaps.
7. Perform Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is an important part of growing your business. This is a long and careful process through which companies identify who they are selling to and what marketing strategies to use for these businesses.
Types of market segmentation are:
- Demographic segmentation.
- Psychographic segmentation.
- Behavioral segmentation.
- Geographic segmentation.
Through market segmentation, you gain a fixed idea about who you’re marketing your products to. Then you can structure your marketing campaigns according to the target market. Your competitors will also do the same.
So monitor the segmentation strategy of your competitors.
Now you know how to set up a competitive analysis framework. From our feature, you should have learned the answers to these questions:
- How is competitor analysis used in social media marketing?
- How do you create a competitor analysis framework?
Competitor analysis is a crucial aspect of social media marketing, and it helps businesses stay ahead of the competition. By identifying your competitors, analyzing their social media profiles, monitoring their activity, and assessing their overall social media strategy, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies and improve your own social media marketing campaigns.