Wondering how your competitors are structuring their marketing campaigns?Competitive analysis is the answer.
Competitive analysis should be a mainstay of any successful marketer’s toolkit.
We created an in-depth, 37-page, step-by-step guide to reverse engineering marketing funnels, which you can download using the button below.
When it comes to competitive analysis, there’s a lot of information you’ll need to shift through, and it can be quite overwhelming. We’ve broken the process down into 12 easy-to-manage steps, but first things first – what is competitive analysis?
What is competitive analysis?
- Competitive analysis is a type of analysis you should be conducting that researches and gathers data on rival businesses.
- It’s a great way to discover what your competitors are upto, which adverts they are running, how their email flows are set up and which audiences they are targeting.
- Competitive analysis will help you to understand how much of a threat your rivals pose, give you tips on running your own campaigns and, potentially, help you to spot gaps in the market where you can make your move and capitalise on the situation.
Step 1: Product / Offering Analysis
Before you even start to think about reverse-engineering a marketing campaign, you’re going to need to start by doing some analysis into the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats posed by the company and product you’re researching.
Tip: Use the SWOT analysis system to do your initial product / offering analysis, and update it as you go through the reverse-engineering process.
Step 2: Trend Analysis
Searching for trending patterns in company or product names will give you insights into product cycles and patterns, and might help you to spot when companies have started to ramp up their campaign activity.
Tip: Look for seasonal changes in demand, such as in the example above. We can see there’s a huge increase in searches for “headphones” in the lead up to December and the Christmas gift-giving period. “Airpod” searches follow the same seasonal patterns, but with a major upward surge in searches from 2017 onwards.
Step 3: Dive into the Website
If you’re armed with the right toolkit, you’ll be able to do a thorough analysis of your target company’s website, the technologies that are used on it, connected websites domains and pages. This will give you insights into product and company structure and insights into which tools are working well for your competitors, and give you ideas about which ones you might experiment with too.
Step 4: Backlinks and Beyond
Backlinks are a good way to measure a company/marketing campaign’s success. If a website has lots of backlinks, that’s a sign that lots of people and publications are talking about it. But it’s not all about the frequency of the backlinks – quality is important too.
Tip: If a competitor has created guest content for an industry-leading site, why not reach out and create something better, or suggest a partnership?
Step 5: Where’s the Traffic Coming From?
Where does your competitor’s traffic come from? What’s driving the most traffic? And how are they doing it? The biggest traffic driving channels will be a good indicator of where to focus your reverse-engineering efforts.
Step 6: Content Analysis
Competitive content analysis will help you understand how your competitor positions themselves within the market, the type of content they create and the strategies they use to distribute it. Once you’ve done this, it will be easier for you to spot opportunities and content gaps, suss out potential collaborations and build a content strategy that’s 100x better than theirs.
Step 7: What Ads are They Running?
This is the core of your reverse-engineering audit. What ads are being run by your target company? How many variations are they running? Are they location-specific?
Step 8: UTM Analysis
This is a proper detective’s step – by doing a little research into the way in which UTMs are built, you can discover all sorts of interesting information about the types of campaigns that your competitors are running including campaign source, name, medium, terms and content.
Step 9: Website
There are few better ways to get a feel for a product or company than to go through the website on both desktop and mobile devices and try to understand the user journey and overall experience.
Step 10: Email Flows
Don’t’ forget about email lead nurture flows! Just because they aren’t on the website doesn’t mean that emails aren’t important.
Tip: Sign up to mailing lists, request more information and do other actions on-site that require leaving an email address. Then you can do an analysis of the types of emails you receive.
Step 11: Social Proof
Social Proof is one of the trickier parts of a campaign to analyse, but it’s incredibly important. People who are actively and positively discussing a brand on social media are natural brand ambassadors and are perfect for the referral stage of a campaign.
Step 12: Mapping Out the User Flow
Once you’ve gathered all of your data, you can start to map out and visualise your user flow!