Digital marketing is more competitive than ever, and you have to keep an eye on the competition to ensure you don’t fall behind. Competitive intelligence can make the difference between operating with a top-performing marketing funnel and swiftly falling behind.
Research from HubSpot found that social media, SEO, account-based marketing and content creation are the disciplines that today’s marketers emphasize most. To utilize these methods well, however, you must understand what audiences need and what they’re looking for.
By keeping an eye on the competition, you’ll discover potential opportunities that you might be neglecting. Here are three critical things that competitive intelligence data can tell you.
Every firm generates leads and sales from a variety of channels. Figuring out which channel is performing the best and going all-in on it generates more sales than trying to spread activities across all available channels. The problem is that consumer behavior and platform rules change over time. As a result, your ideal channel mix will change as well.
For instance, a company might generate the majority of their traffic from YouTube, only to find that algorithm changes to the platform impact views adversely. In such situations, it’s helpful to look at a competitor’s channel mix and discover alternative traffic-generation channels. They might be generating huge traffic numbers from another platform that you might be neglecting.
Market intelligence reports don’t merely list traffic proportions from channels but also back them up with metrics that reveal engagement upon clickthrough. Engagement is what matters the most to marketers, of course, since traffic that bounces out quickly isn’t of much use.
If a competitor has discovered a channel that drives high engagement, figuring out why this has happened will help you develop a better marketing strategy. You might find that changing the voice of your brand and reevaluating messaging will help build engagement.
The bottom line is that you’ll never have to worry about being left behind or missing out on viral growth on an emerging platform. Your competitor’s activities will alert you to new growth channels at all times.
Great content is the foundation of user engagement. The more helpful you are when solving your audience’s issues, the better your relationships will be. In turn, your customers will spread the word about your product, and you’ll experience traffic growth.
Affiliate relationships are a great way of building word-of-mouth buzz on the internet. A great affiliate will always present your product and brand the right way and generate traffic in line with your policies. As such, a good affiliate relationship is just as valuable as great owned media or a presence on the right social channel.
Monitoring your competitors’ activities in this regard can be highly instructive, since you’ll start to notice potentially lucrative affiliate deals that can boost your brand’s image.
For instance, if you find your competitors building relationships with affiliates and influencers that appeal to a younger demographic (or a different demographic from the one you currently target), it’s clear that they’ve spotted a change in consumer behavior. Latching onto this trend before it becomes too late is imperative for growth.
A good example is Netflix recognizing the video streaming trend in the mid-2000s and moving away from mailbox DVD rentals. Blockbuster recognized this trend but didn’t act on it until it was too late. Good marketing intelligence reports can alert you to these shifting behaviors early, and you won’t be left behind.
As with evaluating a competitor’s channel mix, you can view engagement metrics and the traffic sources of your competitors’ affiliates. Comparing these metrics to your existing affiliate relationships will give you a good benchmark to aim for – whether you’re just getting started or have been at it for years.
The result is consistent growth and flexibility with respect to changing consumer trends.
Optimized PPC Campaigns
Marketers aim to achieve a balance between organic and paid traffic. Organic traffic is free, but it takes time to build. Paid traffic brings instant results, but it requires constant analysis and fine-tuning.
A competitor can jump ahead by discovering new keywords and spend much less to generate more traffic.
Given the variety of PPC ads on offer these days, you need insight into traffic share and engagement from all of them. For instance, video ads might be working better than display ads. In this situation, it makes sense to divert your budget towards video marketing and examine whether your competitors are experiencing the same.
Any discrepancies between your competitor’s PPC ad performance and yours will lead to opportunities to refine your marketing strategy. These data will also give you a great benchmark to measure yourself. Media buying is likewise simplified, since you’ll be able to view your competitors’ top networks and publishers.
Well Rounded Strategies
Great marketing strategies are flexible and cover all bases. Most importantly, they’re iterative and improve over time. Keeping an eye on your competition is essential if you wish to achieve these goals. Market intelligence reports offer deep insights and possible opportunities for improvement that you cannot afford to ignore.
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