Chances are, you’re feeling the heat from the competition more now than ever before. With every passing day, more and more brands are scaling up their digital transformation. And in so doing, they’re becoming more sophisticated in their market, consumer and competitive intelligence using data analytics powered by artificial intelligence.
And of course, that means your competition is more than likely using social media listening to accurately assess the voice of the customer and crafting brand messaging and campaigns that resonate. To stay ahead of your competitors and lead your industry, you need to get serious about your competitive intelligence. And that includes competitor campaign monitoring and analysis.
We’ll explore what that looks like with a focus on:
- Competitive intelligence campaign monitoring shift
- Competitor audience analysis has changed too
- Bringing competitive monitoring and analysis together to win
We’re fast approaching the day when having a lackluster competitive intelligence strategy is a death sentence for brands. Here are a few figures to get you motivated for monitoring the effectiveness of the competition:
- In a global study released in late 2018, the most essential metric to event marketers for measuring campaign success was social media activity. For brand marketers, the most important metric was website traffic.
- According to a recent report, 94% of brands surveyed said their company was planning to invest in competitive intelligence; 90% of Fortune 500 companies already do.
- A 2020 survey found that 41% of brands said their industry is somewhat more competitive, while 48% said theirs was much more competitive.
The ultimate goal with competitive intelligence is to ensure that your brand is the one making the other guys sweat. And you do that by getting informed, so you’re always at least one step ahead. Since campaigns are the voice of the competition, they are super important to track and analyze. Let’s take a look!
Competitive Intelligence Campaign Monitoring Shift
Across any vertical, there’s always one or two brands that lead the pack. And back in the day, those were the brands that competitors tried to emulate. But now, in our interconnected, always-on world, the times are a-changing.
That’s in large part because, back then, sales figures were the measure of advertising success. If a brand brought in profits, they must be doing something right in their advertising department.
However, with the ubiquity of the internet, social media platforms, digital marketing and the rush for digital transformation thrust upon most brands last year – there’s a whole new world of intel available to brands smart enough to invest in their competitive intelligence strategy.
And those brands are taking a much more holistic approach to monitoring competitor’s campaigns – and not just the big ones either. Since the lion’s share of marketer’s focus has diverted to the digital realm, there’s no shortage of data available that brands can use to best understand their competition’s wins and losses.
Honestly, brands can treat campaign analysis in much the same way they detect and monitor emerging trends. And it makes sense because it is one.
What that means is you can gain holistic insight into the world of marketing for a top-down approach. First, you understand the lay of the land, and then you dive down into category and brand specifics. In other words, you start big and get granular from there.
For example, we can use social listening to draw in what marketers are talking about online to understand what’s top of mind. That alone can help to tell you if your own brand is moving in the right direction and whether your competitors’ campaigns are tracking with trends.
Here’s a look in Quid Social for post mentions of marketing or advertising campaigns over the last three months colored by sentiment to see what’s on the global radar:
It’s clear that most of the top conversations are revolving around types of digital ad campaigns. It’s also telling that “marketing trends” is in the top spot. Unfortunately, that’s because too many marketers are still wearing out their search engines for trends, tips and inspiration.
But that’s not the future – not when social listening can give you measurable competitive intelligence on competitors’ marketing campaigns. And that includes sentiment, traction and movement over time.
To be frank, top marketing departments are not reading “101 Mind-Blowing Marketing Tips.” They’re using social media analytics to put real numbers to their competitors’ marketing tactics as well as their own. That way, they know what works and what doesn’t. Combine that competitive intelligence with a keen understanding of emerging trends, and you’ll have the recipe for marketing success that top brands are using.
And when you’re drilling into specific categories or brands, you need to direct your social listening to where the customers are talking. Let’s explore that a little further.
Competitor Audience Analysis Has Changed Too
On the social listening front, there’s no reason that you can’t have voice of the customer (VoC) intel on your competitors that’s every bit as robust as your own. That’s where things are changing rapidly as it is fast becoming the norm.
Gone are the days when you had to rely on surveys and focus groups to piece together a little bit of intel on your competitor’s campaign success. Social media analytics allow you to jump into the nuts and bolts of your competitor’s campaigns, products and channels to find out exactly who their customers are, where they’re talking and how they feel.
You can track a competitor’s campaign from day one or even use historical social media data to build an analysis on past initiatives. Doing so allows you to track movement over time, engagement and perform a sentiment analysis.
But brands are going even deeper than that on their competitors’ campaigns for an audience analysis that gets down to the most granular level. They’re looking for what platforms are seeing the most conversation, breaking down the audience for demographic data and drilling all the way down to psychographic traits such as interests, values and attitude attributes.
For example, we ran an analysis on social media users talking about the PlayStation 5 over the last three months. We found most of the conversation happening on Twitter, so we isolated that part of the conversation.
We then filtered only for users with the word ‘gamer’ in their bio terms for a more precise picture of dedicated enthusiasts. We then created tags for the PS5 and other consoles to see how they measured up in the conversation. Take a look.
Interestingly, even though this analysis was for PS5 mentions, users who are verifiably interested in gaming talked about their competitor Xbox almost as much – and with nearly the same sentiment spread. And they were much less interested in talking about Nintendo or the Nintendo Switch.
And this was just with those with gaming interests. We could do the same for users interested in anime, green living, literature, etc. The sky’s the limit.
The capability to slice your data in any way you choose for targeted consumer insight gives brands the most transparent picture of how their competition’s campaigns are playing out, who it’s resonating with – and most importantly – why. They are then taking that intel back to the drawing board to tweak their own campaigns.
Here’s another way to look at it … your competitors are probably running in-depth audience analyses on your campaigns and using that intel for messaging that attracts your hard-won consumers away from you.
That’s why going forward, brands need competitive intelligence that gets to the heart of the VoC. Now, let’s tie campaign analysis and monitoring together, so nothing your competitors do gets past you.
Bringing Competitive Monitoring & Analysis Together to Win
Combining campaign analysis with monitoring provides the perfect competitive intelligence package. A campaign analysis allows you to deduce what areas, people groups, domains, interests, etc. that are driving the conversation. Once you’ve filtered out the noise, you can get to the heavy lifting of monitoring the most critical conversational segments over time.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s a hashtag campaign, product launch or never before seen marketing method. People are going to talk about it online, and that’s where your social listening tools can be used to track how the conversation plays out.
As such, you can see what aspects are really hitting home with your competition’s audience that you’d like to target with your next campaign. You can measure performance metrics with your competitor’s audience that you can then use to compare against their subsequent initiatives. It’ll give you keen insight into where they’ve tweaked their performance and who they’re homing in on.
In March, Cadbury UK launched their #cadburyworldwidehide hashtag campaign to provide a little fun to consumers still in lockdown in the UK. Users could sign up and hide virtual eggs for a loved one anywhere in the world using Google Maps for a virtual egg hunt during the Easter season.
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While still a relatively small campaign, it was promoted by Cadbury on their UK social channels and television and ended up with over 700,000 participants. Suppose you are one of their competitors, and Twitter is where you want to target. In that case, you can filter for just those conversations and see how the campaign played out after March 10th, when they launched.
Competitive intelligence will tell them where they can do better next time – and it will tell you too, if you’re looking for it.
Is your brand using competitive intelligence to its full potential? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll help you unlock the numbers behind your competitor’s marketing movements so you can’t help but crush it.