Eight Ways to Use Competitive Analysis Effectively

Growing up, many of us were compelled to mind our own business. Well, in today’s market climate, minding the competition’s business – is your business. That’s because competition analysis yields insights that gives your brand a tremendous leg up in its decision-making.

So, what is competition analysis, and how can it help your brand? We’ll explore that here, along with eight ways to use competitive analysis effectively. Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Competition analysis, defined
  • Eight ways to use competitive analysis effectively:
  1. Understanding share of voice
  2. Monitoring media mentions
  3. Connecting with KOLs and influencers
  4. Capturing unmet needs across multiple segments
  5. Identifying competitor audiences and comparing against them
  6. Keeping up with patents and innovation
  7. Tracking trends over time
  8. Distinguishing emerging opportunities from noise

And what’s the number one reason your brand should take competition analysis seriously? Your competitors are most likely using it to gain an edge on you, as these stats suggest:

  • According to a survey released last year, 48% of respondents said their industry has become much more competitive in the past three years. 41% said theirs was somewhat more competitive.
  • 61% of brands say they’ve seen positive impacts to their revenue by implementing competition analysis strategies into their market research. That’s a notable increase from last year’s numbers which stood at 52%.
  • More than ever, brands are seeking an understanding of competition analysis and how to implement it successfully. As such, 73% of brands allocate 20% of their technology budgets towards data analytics-based research. Not only that, 94% of businesses have plans in place to invest more into their competition analysis

With that, let’s look at what competition analysis is before we dive into the use cases.

What is Competition Analysis?

Just as you would use news and social media to understand your brand positioning, a competition analysis provides social and media metrics which can be tracked over time. Using news articles and social media posts that pertain to your competition opens a window that helps to form a complete view of the competitor’s performance and strategize your next steps.

There are quite a few use cases that competition analysis can be used for, and the following infographic exhibits the cyclical nature of competitive discovery.

competition-analysis-cycle

And with that, let’s dive into a few use cases of competition analysis in further detail.

Get a True Sense of Share of Voice

Let’s face it – if you don’t know how many social media mentions your competitors garner every month, then you’re flying blind. You absolutely must keep tabs on both social mentions and news coverage of your competitors, so you know how you stack up against them.

So, if your brand is a cookie manufacturer, you need to know where you stand in relation to Oreos. Competition analysis shows both media and social media coverage, so you know exactly where you stand regarding your share of voice.

sentiment-and-mentions-summary-for-oreos

Social media mentions of Oreos, along with impressions and net sentiment. 6/16/21-7/16/21

Monitor Industry Media Mentions

Social media and news media mentions are two sides of the same coin when it comes to competition analysis. You have to monitor both when it comes to your competitors as they often tell slightly different stories.

Tracking your competitor’s media mentions over time illuminates what is driving their conversations. As such, it sheds light on both your competitor’s strengths and the areas where they are struggling from a media standpoint.

Here, we can see the media mentions over the past year for a major hotel chain in the U.S. Coloring the data by sentiment allows your brand to understand where the competitor is dropping the ball so you can adjust and gain more share of voice.

holiday-conversations-colored-by-sentiment

Timeline of news articles for Holiday Inn in the U.S. colored by sentiment. 7/16/20-7/16/21

Connect with KOLs and Influencers

If you’re doing it right, your brand analysis has already uncovered the key opinion leaders and influencers that are operating in your space. However, in the world of influence, things are constantly changing.

Not only that, but a competition analysis allows you the liberty to track your competitor’s influencer campaigns just as you would your own. Social listening gives your brand the ability to measure and monitor competitors’ influencers, so you’re aware of their successes and positioned to capitalize on shortcomings.

Capture Unmet Needs of Multiple Segments

If a brand analysis reflects how your brand is performing across media channels, a competition analysis turns that mirror on your competitors. As such, digging into the conversations surrounding a competitor reveals shortcomings just as they would your own brand.

Diving into competitor conversations reveals the areas where they struggle and offer insight into strategy that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. Cut through the discussions to determine unmet needs across audiences, supply chains, and anywhere your competition is missing the mark.

Identify & Compare Against Competitor Audiences

Granularity is a term you should be familiar with as a data analyst. If not – what that means in the realm of social media analytics is the ability to slice your data down to its smallest parts.

From a competitive standpoint, that ability means you can identify and isolate audiences attracted to a competitor. As such, you can use social media monitoring to track fluctuations in consumer behavior and compare them against your brand analysis.

With this type of data in hand, you’re well-positioned to adjust your messaging strategies and product innovation.

Keep Up with Patents & Innovation

Speaking of innovation – patents are the breadcrumbs you can use to measure innovative movements in your space. And pointing your data analytics tools towards patents is an excellent example of using alternative datasets to inform your competition analysis.

For example, here’s a data visualization of the 367 patents filed for mRNA technology over the past year involved in the ongoing vaccine rollout. It’s not only incredibly valuable information if you’re an epidemiologist – you can see the implications straight away that this information exposes for your brand’s category.

Track Trends Over Time

In exploring your competitor’s footprint, it’s equally beneficial to know where those tracks are heading over time. Therefore, a simple competition analysis acts as an individual measurement of where your competition has been.

You can establish this by a variety of metrics, such as net sentiment, impressions, authors, as well as the type of posts that are getting the lion’s share of traction.

Taking these snapshots in time and aggregating them is known as competitive monitoring and lets you see the direction a competitor is headed.

Distinguish Emerging Opportunities from Noise

Noise is a huge problem with any data analysis. When doing your brand analysis, it can be challenging to understand what concerns to start with first. That’s where competition analysis can make your life a little easier.

That’s because understanding the conversations centered around the competition opens the doors a little wider. What that means is, you gain a more holistic understanding of the needs and wants of the entire category as opposed to your own.

This gives your brand a bird’s eye view of the opportunities emerging within your segment while removing your brand-centric blinders. In other words, it shows you where to start.

In closing, competition analysis illuminates the areas where your brand needs to catch up and where you’re king of the hill. With today’s technology, there’s no sense in leaving anything to chance, so reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how competition analysis can get your brand on the fast track to success.

 

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