Analyzing your own business’s web traffic, conversions, advertising effectiveness, and other data remains important, but have you forgotten about your competition? Conducting regular competitor analysis allows you to capitalize on markets your competition consistently ignores and to identify new ways to reach your audience.
How do competing companies’ landing pages and advertising copy perform? How frequently do they test their landing pages and other copy? Do they adjust their marketing and advertising strategies based on seasonality? How well do they rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages)?
A competitive analysis gives you access to this information (and quite a bit more).
Track Traffic and Consumer Interest Via Google Trends
If you want to know how well another company performs compared to your own, or if you’re interested in analyzing traffic patterns or keyword activity, Google Trends offers a free and simple option. You can use the Explore tool to compare your company against several other businesses side-by-side. Narrow down the data based on geographic region, time span, and other factors.
Consider conducting a comparison that spans two or three years, then exporting the data into an Excel spreadsheet. Create a year-over-year comparison graph so you can view the data more holistically.
You can also search for terms and keywords related to your industry and compare them through Google Trends. Use shorter, simpler keywords to gain access to more data, especially in niche industries.
You can also use Google Trends to find out the geographical regions from which most of your competitors’ traffic originates. This information might identify new markets that you’ll want to consider for the future.
Track Bidding Behavior With Google Auction Insights
You can use Google Auction Insights to research your competitors’ bidding behaviors. AdWords allows you to break down each report based on a specific time span. Instead of tracking bids over several months, consider examining short-term data to see how bidding activity changes.
Google Auction Insights reports are also useful for examining seasonal behavior. For instance, if your industry experiences its most activity over the summer, how do your competitors change their bidding tactics as fall approaches? They might increase their activity to capture last-minute and off-season consumers or back off to save cash.
Pay special attention to the Position Above rate. This is the frequency with which your competitor’s ad held a higher position than your own. If it’s about half of the overlap rate (the percentage of times that your competitor got an impression when your business got an impression), you’re probably bidding similarly to one another.
Use Third-Party Tools to Compare Copy Changes
Several third-party tools exist to help you with competitive research and analysis. For instance, tools like SEMRush and AdGooRoo allow you to analyze your competition’s landing pages and advertising copy. You’ll see how those web pages have changed over time — the different keywords they’ve used, the adjustments to CTA wording, and other data.
You can also use these tools to conduct bidding research. Are your competitors focusing their ad spend on a core set of keywords or are they spreading out their budget more widely? Knowing this information can help you craft a more targeted, informed advertising campaign.
Your business is the most important thing to you, but your competitors matter, as well. If you know how they structure their marketing and advertising initiatives, you’ll have the upper hand when it comes to creating future campaigns. If you need guidance to help you achieve the best results through AdWords and other strategies, learn more about our display advertising services.