December 21, 2020 - competitors

Creating a competitor analysis and how it benefits your decision making

Creating a competitor analysis

Gaining insights in your competitors helps you stay on top of your industry. It tells you what your competitors are working on and can help you identify on what's trending in the space right now.

Why is that?

Whenever you launch an idea, you don't just launch it because.. you launch it because you have a hypothesis that you're trying to prove. A hypothesis that you think is the solution to a specific need or problem going on right now. If you think of it, you're not the only one trying to prove something. Your competitors are doing the exact same thing, perhaps different ones, perhaps similar ones and sometimes even the exact same one. Creating a competitor analysis can give you an indication whether:

  • The problem you're trying to solve is rather pressing
  • The competitors are copying you for the exact same thing
  • There are new problems that you haven't seen yet and should look into
  • Which acquisition channels work best
  • and many more

Creating your customer profile

One of the most important things you need to know before you can start gaining momentum is knowing who you target audience is. You'll need a good description of your potential customer. What a "great" potential customer is for you, you'll have to define yourself. Some examples can be:

  • A user that pays to use your product
  • A user that contributes to making your product better
  • A user that tells others about your product
  • A user that uses your product so much that it enhances it (example: Training data models, gaining insights, ...)

Of courses, there are many more and can be combinations.

Knowing what your ideal customer bvehaves like, you can start on finding who they actually are. Finding who they are means focusing on the next questions:

  • Are there mainly male, female, ... ?
  • What age segment are they in?
  • Are they english speaking? Should i focus on translations?
  • Are they mainly enterprises, smb's, startups?
  • What kind of job do they generally have?

Questions like this will take time to answer but are important to have the answers to. They'll help you narrow down to whom you need to reach in order to be succesful. Luckily the time required to find answers to these questions can be reduced by creating your competitor analysis. You can check your competitors who most often have some answers to these questions already and "borrow" them. Why borrow? Because the "great" potential customer of your competitor is most likely not the same as the one your composed earlier on. But it can help you get started and can help you earn the runway needed to become succeful and work towards your own ideal customer.

Finding the right acquisition channels

Using your competitor analysis will show you what channels worked for competitors. It can also show you how effective they were. This is a great way to try to get a head start as you don't have to take the time finding those yourself.

Social media

Posting and growing your social media channel is important as it gives you great traffic, branding and much more. But which one is most effective? When you take your analysis, you will see that there is most of the times a clear winner in your space. For example, if you scraped 5 competitors and 4 out of 5 get the highest social media traffic from youtube, then that's a good indicator that Youtube works rather well for your industry. On the other hand it also tells you that this might be a very competitive space.

Referral pages

You can often find the top 10 of pages that bring the highest amount of traffic to your competitor. Again, when they overlap, it's a good indicator that you should try getting your website up on that page as well to start leveraging that traffic.

Which keywords should i target

Your SEO strategy can also benefit greatly from your competitor analysis. Sourcing the right keywords give you an insight on what your audience is looking for. Knowing the keywords gives you a direction on where you want to intercept the traffic. For example, when we scraped top keywords from our competitors, we found that a lot of them were also ranking for "proxies", we figured there was probably a reason for this and after doing ad tests, we indeed found that ranking for proxies increases traffic as well as refining our target group.

How do I make a competitor analysis?

How to find your competitors

Finding your competitors is the basis of starting analyzing them. There are a few ways of finding them:

  • Use keywords that are relevant to your industry, see what comes up in google or other search engines
  • Tools like similarweb can tell you what some of your bigger competitors are
  • Look for facebook groups, linkedin groups or other social media to find companies similar to yours.
  • Perhaps you already have users. You can ask them what they used before.
Get Started

Creating your analysis

You can use multiple sites to create these analysis. For example Ubersuggest, ahrefs or many others give you great insights. However, comparing multiple sights is cumbersome and takes a while. You'll need to write everything down manually in an excel file and analyse it.

Luckily, using web scraping, the time needed to create these analysis is cut down to just a few minutes. The only thing you have to do is select what data you're interested in, give in the sites you want to compare and click start. You can then export the results to an Excel file, create some charts and you're ready to go.

Extra: Competitor ad analyzing

Another great way of finding where your competitors find there audience is knowing where they advertise. Advertising is never broad, it's almost always against a given market segment. A market segment of which you know will take actions on your ad and convert to users.

Try not to turn on your ad blockers. The reason you'll even see these ads is because you share the same interest as your competitor, an interest in a particuliar industry.

If you for example see an advertisment of your competitor on Reddit, it's most likely in a particuliar subreddit with it's own topic and own audience. A simple ad tells you a lot about who that particuliar company is looking to acquire. They pay for the users, but you can leverage their knowledge for free.

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