Why it Makes Sense To Track Competitors’ Brand Performance
By: Cory Schröder from Latana Brand Tracking
As a brand or marketing manager, chances are you’re well aware of how your brand is performing at any given moment. To do your job effectively, you know how important it is to have a firm grasp on everything from brand awareness levels to the latest brand campaign statistics.
Perhaps most importantly, you know that you need to possess a deep understanding of how your target audience perceives your brand — plus, what they want, need and enjoy. Because when you fully understand consumer perception, you’re able to build a far more effective brand strategy.
However, it doesn’t end there. While it is incredibly important to keep your finger on the pulse of your own brand’s performance — you can’t possibly hope to succeed in your industry without also tracking your competitors’ performance.
Why? Because without knowledge surrounding your rivals’ campaigns, brand strategies, consumer perception, and more — there’s no way you’ll be able to routinely craft campaigns that stand out and connect with your target audiences.
This article will discuss why it’s vital that brands expand their horizons and track more than just their own performance. Plus, we’ll examine the top KPIs brand should be tracking in 2022 — like brand awareness, consideration, preference, and associations.
How Can You Track Competitors’ Brand Performance?
There are a few ways to track competitor brand performance — with some being more effective than others. From free online tools to advanced brand monitoring software, the option that you choose will ultimately be determined by your budget, brand goals, and personal preferences.
Let’s begin by discussing some of the free methods you can use to track various aspects of your competitors’ brand performance.
- Google Trends: This tool can be used to figure out where and when your competitors are mentioned on the web to keep track of any big changes.
- SimilarWeb: Use this tool to analyze competitors and identify their main audience segments and traffic sources.
- CrunchBase: This tool provides an overview of other brands’ data, with in-depth information on funding and investments. It also reports newly emerging competitors.
- Mention: Use this free tool to monitor social media and the web for particular keywords, such as competitors’ brand names. It also provides data on social reach and volume trends.
- Moz: This tool allows you to generate a detailed report of your competitors’ backlink profiles.
Free and relatively easy to use, these websites and tools can serve as a great jumping-off point for brands looking to dip their toes into the waters of tracking competitor performance. It may even make sense to use a combination of tools to find the sweet spot for your competitor monitoring.
However, for brands that require access to more accurate, reliable data, a better option is advanced brand tracking software.
To truly understand how your competitors are performing in relation to your own brand, you need access to consumer insights data — stats on important KPIs like brand awareness, consideration, associations, preference, and more.
When using a brand tracking tool, it’s important that you have access to competitor data on the following KPIs:
- Brand Awareness: This KPI tells you what percentage of your target audience(s) are aware of your competitors’ brands. This information can be used to compare your own brand awareness levels to see how you stack up against your main rivals.
- Brand Associations: This KPI provides data on the traits and qualities that your target audience(s) associate with your brand and your competitors’ brands, e.g. high-quality, trendy, innovative, etc. Brand association data allows you to see if your and your competitors’ associations match up to your brand values and goals — as well as where you over and underperform in comparison.
- Brand Consideration: This KPI shows you what percentage of your target audience(s) would consider purchasing your products or services. If your rivals show higher levels of brand consideration, you’ll know where you need to improve your brand strategy going forward.
- Brand Preference: This KPI reveals what percentage of your target audience(s) prefer your brand over your competitors — aka how strong your brand is when compared to your top rivals. This is an incredibly important KPI, as it shows you how likely consumers are to purchase from your rivals in comparison to your own brand.
Ultimately, you can’t truly get ahead without access to detailed competitor performance data.
After all, you can create and run fantastic brand campaigns and launch amazing products — but if you don’t know where you stand in comparison to your competitors, how do you accurately measure your own growth and success?
How Will Tracking Competitors Improve Your Brand Strategy?
There are countless ways that tracking and analyzing your competitors’ brand performance will positively impact your brand strategy. However, we’ll focus on the top three in this article.
1. Identify Keyword Gaps
Deciding which keywords to target and track is a delicate process that requires a great deal of time and research. But even the most detail-oriented brand manager can miss a potential keyword or two.
These are called “keyword gaps”, and they’re more common than many people realize.
Think about it — when a competitor is targeting a relevant keyword that you’re not, you’re essentially forfeiting all the traffic and potential customers to them. That’s why it’s so important to identify any potential keyword gaps and rectify the issue quickly.
One of the best ways to identify keyword gaps is by using software like SemRush or Ahrefs — both of which allow users to make lists of missing keywords. And once you’ve made a “keyword gap” list, take some time to consider each one carefully.
Remember, just because a competitor is targeting a keyword doesn’t mean you need to as well. So, instead of automatically adopting new keywords, consider if the potential additions will add value to your own keyword list.
For this to have a positive impact on your brand strategy, only choose the ones you believe will help you acquire more customers and connect with target audiences.
2. Refine Your Customer Journey
Look — there’s always a small chance that your brand already has a flawless customer journey. From the first click to the 100th purchase, everything flows seamlessly and your customer retention rate is out of this world.
However, it’s far more likely that you — like most brands — could stand to learn a thing or two from your competitors. That’s why it’s so important to analyze your rivals’ customer journeys.
Take the time to see how and where they differ from your own and find out what consumers enjoy about their brand experience. Remember, your knowledge of their tactics and strategies is one of the most effective ways to stay ahead of the game.
And keep in mind, improving your own customer journey can have an incredible overall effect on your bottom line. According to Super Office, “86% of customers say that they are ready to pay more if it means getting a better customer experience.” That’s impressive.
Ultimately, having data on your competitors’ brand performance in relation to their customer journeys is another way that you can improve your own brand strategy.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind, brands’ customer journeys rarely remain static. Your competitors are updating and refining them often — so it’s a decent idea to check in on occasion to see if any important changes have been made.
3. Identify Areas for Improvement
The main goal of tracking competitors’ brand performance is to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and spot potential opportunities for growth.
When you understand how your rivals are performing — what they excel at, where they fall short, how they outperform your brand — you’re then able to create a list of potential changes to test out.
For example, say one of your Q2 goals is to improve your top brand associations: innovative and accessible. In the past, you only had your own historical data to compare your progress and performance too. However, this time around, you suggest to your manager that you also track your competitors’ performance for the chosen brand associations.
With your own historical data at hand — combined with what you’ve now collected on your top rivals — you’re able to form a much clearer picture of where you stand and how much improvement is actually needed.
This allows you to set more aggressive goals for Q3 & 4, as you were able to use the gathered data to refine your brand strategy going forward.
Understanding how your competitors are performing — both online and in the eyes of consumers — is vital to brands looking to grow their business.
While it’s easy and cost-effective to use free tools to gather competitor performance data, brands that are serious about their growth should consider trying out more advanced options, like brand tracking software.
At the end of the day, access to reliable, nuanced competitor performance data makes planning and strategizing a good deal easier — and doesn’t the sound nice?
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.