A key way to monitor your business is to track what your competitors are doing.
Why is this?
One reason is to make sure that you’re up to industry standards. When you know what other businesses in your arena are doing, you have a finger on the pulse of your industry.
And Another reason is so that you can improve your own products and services, fill gaps in the market through better positioning and win over more customers.
But how do you track your competitors? What metrics should you use?
That’s what we’ll look at in this post. Here are the top metrics to track your competition and find ways to improve your business in the process.
1. Targeted Keywords and Search Rankings
Today, ranking organically for the right keywords translates to more traffic, higher conversion rates, and profitability.
By tracking your competitor’s targeted keywords, you can see how they’re faring in search results and get ideas for your own keyword strategy.
You’ll need to use SEO tools to help you do this. Platforms like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz give you insights into your competition’s top pages and keywords and the traffic they get.
Such information goes a long way to help strategize your content marketing for the best effect. In addition, you’ll get ideas for blog posts you should create and lesser-targeted keywords you can rank for.
2. Social Media Following and Engagement
Social media is an excellent way to track the competition. It’s also publicly available information and easy to track using social media listening tools.
The number of social media followers a company has can give you some idea of its brand awareness and reach.
More importantly, though, you should look at engagement rates. This metric will give you insights into how popular your competition is and how their content is resonating with their audience.
The best way to get this metric is by dividing the number of engagements (likes, comments, and shares) by the number of followers. You’ll get proxy data that is useful for figuring out if you should boost your own social media marketing efforts.
The next metric on our list is traffic. The more visitors a website gets, the better chance it has of ranking higher in search results and getting more conversions.
Use tools like SimilarWeb and Alexa to get insights into your competitor’s traffic. You’ll be able to see things like the number of visitors, the average time spent on the site, and the bounce rate.
This data is helpful for understanding not just how much traffic your competition is getting but also the quality of that traffic.
Check how your website’s traffic compares to that of your competition. If you’re getting less traffic, you’ll need to up your game and find ways to drive more visitors to your site. For example, you can create helpful blog posts, lead magnets, and free downloadable content on your website.
4. Backlinks and Referring Domains
The number of backlinks a website has is a good indicator of its popularity and authority. If your competitor has many backlinks, it indicates that they’re popular and are creating great content.
However, the quality of backlinks also matters. If your competition gets backlinks from reputable and authoritative sites, it also boosts their authority.
How do you stand in comparison?
You can find out using backlink analysis tools to check your own website’s authority and backlink information.
Make a concentrated effort to create good guest posts on other sites or create pillar content on your website – something that naturally draws links from other websites. Then, as you grow your backlink portfolio, you’ll start to see an increase in your own website’s authority.
5. Revenue and Profit
If your competition’s publicly available financial statements, take a look at their revenue and profit margins. This information will give you a clear picture of how they’re doing financially and where they’re making or losing money.
This information is critical because you’ll know if you’re using your resources optimally. And if you learn that your competition’s profit margins are declining, it might be an opportunity for you to buy them out in the near future.
6. Email Metrics
Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels. It’s also a great way to track your competition.
One way to do this is to sign up for their email newsletter and take note of the kind of content they create, their offers, and how often they send emails.
However, a more sophisticated way to track your competition’s email marketing is to use competitive email intelligence tools. These tools (usually created by email marketing services providers) can give you insights into different aspects of your competition’s email efforts. Such as:
- How often do they send emails to their subscriber list
- The depth of their email list segmentation
- Their deliverability rates, i.e., how much of their emails land in people’s inboxes vs. the spam folder
- Audience overlap between your email subscribers and your competition’s
- Open rates and other engagement rates
Look for email intelligence tools that use data ethically to provide an overview of what your competition’s email efforts look like. Even a little bit of insight into their strategy can give you an edge over them.
7. Brand Sentiment
With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to track how people feel about a brand.
You can use social listening tools to track what people are saying about your competition on social media, in forums, and on review sites.
This is valuable information because you’ll be able to see what people like and don’t like about their products and services. You can then use this information to improve your own offering and make sure that people have a positive sentiment toward your brand.
Another metric to track is the events that your competitor is holding. These could be webinars, conferences, or even just meetups.
You can usually find information about these events on their website or social media accounts. Keep track of when these events are happening and try to attend them if possible.
It’s not necessary to take notes or note everything in detail during such events but do take a close look at audience engagement and reactions. That can tell a lot about how people feel about the competition’s products and services.
You might get ideas for similar events that you can hold for your own audience and get a better understanding of what your competition is doing right (and wrong).
9. Employee reviews and experience
Finally, another metric to track is your competition’s employee reviews and experience.
You can do this by visiting sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. These sites have reviews from employees who have worked at different companies.
You can use this information to learn about the employee experience at your competitor’s company. This is valuable information because it can give you insights into how they treat their employees and what kind of culture they have.
And you’ll get insights into their internal branding and experiences. For example, if you see that they have a casual work environment, that might give you a clue about why and how they are creative. Or, if you learn about their compensation, it’ll tell you if you should improve your business’s offerings to employees and hire qualified people to do essential tasks.
10. Competitor’s ad campaigns
If your competition is spending their hard-earned money on advertising, it’s probably for a good reason. It’s a sign that they’re working hard to reach their target audience and grow their market presence.
That’s why it’s important to track their ad campaigns – so that you can ramp up your marketing efforts if you need to.
Learning about your competitor’s ad campaigns will give you other helpful information like:
- What kind of keywords they’re targeting
- What type of messaging they’re using
- Who their target audience is
- What platforms they’re advertising
- When and how often do they run their campaigns
- The type of visuals, offerings, and phrasing they leverage
Getting such information can help you chart your own advertising campaigns. If your competition is focused on a specific keyword, then it’s likely that you should be too.
You can use your competition’s work to differentiate yourself or to inspire your own ads.
And you’ll need tools to monitor your competition and get these details in the form of reports. Once again, SEO platforms and competitor analysis tools are your best friends here.
Grow Your Business by Tracking the Competition
The competition can be a great source of information – if you know how to track them.
By monitoring the metrics listed above, you’ll get valuable insights that’ll help you grow your business. In addition, you can use these insights to improve your own products and services, reach a wider audience, and hire better employees.
So don’t be afraid of the competition. Instead, use them to your advantage and track them closely to give your business the boost it needs.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; by Carlos Muza; Unsplash; Thank you!