Never underestimate your competition. In marketing, it’s vital to stay competitive, and that means monitoring what everyone else is doing. Competitive monitoring provides you with an opportunity to observe trends, see what works and adjust your own strategy to help ensure success for your business. But what is the best approach for analysing your competition’s marketing campaigns?

Understanding competitive monitoring

While keeping a close watch on the competition can feel like spying or cheating, it’s actually an effective way of improving your marketing campaigns. Competitive monitoring allows you to look at the methods your competitors are using to help spark new and exciting ideas for your own campaigns. Marketing spending is on the rise, but it’s still important that your business uses its resources wisely.

To monitor your competition effectively, you will need a strategy. Even if your monitoring is light-touch, it’s essential to understand what you’re tracking and why. Monitoring can be a fun process, especially if you have a keen interest in the industry.

Choosing whom to monitor

To get the best results from your competitive monitoring, you need to think about the types of companies you want to monitor. It can be your direct competition, companies that target the same audiences as you and companies of similar size and marketing budgets to your own. As part of your strategy, keep a record of the businesses you will monitor and renew the list periodically. You can then prioritise which companies to monitor daily or weekly, and others monthly and annually.

What are you monitoring?

When businesses analyse the competition, they take an interest in all kinds of things, from their annual accounts down to the suppliers they’re using. But in terms of marketing, there are several areas you’ll want to monitor, including:

Marketing campaigns

Monitoring marketing campaigns helps you see the approaches that others are taking with their work. Conducting this kind of competitor analysis will help you understand which campaigns performed effectively, their reach, and what impact they had on social media. You could also conduct a sentiment analysis. It will help you understand more about how the campaign was received and what people’s feelings towards it were.

Social media analysis

Social media analysis is ideal for up-to-date, real-time monitoring of your competition. By monitoring the content they publish and the responses and the platforms they are using, you can make smarter decisions about your social media activity.

Content analysis

What content is your competition putting out, and how does it compare to your own? From the content on their website to blog content, you can learn a lot about others’ activities to help you strengthen your own offering.

Ways of monitoring marketing campaigns

There are several methods you can adopt to monitor marketing campaigns effectively. Some useful ideas for competitive monitoring include:

Signing up to newsletters

By signing up to the newsletters of your rivals, you can receive updates about new products and promotions as soon as they’re announced. Email marketing remains an effective medium for generating sales, and you could learn from your competition’s newsletters when they land in your inbox.

Use competitor analysis tools

Competitor analysis tools can take a lot of the hard work out of competitive monitoring. There are tools available which can help you track the progress of your campaigns against others. They can also provide an overview of the various marketing activities of different businesses. Some top competitor analysis tools include Pi Datametrics, SpyFu and QuickSprout. Using these tools can provide you with some easy-to-read statistics to populate your monitoring without manual effort.

Analyse their social media

Your rivals will be most active on social media. Monitoring their activity is an excellent way for you to see what they’re doing and how they’re being received. While you can look at the quantitative data for social media, you should also look at the qualitative data and see how users are responding. Review the comments and the sentiment related to different posts. It’s also worth inspecting the social media of the audiences you want to attract. Influencers, in particular, can provide some fascinating insight into how different audiences feel about specific brands and products.

Keyword analysis

Using the right keywords significantly boosts search engine optimisation (SEO). By conducting keyword analysis, you can figure out which keywords are proving the most effective for your competition and use them for your own content. There could also be opportunities for you to identify keywords being used in searches that are being ignored by businesses. You can then use them to edge out your competition.

Monitor more significant changes

Much of the content you’ll be monitoring will be real-time, up-to-the-minute content from your competitors. But to stay ahead of their longer-term plans, you should also monitor any significant changes to what they’re doing. For example, their website or the launch of a new product or service. Even a new payment method can give your competition an advantage. If they’re doing something new and innovative, perhaps you should do the same. ‘Buy now, pay later’ business Klarna is an excellent example of how quickly businesses can adopt a new service previously used successfully by a rival.

Competitive monitoring helps your business to stay on top. The data you gather can provide some valuable insights for your marketing campaigns, keeping them innovative and cutting edge. These insights offer useful audience data, helping you make smarter, more straightforward decisions while saving you money by focusing your energies in the right place.

To help you understand how competitive monitoring can work for your business, contact Simply Media today. We can provide you with a variety of marketing services to help your business create the right impact.