How to conduct a competitor analysis workshop
How much of an eye do you really keep on the competition?
When starting a new website project, companies often lose sight of what others outside their organisation are doing. Large competitors are able to adapt to user needs, web technologies and trends quickly.
You must do the same!
Running detailed competitor analysis workshops a few times a year to remain relevant within your industry will be integral in ensuring the effectiveness of any digital project.
We’ve outlined some of the methods and reasons to run a competitor analysis, to help you ensure your website stands out from the crowd.
Before diving right in, outline what you seek to gain from your competitor analysis. Determine the current goals of your business and website – however diverse – whether that’s improving web traffic to increasing brand power.
Once you’ve defined your scope for this workshop, begin by consolidating your top ten competitors. You may already have instincts and internal thoughts on who these are – but use tools like Alexa’s ‘Audience Overlap’ to generate a data-led picture of who you’re up against. This allows you to input your site and generate a list of companies who share a similar online audience to you.
Alternatively, tools such as SimilarWeb can be used to retrieve traffic stats and determine the sources of your competitors’ traffic.
- Evaluate competitor websites:
Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to compare details such as: content, product features, pricing, quality and customer sentiments.
Find opportunities by identifying missing gaps and which of the aspects that make your brand unique can be further strengthened.
- Evaluate competitors’ customers:
Use free keyword search tools such as ‘SEMRush’ to identify which keywords visitors are searching to get to their website.
Platforms such as Google Analytics or Alexa’s ‘Audience interest’ tool can also be used to acquire further topics and categories of interest to your competitors’ audiences.
Understanding why certain keywords are used, and how your competitor achieves relevance in this area can help you work towards greater brand power from your own keywords.
- Compare site performance/SEO:
With the vast array of tools out there, look into your competitors’ monthly site traffic, page views, bounce rates, and time spent on particular pages.
This will allow you to understand the type of actions you should make to keep up with and beat out your competition. Working quantitatively, you will be able to determine whether your business needs a full digital strategy or just some simple UX design changes to impact your customer experience.
Another method is to become the customer. Understand your competitors’ user flows, checkout experience and tone of voice. You may even choose to contact their customer service, to understand their strengths and weaknesses as opportunities for your website. (see our blog on ‘User Journeys’)
- Avoid future mistakes through learning about your competitors’ mistakes.
- Gain inspiration and ideas through successful competitors whether big or small.
- Understand what works and what doesn’t before you engage your own strategy.
It’s important to conduct competitor analysis workshops regularly – sometimes as often as your competitors make changes to their product. Consider it a vital part of your digital product roadmap to analyse and understand these factors that you most likely already know.
However, if you are starting a new website or working on an upgrade, the competitor analysis framework above will prove to be invaluable on decisions you may have not thought through.