Competitor Analysis Handbook
Table of Contents
- Strategy #1 - Finding competitor's top-selling products by analyzing their most visited website pages
- Strategy #2 - Finding competitor's top-selling products by analyzing what products are customers searching for their website
- Strategy #3 - Analyzing competitor's customer usage patterns
- Strategy #4 - Analyzing competitor's customer's age, gender, and geographical distribution
Strategy #1 - Finding competitor's top-selling products by analyzing their most visited website pages
Determine and analyze competitor's top-selling products by figuring out their most visited website pages.
There are multiple tools in the market that can help us with this. In this section, we will use the 2 tools: SimilarWeb and Ahrefs.
We will be analyzing the following metrics for a competitor's website:
- Amount of web traffic per page
- Unique visitors per page
- Number of SEO keywords per page
- Top SEO keyword for a page
- Source of traffic for a page
Case Study 1: Analyzing Ikea's website
Let's assume you want to start a home furniture startup and you understand that Ikea would be one of your main competitors. As part of your competitor analysis, you would want to research the top-selling products of Ikea.
For that, let's go to www.similarweb.com and go to their Competitive Analysis Tool. In the top search (pointed by Arrow 1) enter the URL of your competitor, which is www.ikea.com in this case. Now, let's start analyzing the data here.
The column "Page" (pointed by Arrow 2) lists the most visited website pages for Ikea. The column "Unique Pageviews" states the web traffic of pages. For example, the page "ikea.com/us/en" gets 8.4 million views, "ikea.com/us/en/search" gets 5.4 million views, and so on. (pointed by Arrow 3).
In this column, you can categorize the list of pages into 2 groups. The first group of pages would be non-product pages like "/search", "/shoppingcart", "/login" etc. The second group of pages would be product pages like "/tables-desks-fu004" and more (pointed by Arrow 4). For our analysis here, we care about the 2nd group of pages that lists the product.
Now, let's look at the other columns here. Column titled "Unique visitors" states the number of unique visitors visiting that page. Column titled "Direct" states the number of users that are visiting the page by directly entering the exact URL in the browser address bar. Column "Search" states the number of users that reach this webpage when they search something on the search engines and one of the results there directs them to this webpage.
Case Study 2: Analyzing Teespring's Website
Let's go to www.ahrefs.com and go to their Site Explorer tool. Over there, enter the website address of the competitor in the search bar at the top (pointed by arrow 1).
Let's assume you want to start an online t-shirt business and want to figure out what type of t-shirts you should be selling.
You start with researching existing successful clothing businesses. Let's assume you figured out your competitor to be www.teespring.com and now you want to determine their top-selling t-shirt products.
So now let's go to the search bar at the top (pointed by arrow 1) and enter teespring.com. Now go to the tab that says "Top Pages" (pointed by arrow 2). The "Top Pages" tab will show the most-visited pages on the www.teespring.com website.
Let's look at Arrow 3. You can categorize the top pages into 2 groups. The first group would be non-product pages like "login", "signup", "about", "checkout", etc. They're not valuable to us. The 2nd group would be product pages with URLs containing either names of the products or the names of the sellers. Websites like Walmart and Ikea put the name of the products in the URLs.
Let's look at other metrics here. Arrow 4 shows the number of user visits on a specific web page. The more the user visits, the more popular the product is.
Arrow 5 shows SEO keywords used on search engines like Google and Bing. The more keywords the competitor is targeting, the more popular product would be because the company is heavily invested in promoting it.
Strategy #2 - Finding competitor's top-selling products by analyzing what products are customers searching for their website
Determine a competitor's top-selling products by analyzing what products are customers searching for on the competitor's website.
- Use a market research tool to get the data about competitor's website (using SimilarWeb or Ahrefs)
- Analyze the following metrics from the data:
- What search phrases were used by customers.
- How many users visited the product pages guided by the search phrases.
- How many users made a purchase on the product pages.
- Are the user trends increasing or decreasing for the product searches
- Are the user trends increase or decreasing for the product page visits and conversions.
Case Study #1: Walmart
Let's go to www.similarweb.com and enter the competitor's website URL on the search bar at the top (pointed by arrow 1). When you do that, you should see the data below. Let's go through the metrics listed above one at a time.
Arrow 1 states the competitor's URL we are analyzing. The "Phrase" column (pointed by Arrow 2) lists the product searches entered by the users on walmart.com. For example, you can see users are searching for products like "wipes", "paper", "spray", "Lysol" and more on Walmart's website.
The "Visits" column (pointed by Arrow 3) shows the number of times people searched for that product in the last 6 months on this site. As shown, "wipes" were searched for 7.37 million times, "paper" was searched for 5.82 million times, "spray" was searched for 4.80 million times, and so on.
This data in the "Visits" column is also useful because it shows us if the demand for a product is increasing or decreasing over time. We always want to focus on a product whose demand is growing.
The "Converted Visits" column (pointed by Arrow 4) states several product searches that resulted in a sale. For example, out of 7.37 million searches for "wipes", almost 543k of them were converted into a sale.
How can I use this for my business?
Use Case #1. Better Products for Customers
When a competitor has a top-selling product, that means there is strong customer demand for that product. The product solves a customer problem and customers do find value in the product.
By analyzing what products sell well, our goal is not to copy them but to understand what customer problems they solve. This helps us decide for our own business what customers problems we should prioritize.
As part of Product Development, our goal should be to always focus on customer problems worth solving. When we solve the problems customers care about, it gets easier to acquire and retain them.
Use Case #2. Better Digital Marketing
By knowing what products sell well and what problems customers care about, we can improve our digital marketing. By figuring out what problems users care about, you can improve value props for your business.
These value props are used in various places like emails we sent to users, the language we used in Ads and Landing Pages, and more. By improving our value props we essentially improve our conversion rates.
Strategy #3 - Analyzing competitor's customer usage patterns
The goal is to learn and analyze the website usage patterns of a competitor's customer base. We would analyze the following metrics:
- How many users are visiting a competitor's website?
- How much time are the users spending on the competitor's website?
- What is the age distribution for the users?
- What geographical market do they belong to?
Process and Case Study
Let's assume you want to start an online fitness company and consider bodybuilding.com as a competitor. To learn more about potential customers, you want to research and analyze bodybuilding.com's existing audience.
To do this analysis let's go to similarweb.com and go to the Audience Behaviour Analysis tool (pointed by Arrow 1).
Enter the website URL of the competitor you want to analyze in the search bar on the top.
Enter bodybuilding.com in the search bar on the top (pointed by Arrow 3). Upon pressing enter you should see the following data. Let's talk about each metric shown here.
Category rank essentially signifies how popular is the competitor in the market compared to other companies. In this case, it ranks pretty high at number 6 for online fitness businesses.
The graph on the left gives you the total number of user visits for the competitor's website in the last 6 months (pointed by arrows 5 and 7). It has a breakdown of web traffic per month so you can see any growth or decline in their web traffic. For bodybuilding.com there were approximately 8 million unique visits in the last 6 months.
Let's say, if analyzing the traffic of an e-commerce site, you will see growth in web traffic in the months of November and December since more people are doing holiday shopping.
Now let's talk about the metric "Average time per duration" (pointed by arrow 8). This metric suggests how much time a user spends on the competitor's website on average. In this example, on average people spend 4 minutes on bodybuilding.com. So if we are building an online fitness company, we need to aim for 4 minutes or higher for our website.
Metric "Pages per visit" (pointed by arrow 9) states the number of unique pages on the website a user visits on average. This could signify how many products are users checking on their website, how many blog posts are they reading, how many competitors features they are exploring and considering.
For example, if we do audience analysis for H&M you would see on average a user visits 8 pages per visit. Which makes sense since people tend to individually checkout page for each clothing product they're considering.
Metric "Bounce Rate" (pointed by arrow 10) states the percentage of users who just leave the website after visiting only 1 page on it. We should try to keep this number as low as possible for our business since we want customers to check out more than 1 page on the website.
Strategy #4 - Analyzing competitor's customer's age, gender and geographical distribution
The goal is to learn and analyze the age and gender distribution of a competitor's customer base.
Process and Case Study
To do this analysis, let's go to similarweb.com and enter the competitor's URL in the search bar at the top. After that you should see data similar to below:
Let's analyze the gender distribution data here (pointed by Arrow 1). As you can see the competitor's audience is 57% male and 43% female. From our perspective, since the percentage of female customers is lower, we can focus on the female market first and try to work on that business opportunity.
Now, let's look at the age distribution data (pointed by arrow 2). The competitor is most popular in the 25 to 34 age group followed closely by the 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 age groups.
That data tells us 2 things here.
- There is definitely demand for the product in the 25-34 age group. So when we are building our online business we need to make sure we do product development targeting the 25-34 age group.
- The product still has substantial reach in 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 age groups, even though it's lower than the 25-34 age group. We can use this data to consider targeting these 2 age groups solely, in the beginning, to differentiate us from our competitors.
Let's look at the geographical breakdown of the users.
As shown in the data by SimilarWeb, Bodybuilding.com is hugely popular in America and then followed by the UK, Canada, and Australia.
So if you are building your business, it's ideal to focus on English language products and maybe down the road localize your website to support other countries. When you choose which regions to run ads, it would make sense to keep the ads limited to the North American market.
How is this beneficial for my business?
Use Case #1: Identifying Audience Segments
This type of data helps us target the right audience segment when running ads. For example, when we are running ads it's ideal to run ads for the 18-44 combined age group since they make a big chunk of our potential customer base.
Use Case #2: Identifying Geographical Markets
If you are building your business, it's ideal to focus on English language products and maybe down the road localize your website to support other countries. When you choose which regions to run ads, it would make sense to keep the ads limited to the North American market.
Use Case #3: Identifying Business Opportunities
We should use this data to consider figuring out why is this product not as successful with the women demographic and maybe we can start with acquiring that demographic as customers first. This greatly improves Produce Development in our business.
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