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Assess your online competitors with these 5 tools

Consumers have more choices than before. Marketers do know that they need to change their communication strategies to become customer obsessed. Still, they also need to understand the competition. In 2008 Google introduced the term benchmarking to refer to context. The word ‘context’ comes from Latin contextus, from con ‘together’ and texere ‘to weave’. And that’s what we are trying to do, isn’t it? To weave together an eloquent story from the data. Therefore, benchmarking is really cherished as it gives the needed context to show you if your impact is due to your actions or due to a larger trend in the sector. For instance if there is a massive increase in traffic from the UK, is that also being experienced by your competitors or due to your latest campaign efforts. Industry and competitor intelligence gained with the use of site audience comparison tools can inform with choices such as content strategies, and business development. And more these tools can be utilized to support business cases, helping to identify opportunities and threats you might face.

If you’re new to online research, the following course will actually illustrate how to use a combination of tools:

Your selection of tools will be determined by:

Besides some free versions that work on a trail bases, most of these tools are pricey. In addition, they can provide large amounts of raw data. To get the most out of your investment would mean that you need to have dedicated resources, or analytical staff dedicated to unpack the data. Particularly with limited data, the accuracy is not guaranteed. You will need to every so often compare the metrics of all the tools with the data in your web analytics.

1 SimilarWeb

The free and handy benchmark tool, SimilarWeb, has a chrome extension and offers a paid service for good visibility. This tool can be used to compare the number of visits between sites. The information can be used when you wish to attract advertisers to your site. You can also learn which keywords your competition is using to drive visitors to their site. But like most benchmarketing service the accuracy of the sample needs to be reviewed.

SimilarWeb’s main features:

• Free version which compares visits between sites
• Paid version compares paid and organic keywords
• The paid version reviews the most popular pages and campaign strength
• The paid version analyses engagement on a mobile app

2 Alexa

Alexa, a product of Amazon, offers a tool that can look at a site domain. The free version although offering revealing data is very basic, but the paid version offers more detail and results. The paid version offers a large assortment of added data.

A problem with this tool is that a site needs to receive a decent amount of traffic before it can be analysed. In addition, the data is a mere representative of the users that have downloaded a browser extension. Meaning that the data still needs to be scrutinized more. Still, this tool allows for API to be integrated to validate your own analytic software.

Alexa’s main features:

• The tool provides competitor intelligence to benchmark against competitors
• The tool can highlight issues and areas for improvement by using audit tools

3 Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free benchmarking tool. It is also very popular among bloggers, small companies, large internationals, as well as e-commerce websites. E-commerce websites use the site to compare campaign results in terms of transactions, keywords and other metric tools. This tool allows for top level view of the number of visits within a given trade division. The tool allows a user to select between 1600 diverse sectors. This improves the overall accuracy for the data. Still, this tool is best to provide a rough benchmark as it can’t establish how players are performing.

Google Analytics’ main features:

• Free to use
• Industry wide benchmark provided for engagements and visits
• The data can be accurate
• It is very easy to implement, access, use and the reports are understandable and the data is presented in clear and appealing info-graphics
• Cross channel and multimedia tracking
• Video and social network application tracking
• Data export available

4 Compete

Cloud based club management solution Compete, is a paid tool that allows a user to monitor online competition, discover new business opportunities and benchmark performance against others of similar industry.
Compete provides good depth of cross industry data to businesses with a variety of services, for instance, research, marketing, sale etc. This is a tool for midsized and large companies that have many users, and which as geared at data driven campaigns and competitor monitoring, as well as agencies with clients that have different requirements. Compete is pricey, but it does include training and support.

Compete’s main features:

• Improve SEO and SEM strategies
• Provides reach, engagement and loyalty metrics for a website
• Allows for keyword and click data for domains
• Understand audience share of website
• Can help identify trends that could impact profitability

5 Experian Hitwis

This online benchmarking tool, provides detailed audience breakdowns of websites. This allows for better grasp of the audience behaviour across different websites and devices. Demographic data is obtained from around 460 000 intent protocol addresses form internet service providers, as well as the customer’s journey, and keyword data for comparing paid and organic keywords. However, this tool does not provide insight of non-customers.

This tool, however, does aid businesses to target and involve customers meritoriously. Its demographic and geographic data is used with cutting-edge analytical systems to enable clients to better comprehend their customers and implement relevant communication strategies using the correct platform.

Integrating behavioural and attitude data, through this tool, leads to better understanding of how customers thinks and what they do in a multichannel, global world. The insights from the investigation allows for smarter choice for marketers which needs to design and plan brand experiences to increase profits.

Experian Hitwis’ main features:

• This tool allows that benchmark visits to sites over different sites can be broken down by channel
• Allows for grasping competitor strategies for affiliate marketing, search and display
• Allows for better grasp of customer data by analysing the customer journey through upstream and downstream visits
• Aids businesses to limit credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offering and automate decision making.

About Jacques Dippenaar

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