The reason you should analyze your competitors is pretty simple. To gain competitive intelligence; determining the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market and provide a competitive strategy to grow your business.
Given the fierce competition, we have today in most market sectors, a competitor analysis is a critical part of your marketing & business growth strategy. A competitive research also helps identify the threats and opportunities are particular business might face. With all this information gathered, a solid growth plan can be formed.
Unfortunately not many businesses are making use of the many competitor analysis tools we have today to analyze their competitors. Many businesses are just trying random things and keeping their fingers crossed.
That is why in this post, I want to show you how to analyze your competitors within your market with a competition research tool, Similar Web.
What’s Similar Web – Competitor Analysis Tool
Similar Web is a tool to get insights for any website or app that you throw to it.
The tool is free for use, however with a pro account, you get to analyze a longer data period, get more results per website metric, export your data into an excel sheet, access more industry categories and more.
If you’re truly serious about researching your competition, then I’d strongly suggest you upgrade to the pro version.
New to doing competition analysis and looking to try things out first? No problem, let me walk you through the competition metric you can gain with Similar Web.
How To Analyze Competitors
To start analyzing a website or app of your competitors, simply enter the URL of the website into the search bar in Similar Web.
For this case, I’m analyzing Lazada.com.my, a business in the e-commerce market sector. This would be a website I’d analyze if I’m doing competition research for a business in the e-commerce sector.
You’ll be able to quickly see the overview of the website. The ranking of the website is calculated relative to 3 groups of domains. From global rank, category rank and ranking in a specific country which most of its visitors are coming from.
In my example, we noticed that Lazada.com.my ranks at #2,213 globally, is ranked #11 in Malaysia and is ranked #199 in the shopping category. These insights quickly tells us that Lazada.com.my receives more visitors from Malaysia compared to other countries.
The traffic overview section gives you a rough estimation of the traffic volume a website is receiving. You can also see the estimated traffic volume over a 6 months period.
Our example shows that Lazada.com.my has approximately 15.6million visitors per month. On average a visitor spends about 6 minutes on the website, showing a good sign for Lazada as their users are spending time on their website, probably looking for things to buy. A typical visitor also visits up to about 6+ pages before eventually exiting the site. Lazada also has a 49.53% bounce rate which means approximately 50% of the visitors clicked the back button to browse other websites upon entering Lazada’s website.
If you’re a competing e-commerce store, these insights of the traffic engagement on Lazada can be useful for you.
For instance, would you be able to create a better user experience on your website compared to Lazada to increase the engagement time and lower down the bounce rate on your e-commerce site?
Traffic by countries
Most of Lazada.com.my visitors are from Malaysia, which would be fairly obvious as the website is aimed towards the Malaysian market. However, you can see that there is traffic coming from other countries as well, like China, Singapore, United States and more.
This brings a question that we can ask. Would it be viable to open up a small sector on an e-commerce site to sell & deliver to countries overseas as well? Perhaps people from other countries are are looking for a specific product that can only be obtained in Malaysia?
There are some questions you can ask yourself as you carry out market research and competitive analysis.
Traffic by sources
Traffic sources give us insights about where visitors are coming from.
You can see that most traffic going into Lazada comes from a direct source. This shows that Lazada has established their brand well enough that visitors are simply directly entering their website by simply typing the URL into their browser. More than 22% of Lazada’s traffic also comes from display advertising, so we know that Lazada is advertising their website a lot, but pay less attention to social media & email marketing.
We can also zoom down into referral traffic and see which sites are referring to Lazada.com.my. A quick glance shows us the top referring sites referring into Lazada. An interesting thing to observe here is also the destination sites. That means where users head to after visiting Lazada.com.my.
As a competing business, you can look into areas where your competitor is getting referred from. For example, if you found that your competitor has been receiving lots of traffic from a site. You could counter offer that particular site to link to you instead of Lazada.
SEO marketers and business look at this section a lot. The search keyword section shows what people search for before landing into Lazada.com.my.
If you look at my example, you notice that the top keywords searched by visitors are keywords such as ‘lazada’, ‘lazada malaysia’ and more. People don’t normally search for a brand name. They normally search for a product or item that they are looking for. However for Lazada’s case, it’s because Lazada has established its name well, that many people already know the brand, thus searching for the site to shop on.
On the right side, you can analyze what keywords Lazada is advertising for. These are advertisements on Google searches, so if you were to type in one of the suggested paid keywords shown, you’ll probably see a Lazada Ad on the search page.
Below is an example of a Lazada ad when I searched ‘Lazada’ on Google.
Scrolling down, you’ll find a social section indicating which social media platform Lazada.com.my gains its 2.66% visitors from. As expected, most of the traffic from social media comes from Facebook, as Facebook is the top performing social media platform in Malaysia.
YouTube came in second after Facebook. This could be launch, review or unboxing videos that link back to Lazada.
If you’re looking to advertise, the display advertising section is something you’ll need to look at.
This shows the platforms and ad networks used by your competitor (Lazada.com.my is my case). As you can see, Lazada spends more of their advertising budget on YouTube.
Once you know which page your competitor’s website is performing better, you could analyze the particular page or content and find out the factors which make those pages receive more traffic than the rest. This would require some analyzing work, but in turn, will give you great insights into what works, what does not work and how you could do better than your competitor by stealing ideas.
The audience interest section tells you what the audience interests are. In my case, most of Lazada’s visitors are interested in general merchandise, auctions, and the business industry. You probably noticed that a portion of visitors is also interested in looking for shopping coupons. This could potentially create a marketing strategy for Lazada where they throw out shopping coupons on the internet, gaining this portion of visitors.
We can also analyze the other sites that the visitors were interested in. In the above case, 11street.my, lelong.com.my and so on.
If you want to find other similar sites to the website you have analyzed, the similar sites section shows you a list of other websites you could do a competition research on.
Quick Tip – Similar Web Google Chrome Extension
One last thing. There is also Google Chrome Extension for Similar Web which you can use for free to quickly analyze a website you’re on. Simply go to the extension page and install it in your browser.
With the extension in your browser, you can go to any website, click on the extension icon and Similar Web would show you all the data insights that you’ll need to analyze a competitor or a site.
Conclusion – Every Business/Startup Must Do A Competitive Research
In order to thrive in business, every business or startup must do a competitive research on their competitors.
Instead of guessing the growth or marketing plan, researching your competitor will quickly give you a lot of information and insights that you need to gain the competitive advantage.
My hope is that this tutorial would help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors by analyzing them.
If you have questions for any part of this tutorial, just ask me in the comment section below as I’d love to help you out.