2 minute read

Today every website has an on site analytics solution in place.  On site analytics give you a detailed picture of what’s happening on your own site — how many people are visiting, where they are coming from and what they are doing on your site.  This is all fine and good.  You do need this data.  However, most on site analytics services provide an over-abundance of detailed information in dozens of different reports and it can quickly become overwhelming.  What should you pay attention to?  And, what’s good enough?  Is a 36% bounce rate good or bad?   That’s where competitive analytics can help. Competitive analytics puts your on site analytics into context and give you ideas for your own marketing campaigns.  Setting up a site comparison with your main competitors helps you in four main ways:

Identifying Industry Trends

Am I selling more snow shovels because I’m doing  more effective marketing, or is the cold winter helping everyone equally? In a site comparison you can view the traffic trends for the sites in your industry side by side.  If all the sites in your industry got a lift in traffic at the same time, for example, your site’s recent traffic increase may have been due to an external event or trend instead of your own campaigns or efforts.

Benchmarking  

Am I investing enough in social media? Do I have enough links to my website? Competitive analytics helps you identify market leaders and then benchmark your metrics versus theirs to understand where there’s opportunity to improve.  Even if you are the market leader, understanding your competition can help you stay ahead of the curve. For example, if you only look at your on site analytics, it is not clear whether say 3% of your traffic from social media is good, bad or is about all you can expect to get.  But if your competitive analysis tells you that your biggest competitor is getting 2x the traffic from social as you are, you might want to consider investing more in that channel.

Insights into Successful Tactics

Which keywords are driving engaged traffic to my competitors? Competitive analytics also helps you identify successful strategies employed by market leaders.  How are they getting traffic?  What are they doing to succeed? You can look at the specific paid and organic keywords that drive the most traffic to competitive websites.  Which channels are they getting the most traffic from?  What sites are linking to them? And what sites are referring the most traffic?

Awareness of Change

Are my competitors doing anything new? If your competitors are suddenly getting more traffic, or get a burst from a new channel you want to know about it in real time.  By looking at daily updates of traffic information, you can quickly respond to changes in your competition’s strategy.

Conclusion

Edward Tufte, the data visualization expert, said:

“At the heart of quantitative reasoning is a single question: Compared to what?”

In the case of websites, “Compared to your Competition” is what helps you make sense of the sea of metrics available to you.  To get started, you can set up a site comparison for free on Alexa and get more detailed metrics with our Pro plans.