Do you want to outperform your competition? Competitor analysis is a great way to check how your brand stacks up against anyone else offering similar services, and can help you uncover opportunities to expand your reach or change strategy.

Where to start?

A good place to start is with media monitoring, which involves tracking mentions of your brand and its competitors in the news and on social media platforms. By using a social listening tool, you can conduct a competitor analysis that will show you what type of content is performing well among your competitors, which social networks they’re most active on, how they structure their content, who they collaborate with, what the media say about them, etc.

If you are new to media monitoring and don’t know what a competitor analysis report should look like, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 easy steps that will help you assess your competition as well as your performance in your target markets:  

1. Identify the competition

Before you can analyse the competition, you need to know your competitors. If you already know who they are, you can directly move to building queries (search strings) for each competitor that you will later use to display results in your dashboard. If not, you can always use boolean strings to research competitors both on Google or your social media listening tool. All you have to do is know which words appear in your competitors’ content as well as in posts by customers/consumers talking about their products or services.

For example, if you’re looking for a bakery that serves gluten-free cookies in London, try searching for “gluten free” AND “London” as well as “bakery” AND “London”. This will give you results that contain both terms so you’ll see results from bakers who serve gluten-free cookies in London, but not necessarily ones who make them exclusively. If you are looking exclusively for bakeries that make them, you can do a more specific search such as “gluten free” AND “London” AND “bakery”. Narrowing down your search helps you pinpoint direct competitors active in your industry and target market. 

2. Conduct a media breakdown

Now that you have a list of your competitors and you’ve built queries that return relevant results for every one of them, it’s time to break down their coverage by specific media content providers such as news sites, blogs, forums, social media (including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc).

The social listening tool you are using will show you the number of mentions each competitor has under each media type. This will help you identify which outlets are providing more exposure for your competitors than others and you could use it as an opportunity to get your name out there. For example, if you are a car manufacturer and you notice that your competitors’ models that are within the same price range as yours are getting more video reviews by popular YouTubers in the industry, that can be a sign for you to start reaching out to them. 

3. Calculate your Share of Voice (SOV)

Share of Voice (SOV) is a key measure of how well your brand is performing in the market. Some social listening tools automatically provide this information, but if you are using a tool that doesn’t directly calculate SOV, you can do it yourself. It’s calculated by dividing the number of times a brand or product is mentioned by all mentions in an industry, giving you a percentage. 

For example, if there were 100 total brand mentions and yours was mentioned 30 times, then your SOV would be 30%. A high share of voice means you’re getting noticed by more people than others in your industry-which can help boost sales and awareness for both new and existing customers.

Knowing your SOV score allows you to track how much attention competitors are getting compared with yours so that when there’s an opportunity for growth, it doesn’t go unnoticed! This could mean implementing new strategies like advertising campaigns or events designed specifically around increasing visibility among consumers who don’t know your brand.

4. Analyse sentiment

A bigger SOV doesn’t always equal good news though. To make sure that your brand mentions are increasing positively, you have to conduct a sentiment analysis. By analysing sentiment, you can gain a deeper insight into the emotions and opinions behind the text. Tracking brand sentiment over time can also help you identify rising trends, both positive and negative, and alert you of upcoming issues or new opportunities.

Social listening tools automatically assign sentiment to mentions (positive, neutral, negative) and calculate sentiment percentages for you. For example, most tools mark traditional news articles as neutral because these are seen as neutral reporting of events. However, even though these tools are getting better at analysing text and emotions, they still struggle with recognizing some patterns of human speech such as sarcasm or irony. But don’t worry, most tools enable you to manually assign sentiment to these mentions or build boolean strings that you can use to train their platforms to recognise the correct sentiment.

With sentiment analysis, you can compare sentiment across different platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and different types of media (e.g. social media, blog posts, news articles, TV, radio, podcasts, forums, etc.) This data will show you where you have to focus your attention to improve your brand image so you can perform better than your competitors.

5. Assess the net change in followers and engagement

A monthly analysis of the net change in follower numbers can show you how fast or how slowly your brand is gaining support in comparison to your competitors. One important step is to set a benchmark that will look at the number of followers you and your competitors had on a given platform when you started the analysis. In each consecutive report, you can calculate the net change in follower numbers which shows you how many followers in total you’ve gained or lost in your current monitoring period when compared to the last one. You can choose the length of your monitored period – it can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. 

You can conduct the same benchmarking analysis to follow engagement and assess changes in the volume of mentions. The “Total Mention Volume” screenshot records the increase and decrease of mentions in percentages on each media content provider, comparing the volume of mentions in the current monitoring period vs the previous one.

This step is all about gaining a better understanding of your audience. One of the most important things you can do for your business is understand your target audience and learn how to reach them, so start by looking at who is following each competitor’s account. 

Followers are a good indicator of brand awareness, which means that if someone follows a company’s page on Twitter or Instagram, they’ve probably heard about them before. Furthermore, followers can help you understand how effective your content has been so far: if a user follows both you and your competitor, but only interacts with your competitor (likes and comments on their posts), then it means that your competitor may have a more effective strategy for engaging its target demographic than you do. Your next step would be to analyse your competitor’s top-performing posts to see what type of content and rhetoric they’ve been using to improve their engagement rate.

How can we help?

Competitor analysis is different from other types of analyses because it’s primarily focused on understanding who your competitors are and what they’re doing to give yourself an advantage over them. If the above steps seem difficult to you or you would simply like experts to handle your competitor’s analysis, contact us at A Data Pro. We have experience conducting competitor analysis across different markets in over 40 languages. Regardless of whether you’re active in one or multiple markets, we can provide you with timely and bespoke reports that will help you outperform your competitors. Drop us a line!