Being unique in the business world today is easier said than done. With so much competition, it is often difficult to communicate the message of why your brand is worth the attention to existing and new customers. After all, everyone is on the lookout to increase their profits and attract new buyers.

The pressure weighing over businesses today is unbelievably high. Establishing yourself as a household name and a recognizable brand is not enough – you need to keep performing at the level you set for yourself and often even surpass it to stop customers going to your competitors.

In business, comparison is good – it tells you where the current bars are set. After all, comparison is the reason why things are moving forward – if you had nobody to compare yourself to you wouldn’t need to change anything.

Spying on competitors is something every business does. This is not a sneaky technique – all information is public, you just need to analyze the data, draw conclusions and use them to your own advantage.

If you don’t know where to start, here are the most important metrics you can analyze and beat your competitors at their own game.

But first…

Why Should You Analyze Your Competitors?

There are a lot of reasons why you should do it, but if we need to choose the main one:

Why learn from your mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s mistakes?

Everyone makes mistakes – even in business. It would be naive to say that nobody is learning from your mistakes because your competitors are probably on your case.

By monitoring the online behavior of your competitors, especially when it comes to social media and interaction with customers, you can learn what the customers want to see in a brand. How many times have businesses faced backlash and angry customers due to a marketing campaign that they didn’t think through?

By doing such analysis, you can make predictions on how things will develop and how customers will respond to your own campaigns.

One of the other reasons for keeping an eye on your customers is knowing what you are up against. You can’t say that you are good or bad at what you are doing if you don’t have another value to compare it against.

Start With the Negatives

No business is able to maintain 100% customer satisfaction. In fact, seeing such a ranking raises flags among potential customers because it seems unnatural. Those negative comments are your pot of gold – you can see where your competitors made a mistake and use it as your benefit.

If you see many users making remarks about one same thing, then you hit bull’s eye. For example, if your competitor’s customers are complaining about long shipping wait time, you can build an entire marketing campaign promoting speedy delivery.

Those negative comments can be found everywhere, you just need to do a bit of digging. Start with simply typing “[COMPETITOR’S NAME] review” into Google. Read through the reviews such as those on TrustPilot and try to find patterns.

Then, go to their products pages. You can start with the products or services that have received the lowest ratings. Keep in mind that if a product has a high average score, the negative comments will be very specific. Don’t skip them.

Looks at Social Media Comments

Social media is another place where you can get valuable feedback. This is especially true for Twitter since it is a convenient way for customers to reach out to brands just by tagging the brands and using hashtags.

Slack has created a handy tool for doing this – Twitter for Slack. After you set your account up, you can track all tweets from and to a @username.

Track Their Rankings

You and your competitors are trying to rank for the same or similar keywords. Knowing where they rank and comparing that to where you rank is your best indicator on how you should adjust your content marketing strategy.

There are some free tools that allow limited information on your competitors, but for the most reliable data, you would need to use paid tools. There are quite a lot to choose from, such as Kissmetrics, Topvisor, Moz and SEMrush.

Follow the Mentions Trail

Regardless if people like or dislike something, they will surely share that on social media. This is impossible to measure manually, which is why you need the help of a handy tool such as Mention. You can see the volume of mentions that your competitors are receiving, the countries where those mentions come from and the channels with the most activity.

This tool also allows you to identify influencers. Track generic keywords which are relevant to your brand and see if you can spot any potential influencers who have shown a keen interest in an area related to your business, speak to them and see if you can get yourself brand ambassadors.

Don’t Forget About Their Backlinks

Backlinking is obviously among the biggest content marketing boosts out there. Learning how your competitors are handling this aspect can be very beneficial and eye-opening.

First, if you do the analysis, you will be able to find patterns and predict what your competitors are trying to achieve. You might be able to see what keywords they are focusing on or what products they are trying to spread the word about.

On the other hand, this opens new possibilities for you. You might see a website that has a high ranking that they have published a guest blog posts on. Such websites are usually open to all who are willing to provide high-quality content. So why not get yourself a high-value backlink?

 Monitor Changes on Their Website

Your competitors will be making changes on their website in a similar way you are. This usually refers to the landing pages since famously they account for the largest portion of generated leads.

If you implement a tool that tracks the changes on the competitor’s website, you can then cross-reference it with other metrics such as the number of visitors and see if their practices are paying off.

Since you are in the same industry as they are, you will be able to pinpoint what their customers respond best to and implement it in a similar way on your website – just don’t be a copycat, but rather use the information as an inspiration.

Watch Out for Questions

Finally, why don’t you set yourself a step forward by answering questions before you are even asked? Similar to searching for negative comments, you can also look at the questions that the customers are asking your competitors. These questions will normally be asked on social media.

A quick hack to find questions addressed to your competitors is by searching for their username followed by a “?” on Twitter.

Depending on how extensive of an answer you can give to the question, you can choose to include the question in your FAQs or if there is room for discussion, you can turn it into content. Monitoring questions that competitors get can be your best source of new content ideas.

Analyzing competitors is much more than just spying on them. Competition is what keep things interesting – without competitors, you wouldn’t be striving so much to be better every day. Use the time to see what they are doing, learn from their successes and benefit from their mistakes. And don’t feel bad while doing it – trust us when we say –  they probably have their eye on your already anyway!