Affiliate marketing is one of the most competitive industries out there. Every single affiliate is trying to outsmart and outperform the other. This is where competitive analysis comes into play. With proper competitive analysis, you can gain valuable information about your competition.
What are they doing, what is working for them, and how to apply those things to your campaigns? All this knowledge without having to spend time or money on researching all of that yourself.
What Is It?
A competitive analysis is a method of learning more about your competition. It is a strategy that involves you researching the ins and outs of their campaigns. What they are advertising, what opportunities they are capitalizing on, creatives they use, they promote, and much more.
To do such a thing you need a competent tool that can analyze what the competition is doing. But the tool itself won't help you much without knowing how to use that data and use it on your campaigns. This is of course easier said than done. To help our readers out, we made this article. It covers the basics and methods you can use to do a proper analysis on native and search campaigns!
Why Is It Important?
The potential benefits of a proper competitive analysis are massive.
Identify what your competition is doing right. This can help your campaigns perform better without having to spend your time and money researching the details yourself. This is probably the thing that competitive analysis is used the most for. It is a very effective strategy.
Identify your product's value proposition by finding out what others have to say about competing offers. This can then help you learn what to advertise and how to better promote your products for future marketing efforts.
Provides a reference point to what a successful campaign in your niche looks like. You can see exactly which campaigns perform well, what angles, creatives, and ads they use. Use this to find a winning formula that you can later use.
Learn through customer responses, testimonials, and reviews what competing offers are missing and find ways to improve those things for your campaigns.
Identify areas where your competition is lacking and try improving upon those aspects. This should give you a significant advantage as you know exactly what their shortcomings are, and it allows you to capitalize on them.
How To Get Started?
To get started you will need some sort of competitive analysis tool. This can be any of the dozen tools currently available. Most of them do the same and you should research what features each of them offers and at what price. Some tools might be a bit overpriced for you or they could prove to have fewer features than you need to work properly. This is why you should check out some of the tools available and find ones that best fit your use case.
How To Perform A Competitive Analysis?
Make a list of your competition
The first thing you need to know is who your actual competition is. It is surprising how many affiliates don't know who they are competing against. Do some research and find who is selling similar products to you or who entered your niche.
Your competition can be direct (when they offer the same products or services in the same GEO) or indirect (they offer variations of your products and target different clients).
Gather info on your biggest competitors
Once you made a list of your biggest competitors, it is time to gather some information on them. Try finding out what products they offer, what they charge for them, how they position themselves on the market, and how they run their advertising campaigns.
What products do they promote?
Analyze the products they offer. If they are your competition some of their products should be similar to yours. See what they exactly offer and how those items compare to yours. See what they bundle with those products and how they upsell them.
Find what makes them different
Evaluate what they are doing better and what they are doing worse compared to you. Try making a list of the biggest differences and research how those differences impact the results you are seeing.
Finding things like what channels they are using, what GEOs they are targeting, and what the sales process looks like can be of great help. These information bits can give you a complete image of how that particular niche is operating and what the best practices are to make the most out of it.
Focus a bigger chunk of your time on researching pricing, perks, and benefits. Some affiliates decide to add specific benefits to their buyers. Maybe those are a massive discount on another item, free shipping, or a free smaller item. Sometimes it can be a bigger discount. Everyone focuses at least partially on money and knowing exactly what your competition is going to reel in customers can help you make similar choices.
Their Marketing Approach
Lastly, analyze how others are advertising products similar to yours. You will quickly notice a pattern in how they bring their offers to market. If you did the spying part well enough, you should also have detailed info on if that approach works or if it's a complete waste of time.
Check out what ads, creatives, texts, angles, offer pages, and placements they use. Try finding what combination of these has the best chance of succeeding and then try recreating that for your campaigns. This way you can get valuable info that you would usually have to spend a lot of money testing yourself.
Try finding out what engagement rates your competitors are experiencing. This way you can better judge how well your ads are performing. If you have higher engagement rates to them then you can be sure that you are doing most things right. If you are experiencing lower than expected rates then you have a bottleneck somewhere.
Another thing that affiliates often overlook with their marketing efforts is social media. Look at what other marketers are posting on their social media, how they are interacting with their consumers, and how they advertise their products.
Social media is a very important part of any campaign, so make sure that you have an approach similar to the ones that are considered to be the best.
Most spy tools allow you to see competing native ads as well. Discovering the best-performing ones, analyzing them, and using that knowledge for your campaigns can be great. With proper research, you can find the biggest trends, most effective techniques, and inspiration for the future.
Try finding out the following things:
Where do rival campaigns appear? What platforms are mostly used, and how many clicks do each of them get.?
Who do these campaigns target? What is the ideal audience for each of them and how to best approach them?
What keywords, landing pages, links, and creatives are used for those campaigns?
What do others do to drive clicks?
What sort of retargeting campaigns are run for those ads?
Over 80% of clicks from native search results come from the first 3 results on Google. Getting your position as high as possible on the search results is important. The first thing you should do is analyze keywords that others are ranking highly in, but you are not. Utilize those to try and take some of the traffic away from them.
You should also take into consideration the search intent and not only search volume. Search volume might seem like an obvious way to measure things, but it can prove to be deceiving at times. This is why you should mostly focus on search intent instead.
Keywords aren’t the only things you should research. The content used by the competition is also important. You should try finding the winning articles, ads, and types of content that get the best results. Find gaps and weaknesses in that content and try to fill it with your own. You can also use their content as your baseline, from which you build your pages.
Other things you should look at are backlinks, internal linking, website structure, mobile-friendliness, SSL certification, Page load speed, and much more.
A proper competitive analysis can be a real game-changer. You can get access to some of the best campaigns, creatives, and approaches for a fraction of the cost and time that you would have to spend usually. Doing it properly takes a lot of knowledge so that you can distinguish important data from useless data. However, once you start researching and processing the data, you should quickly gain a feeling for what is important.
If you follow the steps we presented in this article, success shouldn't be far away. Do things in order and try getting as much info as you can from each of the steps. This way you can make sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently!
Have you done competitive analysis? What were your key takeaways? Share your experience with us in the comments below!