Competitor Benchmarking: What It Is and Why It Is Important

Competitive Benchmarking
Competitive Benchmarking

The best way to enable your marketing team to outperform is to create a line of sight across your department, that informs content and campaign strategy. Monthly reports combining search traffic, web visits, news and editorial, social, and ad spend performance do just this. Take a look at our Digital Marketing Insight Reports, the newest solution for automating reporting of your Marketing internally and benchmarking against the competition.

How does your brand stack up against the competition? While it’s essential to track your PR & marketing ROI, you also need to monitor your competitors’ progress just as closely. 

Benchmarking is the practice of comparing your performance to the industry standards and metrics from other companies. You can choose to benchmark your performance against your industry, competitors or your own past performance.

If you’re not benchmarking your progress against your competitors’ results or industry, then you risk being left behind. For example, you could fail to know about a competitor’s newest game-changing product launch, continue to overspend on a marketing channel, or even miss a major shift in your industry. 

In today’s world, there is a wealth of information available to help you understand your position in the market, and where you can improve your messaging as a marketer. Our Automated Marketing Reports provide access to this information all in one place, allowing you to filter data and use key figures to see how you stack up against the competition. 

Why Do You Need to Monitor Your Competitors?

Put simply – to win! If you aren’t already doing this, it should be at the top of your to-do list. Monitoring the competition can help you ensure that your campaigns are going to stand out in a crowded market and/or resonate with your customers. 

And one of the easiest ways to win is to remain more cost-effective than your competitors. When deploying your hard-won marketing budgets across ad spend, content creation, and third party syndication efforts, you need to be as efficient as possible—and competitor benchmarking can help with that.

For instance, many digital marketing channels run on a bid-based platform, meaning marketers must have the highest bid on a certain keyword or audience for their ad to be shown first (or at all). Using competitive intelligence you can determine the keywords your competitors are bidding against (or are not) to improve your PPC bidding strategy. 

Meltwater’s Digital Marketing Insight Reports (DMI Reports) can automate the process of competitor benchmarking so that you can spend time improving the efficiency of your campaigns, and much more. 

What Metrics Should You Benchmark?

From website traffic to social media follower growth, there are numerous metrics that you could use to determine how your company is fairing against the competition. On social media, you might consider benchmarking: average post reach, average post engagement, total followers, post frequency, etc.

When it comes to website performance, you may want to track the number of keywords each competitor ranks for and the total number of backlinks to each of your competitor’s websites. The list goes on, but our Marketing Reports highlight four key areas: Earned Media, Owned Media, Paid Media, and Social Media. So, that’s what we’ll discuss here. 

The commonality between each segment here is that each of these areas helps you understand your financial efficiency. When comparing your media spend, you can easily spot gaps in ROI by channel and stay on your toes when planning for the future. When finalizing your content schedule, you can move forward with certainty that what you are planning to publish is relevant. When reaching out to third party publications for syndication, it’s important to understand which outlet will yield the most traffic. 

Benchmarking is a necessity, and while most marketers in leadership roles receive drip-fed reports from a number of sources, having a clear line of sight across these four key areas of Digital Marketing analyzed and packaged into a digestible monthly report can be invaluable.

Earned Media

Earned media, otherwise known as referral media, is when a blogger decides to review your product, the press mentions your brand or a customer tags your product on social media without being paid or prompted. 

If an article, blog, or social media post mentions your brand and includes a direct link to your company’s website, your gaining valuable exposure. And, more traffic could mean more inbound leads to your business. 

So, you should consider tracking which websites are mentioning your competitors. Why? Well, if you notice your top competitor is receiving a lot of traffic from being featured on a specific blog and strike a deal to be featured there yourself, chances are you will steal some of that traffic for your business. 

Meltwater’s Automated Monthly Marketing Reports can break down where you and your competitors are being featured online, including which outlets provide the most traffic back to your website. 

Owned Media

Organic traffic driven to your website primarily through search engines is known as owned media. When marketers think about how to improve their search engine optimization (SEO), they immediately begin evaluating which keywords to include on web pages to ensure they match the most frequently searched terms. 

Meltwater’s Marketing Insight Reports provide monthly updates with the keywords that drive the most traffic through organic searches and empower you to keep your website up-to-date with the latest trends.

Paid Media

Pay-per-click (PPC) is used to describe ads for which your business is charged by the click. For example, publishing an ad on LinkedIn or through Google Ads requires you to bid on clicks using a monetary rate at which you value each inbound lead. PPC is always top of mind for any marketing leader. Before you spend any money on clicks (potential leads), you must determine who to target. Often times, you are given the option to bid on an audience, demographic, or keyword. Getting the most up-to-date information on where your competitor’s dollars are going can ensure that you find the keywords with the lowest cost-per-click (CPC) and highest search volume. Thus, improving your bidding strategy. 

Our Digital Marketing Insight Reports allow you to view ad spend amongst your competitors and determine where to invest, ensuring that you are saving money, and bringing as many leads to your sales team as possible.

Social Media

Monitoring the social media presence of your competition is key to understanding how they are able to grow their digital following, what social media influencers they may be working with and what social media networks they are active on. 

Monitoring your competitor’s social media activity can also help you identify what type of content might resonate with your own followers. 

With our Marketing Insight Reports, you can identify the tweets with links that are directly affecting the traffic arriving at your site. Then, you can use this data to quickly identify the influencers directing traffic, so your team can engage the conversation where it matters most. Then, you can compare conversation size per platform to determine where your ad dollars are best spent so your team can take the lead in audience engagement and sentiment.

Competition is inevitable. How you learn from it can make or break your business. Often the best insights come from outside the walls of your own office, and with Meltwater’s Digital Marketing Insight Reports you can make sure you are benchmarking yourself against the competition in these four key areas to stay sharp on top of the pack. Interested in seeing how you rank? Receive a demo!