Competitor analysis: How AI helps to your success

Competitor analysis. How AI helps your success. Black magnifying glass that highlights an orange graphic on turquoise canvas

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Competitor analysis is one of the main tasks a brand should achieve on a regular basis.

How are your competitors positioning themselves?
Competitors are here to stay. It is a good reason for brands to keep studying, analyzing and improving their job in a certain way.
However, it is also a valid reason to sharpen your analysis tools and start looking for bits of information about them.

Long story short, you have to:

  1. Define who your competitors are
  2. Decide what do you want to take away from your competitor analysis
  3. Collect and analyze data for your competitor analysis

In reality, it is a long process. Still, you can leverage the power of AI-based analytics tools to make things a bit easier and faster!
How frequently do you make a competitor analysis, and which tools do you use?

We will give you some tips and hints according to our experience.

Let’s start.

Why do you need a competitor analysis?

Every brand has at least one competitor. If you think you don’t have any competitors, we have sad news. If something/someone else can replace you in some way, then you have a competitor.
Once you accept the idea that yes, your customers may also have other providers besides you, everything becomes easy.

Competition is positive. It pushes you to improve your product, and it keeps you active in looking for new ideas and scenarios. You probably don’t like your competitors, but it is better to understand who your competitors are and play a fair game, trying to know what they are doing.

Lucky for you, we are in the web era. It means that anyone can understand more about the game. The Internet and a bunch of useful tools, for example, artificial intelligence, are the keys.

How can you do an efficient competitor analysis? 

Now that you know you can’t avoid competition, it is time to understand how you should examine your competitors.

What is a competitor analysis?

Just acknowledging that you have some competitors is not enough.

To consciously select the actions to respond to your competitors, you need to study them in-depth. 

Investopedia defines competitive intelligence like this: “The process of collecting and analyzing information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses legally and ethically to enhance business decision-making.”

The good news is that pieces of information are already on the web, and you only have to find them, collect them and use them to improve your brand.

How do you run a competitive analysis?

Now that you know what is in competitor analysis, it’s time to understand how to run one.
There are several steps you need to take to do it properly.

We mentioned the main steps at the beginning:

  1. Define who your competitors are
  2. Decide what do you want to take away from your competitor analysis
  3. Collect and analyze data for your competitor analysis

Let’s see them quickly and then more in-depth.

Define who your competitors are 

You probably know by name the most important players on your field, but is it enough? If you are following us for some time, you already know the answer – nope!

You need to go deeper and find out who your competitors are, what they are doing, and their positioning.

How can you do it? There are many inside and outside data places where to check:

  1. Google. Write down your competitors’ names, or even your field’s name, and see what the SERP tells you. Even better if you browse in private-mode: in this way, your previous research won’t invalidate the SERP.
  2. LinkedIn. Check your page on Linkedin or one of your main competitors. Linkedin will show you a recommendation about what people also searched. It gives you back hints about new incumbents you may haven’t considered.
  3. Your CRM. Depending on your type of business, you may have a lot of information in your CRM data. Particularly for B2B, some of your competitors can also be a part of your customers, buying from your components or providing collaterals. You need to understand how your customers can replace you with something else!
Google suggestions about McDonald's cheeseburger
Now we are hungry.

Once you have skimmed the web enough, write down a list of names and start asking yourself questions to segment them.

LinkedIn is a gorgeous tool, too!

Are these competitors direct or not? Do you compete in the same field or product? Where are they? Are your services similar or not? If yes, how? Answering these and other questions will give you a better understanding of them.

Decide what you want from your analysis

Now you are ready. You have decided to analyze your competitors. You have the name list, and the only thing to do is start the analysis to do what?

If you have no idea why you are doing this analysis, maybe it is better to stop here for a second. The answer seems pretty obvious – you want to analyze the competitors.

However, the reality is a bit more complicated than that. You may want to reach several goals with a competitor analysis, and you must have them clear before starting, or you will waste time.

A popular Ted Talk from Simon Sinek is titled “Start with the WHY“. The video’s intent is more inspirational, as Ted Talks are, but there is a great truth there: you need a reason to do things.
A famous quote from the American businessman Harvey MacKay says: “A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

Set your goals. Why are you looking for info about your competitors?

The goal can’t be generic, or otherwise, your search will be generic as well, and useless.

What is your WHY? Do you want to launch and position a new product or improve your brand awareness? Are you launching your new website or do you want to approach a new market?

Whatever you decide, there were differences in where you are going to look and find info sources.

For instance, do you want to check on their strengths and weaknesses? Or their social media presence? Maybe you need to improve your position and SEO strategy, and you need to see what’s happening all around you.

Moreover, you could want to get better with your services, and you need this kind of study.

No competitor analysis is similar to another, and you should keep it in mind. To succeed, you have to keep your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

Collect and analyze data from your analysis

Now that you have your goals clear, we can do analysis.
How can you do it?

First, decide which kind of data you want, according to your goals. If you need to analyze social media presence, sales reports won’t be so useful, and vice versa. You have to define the field as precisely as possible.

Next, start selecting all your sources: social media pages, sales pages, about pages, website, papers, whatever may have useful bits of information.

After that, you need to skim all the data sets you collected to find out patterns and useful elements. For example, select some relevant parameters and confront them with the data you collected.

AI can help you a lot here. For example, by collecting and tracking all your competitors’ data on a given topic and, after that, sorting them by the parameters you selected – at incredible speed. 

Let’s see how useful Artificial Intelligence is for you to manage a successful competitive analysis.

Three ways AI helps your competitor analysis success

It is clear how a competitor analysis is complicated, especially when it comes to specific fields. Suppose you want to analyze a brand strategy, a new product or a social media campaign. In that case, you will need three different approaches, and so on. 

Also, competitive analysis methods depend on your goal.

Let’s assume that you have defined your goal. There are so many different tools to do competitor analysis, according to your business needs.
However, all have something in common: the goal, the competitor list and the info sources. 

The goals are totally up to you. No one can do the strategy for you. You have the vision and mission.
Once you know that, Artificial Intelligence is a dramatic tool to boost your activities, bringing you faster hints and insights.

We will show you three ways to get faster competitor analysis results using AI.

How Artificial Intelligence helps to define your competitors

Do you have the goal and the list? Good! It is time to dig deeper. Probably, some of them won’t be direct competitors, and others will be the worst opponents.

How can you find out?

AI can help you to define your competitive field better

Google Suggest, using machine learning, find user searches related to the topic. It is one of the advantages when you decide to use search completion. Google uses Semantic search and Natural Language Processing to understand the intent of the search query and suggest new results. So, suppose you are Burger King and want to find what people are looking for when they type your competitor on the search bar. In that case, you receive exciting results (but do not forget to search in private-mode!).

Ghostwriter.AI uses Artificial Intelligence and algorithms to help brands to define the limits of their competitive field and better compete in their niche. One of the ways it is to map competitors’ keywords to improve SEO, find out better ideas to drive traffic to your website and, of course, understand people’ queries.

When we feed the algorithm with the keyword or the data, the tool can find out semantic topics on which competitors position themselves and, through them, the queries and trend topics that people look for the most.

It means that you can better understand what people are looking for on several topics, a goldmine when it comes to competitor analysis.

Look for people reactions and engagement

Monitoring and listening can be your move, not only on social media. The more you listen to what other people are saying about your competitors, the more you will learn about them. In this way, you will understand their strengths and weaknesses, and the opinion the web has about them. All of this will be precious when it comes to data collection.

AI can improve the process thanks to sentiment analysis.

In Ghostwriter AI, we use our Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, to analyze texts and find deeper meanings, which means reading sarcasm and more. You can match words with other recursive patterns and see how people feel about specific themes – or, in this case, brands.

You will know more about how they behave on the platform you chose – social media, blog, website – and see what people think. In this way, it will be easier for you to create a strict list of what your competitors do and don’t do, and it will be easier for you to set your goals for the analysis.

Analyze all the data

Once you have all the different elements of your competitors and know who they are, it is time to collect and analyze many exciting data!

It would help if you systematized them to use them and create an efficient strategy out of your research.

AI algorithms sort out the data you feed them into actionable output, according to your KPIs. For example, you can separate elements from, keyword, topic, reactions and more.

Why is it useful? AI connects the dots from scattered and unstructured sources so that you have the big picture under your nose, ready to use. According to your research and topics of interests, you will find out how brands behave in a different context. You will have the info that you need to react to their strategies.

Conclusions

When it comes to competitors, brands don’t usually feel at ease. Sometimes they worry other companies could surpass them, or having a more special place in customers’ hearts – and the market.

However, ignoring competitors will lead to no good at all. Only by knowing what they do and what they plan, you will be able to catch up and make your customers even happier.

Remember that you live in a complex environment. There is way more than just happy, satisfied customers that selected you as their lovebrand.

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