How to conduct a competitor analysis?

How to conduct a competitor analysis

Written by Ruben de Boer

January 11, 2023

A competitor analysis can be a good source for your optimization research. There are some unique methods to get valuable insights from their websites. These insights help you improve your Conversion Rate Optimization practices.

Before you start, you have to determine which websites you should check.

Who are your competitors?

There are three sources to determine which websites you should analyze for your competitor analysis.

First is the biggest competitors, you know by heart. Second, find related websites on Google. Search for the main search terms of your website, and see what comes up. Your potential customers will likely do the same.

The third and most important source is your customers. Ask them what other websites they considered. You can do this in a poll on the thank you page, through interviews or surveys.

This results in a list of websites for your competitor analysis.

Basic competitor analysis

In a basic competitor analysis, check for highlights and noticeable differences:

  • Highlights are aspects where the competitor does better.
  • Noticeable differences are aspects that the competitor does entirely differently.

Highlights and noticeable differences can be:

  • The website’s structure
  • Visuals
  • Copy (including the value proposition)
  • Mentioned benefits
  • Functionalities
  • Call to actions

Besides the website, you can check the reviews for complaints, questions, and praise. Your competitor may have many reviews on their website, but also check out review channels to find valuable information there. You can also find a lot of information in the comments on their social media channels.

If a competitor gets many complaints, you can use it in a USP on your website and show that you do this right. Or if a competitor gets a lot of praise about something, you can use this information for your website as it apparently is important to them.

So one way to analyze the competitors’ websites is by looking at them yourself.

Advanced competitor analysis

A more interesting way to analyze your competitors’ websites is to conduct usability tests. There are two types of usability tests.

Direct comparison test
In a direct comparison test, you let participants complete a task on your and a competitor’s websites. For instance, participants could buy an item on your website and a competitor’s website.

Isolated test
In this case, you let participants complete a task on one website. For instance, one participant buys an item in your webshop and another on a competitor’s website.

With this information, you can analyze which website works best at what stage in the buying process. For example, if your visitors get stuck at a certain point on your website but at your competitor’s website, there is no problem; use that insight to improve your flow.

These methods will give you a great comparison and analysis to see where your competitor performs better in the customer journey.

Always test

When you conduct a competitor analysis, please remember that even your biggest competitors might not have a conversion specialist like you. They might not do optimization research or run A/B tests.

The competitor’s website is not perfect. But do check it out. Then, when you get some insights, combine them with all other insights from your optimization research and test.

If you want to learn more about optimization research, check out my Complete CRO course. You will get a significant discount by using the link on this page.

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