Every successful eCommerce business got to where they are now because they tracked and analyzed their data. If you’re obsessed with your online store’s metrics, the idea of being cut off from your data probably makes you shudder.
Without key metrics, most of us would have no idea what is going wrong with our eCommerce campaigns or how to fix our most frustrating problems. Analyzing our own data allows us to demystify many of these issues. Even so, we are still only getting part of the bigger picture.
What about our competition? How do their key metrics compare to ours?
Knowing how you stack up against the competition is vital information to business owners. Not only can it shape your marketing strategies to improve your online store, but it also gives you a much bigger picture so that you can potentially capture an even greater share of the market.
The great news is that it’s now easier than ever to find out how your own online business is doing compared to the competition. Thanks to the abundance of eCommerce benchmarking tools that have emerged in recent years, we have plenty of options to see how our own key metrics truly stack up against those of our peers.
If you’re ready to finally get your hands on this valuable information, consider this your comprehensive guide on how to do just that.
Key Metrics to Compare
Although not every online business will have the same key performance indicators, there are a few common metrics that the vast majority of eCommerce store owners watch constantly. Unfortunately, we can only rely on Google Analytics Benchmarking for metrics such as bounce rate and sessions.
But, don’t despair just yet—there are plenty of amazing tools (both free and paid) that can provide you with deep insight into some of the competition’s key metrics. From social engagement metrics to link-building strategies, here are a few metrics that you can compare to your competition—and the tools that can make it happen:
If you want to win more of the market, you need to insight into what kinds of web traffic other sites are getting. What are the demographics of the visitors who frequent your competitor’s sites? What locations are they visiting from?
You know the importance of gathering data from your own site’s traffic. Just think about what you could do with the demographics of your competition’s visitors.
Why It Matters
Knowing what type of web traffic your peers are getting can boost your own campaigns in numerous ways. It can help you create content that appeals directly to this audience so that you can gain more of the market. It also allows you to see what your competition is doing right and wrong with their campaigns so that you can use this knowledge to shape your own campaigns.
SimilarWeb: With SimilarWeb, just type in the website of your competitor, and you will see the number of weekly visitors they got in the last six months. You will also be able to identify how many of their leads came from social media, search, referrals, display ads, and more.
Alexa: This is another competitive intelligence tool that tells you your competitor’s best-performing marketing channels, the demographics of their audiences, and their Monthly Unique Visitors (if you get their advanced plan).
eCommerce Scorecard: This free report compares your store’s site traffic (as well as other metrics like social engagement) to that of other small-to-medium-sized stores. It will also tell you how much you should be spending in retargeting ads based on your traffic.
Every smart digital marketer takes the time to perform keyword research for their search campaigns. Part of the research process should involve competitor keyword research. It is extremely valuable to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for, in addition to what keywords that rank low for them.
Why It Matters
By discovering what keywords your competition ranks for, you can make better decisions about your search campaigns. You can either evaluate their ranking for a specific keyword and try to outrank them for that same keyword, or you can scope out the keywords in your niche that they forgot to include and rank for those instead.
It pays to know what keywords your competitors rank for—and we mean that in a literal way. Although you shouldn’t shy away from bidding on competitive keywords, not everyone has the budget to pursue them. Finding a less competitive keyword that still has great search volume is the ultimate reward when you take the time to research your competition.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner: Although this tool is free, it doesn’t offer nearly as much now to those who don’t have an AdWords account. If you do have an account, you can find competitor keyword data for both paid and organic search.
iSpionage: This tool gives you details on your competitor’s top performing keywords and their entire AdWords strategy. It also provides you with a look at their ad copy to see which ones are the most effective.
Domain authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that predicts the likelihood for a website to rank on search engines. DA is calculated by combining other key link metrics, such as the number of total links and linking root domains.
Let’s say that your website and a competitor’s website are equal in every way, except your website has a higher domain authority. Your website will subsequently outrank your competitor in Google.
Why It Matters
Comparing domains is helpful because it gives us a good idea of how much time and effort it will take for you to outrank our competitors. For example, one website is trying to rank for “blue dog collars” and has a domain authority of 25. Another website ranks on the first page of Google for that same phrase and has a domain authority of 35. Knowing this, we can now work on our strategy to try and overtake them.
It’s important to remember that a website’s DA will fluctuate day by day. The best way to use this metric is by tracking it consistently. If your domain authority drops significantly, it is a clear indicator that you need to fix something with your SEO.
Open Site Explorer: This is an awesome tool (not surprising, considering that Moz made it) which gives you a deep look into your competitor’s link-building efforts. You can view top performing content on the domain of a competitor or look at your own domain, see who is linking back to your competitors, and easily compare your link data.
Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another popular tool used by SEOs and content marketers. It has many cool features, but its Site Explorer tool is where you will analyze the growth of your competitor’s backlinks. Slow growth from the competition means that you have the perfect opportunity for your own business to swoop in and dominate the market.
Social Media Engagement
If you’re using the right digital marketing software, you already have an effective method for keeping track of social media metrics. However, it’s also a good idea to know how others are interacting with your competitors on social media.
Why It Matters
Social media engagement as a metric may not tell us how loyal customers are, but it still has plenty of value to marketers. It tells us what is working with our campaigns and where we should focus more of our efforts. This same metric can be useful for analyzing the competition.
What was their most influential tweet? What are their most-used hashtags? How are fans interacting with their pages?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then use that information to inform your own social media strategy.
Fanpage Karma: This tool analyzes and compares both you and your competition’s social media profiles, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Fanpage Karma makes it super easy to track your competitor’s social media profiles and analyze engagement, what topics resonated best, and what times of day were most effective for posting.
Simply Measured: This social analytics tool provides marketers visually appealing competitive analysis reports. You can view which metrics are the most important to your competition, the engagement level on their posts, and the top posts of your peers.
Mobile User Experience
Most eCommerce owners already know how essential it is for their sites to be mobile-friendly these days. Just last fall, Google made waves when it announced its plans to divide its index and create a separate index for mobile.
It makes perfect sense, considering how mobile users have surpassed desktop users in search. The only question is who can adapt and provide users with the better mobile experience: you or your competitors?
Why It Matters
If you can identify the gaps in your competition’s mobile search strategy, you can use it as an opportunity to boost your own strategy and win over more customers.
Are your competitors keeping up with the latest mobile trends? How much of their site traffic came from mobile users compared to desktop users?
Once you have the answers, you can perform a deeper analysis of their mobile search tactics and compare it to your own to see how you stack up.
SEMrush: SEMrush is a well-known toolkit that provides users with extensive data to help them boost their SEO. It has a Domain vs. Domain tool that lets you enter your own domain and your competitor’s domain so that you can easily see if their domain is mobile-friendly or not. You can also find much of the same data for mobile as you can for desktop, for both paid and organic searches.
SimilarWeb: Similar Web doesn’t just measure site traffic. This tool is also great for seeing how many of your competitor’s visitors were desktop users, mobile users, or both. You can view this data in a visually-appealing report that makes it easy to analyze the trend in mobile traffic for both you and your competition.
Additional Competitive Analysis Tools
Knowing where your own eCommerce business stands in your industry’s market is eye-opening, to say the least. So far, we’ve discussed a few key metrics and the tools you can use to compare them to others in your industry.
However, there are more ways to gain an edge in your market. That’s why you should consider a few other competitive analysis tools that can provide deep insight into your competitors.
Here are a few additional tools that you may find useful to get ahead of the pack this year:
Whatrunswhere: You can use Whatrunswhere to learn where your competitors are focusing their advertising efforts and what they are doing right (or wrong) in their ad campaigns. This tool can even tell you which Call To Action (CTA) is working best for your competitors. Plus, it’s great for testing the effectiveness of your own ad copy as well.
Prisync: This price analytics software makes it easy to monitor your competitor’s pricing so that you can remain competitive in your industry. It will send you email alerts the moment your competitor changes their prices and creates interesting reports from the data. That way, you can steal more consumers away from your rivals and increase your profitability.
BuzzSumo: A research and monitoring tool, BuzzSumo is a tool that allows you to identify the most shared content on social media channels, find notable influencers in your industry, and track your competitor’s content to see how well it performs.
This tool is not just ideal for finding new ideas for your content but it also informs you of what content is performing well for your competitors. This gives you the opportunity to craft a new piece of content that is better, more detailed, and up-to-date (also known as the Skyscraper Technique).
Internet Archive: Internet Archive is a nonprofit library full of books, movies, software, websites, and more. It has taken screenshots of web pages since 1996, and you can look at early versions of your rival’s website using their Wayback Machine tool to see how they have changed over the years.
Their changes could be part of a strategy to capture an emerging audience that your own company hasn’t focused on yet. It could also give you some ideas for changing your website along with seasons or other trends.
There is a lot that we can learn just from tracking and analyzing our own key metrics. There is even more insight to be gained when we compare our key metrics to those of our competitors.
To truly know how successful your eCommerce store is, you need to find out how you stack up against others in your industry. Once you discover this valuable information, you can discover new strategies to help you compete and allow yourself to set more meaningful targets for your online business.
Want to learn more about using your competition’s performance data to drive your strategy? Save your seat for our upcoming webinar, “Keeping up with the Joneses: Using Your Competitors’ Performance to Your Advantage”!