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Competition analysis: free tools, priceless information
Competition analysis: free tools, priceless information
By: Mandar Marathe

I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.   - Walt Disney.

Competition is good. Knowing what your competitor is doing is better. And getting to know this for free is like taking the cherry on the cake. In today’s connected world, where attention is a scarce commodity, getting a fair share of voice and being heard is a pressing demand for every brand. A Coca Cola wants to share more happiness than a Pepsi, a MasterCard wants more people to swipe debit / credit cards with a MasterCard logo as opposed to a Visa.  The first step to get attention would be to know how much attention are your competitors getting and what it would take to grab a majority stake in the attention pie.

Free Tool No. 1:  Google Search Insights

What it gives you: Share of voice, advertising trends of your competitors, industry overview

Let’s begin. Let’s assume we are doing this for a beverage –Coca Cola.

Step 1: Go to Google Insights for Search: http://www.google.com/insights/search/.

Step 2: Enter the names of your competitors (you can specify 5 competitors)

Step 3: Select the country, time period and the category to which your brand belongs to.

Step 4: Click on Search and see the magic. You will see something like this


Google search insights: Food and beverage

This shows the number of searches for your brand relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time (Above: geographic region selected is India and time period is Last 12 months). Interesting? Although we see little interest for a Mountain Dew or a Mazaa, the interest for Pepsi has seen a burst in July’11, Nov’11 and then a small spike in March’12. Coca cola searches have risen steadily.

Now let’s get to competition analysis nirvana. Click on the tab “Growth relative to Food & Drink category. This will give us a good industry / market perspective.


 Google Search Insights: food and beverage industry

All brands (Coca cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Mazaa) have a television commercial running in this IPL season. For the week selected (Apr 29th – May 5th), we can clearly see that Maaza & Mountain Dew have high unaided brand recall as compared to Coca cola & Pepsi. The ‘Darr ko maaro Dew’  and ‘Har Mausam Aam’  Maaza commercial are doing well.

One more interesting aspect about Maaza. They are peaking at the right time – October / November being the festive season in India and March-May being Summer.

It’s time for you to get into action. Explore features of Google Insights – regional interest and search terms (just scroll below to get this info). You would be amazed to see the power of ‘free’ data.

 Free Tool No. 2: Alexa.com

What it gives you: How are your competitor’s web sites are stacking up?

Ok, so what is Alexa?   Simply put, it’s the global leader in free web analytics. Picked this up from the alexa.com website:


 

Alexa.com

And how does a brand leverage Alexa.com to know more about its competitors? Easy peasy.

Go to alexa.com and type in your top competitor’s web site. For e.g. suppose you are Flipkart.com (Yes, no kidding – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLnJJ0CNBok), you might want to see what an ebay.in is up to.  This is what you get when you type in ebay.in. It is web site no. 26 in India. 


 

Ebay.in data: Alexa.com

Let’s dig deeper. Let’s compare ebay.in to myntra.com, junglee.com (Amazon in India) and to Flipkart.com.  We have a gold mine.

We get a lot of information, but the metrics we can concentrate would be reach & time on site (engagement). Reach will tell us which site is attracting more eye balls (share of attention, which is a rare commodity)


 Competition analysis: Ebay.in reach as per Alexa.com

And time on site – a good measure of how engaging a web site is or how bad a website is i.e. a user may find it difficult to get what he/she is looking for.


 Competiton Analysis: Ebay.in Time on Site as per Alexa.com

 There is more to explore and I leave that up to you.

How does your company measure brand recall or unaided brand recall? Are you aware of your competitors might?  Have you used any other free tools to do a competitive analysis?

Please share your experience and feedback via comments. 

This article is authored by Mandar Marathe & is originally published here