A simple guide to competitive auditing
A competitive marketing audit is a great way to learn more about your competitors, who they are and how they are positioning themselves. Researching competition can also help you discover new marketing tactics and channels that you haven’t thought about yet.
Competitive auditing is an essential part of our toolbox at Mason Interactive. Every new client relationship begins with an in-depth analysis of the competitive landscape, and it always helps us and the client tremendously. In this article we’ll explain how you can perform a high-level audit for your business or organization.
Use data and insights to gain a competitive edge
An audit provides a wealth of information about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, industry trends, and where you stand among the competition. It allows you to:
- Learn what is working for your competitors
- Learn what is not working for your competitors (so you can avoid repeating the mistakes)
- Identify gaps in your strategy
- Uncover your competitors preferred channels
- Get a feel of your competitors’ positioning and tone of voice
- Better understand what gets customers’ attention
How to perform an audit
1. Understand competition
The first step of competitive auditing is to identify who your top competitors are. You can use Google to search for your keywords and see who else ranks for those key terms. Instagram is another helpful platform to explore competition; just type in relevant keywords into the search bar and look at the results under accounts.
Narrow down the list to top 5 core competitors that you want to include in your audit. It’s a good idea to add 1 or 2 aspirational brands that aren’t necessarily your direct competitors but who you think are doing a great job in positioning themselves in the marketplace.
2. Start your research
Below is a list of useful next steps and tools you can use to gather more information for a high-level analysis. You can focus on different data points such as search rankings, SERP (search engine results page) presence, or social media activity. Some tools can even tell you where your competitors advertise online.
Google and other search engines
Search engines like Google are a good starting point for your research to understand the depth of your competitors’ online presence. Search for your own name as well as your competitors’ names to see what shows up on SERP. Good questions to ask are:
- Are they running paid search campaigns? What about Google Shopping ads?
- What type of language do they have in title tags and descriptions?
- What rich elements (videos, images, knowledge panel) can you see?
- What press appearances can you see? (Write down the names of publications)
Website and search rankings
Learn more about your competitors’ content strategy, brand story, and tone of voice by exploring their website. Pay extra attention to about us and blog pages. If you want to dive deeper into their SEO presence, try online tools like BuzzSumo, SEMRush, or Backlink Monitor to gain in-depth information on:
- What your competitors’ search rankings are
- What keywords they rank for (write down the ones you don’t)
- How many backlinks they have and who are the referring sites
- What their domain authority score is
Social media platforms
Looking at your competitors’ social media accounts gives you tons of valuable information. Browse through their profiles, posts, comments, and other engagement on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Twitter, to look at the following areas:
- What is in the bio
- What keywords and hashtags are used in the posts
- How often they post content and at what times
- How much engagement the posts get
- What kind of CTAs they use
- What style of content and language they use
3. Compile your findings and analyze
Once your research is complete, compile all your findings into a single document. By now, you have a full view of the competitive set you need for the analysis. Look at areas you can improve; what are your competitors doing that you are not? What tactics are working for them? Can you implement some of those tactics into your strategy?
Yet essential for every business and organization, a competitive marketing audit requires time and effort. The good news is, you don’t have to do it on your own. Sign up for a free marketing audit and let our digital experts do the work for you.