Marketing & PR

Why and how to do competitive benchmarking


In today's fast-paced world, business progress is impossible without competitive benchmarking, since you must always be aware of what others are doing. Keep reading to uncover the benefits and best practices of comparing your brand's performance to the competition.

Elena Teselko

Elena Teselko

Content Manager

1 April 2022

Competitive benchmarking definition and its benefits 

Talking about marketing, competitive benchmarking is the process of comparing your company's primary business metrics to those of competitors. It is generally more about numbers and specific metrics, but the true value is in the conclusions and following data-driven decisions.

With the help of modern digital tools, marketers can evaluate their competitors' initiatives, estimate what budgets they spend on each campaign and analyze the results. Knowing your competition's weak and strong points allows you to plan additional activities to uncover free niches, missed opportunities and avoid mistakes.

The first steps of competitive analysis 

First and foremost, you must decide which competitors to compare your company against. Some people prefer to study similar-sized businesses, since they are more likely to have comparable resources and budgets. This may seem like an easy choice, but the problem is that your statistics may be too tight, and this comparison will not provide you with any insights or ideas for new techniques. Comparing your brand to a more successful one, on the other hand, can reveal surprising data and stimulate more profound development strategies.

The next step is to choose particular metrics you want to compare. Make sure to select only those relevant to your needs, rather than wasting time and resources on vanity metrics that don't provide much information.

For example, one of the metrics worth tracking is NSR (net sentiment rate), which is a ratio of positive to negative mentions. It can dramatically change as the company is in a crisis or, vice versa, if a campaign receives favorable feedback from the audience. Monitoring this metric is critical as it is one of the components of brand health evaluation.

When you're done with the first steps, it's time to choose the tool that you are going to use for competitive analysis. When it comes to social media data, it's crucial to use the tool that has the most extensive coverage and can monitor as many social networks as possible to get detailed data and valuable insights. YouScan features a diverse set of sources, including the most popular networks such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, etc. The tool also analyzes brand mentions from Q&A platforms, forums, blogs, e-commerce platforms, and review websites. 

Competitive benchmarking template: social metrics to compare

YouScan is an excellent tool for comparing your brand to others because it allows you to monitor multiple topics at once and stay up to date on how things are going for your peers.

The comparison section puts the most important metrics at your fingertips. On a single screen, you can easily check the dynamics of brand mentions, as well as the sentiment distribution and share of voice.

These metrics were considered since they can provide a general picture of the market position and brand perception. The mentions graph helps track spikes in mentions and determine the causes of those changes. Sentiment analysis is critical since it shows how your audience perceives your brand and what kinds of associations they have in mind. Share of voice, for its part, allows defining which brands in the comparison are more frequently mentioned online, which is usually related to profitability.

competitive analysiscompetitive analysis

As we can see from the graphs, McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut all had a spike in mentions beginning March 8th, which was connected with the companies' decision to exit the Russian market due to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. Subway, for its part, noticed an increase in mentions a little later, but for the same reason. Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, however, have received more negative feedback than other brands.

In this section, you may also compare the context of visual mentions of your brand's logo and your competitors. Multiple logos can be applied simultaneously, allowing marketers to discover not only which scenes, objects, people, and activities occur on user-generated images, but also the primary differences and similarities of the competitors.

For example, when comparing most popular fast-food chains, it turns out that KFC's logo regularly appears on images associated with sports since the company invests in sponsoring such activities. Subway's logo, on the other hand, is often present in pictures of cars. We can suppose that happens, as its sandwiches are a convenient option for a takeaway meal, whereas KFC's food is not as easy to eat in a car.

logo comparison youscanlogo comparison youscan

Of course, the mentioned metrics are not enough for comprehensive benchmarking, so YouScan offers customizable dashboards that can be filled with various visualizations displaying the metrics you require. The dashboard can contain data from multiple topics within your account, making it simple to place widgets with the same metric but from different brands side by side to quickly discover differences and similarities.

dashboard for competitive benchmarkingdashboard for competitive benchmarking

When you have been monitoring several competitors for a long time, you can set benchmarks for various metrics to evaluate if your performance improves with time or if some adjustments need to be implemented as soon as possible. Dashboards make it simple to examine data over time to see if the chosen strategy is effective. For example, you can modify the date range for all widgets at once to go back in time and see if your metrics remain stable.

Bottom line

Comparing your firm to its competitors should be a continuous effort, since it allows you to stay on top of major changes and motivates marketers to develop new tactics that generate better results. YouScan, for its part, helps brands collect the most crucial data and transform it into comprehensive analytics so that they are always aware of what is going on in the market.

Are you ready to monitor your brand mentions and those of competitors? Request YouScan's free demo to get actionable insights.

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