Market analysis plays an integral role in a brand’s marketing strategy. It requires businesses to comprehensively study their customers’ evident and hidden needs and identify gaps in the market.
Analyzing your direct and indirect competition is also an essential part of this equation as it can help you figure out how to place your product for maximum profitability. Besides, to build a reputation that rivals high-profile and well-established firms, you must have a detailed insight into your direct and indirect competition.
The digital transformation of businesses has made it easier for new entrants to gain a foothold in markets across the world quickly. This gives rise to unprecedented competition from legacy firms and SMEs alike.
In a study by Crayon, 90% of companies reported their sector to have become more competitive in the past three years. The same data revealed that 80% of businesses stated that competitive audit is essential (44%) or categorically critical (26%) to their business success.
These numbers make it all the more important to focus on your potential and current competition to identify claims that differentiate your brand from theirs. The more you understand the brands that indirectly and directly compete in your industry, the better you will be able to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats to your own company.
However, you need to have a meticulous approach to understanding your competition. If you compete with firms dominating the market, you will have to examine heaps of raw and unorganized data, which can drain time and resources.
That is where a competitive audit can help. A methodological competitive audit strategy can help you understand what data you need to collect and how you can leverage it to optimize your business model. Then, with a thought-out plan of action, you can cut time and cost while improving the efficiency of your operations.
How To Conduct In-Depth Competitive Audit In 2022?
A competitive audit allows you to track your competitors, understand their approach, and figure out what your brand might be missing out on. The aim is to discover what works for other companies in your industry and incorporate those strategies for your brand to gain a competitive edge.
Evaluating your competition should be an ongoing process. A competitive audit can save you money and time while getting you the answers you need to succeed.
Comparing the customer data against your metrics can help you make better, data-driven decisions. The competitive audit process lets you identify the USP of your competitors and leverage that information to enhance your competitive position.
Now, let’s explore ways to conduct an in-depth competitive audit program to improve your business position.
Perform A Competitor SWOT Analysis
The first step in a competitive audit is conducting a competitor SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis examines the competitions’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats.
However, first, create a list of your direct and indirect competitors.
Direct competitors are businesses that sell the same product or service as you. The indirect competitors operate in the same or similar industry but don’t directly bite into your market and don’t necessarily offer the same product/service.
But it is still important to keep track of what your indirect competitors are up to because they may rank for your keywords, create content on the same topics, etc., harming your digital visibility.
Once your competitors are identified, you can examine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats by assessing the following:
- What is your competitor known for?
- Why are customers attracted to the competitor?
- What compels the customer to choose their brand over others?
- What are the frequent customer complaints?
- What products/ services do customers require but are not offered by the competitor?
- What problems do customers face during their shopping experience?
- Has your competitor discontinued a product or service?
- Are there any gaps that your competitor is unable to fulfill?
- What is the pricing of your competitors’ products/ services?
- Are they offering new products or services?
- Do they present a threat to your business?
Moreover, you can also audit the competitor’s website, social media pages, keyword usage, and content to gather more insight.
Gauge Your Competitors’ Current Offers And Pricing
Pricing has a massive impact on the customers’ purchase decisions. Therefore, you need to examine the price policies of your direct customers. This will allow you to create a baseline cost for your product or services. You can also conduct detailed research to examine other perks, such as discounts or free trials that your competition offers.
Assess The Technology Your Competitors’ Leverage
Another factor that you need to consider is the tools and software that competitors use to streamline their processes. Digital tools can help you save time, improve operational efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction by improving customer experience. In addition, you can leverage digital resources to discover the analytics, tools, plug-ins, and CRMs used by your competitors.
Examine Your Rivals’ Customer Experiences
You must monitor website changes, assess the online presence, and measure how functional your competitor’s websites are.
Treat competitor audit and research as a chance to close the gaps on your e-commerce site design roadmap.
With good e-commerce strategies and digital marketing at the forefront of various businesses today, this is an excellent opportunity to outshine your competition by having a robust, easy-to-use website.
Determine The Market Positioning Of Your Competition
Your competitive audit should also include studying their position in the market. Examine the following factors of their market presence:
- Price: Is your competitor’s product or service luxury or economical?
- Quality: Is your competitor’s product well-produced?
- Service: What type of support channels do they offer their customer/clients?
- Distribution: What medium facilitate product/service distribution?
- Mission/Vision: What impact does their brand messaging have on sales?
Review Performance And Social Media Feedback
The final step in conducting a competitive audit is reviewing the competitor’s overall performance in the market. You can read reviews and testimonials left by previous customers on review sites or social media platforms to identify further what the target customers are looking for.
Social media feedback can be a great way to discover your competitor’s shortcomings, which you can leverage when refining your policies.
Monitoring your competitors is key to spotting new trends, foreseeing market shifts, and staying on top of the best approaches in the industry in 2022.
Analyzing your competition is imperative for small businesses, as it allows them to make knowledgeable decisions. Essentially, a competitive audit operates as an investment to help companies gain remarkable insight into the ongoing trends.
5 Ways to Make the Best of the Five Latest Google Ads Features
With technology’s growing influence over trade, PPC marketing has become one of the biggest trends in business. While it has been used extensively in today’s time due to the pandemic shifting most business operations online, PPC marketing’s history dates back to early 2000 when Google launched the initiative AdWords.
Google’s advertising platform has evolved over the last two decades, adding more features and functionality while removing others and rebranding to Google Ads. Google Ads has also continuously kept evolving and adding new features in the last couple of years. In today’s post, we’ll cover Google Ads’ five latest features and show you how you can make the most of them.
What is AdWords?
AdWords was Google’s native advertising system. It was designed to help businesses maximize their potential to reach their target markets online. By partnering with websites, AdWords was able to advertise those websites’ products based on keyword searches and images. It was an effective and progressive marketing tool that sparked the growth of PPC marketing throughout the years.
From Adwords to Google Ads
Despite AdWords’s immense success, the industry remained cut-throat and demanding. Consequently, there was a need to change the tool and adapt it to the new trends in online marketing. This also required changing the name from AdWords to Google Ads.
This was not merely done for aesthetics, as changing the name was a big move to present new features and products that the marketing facet of Google wanted to introduce to the public—DoubleClick and AdSense, to name a few.
Of course, the decision to include Google’s name in the new version of AdWords was effective in attracting more business owners. Not many people would invest in AdWords at first glance, but had they known it was owned by Google, they would have done it in a heartbeat. The change also meant the extension of services of Google for advertising and debunked any false narratives about their services limited only to the use of ads in Google’s search result pages.
New Google Ads Features in 2022
Google is one of the biggest tech companies in the world today, but that doesn’t mean that they can sit idly when opportunities for growth and realizing more profit arise. Additionally, trends in the marketing industry tend to change rather quickly, so what they might have been doing in the past couple of years is considered outdated today.
This creates a need for constant updates, releasing new features within the Google Ads platform to continuously cater to the market’s advertising needs.
The use of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, for example, is one of Google Ads’ most recent features. It works like magic in terms of creating personalized ads for users, making them more relevant.
This brings us to an important question: What are Google Ads’ new features, and how does a business owner or marketer make the most of each? Let’s have a look.
#1 Use Google Ads Local Campaigns to Better Track Conversions
In today’s time, it’s easy for marketers and business owners to be fooled into thinking that the world is fully digital. That’s simply not true because many transactions made by consumers nowadays are still conducted physically, and the things they do when it comes to shopping online might only be a small portion of their entire shopping behavior.
According to the latest data from Google, about 30 percent of all mobile queries made online correspond to local searches, and of this number, approximately 75 percent would actually pay a visit to the store within the next day. These are substantial amounts of sales that could have been used as leads for more effective conversion of clients.
With Google Ads’ new feature for Local Campaigns, companies can now use this foregone opportunity just by using their WiFi or GPS. Based on users’ real-time location, Google will present personalized advertisement choices to attract sales more effectively. For example, if your company offers a crypto app for paying with different cryptocurrencies, you can have Google Ads show your ad to users when they’re near a local commerce that accepts crypto payments.
The best way to use this feature is to integrate the offline components into a tracking setup that’s omnichannel. If you do not have this type of tracker, now would be the time to invest in one so you can maximize your conversions. By creating different conversion actions for each campaign you launch, you will be able to measure your conversion in a variety of ways and develop a more optimized PPC marketing campaign that meets your goals and justifies your expenses.
#2 Use Google Smart Shopping to Acquire New Customers Effectively
All types of conversions are considered beneficial for a business, whether a customer is new or not. However, new conversions are usually considered more important as they’re more likely to lead to future purchases. All businesses strive to achieve loyalty from their customers, but search engine marketing just isn’t the most cost-effective way to earn that loyalty.
With Google Shopping, one of Google Ads’ newest features, you can easily calculate each customer’s total lifetime value and optimize the way you acquire new customers.
For example, by using the “New Customer Acquisition” option in the settings of the Smart Shopping campaign, you can set an incremental price you’re willing to pay for each new customer that converts compared to a returning buyer. It’s like bidding more for new customers than for current ones to get more value from your PPC campaign.
The best way to use this feature to your advantage is to use varying tags for both returning and new customers, which you can establish through the Tag Manager in your eCommerce platform. In the whole process of using this feature, you have to ensure that your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts are both connected. It would also be more effective to apply this feature in line with your paid research and promotion agencies.
#3 You Can Get Listed on Google Shopping for Free!
To clarify, Google Shopping is still a generally paid PPC avenue. However, there is an option for you to enjoy the free traffic it offers. This comes after the introduction of the Google Shopping feature, and as part of it, Google itself ejected other price comparison websites from its SERP.
It was a move that resulted in Google being fined around three billion dollars by the European Commission in 2017 for providing an unfair advantage to a different Google product, the Comparison Shopping service. While this is still an ongoing issue, they decided to make Google Shopping an official feature for their clients to enjoy.
The best way to get the most out of this feature is to optimize every single one of your Shopping Ads and assess which of the products you currently endorse entail the highest click and conversion rates. For instance, using Google Analyzer will help you get this information and use it to make the necessary changes for your product pages and emphasize the products with the most substantial profit margins.
Once you sort all this out, you can proceed to your Google Merchant Center account in the North Menu and change the status of your “Surfaces across Google” to “Active.”
This is an easy process if you’re in the US or India, but the feature has yet to be available in other countries.
#4 Free Impression for Display—Pay Only for Conversions
When talking about online acquisitions, display and video ads are usually not the first things that experienced marketers would talk about. More than conversions, these two things are usually known for their capacity to establish brand awareness and influence targets. But Google, being the trendsetter it is, has decided that it is time to deviate from this narrative.
Considering the gargantuan amount of data Google has on its users’ profiles and intents, predicting their purchasing decisions can almost be considered easy.
Just like Facebook can boost its platform’s marketing performance from its users’ browsing history, Google also has a massive command over its users’ behaviors—from their music preferences to their present and past purchases as recorded via their Gmail accounts.
Because of the control that Google has over its users’ data, they are especially capable of tweaking the algorithm so that only relevant and appropriate visual ads will be shown to the users, ultimately driving them to make a purchase.
This power comes in the form of the new Display and Youtube ads features. By using these features, your chances of realizing actual conversions will be greatly enhanced.
To make this feature a valuable tool for you, you have to use the “Custom Intent on your competitors” and “Similar Converters.” Additionally, you can deploy Smart Display with Toras or a CPA bidding strategy.
#5 Your New Best Friends: Gallery Ads and Showcase Shopping Ads
If you don’t already know, it is possible to test both Gallery and Showcase Shopping Ads on Search. Based on recent data, it’s proven that roughly 85% of all users pay more attention to the information presented visually as compared to pure text. Intent Lab Research has provided a supplemental study saying that 50% of shoppers in various categories like household goods and electronics prefer seeing visual information. So, even if you’re building brand loyalty by offering free stuff for seniors or selling high-tech equipment for graphic designers, you’ll benefit from visual ads more than from pure text ads.
With this being said, Google Ads has devised a feature that allows using new ad formats uniquely designed for mobile display through Google’s Search Network. It provides an avenue for you to be more creative and personal with your ads, and above all, you can place those ads on several other platforms like Gmail and Youtube, which can be huge!
One way to use this new feature effectively is to explore your product’s potential to be more visually appealing by getting creative. For example, you can ask your PPC agency’s help to look into what your target market finds the most appealing based on how ads are placed on certain channels like Gmail or Youtube. This will entail a repetitive process with a lot of trial and error before arriving at the best fit for your target audience. Still, it will come in handy, especially when trying to make the most out of your creative ads.
Through the years, Google has retained its position as the biggest search in the world. As its influence grew over time, it also took the role of an effective PPC marketing tool, first as AdSense and now as Google Ads. As trends change, Google will continue to add new features in Google Ads to allow marketers and users to benefit mutually. This ensures a more stable profit for companies while giving their customers the freedom to choose which form of ads they’re presented with.
As such, partner companies must make the best use of Google Ads’ current and upcoming features, especially when it is an avenue that has great potential to uplift a business through perfectly generated and positioned ads.
PPC Marketing remains one of the biggest trends in marketing today, and it will likely continue to dominate in the coming years, with Google and Google Ads at the forefront. This is why business owners and marketers need to understand, research, and effectively use the new features Google Ads rolls out and be the pioneers of this new marketing era.
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