5 ways competitive intelligence can get you better insights from Google Analytics, Omniture, Mixpanel or social intelligence tools.
When I first started using Google Analytics and Mixpanel I was so excited to see my very own data in nice clean reports. I had a 49% bounce rate, about 200 users per week, and a 1.6% conversion rate. It seemed like I was doing great.
I knew that most of my traffic was coming from organic search (google) and social media. I could even see what search terms and social networks were sending me the most users.
It was fascinating. I felt like I had a grasp on my business that I’d never had before. But…things started dropping off.
Within a a few days my traffic had been cut in half and stayed that way. Conversions we’re plummeting. Things we’re not rosy.
So I did what most people new to analytics would do. I stared at all my data and tried to figure out what happened. I saw when the drop-off occurred, I saw that my organic traffic was a big part of the issue, but I couldn’t see the bigger picture… I didn’t have what I needed to take action.
I quickly realized that my INTERNAL data wasn’t going to get the job done.
What I needed was CONTEXT. That meant gathering some external data.
So I started to learn about SEO and social intelligence. I took the time to find my competitors and understand their strategies.
Soon I’d uncovered the problem. A competitor had released a bunch of new articles and a press release focused on my main keywords on google. They had essentially pushed me out of the first page of search results. Simultaneously they had ramped up their social media and were drowning out most of my posts.
I also discovered they were getting at least 100x the traffic that I was. My research also showed me they were dominating a whole new segment of the market by using adwords and boosted facebook posts.
I’d uncovered some big opportunities and knew exactly what I had to do to start getting more conversions. I finally had ACTIONABLE insights.
Now, I never look at my data without context. I now know that context is what’s needed to make analysis actionable. It has turned into my philosophy. I only deliver data that’s actionable… otherwise what’s the point?
Here are 5 techniques to use the next time you’re looking at your own data, or delivering a report to a client:
- Use SimilarWeb to get results on your own site vs your competition. I have gotten some incredible insights into marketing/promotional channels from the data that they provide for free.
- Keep track of web mentions. An easy method is using google alerts rss feeds and tracking them in an RSS reader or google sheets (try IFTTT for this, no coding required). You can look into your history to correlate them with changes in your website’s traffic.
- Keep track of social media activity about your brand name or hashtag. An easy first step is using Twitter Archiver in Google Sheets. It gives the best structure and breadth of coverage of all the free options out there.
- Monitor website changes. Visualping.io does a great job looking for visual page changes. Track your own website or your competitors. Even better, track a page that analyzes your competition. For example watch your competitors listing on builtwith.com to see if they implement a new tool.
- Set up your own competitive RSS reader. I’ve piped all my data into inoreader via RSS feed (this is easier than you think and requires no coding skills, use IFTTT to get started and pipe it into inoreader or feedly). My feeds include news on comp intel and all the other topics I follow. But, more importantly, they include all my google alerts for the companies I’m tracking. It also includes rss info with change detection on competitors websites (pricing changes, messages/branding, etc.) and social posts from a few key figures and keywords that I follow.
Want your own custom rss feed? Reach out and I can help you get started. Get in touch. I’m happy to help.
But, wait. There’s more.
This info is useless unless you use it in your reports in a way that enables the reader to take concrete action. Above is a snapshot of a sample dashboard I built on Google Data Studio with various sample data. Each metric lets you drill down to the actual content that forms it.
You don’t just see the trend in tweets, you see the tweets that make the trend and can sort them based on their reach/engagement.
You don’t just see the most popular search terms driving your traffic, you see recent google results related to those searches.
It’s simple really. Even if you don’t tell your reader what action to take. You can empower them to easily decide based on the full spectrum of data.
Forget vanity metrics, forget unnecessary complex ratios, forget standalone data. Introduce context. Seek out external data. Before you know it you’ll be finding signal in the noise!