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Competitor Analysis

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

The value of competitor monitoring

Conducting competitor analysis is a hugely beneficial way for you to understand what audiences are interacting with when it comes to your competitors' content.

We're going to look at some benefits and values of doing this on a regular basis.

Spot content gaps

The first benefit is spotting content gaps that, potentially, your competitors aren't fulfilling. There could be a great opportunity for you to create content that fits this gap and serves that particular consumer need.

Identify innovations

Looking towards what your competitors are doing in terms of content formats may give you inspiration, but it'll also provide an opportunity for innovation in your own platform usage. Maybe they've identified that a conversation is happening on Twitter versus Instagram, and maybe they've moved their content efforts towards that platform as a result, because maybe they have a sponsorship of a live event.

Define content

Again, being able to determine the rationale and the reasoning behind where they move their content efforts towards will help add insight and inspiration for you. You can also measure the impact that their content is having. Being able to define the content that's working largely for that particular segment or that industry in terms of your competitors will help you understand and identify the content behaviors of your audience.

Avoid content clashes

And lastly, looking to see what kind of content that they're pushing out in terms of their creative style, the language they use, or potential influencers, ambassadors, or celebrities they're using, will help you avoid embarrassment by negating any clashes or any direct lift from what they might be doing from a content marketing perspective. That said, some brands thrive on trying to undercut their rivals.

Take Burger King and McDonald's. Burger King has been taking swipes at the McDonald's content marketing efforts for a long time. And actually, they see it as a challenge to try and be a little bit cheeky and a little bit contentious in that space. Determine what's right for your brand or your business by using content marketing and being able to assess through competitor audits whether this is right for you.

What do look for

So when compiling your competitor analysis, what are the key things that you should be looking for? Well, we've touched on content topics and language, but looking at what platforms they're using, what feedback they're getting from their customers on particular content formats, looking towards, "How are they using content in terms of their search engine ranking? Has it helped boost their ranking over the course of the past six months to a year? Have they been conducting social follow campaigns in terms of their ad formats? Or have they been relying on organic content?"

Being able to assess their tone of voice and being able to give yourself a unique positioning so that you don't come across as a me-too and a bit of a copycat, but also looking towards what new formats they may be utilizing and what new channels they may be dipping their toe into, too. Assessing your competitors' content will only seek to help improve your content marketing, but also give you a point of difference within the sphere.


Here's a free tool for conducting great competitor analysis on the Twitter news feed. TweetDeck allows you to assess the content, the interactions, and the engagement with competitor streams at any one moment in time. There's a really handy feature where you can add columns that can assess keywords, account traffic, engagement, and also your own account channels as well.

This allows you in real-time to see the reaction of your audiences versus the reaction of the competitor audiences. You can also track competitor hashtags and the usage of these from an organic perspective as well.

This screenshot is from TweetReach. TweetReach is a tool that allows you to assess the impact and the reach of specific hashtags, again, from a competitor perspective, or from your own.

And indeed, the reach of individual accounts over a period of time. There is a free version which lets you track back over 72 hours, or indeed a paid version which can check data more historical. What this allows you to assess is the individual search query, looking at what the reach is. When we talk about reach, it's the individuals who have been reached by the piece of content. It allows you to assess the impressions.

When we talk about impressions, it's the amount of multiple times one individual may have been reached over the course of the campaign. So largely speaking, impressions will always be higher than your individual reach. Then, we look at the top contributors and the top tweets that have lent towards these particular stats in the report. TweetReach is a great tool for getting that snapshot from a moment in time and being able to assess competitor activity.


Another great tool for conducting competitor analysis is BuzzSumo. It allows you to compare your content to your competitors' across a wide-ranging span of social media platforms. It allows you to identify what the topics and the themes are for your audience at that moment in time that are really driving an interest at. And it allows you to discover catchy language and formats of headline that are really resonating with your audience at that moment in time.

Tracking really key topics, key news stories, being able to filter out what's relevant to your audience at that moment in time will give you great inspiration for content creation.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Seán Earley

Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital

  • Creative Director at Teneo PSG Digital with five years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Social, and PR Agencies
  • Founding member of Teneo PSG Digital
  • Former Director on the Board of the Irish Internet Association
  • Passionate about creating content that captures audience imaginations and delivers business objectives

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


Content Marketing
Seán Earley
Skills Expert

This module begins by introducing the fundamental principles of content marketing to enable you to align content effectively with the Buyer’s Journey. It explores the knowledge and skills required to plan and execute a content marketing strategy in a persona-oriented, data-driven way. It also covers content creation, content curation, and how to extend the value of content using scheduling tools and promotion methods. The module concludes by examining the key metrics and tools for measuring the performance of a content marketing strategy.