What is Benchmarking and what is its importance for Digital Marketing – WAU
Benchmarking is an in-depth strategic analysis of the best practices used by companies in the same sector as yours. Benchmarking comes from the English word ‘benchmark’, which means ‘reference’, and is an essential management tool for the improvement of processes, products and services.
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Whether in business, sports or cultural production, comparison is the basis for assessing the value of what we create or do. That is, it is almost natural.
When we enter the world of competition between companies, the benchmarking it is a valuable tool that answers the question we all ask: how am I doing in relation to the competition?
Anyone who thinks that the study of best practices is something that is only up to big corporations is wrong.
No matter the size of your company or agency, benchmarking is essential.
The feedback received on what is working or not in the market, helps executives to make better decisions in order to improve their results and develop their business.
Anyway, if your goal is to become a benchmark in your industry or simply achieve greater returns, this practice is for you.
With the advancement of Digital Marketing and the change of the business environment to the online sphere, a new category of this evaluation started to be spoken, the so-called digital benchmarking.
To learn more about what it is and how it can benefit your company, check out this post, which will cover:
What is benchmarking
Benchmarking, in London, means reference point. It is a research process between companies in the same sector to analyze how their products, processes and services are performing in relation to competitors.
In this task of market monitoring, the analysis, interpretation, evaluation and measurement of the collected information come into play. To create a real Market intelligence, you need to understand what the data means and how it can benefit your business.
In general, each company identifies the factors that impact its performance and then defines metrics for the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of the industry or market in relation to these factors.
They will serve as a “benchmark”, that is, a reference that can be used by the marketing team to develop initiatives that improve the company’s position or increase its market share.
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Why it is so important for companies
As mentioned, the comparison is natural. To grow and develop, we want to know how we position ourselves in relation to others.
This is a crucial factor for companies, because it pushes them towards adopting process improvements. It is a way to evolve your strategies through insights from your competitors.
It does not mean, however, that everything that the competition does is better for your business.
An attitude that is excessively reactive to the results of benchmarking can even be harmful. Proper use, however, can bring countless benefits. Some examples:
- audit the current approach to marketing tools and identify areas that need changes and improvements;
- discover successful practices of companies that already have established knowledge on a given subject;
- identify new trends and get ahead;
- receive new references from companies that operate in the same segment as yours;
- gain an argumentative basis to discuss the course of new investments in the future;
- create a plan to develop new strategies and skills that will set the company on the path to growth.
How benchmarking can be combined with Digital Marketing
To stand out in the internet universe and make the most of all the tools that marketing and digital communication make available for the success of your company, it is necessary to create a kind of guide that will provide the basis for you to examine the efficiency of your digital strategies in comparison to other companies that are references in the theme.
Do you want to increase your results and advance at a point that you are experiencing?
Whether it’s lead generation, visitor numbers, presence on social networks or the positioning of your website in organic searches, digital benchmarking is an incredible tool that will provide valuable insights for you to fix what’s not working and move on.
This does not mean being held hostage by the competition and focusing its entire business strategy on this aspect.
The important thing here is to use the data obtained from monitoring the digital strategies used in the market to your advantage.
Next, understand more about Digital Marketing and its strategies to evaluate what to analyze in your competitors.
What should be analyzed
In Digital Marketing, benchmarking can be done to audit Online Marketing strategies as a whole, or for specific aspects within this segment, such as understanding which search marketing, social media or e-mail marketing are being used more – and which ones give the greatest return.
Good benchmarking should help answer the following questions:
- How are your competitors positioned on the internet? What blogs, hotsites and social networks do they use?
- What is the tone used, the type of information shared and how often do they communicate with the public?
- In which channel do you invest more and what strategies are used?
- How do they interact and relate to consumers?
- Are your Digital Marketing actions generating more or less user engagement than your competitors?
- How is the design, structure and navigation experience on your site compared to those audited in the market?
After evaluating the data obtained and the positive and negative points of your company’s marketing, the result of this analysis will be the creation of a reference model, a standard to be followed.
How to learn from partner’s mistakes and successes
Analyzing what partner companies and main competitors do, you will see that there is an immense amount of new learning, both due to the successes and the mistakes made by them.
Gol Linhas Aéreas, for example, started offering cheaper flights in London based on the concept of “low cost” airlines already established abroad, such as EasyJet, JetBlue and Ryanair.
They are able to issue far more affordable tickets by charging higher fees for extra services and limiting costs for distributing snacks inside aircraft, for example.
Another classic example is that of Xerox, which in the 1970s disassembled copiers from Japanese rivals to try to understand why they were cheaper.
Learning from the mistakes of others is advantageous.
Many people are conditioned to face the business in a 100% positive way, which is good, but learning to see the mistakes and identify what caused the failure in projects of other companies or agencies in the segment can help avoid crises or be prepared for beforehand a step by step of how to face turbulence to face the bad moments with more serenity.
Step by step to do a benchmarking
To put all of the above into practice, you can follow a few steps.
1. Select from one to three competitors that you would like to monitor
Take the opportunity to also select companies from other segments to ensure insights that go beyond your own area of expertise.
2. Establish the analysis indicators (qualitative and quantitative)
Create a table to compare specific aspects of each company based on criteria that you find interesting for your business.
As for these criteria, in the case of Digital Marketing, they can be reach, engagement with the brand on social networks, success of Content Marketing campaigns, quality of the content presented and efficiency of landing pages.
We give you more examples of possible indexes for you below:
- indexed pages in search engines;
- meta tags (that line of code that explains what the site is about) used;
- site loading speed;
- website authority on social networks;
- quality of content;
- presence on social networks;
- activities, content, size and engagement the online community (social networks);
- website design and social networks;
- type and language used in the texts;
- specific campaigns.
3. Get the data for analysis
There are several tools available (some free, some not) that help you in this work. Below, we have separated some suggestions.
As you may know, good data analysis is essential for Digital Marketing. We have separated some content that will help you in this mission:
– Leverage your results with data: learn to define your metrics and leverage
– The Google Analytics Guide: Learn how to use the tool and gain valuable insights
4. Finally, compare and analyze the information collected
Now is the time to gather all the data collected and check results. Make comparisons, understand the relationships you can create with your own business and check what you can use, what is not relevant to your area of expertise.
5. Detect high and low points
With all this in hand, the ideal is that you prepare a report with the conclusions obtained, the opportunities found, important points for improvement in your digital strategies, as well as possible threats and suggestions on how to avoid them.
What tools to use
You don’t have to do all the hard work of monitoring yourself. There are several tools that can assist you in collecting data to make your benchmarking a success.
We give examples of some now for you.
SimilarWeb offers very complete and in-depth data and metrics from rival sites to prepare any marketing team looking for new ideas and differentiation.
A superficial analysis can be obtained on the site free of charge, but for more in-depth insights, the ideal is to hire the PRO service.
Take a look at some competition indicators that you can achieve with this tool:
- global ranking, by country or according to the category of the site;
- traffic information: total visits, average visit duration, pages browsed by each visitor, and abandonment or rejection rate (bounce rate);
- traffic from the origin of accesses to the website by country (in percentage)
- where clicks come from (social networks, e-mail, web search, among others);
- which other sites are sending traffic to the site you are analyzing;
- keywords used in search engines that most click on the site;
- the main social networks that send traffic to the website in question;
- in addition to the type of online advertising used, user interests, most accessed content, similar sites and apps related to that site.
Statistics provided by social media themselves
All major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube, offer their own tools to mediate the reach and performance of the content you are posting. Take the opportunity to make the best use of these tools.
Facebook, for example, gives you the option of selecting some fanpages similar to yours to analyze and compare their performance in relation to your own results, easily following the updates and growth of each one.
In addition, you can also create interest lists and add your competitors’ fanpages to them.
Twitter gives you the option of creating public and private lists from other accounts. There you can include the profiles of your competitors and monitor the performance of each of them in a more organized way.
Understand more about social networks, strategies and analysis with the complete Social Media Marketing ebook.
Klout was one of the first apps developed to measure the degree of influence of social media users.
It serves as a ranking of influencers. Available on both the web and the mobile version, it uses social analysis data to score and users according to their degree of influence through the Klout Score, which ranges from 0 to 100.
The tool measures reach by means of how people engage with content on social networks, amplification of messages and relevance of each user’s contact network.
And it offers valuable information, for example, on what subjects your competitors are most influential in the online world.
What you should avoid doing
Although the objective of benchmarking is to make a positive impact on your company or project, its misuse can also cause some headache or even have no effect on your work, throwing all the effort done in the trash.
To avoid this, check out some points about what you shouldn’t do:
- see benchmarking as something specific, that you do only once, and not as it is: a constant process of observation and analysis;
- not having goals;
- not knowing which tools to use and monitoring metrics that are not relevant to your area of expertise;
- not turning your benchmarking conclusions into action and measuring KPIs to check what has changed or not after practice.
Now that you understand the importance of benchmarking and how this technique can bring insights to your company, continue your studies and see 10 tool options that will help you spy on the competition!