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5 Mistakes Brands Make Using Competitive Intelligence in Digital Advertising

May 29, 2018 7:17:14 AM

DataGathering competitive research takes time; it often requires hours of analysis and consistent monitoring to gain a holistic understanding of a competing strategy. This includes examination of a brand’s website, blog, social channels, news coverage, and much more.

But in the words of Entrepreneur, competitive intelligence “empowers you to anticipate and face challenges head on." 

Companies limit themselves when they neglect competitive intelligence. It can be a costly error that puts businesses at a disadvantage. In fact, there are five mistakes brands make while collecting competitive intelligence.

1. Inconsistent Competitor Tracking

One mistake brands make using competitive intelligence is inconsistent competitor tracking. 

Data from Crayon’s 2018 State of State of Market Intelligence reports shows of the 93% of respondents who said they do monitor their competitors’ websites, only 14% do so on a daily basis. Competitive intelligence isn't a tool you can use whenever you feel like it. The data changes every day. If you aren’t actively following your competition, you could be caught off-guard. 

Your opposition is always planning their next move. Be proactive, not reactive when it comes to competitive intelligence. Use competitive intelligence to keep tabs on your competition’s social, mobile, and desktop spending.

2. Narrowed Focus on Social Channels

There are more advertising alternatives on social media networks now than ever before. When your competitive intelligence focus is too narrow, you miss out on opportunities.

Competitive intelligence gathered on brands using the same social networks is important to build winning campaigns. But if the opposition is crushing it on Facebook, while your only focus is Twitter, you could be missing out on a chance to market your brand to a new segment. Use competitive intelligence for insight and data on the entire social media landscape.

Take Wendy’s for example: The fast food restaurant chain has been trolling McDonalds on Twitter for some time now, and customers are eating it up (no pun intended). Wendy’s capitalized on real-time monitoring of their competition through witty responses to McDonald’s new fresh beef campaign on Twitter. 

Consider recording social channels your competitors are most active while you conduct your initial brand analysis. This will help you determine where to focus your competitive intelligence efforts and allow you to identify potential market opportunities.

3. Ignoring Smaller Competitors

Not paying attention to niche brands can be a big mistake. Competitive intelligence is a widely used tool among all brands—even small companies. Don't wait for them to steal your customers. 

If you see a new brand emerge in your industry, stay one step ahead and ensure you follow their campaigns. You can be sure the competition is collecting data on your campaigns. So gather intelligence on all your competitors no matter how big or small.

4. Overlooking Competitor Mistakes

Overlooking your competition’s mistakes increases your chances of making the same ones. It’s possible that your next big idea has already been put to the test. Use competitive intelligence to see how a campaign performed. And if it didn't work for your opposition, it might not work for you.

When you use competitive intelligence the right way, you can identify where your opponents failed, then use that knowledge to enhance your own campaign. This tactic is very useful when determining ad placement.

In 2014, Apple advertised the iPad Air on the New York Times website. The digital ad pictured someone snorkeling, with a message that read, “See the unique ways people are using iPad around the world.” Unfortunately, the ad was placed right above a story about an airplane crashing into the ocean. 

Apple isn’t the only brand that’s made this mistake. Many companies have experienced poor ad placement on digital news outlets. Don’t make the same mistakes as your competitors. Learn from their errors to save time, money, and your reputation.

5. Poor Advertising Intelligence Platforms

Brands fail at competitive intelligence when their ad intelligence platform is insufficient. Ensure your ad intelligence tool includes these four features:

  • Brand tracking: Your platform should track as many brands as possible. The more data and insight you have on your competitors, the better.
  • Social spend: Brands advertise across all networks—especially social. More and more brands continue to focus paid campaigns on social media networks. Ensure your ad intelligence platform tracks competitors social spend.
  • Device and format insight: Your ad intelligence platform must provide insight into which devices and formats competitors are using. This allows you to spot trends in consumer behavior, based on which devices are producing the most impressions.
  • Site spend share data: Effective ad intelligence tools let you see what sites are performing best in your trade. This is extremely valuable when looking for new market opportunities. 

Step 1: Keep tabs on the competition and learn from others mistakes.

Step 2: Investigate other brands and act on the data you gathered for improved digital advertising campaigns.

Step 3: Profit.

It’s that simple. See how Pathmatics can help.

Ken Roberts

Written by Ken Roberts

Ken Roberts has been immersed in marketing and technology for over a decade, merging creative strategies with the latest technology, to bring products together with the people who need them. With degrees in Engineering, Computer Science and an MBA, Ken’s background in product management, marketing, sales, analytics and technology lends to his ability to attack product challenges on multiple levels. Ken began his career developing software solutions for medical records before transitioning to marketing. Ken focused on building marketing departments and operating in-house agencies. Ken’s experience with digital platforms, internet based marketing, lead scoring and business intelligence, and reporting, as well as a keen market understanding, are a welcome addition to Pathmatics, only matched by a leadership philosophy that encourages high creativity and ownership from his team.

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