What is competitive benchmarking in marketing?

Competitive benchmarking is comparing yourself against your closest competitors in your industry. In contrast to historical benchmarking, you're comparing your own metrics to your competitors metrics.

Choosing a shortlist of your closest competitors

If you're in a crowded industries with a lot of competitors, you don't really need to be comparing yourself to 100 other businesses. Pick out a few that are most comparable to yourself in terms of size, market share and products or services offered.

Personally, I wouldn't go behind 10 competitors when I do competitive benchmarking, five can also be enough. Are you in a smaller niche, maybe you only have 2-3 competitors to look at, that can be enough too.

You can probably list at least 2 or 3 competitors right off the bat that you want to compare yourself to. Do some research simply by using Google and find similar looking businesses.

The 2023 eCommerce benchmark report

What can you benchmark?

There are basically no limit on what you can or cannot benchmark in marketing, however you need to also be able to source the data you are going to compare yourself too.

Here are some examples:

  • Avg. website visitors per month
  • Bounce rate
  • Paid search ad spend
  • Engagement rate
  • Followers on social media channels
  • Organic rankings
  • Share of voice
  • Reviews

I'm guessing no competitor of yours want to share his or her Google Analytics account with you so that you can take a sneak peak on how many visitors they get every month. Finding out how many Facebook followers a company has is however quite easy.

There are some tools that allow you to do competitor analysis, Semrush is one of them.  Semrush doesn't give you 100% accurate data but it's better than nothing. You also need to pay for this tool and it mostly focuses on organic search and paid advertising.

For social media there is a free tool called social blade that can give you engagement metrics and some other statistics. It isn't the best and paid tools like Hootsuite can easily be a better investment if you don't mind spending money to get more data related to social.

Benefits of doing competitive benchmarking

You'll get an overview of what your competitors are doing and how you stack up against them in various metrics.

You can find gaps of possibilities to take advantage of. Let's say you're competitors are not doing so well in organic search. That can be a golden possibility to improve in that area and take a larger share of voice in organic search.

Doing competitive benchmarking can also give you a confidence boost. If you see that your metrics are better than your competitors, you can give yourself a pat on the back and motivate you further.

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