When starting a business, your competitors are one of the greatest obstacles standing between you and industry success.

Not only are your competitors directly competing for the same consumers, but if you’re new to the block, they may potentially have years of experience within the trade and maintain a position of thought leadership amongst your niche demographic.

💡 ReadCompetitive Analysis: All You Need to Know

After recent statistics revealed that only one in five startups make it past their first year, benchmarking your success from day one is essential if you want to take competitors head-on.

Benchmarking is the process of establishing goals and KPIs based on competitor comparisons. Whether this is an individual metric or the industry as a whole, the more you know about your direct competitors, the better your position will be when it comes to creating a growth strategy.

With this in mind, we’ve collated six fantastic industry benchmarking metrics to start you off when taking your next competitor audit. 

What Is Industry Benchmarking?

Industry benchmarking is the process of comparing your business’ performance with the performance of another business within your industry.

A benchmark, otherwise known as a reference point, can be used by a company to measure its success and growth as a player within the market. In turn, this guides your strategy and influences your move as a business.

Whether you use industry benchmarking to improve your financial forecasting or your content marketing plan, it’s a fantastic tactic to adopt when setting your startup KPIs.

Read Competitive Media Reporting Guide for PR and Marketing Professionals

“Although every company has a unique growth journey, benchmarking can provide a reference point for evaluating your business’ performance,” says Nishith Rastogi, Founder & CEO of Locus. “This powerful tool allows businesses to take stock of their current position, assess their performance against internal and external standards, track progress, measure competitiveness and deliberately strive for world-class excellence.”

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Examples of industry benchmarking benefits

Here are some examples of cases where industry benchmarking may be a great addition to your growth strategy:

  • Analysing Marketing Processes: See how platforms like Instagram and TikTok are used by your competitors and discover how your own content efforts compare. This will help establish how visible you are to your demographic on social media and provide you with an insight into how to boost your follower count. 
  • Comparing Sales Stats: If you’re an e-commerce business hoping to increase conversions, why not benchmark your sales stats in comparison to your competitors? Take a closer look at what competitor products are selling well and monitor how sales rise and fall under seasons and consumer trends
  • Investigating Reviews and Ratings: If you want to get an idea of the response you might get on an upcoming product launch, auditing competitor reviews and ratings of something similar is a great way to benchmark your success and prepare for last-minute tweaks and changes to avoid consumer disappointment.

Industry benchmarking helps establish your position moving forward. Therefore, if you’re a startup hoping to see success in a densely populated market, it’s a process that shouldn’t be skipped.

Read Media Monitoring for Startups: Strategies for Growth & Brand Building

6 Essential Metrics To Track When Completing Your First Competitor Audit 

If you’re new to industry benchmarking, we’ve got you covered. We have listed six of the best metrics to track when completing a startup competitor audit. From consumer mentions to SEO ranking, here are the stats you want to track before crafting your own growth strategy. 

Competitor SEO Rankings

The first metric to track when taking a competitor audit is the SEO rankings of your chosen competing business.

This covers metrics ranging from monthly search traffic to domain ratings and even pages per visit.

There are plenty of engagement-based benchmarks to calculate based on a competitor’s website SEO stats. Not only does this give you a better understanding of your competitor’s place within the industry, but you’ll quickly see how visible they are during a keyword or product search.

Digital marketing benchmarking: Engagement
Image Source: Similarweb

When monitoring basic SEO metrics, you’re looking for ranking patterns. What time of the day do they lose engagement? Do they have higher monthly search traffic during a particular season?

Taking these metrics into account, you’ll be able to accurately predict what should keep your target consumers clicking and improve your website ranking in 2024.

Better still, a competitor’s domain rating alone is a great benchmark to aim to overtake as your business grows. Search engines decide on the domain rating. The higher your domain rating, the more important Google thinks you are within your industry. If you can overtake your competitor, take it as a sign that, in SEO terms, your performance within the market is more successful. 

Staying on the topic of SEO, let’s talk about backlink monitoring. This is a great metric to keep track of when completing a competitor audit. 

Backlinks aid a business in becoming more visible online. If your website is linked out to popular blogs and publications, Google ranks you as a trustworthy source. Better still, with more opportunities to be discovered by your demographic, you’ll likely see your site traffic rise too.

When it comes to monitoring competitor backlinks as a benchmarking metric, look out for how many backlinks your competitor has scored in comparison to their referring domains. 

See where these backlinks are from and take inspiration from the types of websites they are acquiring those links from.   

Competitor Content Format

Content marketing is one of the key ways businesses win over their consumers. Whether you create social content or blog content for your website, the success of your approach can be benchmarked based on the engagement received by your competitors.

Take a look at your competitors and track the engagement they are receiving on their content. While analyzing the quality of a content marketing strategy can be subjective, we suggest that you focus on the data. These are the amounts of likes, comments, and shares on a social post and the page views on a blog post.

Read 6 Reliable Methods to Measure Brand Awareness

If a piece of content is performing especially well, take note of the format or the social media template as an inspiration for your next campaign.

In fact, we suggest that you create your own list of content formats used by your competitors. Some of these might include videos, webinars, interactive animation, quizzes, podcasts and more.

Taking note of the content formats used by competitors gives you an insight into what content is currently trending in the industry and an idea of the time and resources competing businesses are dedicating to their content efforts. 

Competitor Share of Voice

Another great metric to track during a competitor audit is the share of voice the brand has when it comes to dominating industry mentions trends and market visibility.

Share of voice as an industry benchmarking metric

Monitoring your competitors’ share of voice tells you more about their visibility cross-channel and the impact your competitor’s brand currently has on the market. While the share of voice may change in line with evolving trends or new seasons, highlighting when your competitor dominates and falls within the conversation could provide you with crucial insights for your own strategy.

Read Brand Audit: How to Do It in 6 Easy Steps

To do this, simply monitor how many impressions your competitor’s content receives, how many mentions it receives and how much engagement each post rakes in. These metrics will help you determine how much influence your competitor has within the market.

Using a media monitoring tool such as Determ, you can quickly create your own share of voice reports for any competitor. Highlighting the data from mentions, impressions and interactions in simplified charts and graphs, it’s much easier to see patterns and trends that can be easily compared to your own results.

Customers Questions

Not all metrics in a competitor analysis come from the competitor itself. Some of the best data is leveraged straight from the source of your shared consumer.

One of the best metrics to hunt for is consumer questions. You can find these on website FAQs, review sites and even social media. 

Read Consumer Behavior Analysis 101: How to Learn More About Your Customers

Consumers ask questions when a product or service doesn’t quite meet expectations. This is why they are the perfect metric to track when looking for a space within the market. How does your competitor’s product compare to your own? Can your product/service answer the questions of your competitor’s unhappy consumers?

Better still, why not use these questions to inspire your own content efforts? Creating content that organically answers consumer questions can encourage your shared audience to move from your competitor over to you.

Competitor Sentiment

On the topic of competitor mentions, it’s important to also look at your competitor’s social media mention stats.

It’s easy to track the comments about your competitors. Simply search for specific keywords relating to your competitor, such as their brand name or a specific product and take note of the comments on social media that mention your competitor.

Evaluate how your shared targets are talking about your competitor. Is the sentiment positive? Does your audience mention something specific relating to product or service functionality? Tracking social mentions will help you understand more about your competitor’s reputation within the industry and potentially highlight gaps where you could profit from their mistakes. 

Why not also perform a sentiment analysis using a tool like Determ? This will dive much deeper into the true meaning behind brand mentions and can quickly determine whether your mentions are positive, negative or neutral. 

One trick to remember is how to directly track consumer complaints on social platforms. Take Twitter as an example:

Customer complaint Pepsi

By quickly searching your chosen brand’s name with the filter for negative sentiment, you’ll instantly see all tweets that negatively talk about the brand. Use this information to inspire new tactics and to prevent making the same mistakes. 

Benchmarking in 2024

As we step into 2024, industry benchmarking becomes all the more important. As competition for online businesses skyrockets, it’s never been more crucial to stay on top of your competitors.

Taking a competitor audit is the first step to gaining an understanding of your current position within the market. Tracking as many metrics as possible will give you the most competitive advantage in each and every area of your business. The question is, when will you start? 

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