To correctly understand how to promote your site among many competitive websites or apps, you need to analyze them all. This information will give answers to questions about where to start your improvement road. At the same time, it is necessary to understand all the nuances and terminology so that the collected data can be used optimally later. The main task is to analyze your competitors correctly because if you know how they work and where they’re better than you, you will make your job easier. You will also find many ways to bypass and surpass your opponents, spending a minimum amount of time on it.
UX design competitive analysis is an integral part of any business strategy. If you don’t know your competitors, it is impossible to understand how to overcome them and where to focus your efforts. Those companies that conduct user experience competitive analysis and use it to develop a promotion strategy are ahead of at least half of their competitors.
Most companies don’t have a specific strategy. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of competitors is essential to gaining a competitive advantage. If you don’t run the analysis or update it often enough, you are at risk. That is why today we want to discuss why you need competitive analysis, what advantages it will give your product, and why it is essential for your business.
What is competitive analysis in UX?
“If you’re competitor focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
User experience competitive analysis is needed to understand the competition. By investing in competitor analysis, you gain confidence in your actions.
Competitor research helps answer questions:
- What makes my company unique? How do we stand out in the market?
- How do clients feel about my company in comparison with the competition?
- How does the user experience on my site compare to the competition?
The competitive analysis must be conducted in the right context. This does not mean blind copying of competitors’ success, in our opinion, actions, but testing them. That is, the main task of a competitive analysis is to provide ideas for testing.
According to statistics, 90% of Fortune 500 companies use competitive intelligence to make future project decisions.
Why do you need competitive site analysis?
There are several reasons why you need user experience competitive analysis:
- Be aware of market trends and what your colleagues are doing.
- You will be able not to waste resources on “reinventing the wheel” and not waste budgets on tests. If you see that a competitor is actively working with social networks, you should try. If you notice some feature, functionality on the site that works and leads to an increase in sales, then you can safely adapt it for yourself.
- Find out the size of the niche, where to get traffic from, and direct your resource in the first place.
- Control dumping and theft of content, ideas, shares.
Do not forget about the UX competitive analysis nuances:
- If you blindly repeat others, you will not become a leader. You will always be number two.
- Copying other people’s ideas, you risk copying mistakes. Therefore, determine what exactly led to an increase in sales, an improvement in the market situation. Test it, and then decide whether to implement it or not.
- You will need an additional resource to monitor competitors’ activities and events in the niche continually.
Competitive analysis is needed to understand the competition. By investing in competitor analysis, you gain confidence in your actions.
Step-by-step guide on how to conduct a competitive analysis in UX design
What are the stages of a correct competitive analysis?
1) Set research goals
It is essential to clearly define the research objectives because they help structure the research and get clear answers. Without setting goals, you will research everything at once, perhaps overlooking something and ultimately not finding anything concrete.
The research objectives are based on real business objectives. For example, if you have identified a low conversion of the site, then the UX competitive analysis’s purpose may be to get usability testing ideas.
2) Determine who your competitors are
The task is simple for those who know their industry, like back to back. It seems you can skip this step. But take your time. After all, new competitors appear on the market, or old ones can change the strategy.
To find out who your competitors are, follow four steps:
- Open Google or Yandex search results;
- Check out Google Trends, Similar Web;
- Monitor conference attendees and partners in your industry;
- Ask your customers.
3) Research the usability of your competitors’ websites
Website usability research is a study of website design usability.
Invite your target audience to rate your site and the sites of the top 2 competitors. To avoid biased reviews, try to keep the names of the companies under investigation secret.
Ask participants to enter their query into a search engine. Note which results are displayed. What are the participants clicking on? Why? If your business isn’t showing up in search results or isn’t being clicked on, then you probably have something to think about.
Try another trick: the 5-second first impression test. Give the participant 5 seconds to look at the site and then ask them the following questions:
- What three words would you use to describe a site?
- What products or services are offered on the site?
- What are your impressions of the site?
Then give the participants a scenario in which they use the site to solve the problem. After each experience, ask them questions:
- What was the worst thing about visiting this site?
- What aspects of the experience can be improved?
- What did you like about the site?
- What other comments do you have?
Do you have website usability problems and don’t know why they occur and how to eliminate them?? Then maybe you should consider UX auditing? We recommend that you read our Step-by-Step Guide on How to Conduct a UX Audit.
4) Compare the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) of your competitors
After leaving your site, people are likely to remember only one reason why they should buy a product or service from you. And this is the ideal situation. Your website should clearly state the unique selling proposition that allows you to stand out.
And to create a genuinely UNIQUE value proposition, you need to analyze them from your competitors.
There is a so-called Venn diagram that helps to identify strong UVP. The diagram covers three aspects.
- Parity points are features that you offer that are important to your potential customers. However, they are also used by your competitors. Most marketers claim that they can do what their competitors do, only better. This strategy is not successful.
- Points of difference are features that are important to your potential customers and not available from competitors. These functions are the strong strategies, and it is the marketing job to generate these functions.
- Points of irrelevance are features that customers don’t care about. Whatever brilliant ideas are, if they are not in demand from customers, they do not matter.
5) Interview your competitors’ customers
Your competitors’ customers are worth their weight in gold because they can tell you why they chose a particular company.
To search for customer contacts, use the snowball technique, where each survey participant recommends their peers to you.
It’s enough to ask the participants three questions to obtain information,
- What made you start looking for a solution?
- What were your purchase criteria (in order of importance)?
- What were the main reasons why you chose the company?
However, you can expand your questionnaire and add questions on the quality of services there.
6) Conduct a competitive website design analysis
Before taking on the design of a new site, analyze it from the top three competitors. As a result, you will get an idea of the general trends. Usually, when studying competitors’ sites’ design, they pay attention to the structure of landing pages, content, navigation. In the long term, this will help to develop hypotheses for creating a convenient design.
In addition to your competitors’ trends, there are also general design trends. Want to know a little more about this? Then it’s worth considering to read our article about The Most Emerging UI Design Trends to Follow in 2020
7) Conduct quantitative competitive research
Quantitative UX competitive analysis helps to determine indicators:
- The volume of traffic to the site;
- Key traffic sources;
- Keywords used by a competitor for promotion;
- Advertising display strategy.
In this case, you cannot cope alone. This is where services like SimilarWeb, SEMrush, SpyWords, and others come to the rescue.
8) Conduct a functional investigation
Conducting a functional investigation means finding out what digital marketing technologies competitors are using. This is necessary to determine what capabilities they have, whether they are testing hypotheses or analyzing statistics.
Pay attention to using the following tools:
- Google Analytics;
- Google Tag Manager;
- Tools for compiling site heatmaps;
- Tools for recording sessions on the site;
- A / B testing tools.
Rate each competitor on a scale from Novice to Professional using the following scheme:
One point for an analytics package (usually Google Analytics).
Add 1 point for tag management (usually Google Tag Manager).
Add 2 points for UX tools. Look for tools for heat mapping and recording sessions.
Add 5 points for A / B testing tools.
If the competitor gets 7-9 points, it means that he tests his hypotheses with statistics. These ideas can be adopted and tested.
If a competitor is gaining 3–6 points, test your ideas first, not your competitor’s.
If a competitor scored less than 3 points, treat his ideas with skepticism and do not rush to apply and test.
At the end
User experience competitive analysis is knowledge. And knowledge is power. You may find that using competitive analysis regularly and adapting it to your strategy. Thus, it will stimulate your creative engine and positively impact conversions. For the promotion of a personal website and its optimization, a competitor’s data is a significant factor. There are many services and programs for their analysis, but most importantly, it is vital to understand what each indicator means and how the information received can be used. If this is done correctly, the site optimization will be successful and you will be able to break out in the TOP search engines for critical queries.
But if you are still not confident in your abilities, we recommend our professionals from Gapsy Studio to conduct UX competitive analysis. We know how to competently use the data provided by competitors and make it work much better. This is precisely what we do with each of our projects. After all, competitive analysis is an integral part of our every workflow.