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In this article, we talk about how to identify competitors, analyze popular verticals and leverage powerful tools like SimilarWeb and Ahrefs to gather valuable insights. Learn why competitive analysis is crucial for success, and how to apply these insights to optimize your affiliate campaigns. From understanding market entry timing to evaluating traffic sources and conversion rates, this article covers everything you need to know to stay ahead of the competition. Start applying new strategies today with OnClickA and take your affiliate marketing efforts to the next level!

On the surface level, it might seem absurd to actively search for competition in your field. Wouldn’t it be better to have the playing field to yourself? The answer to that question is actually no – your competitors have the potential to help you much more than they might realize, especially when it comes to creating and perfecting your affiliate marketing strategy!

Perhaps the most immediate way in which they can do this is through competitive analysis. This involves closely examining the strategies your competitors are using so that you can take notes and replicate the good while improving on the bad.

But how do you connect the dots between what your competition is doing and your own strategies? We’re going to dive into the details to help you make the most of any competitive analyses your business might conduct regarding affiliate marketing strategies.

Competitive analysis goes way beyond a quick look at the first page of Google results, it is the process of identifying your top competitors and researching the strengths and weaknesses of their marketing strategy. Why do we need to do this? Conducting an in-depth analysis of your competitors can help you to identify areas for growth, find keyword opportunities, build backlinks, and of course the most important thing is, you can gain insights into their strategy to inform and improve your affiliate marketing and promotional efforts.

In other words, the biggest reason to opt for competitive analysis is,

  • It gives yourself an edge over the competition by letting them show you how they’re succeeding (and where they perhaps aren’t). 
  • You get a chance to grow, and your strategy team can take notes to help them improve the way your business plans work.
  • Lastly, competitive analysis gives you a clearer picture of the market landscape to make informed decisions for your growth.

Considering that the majority of affiliate marketers in 2021 reported that successful affiliate marketing made up around 20% of their annual income, there’s truly no better topic to apply competitive analysis to. It can really help you take your affiliate marketing strategy to the next level, which in turn increases your revenue and lets your business grow.

Understanding Competitive Analysis

How well do you know your competitors? Are they working on anything new? Do you know anything about the strategies they’re using for success? If you don’t then maybe you should. Conducting a competitor analysis is vital for not only matching your competitors, but giving you an edge. When it comes to analyzing competitors, the importance of being proactive rather than reactive is vital to your business success. Here at OnClickA, we are always looking for growth opportunities, and this is where an effective competitor analysis can work. You should be doing the same. But the questions are, why is it useful and how do you conduct one?

The purpose of a competitor analysis is to understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your own and to find a gap in the market.

A competitor analysis is important because:

  • It will help you recognise how you can enhance your own business strategy.
  • It will tell you how you can out-do your competitors in these areas to keep your customer attention.
  • Resulting in a competitive edge over others in your sector.

There are three key factors that need to be considered when conducting such an analysis, which are: 

Timing of market entry

Everything comes down to timing. Identifying the optimal time to launch a product is difficult, with things changing by the minute – there are always going to be surprises that impact a business’ market strategy. Since timing is very much out of (most people’s) control, it’s hard to say exactly what works and what doesn’t, but, one of the most important things to avoid is rushing through product development in order to be the first to market.

Market penetration

Broadly speaking, market penetration refers to how successfully the product is sold once it hits the market. After carefully analyzing a competitor’s go-to-market strategy in order to learn from their timing mistakes and address them effectively, the next step of analysis is to observe how the market reacts to the product itself.

When analyzing a competitor’s market penetration strategy in order to perfect your own, there are a number of key focal points that need to be emphasized. Areas like commercial and pricing model, product- market-fit and the competitor’s ongoing marketing strategy all play an important role in ensuring that a new offering is as robust as possible.

Product uniqueness

The only way to make a new product or service stand out from what’s already out there, is to find a true point of difference. You can do this by identifying the offering’s uniqueness in comparison to its competitors. This point of difference doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but it does need to be something that truly sets the offering apart from its competitors. If you can manage to find a niche in the market that hasn’t been previously addressed – you should be very well placed to set your own offering apart. 

Getting Started with Competitive Analysis

As they say “Never go to war without knowing your enemy.” When starting a competitive analysis the first thing you need to do is to identify who your competitors are. 

Identifying Your Competitors

Finding your competitors doesn’t have to be taxing or complicated. The first step to finding your competitors is to differentiate between your direct and indirect competition. Here's how we define each:

Direct Competitors

When identifying competitors who are in direct competition with your business, you’ll want to start with your product. A thorough understanding of your product and the value it provides to your audience or customers is crucial to identifying your direct competition.

If you work for a sneaker brand, for example, you are not simply in competition with other sneaker brands. You’re also in competition with large shoe retailers, and any other brands and businesses that are creating footwear. To Identify your direct competitors you can do,

Market Research

Take a look at the market for your product and evaluate which other companies are selling a product that would compete with yours. From there, you'll be able to take a closer look at those companies, and their product and marketing efforts, and create strategies to outperform them.

Solicit Customer Feedback

Again, your customers are the key to unlocking your direct competitors. Once they’ve decided on your business and product, you can ask them which other businesses/products they were evaluating. Customers often reveal unexpected competitors that aren’t even on your radar.

Check Online Communities on Social Media or Community Forums

In this day and age, your potential customers will often seek out advice and recommendations on social media sites and apps, or on community forums like Quora or Reddit. By investigating the conversations your customers have on these websites, you’ll be able to further identify your competitors.

Depending on your target audience, social media can help as you learn how to identify your competitors.

But enough about your direct competitors. What about the competitors you don’t even know about yet? How do you identify your indirect competitors?

Indirect Competitors

Your indirect competitors have just as much influence on your selling process as your direct competitors, because your indirect competitors are often writing content that competes with yours, they have an even greater effect on potential customers in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. So how do you discover them and track them effectively?

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the best way to identify your indirect competition. By conducting a competitive SEO analysis, you can determine which businesses or publishers are competing for space on Google. In doing an SEO analysis you can use these tools,

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Trends
  • Keyword Tool.io
  • Term Explorer
  • Moz's Keyword Difficulty Tool
  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • SE Ranking

Keyword research can help you when looking to identify your competitors in business.

Analyzing Google's Search Engine Results Page

When it comes down to it, many of your indirect competitors are writing about topics close to your value proposition. If you examine the value proposition of your product, you’ll be able to identify keywords that are central to your product or offering.

Take a Look at Paid Data

If you’ve taken the first two steps on this list, step three should be a breeze. Head into AdWords and scan those keywords that are important to your business. Is there a lot of competition for any of those keywords? If there is, check out which businesses or websites are purchasing ads for those keywords. If websites are paying for paid space on the search engine results page for a keyword, they’re competing with your content for space on Google.

When it comes to marketing and competition, it is absolutely essential to approach competitive analysis strategically. You have all the tools you need to develop a thorough understanding of your direct and indirect competition, and build a stronger marketing strategy based on that knowledge. 

Popular Verticals in Affiliate Marketing

The Affiliate Marketing Vertical is a market, industry, or niche where you can find products or services that provide for the needs of an audience. These audiences can be made of individuals/users, professionals, or businesses that share the same demographics or pain points.

Verticals are especially important, because based on them you’ll have to choose which offers to promote, how to do it, and what formats (pre-landers, landers, Push ads, Popunder ads, Interstitial ads) to use.

Here’s an overview of popular verticals in the global market:

  • Finance: Encompasses offers related to loans, insurance, and banking services. Attracts with high-value offers and significant commission rates.
  • iGaming & Sports: A lucrative vertical with a dedicated audience.
  • Dating: Includes dating websites and apps. Popular due to its wide audience range and diverse offerings.
  • eCommerce: Involves promoting products through online stores. Known for its vast audience and variety of products.
  • Nutra: Focuses on health and wellness products like supplements and beauty items. Continuously in demand due to the constant consumer focus on health and beauty.
  • Utilities & Web-Utilities: Offers software and applications for productivity and security.
  • Home Improvement: Relates to home goods and renovation services, from building materials to home decor.
  • Games: Encompasses both computer and mobile gaming, popular among a wide range of users.
  • Streaming, VOD, & Content on Demand: Includes streaming services and video-on-demand, popular with the rise of digital media consumption.
  • Education: Online educational programs and courses are sought after by a broad audience for self-improvement.

In the ever-changing landscape of affiliate marketing, it can be hard to truly follow all the trends and know what works — and more importantly, what doesn’t. Some verticals and niches have become more popular. Others make it almost impossible to make a good profit after a while, that is why it is important to specifically analyze your chosen verticals

Analyzing Competitors in the Dating Vertical

In the ever-changing landscape of affiliate marketing, it can be hard to truly follow all the trends and know what works — and more importantly, what doesn’t. Some verticals and niches have become more popular. Others make it almost impossible to make a good profit after a while.

But why reinvent the wheel? There are certain verticals that stay afloat even when others are crashing. Dating is one of those verticals. Why? It’s easy — people never stop dating.

Some tips while promoting dating offers:

Choose geo wisely

If you decide to make money with a dating vertical, you have a big choice of geos available. Some affiliates start with top tiers, like the USA and the UK right away. The payouts are bigger there, but at the same time — the competition is really tough.

Start with less competitive countries (e.g. Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Russia) and master them first. Once making profit — try to scale it to other countries and traffic sources.

Dating works with almost all traffic sources

Social, native, push — all work with dating offers. Yet, keep in mind that Facebook has lots of restrictions on the promotion of dating offers. Consider to reverting to advertising networks for dating offers, instead.

Check your stats constantly 

As I said lots of times before, testing and optimization should become your mundanity. It’s important to let your campaigns run for a while before you stop any source, offer, banner, etc. The information you get with a/b tests is crucial when it’s time to scale your campaign.

Work closely with your affiliate network

As I said before, the payout size, among other things, depends on the network you work with. Sometimes its size can greatly depend on the relationships between an affiliate and an affiliate manager.

Choose one or a couple of quality networks, and work closely with them. Treat your AM as a friend and show them you’re serious about making money with them.

By being responsive to your affiliate managers, you can receive more support for your affiliate efforts. For example, they might share offer tips on how to increase conversion rates or offer you higher payouts. 

Analyzing Competitors in the Crypto Vertical

The crypto vertical is a new wave in affiliate marketing, compared to other niches in the industry.  It’s more than earning money on crypto enthusiasts who are ready to purchase promising currencies. Roughly, the vertical includes the following offer categories: 

Blockchain technology courses

Blockchain technology enables the creation and sale of tokens in addition to cryptocurrency transactions. The meaning of similar offers is to sell educational resources on the topic. Although crypto training is the same lucrative niche as other crypto-related ones, engaging traffic can prove challenging because many individuals are interested in immediate financial gains rather than investing in their knowledge.

Investments

Undoubtedly, investing remains the most sought-after avenue in the crypto industry. Whether it’s exploring new cryptocurrencies, tokens, or crypto funds, the options are plenty. However, for those who may not be well-versed in the details of investing but aspire to earn passive income, there’s a solution – a seasoned trader can manage a client’s portfolio on their behalf by sharing investment returns. Payouts range from $150 to $750 with these offers. It’s a win-win scenario for both parties involved.

Trading and auto trading

When trading, people try to earn on currency fluctuations on their own. However, everything is not plain sailing in this business because folks don’t feel like learning the ropes. Many of them just want to reap the benefits without effort.

Autotrading implies having your robot. It’s like traditional trading, but the robot does all the work for you in this case. No more staring at charts for hours or trying to figure out market trends – the bot provided by the broker takes care of everything.

Analyzing Competitors in the Mainstream Vertical

Mainstream affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services that appeal to a broad audience, this type of marketing covers a wide range of industries, including fashion, electronics, health, and finance. Affiliates earn commissions by driving traffic and sales to the advertiser's website through their promotional efforts.

In the mainstream vertical, the focus is on high-volume, high-conversion products that have mass appeal. Common channels for mainstream affiliate marketing include ad networks' websites, blogs, social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. Affiliates typically partner with well-known brands and leverage their audiences to maximize reach and engagement.

Metrics to Evaluate in the Mainstream Vertical

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is a crucial metric in affiliate marketing, indicating the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. A high conversion rate suggests that the marketing efforts are effectively reaching and persuading the target audience.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR measures the percentage of people who click on an affiliate link out of the total number of people who view the link. A high CTR indicates that the content and placement of the affiliate links are compelling and relevant to the audience.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI evaluates the profitability of affiliate marketing campaigns by comparing the revenue generated to the costs incurred. A positive ROI signifies that the campaign is financially successful and that the investment in affiliate marketing is yielding returns.

Average Order Value (AOV)

AOV measures the average amount spent by customers per order. Monitoring AOV helps affiliates understand the purchasing behavior of their audience and optimize their strategies to encourage higher spending.

Gathering Data on Competitors

Understanding what your competitors are up to is critical for making smart strategic decisions. But manually tracking their every move is time-consuming and inefficient. That is why, the right tools can make competitor analysis more informed, accurate, and efficient, here are some of our recommended tools

SimilarWeb

It provides a huge network of accessible market data segmented by use case. Its suite of products delivers actionable insights on customer journeys, brand audiences, industry intelligence, SEO, sales, and more. With Similarweb, you can analyze competitors' marketing mix, audience engagement, PPC, and display creatives to benchmark your own efforts. Its data is robust and reliable, while the interface is user-friendly. Its key features includes:

  • Detailed website traffic analysis
  • Audience insights and demographics
  • Referral and organic search data
  • PPC and display advertising analysis
  • Industry and market research
  • Mobile app engagement metrics
  • Easy-to-use dashboard and reporting

Ahrefs

It is the go-to for SEO competitor analysis. Its huge database and detailed backlink metrics are unmatched. Use the Competitive Analysis tool to quickly spot keyword gaps, underperforming areas, and highly competitive terms. The Site Explorer provides granular data on competitor content performance. Leverage these insights to optimize existing pages and find new opportunities. Its key features include:

  • Extensive backlink database and analysis
  • Keyword research and gap analysis
  • Competitive content research and insights
  • Site explorer and audit tools
  • Rank tracking and SERP analysis
  • Link building and outreach features

Semrush 

It is like the Swiss Army knife of competitor analysis, covering SEO, content, social media, advertising and more. It's perfect for anyone who wants a comprehensive view of their competitors' web presence. Semrush has a tool for virtually every aspect of competitor research. Its key features include:

  • All-in-one SEO and digital marketing platform
  • Keyword research and gap analysis
  • Backlink analysis and monitoring
  • Advertising research and insights
  • Social media tracking and analysis
  • Content optimization and topic research
  • Market explorer and competitive intelligence

In addition, one of the most important aspects of competitive analysis is to analyze your competitors' landing pages. A landing page is the first page a user sees after clicking on a link or an ad. It is essential to have a well-designed landing page because it can make or break a conversion. If a landing page is not optimized correctly, it can lead to a high bounce rate and low conversion rates. So, what to pay attention to if you are analyzing competitors’ websites and landing pages?

  • First, you should look at how they use pictures and videos on their landing pages. You can use this kind of information to understand what your customers want to see on yours. For example, do they have an image representing who they are as a company? Do they have pictures that represent products/services offered? If so, it would make sense for you to include similar imagery on your website.
  • Second, you'll want to check out the headlines and subheads. These will help you determine if your competitors' messages match up with those of your own. Are there any common words or phrases used in both places? This could be "free shipping" or "online shopping." It may also be helpful to compare the length of each headline - is one longer than the other? Is one more detailed than the other?
  • Third, you'll need to examine the copy itself. This includes everything from the length of each paragraph to whether it uses bullet points or lists. Is the copy easy to read? Does it use a lot of jargon that's not familiar to your audience? If so, consider rewriting some sections using more straightforward language. You can even ask someone who knows what they're talking about for feedback on how well-written certain parts are.

Evaluating Competitors' Performance

Evaluating competitors' performance goes beyond simply knowing their products or services. It's about analyzing their strengths and weaknesses across various aspects to identify opportunities for your own business, this includes, traffic sources and volume, conversion rates and sales funnels, and social media presence and engagement.

Assessing Traffic Sources and Volume

Understanding where your competitors get their website traffic is crucial. Tools like SimilarWeb or SEMrush can provide insights into their traffic sources, such as organic search, paid advertising, social media referrals, and direct traffic. Analyzing this data allows you to see:

  • Their marketing focus: Are they heavily reliant on paid advertising, or do they excel in organic search engine optimization (SEO)?
  • Content marketing effectiveness: Do they attract significant traffic through blog posts, infographics, or other content formats?
  • Target audience: Are they successful in attracting your ideal customer profile through their chosen channels?

Analyzing Conversion Rates and Sales Funnels

You also need to understand how effectively your competitors convert that traffic into paying customers. Here's where analyzing conversion rates and sales funnels comes in.

  • Conversion rates: Look for industry benchmarks or use tools like Google Analytics to estimate your competitors' conversion rates (e.g., percentage of visitors who make a purchase). This can reveal how well their website is optimized to guide visitors towards a desired action.
  • Sales funnels: Analyze the steps potential customers take on your competitors' websites before converting. This could involve analyzing their product pages, checkout processes, and any lead capture forms they use. Studying these elements can help you identify areas for improvement in your own sales funnel.

Monitoring Social Media Presence and Engagement

Monitor your competitors' social media presence across various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here's what to pay attention to:

  • Content strategy: Analyze the types of content they share, their posting frequency, and the overall tone of their voice.
  • Engagement levels: See how their audience reacts to their content. Do they receive many likes, comments, and shares?
  • Customer service: Observe how they interact with customer inquiries and complaints on social media.

Evaluating your competitors' performance across these three areas provides a comprehensive picture of their strengths and weaknesses. By leveraging this knowledge, you can make informed decisions to optimize your marketing strategies, improve your sales funnel, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

If you’re planning to enter a new market, you need to do your homework first. A SWOT analysis of your main competitors will give you a good indication of whether you’re likely to succeed and how best to approach the market. When doing a competitor analysis you should ask this question, what channels are they using? What messages are they sending out? Who are they targeting and how?

A competitor SWOT analysis can help you answer these questions and give you a clear picture of the market landscape. This will allow you to position your product appropriately and make sure it’s appealing to your target audience. After identifying the SWOT of your competitors, compare it to your brand.

Competitive benchmarking is crucial for several reasons:

  • It gives you an objective view of where your business stands in the market. Without benchmarking, you only have an internal perspective.
  • It identifies your weak spots and areas that need improvement. Benchmarking reveals where competitors are performing better than you.
  • It helps you set strategic goals and performance targets. The data gives you something to aim for.
  • It informs better decision-making. Benchmarking provides the facts you need to make sound, strategic choices.
  • It tracks your progress over time. Regular benchmarking shows if you're advancing against the competition.

Applying Insights to Your Campaigns

Now that you have a clear understanding of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to take action. Use this information to come up with a plan to beat them at their own game. Maybe you need to revamp your marketing strategy or focus on improving your product quality. Whatever it is, don’t just sit on this information – take action!

Applying insights to your campaigns is like mining gold from data. It involves analyzing customer behavior, market trends, and competitor strategies to inform your marketing efforts. Adapting successful strategies from competitors is a smart move, it doesn't mean copying them outright, but rather learning from their successes. Look at what strategies or tactics are working well for them, and consider how you can adapt those insights to fit your own brand and audience. On the other hand, avoiding competitors' mistakes is equally important, learning from their missteps to steer clear of similar pitfalls.

It's about finding what sets your brand apart and leveraging that to stand out in the market. This might be through superior product quality, exceptional customer service, innovative marketing strategies, or a unique brand identity. By focusing on your strengths and capitalizing on what makes you different, you can carve out a distinct place in the minds of consumers, making it harder for competitors to compete directly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, conducting competitive analysis for affiliate campaigns is not just about knowing who your competitors are, but understanding their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses to inform and improve your own approach. Remember, competitive analysis is an ongoing process, stay vigilant, continue to gather data, and adapt your strategies based on new insights and changes in the competitive landscape. With a comprehensive understanding of your competitors and the market, you can position your affiliate campaigns for success and achieve your business objectives.

Here are some final tips for conducting effective competitive analysis in affiliate marketing:

  1. Stay ahead by continuously monitoring their strategies and adapting accordingly.
  2. Identify what sets your brand apart and leverage it in your marketing efforts. 
  3. Highlight your unique selling points to stand out in a crowded market.
  4. Experiment with different strategies to see what works best for your audience.
  5. Foster relationships with affiliate networks and managers. They can provide valuable support and insights to help you succeed in your campaigns.
  6. Keep an eye on industry trends and changes in consumer behavior. Adapt your strategies accordingly to stay relevant and meet evolving customer needs.
  7. Rather than simply copying your competitors, focus on delivering high-quality content, products, and services.
  8. Quality will set you apart and build trust with your audience.
  9. There's no better time than today to start analyzing your competitors and applying new strategies with OnClickA!
  10. Remember, every insight you gain from competitive analysis is a step closer to optimizing your affiliate marketing campaigns and achieving your business goals.

Embrace the opportunity to learn from your competitors, uncover new growth opportunities, and refine your marketing strategies to stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of affiliate marketing. With OnClickA by your side, you have the tools and resources to conduct comprehensive competitive analysis and drive meaningful results for your campaigns.

Don't hesitate to take action. Start today with OnClickA, and let your journey to affiliate marketing success begin!

 

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Q&A

Q: What is competitive analysis, and why is it important in affiliate marketing?

A: Competitive analysis involves researching and understanding the strategies, strengths, and weaknesses of your competitors in the market. It's crucial in affiliate marketing because it helps you identify growth opportunities, improve your own strategies, and gain a competitive edge.

Q: How can I identify my competitors in affiliate marketing?

A: You can identify your competitors by distinguishing between direct and indirect competition. Direct competitors offer similar products or services, while indirect competitors may target the same audience with different offerings. Conduct market research, solicit customer feedback, and analyze online communities to identify both types of competitors.

Q: What are some popular verticals in affiliate marketing?

A: Popular verticals in affiliate marketing include sweepstakes, finance, iGaming & sports, dating, eCommerce, nutra, utilities, home improvement, games, streaming, VOD, and education. Each vertical offers unique opportunities for affiliates to promote products or services to specific audiences.

Q: What tools can I use for gathering data on competitors?

A: There are several tools available for gathering data on competitors, including SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, and Semrush. These tools provide insights into traffic sources, keywords, backlinks, and more, allowing you to conduct comprehensive competitive analysis.

Q: How can I apply insights from competitive analysis to my affiliate marketing campaigns?

A: You can apply insights from competitive analysis by refining your marketing strategies, targeting the right audience, and emphasizing your brand's unique selling points. Continuously test and optimize your campaigns based on the insights gathered from competitive analysis to achieve better results.