Even as social media platforms continue to evolve, marketers will never forget their first love: Facebook. This is one of the oldest channels that stuck with marketers like a stamp on an envelope.
Despite the fact that this platform has a lower engagement rate nowadays compared with its beginnings, users still prefer to promote their products and services here.
And with great brand performance comes an even greater responsibility. That is why competition is always flourishing in this online environment.
Today we will learn everything we need to know about competitive brand analysis on Facebook.
Performing a competitor analysis on Facebook
- What is a competitive analysis on Facebook
- Why you should do a competitor analysis on Facebook
- Getting started on a competitive analysis on Facebook
- How to do a competitor analysis on Facebook using Socialinsider
- 5 advantages of a social media competitor's analysis
Doing a Facebook competitive analysis means spying on your competitors’ activity on Facebook to collect data that proves helpful for your next marketing strategy.
To find out who your competitors are, take a look at brands that offer the same services and products as you.
By doing a thorough analysis of their performance, you will be able to discover your competitors' strongest and weakest points.
Learning what they can and can’t do helps you adjust your Facebook strategy and empower your efforts to do more.
Performing a Facebook competitive analysis implies getting to know your competitors and analyzing their brand growth and metrics’ evolution.
Carefully monitoring your competitors' next steps and campaigns can save time and grow your business. This plays a bigger role than just researching them.
Using analytics, it’s easy to see which type of content best engages your audience, encourages the most link clicks, app downloads, likes, etc.
It is essential to know exactly what makes your customers engage with your content. Social media platforms, like Facebook, has made this information a lot easier to access.
Choose your top 3 to 5 competitors to benchmark your efforts against, gather information about them, including:
- how they behave on Facebook compared to other social networks they use
- how often they post
- what are their engagement numbers
- what types of posts get more like
- what types of posts get more comments
- how they construct their captions
For example, if you are looking at @Starbucks Facebook page, you will see that most of their posts feature user-generated content, where customers tag them in their coffee shots. Also, you will see that on average they post more than one time a day.
1. Find out who your competitors are
First, start by learning who your competitors are. Keep an eye on your industry and niche, as well as any new brands entering on the market.
By finding out who your competitors are on Facebook, you take the first step towards attracting your audience’s attention.
Keep in mind the fact that there are two types of competitors.
Direct competitors sell products and services that are similar to yours. Indirect competitors are those businesses that create products that can replace yours.
2. Collect data-rich insights about them
Gathering more data about your competitors’ activity on Facebook will clearly be helpful when you plan your content strategy.
You have to learn what they are doing on social media. Closely analyze their Facebook pages and see what they post and how they interact with their audience.
With just a few clicks on their Facebook page, you will learn the essential data about your competitors.
This intel can be extremely useful in your research. Find out:
- How large is their audience?
- What tone do they use in their posts?
- How fast is their fan count growing?
- How often do they post?
- What hashtags do they use?
To perform a complete competitive brand analysis, it will be very helpful if you include all these data in an excel or a report.
3. Look at their Facebook metrics
However, when it comes to Facebook metrics, here you will need the help of a Facebook analytics tool. Consider including a comparison between their metrics and your metrics.
Look at their total number of followers and check whether it fluctuated during the time period you wished to compare.
Then analyze their average engagement rate per post and see with what type of content they convinced their audience to engage.
Make up a list of all the important metrics, and make sure you compare them on a regular basis.
4. Perform a SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis means looking at your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
After looking at their Facebook metrics and questioning their tactics, it is time to include in your report a list with a SWOT analysis.
Consider looking at your strengths and weaknesses as well.
You cannot build something better and worthy until you admit that there are some changes you have to make.
While you can better control strengths and weaknesses because they are internal factors, when it comes to threats and opportunities, they are external factors, coming from your competitors.
Your analysis can help you develop a plan to become better than them. In your list of strengths, include the metrics which indicate higher numbers than your own.
Under weaknesses, list all the metrics that signal they are perfoming poorly.
When it comes to opportunities, list gaps in your industry or niche that you think you can fill.
Threats can pose a great danger to your brand’s growth. Try to keep an eye on your industry and niche to figure out what could put your business at risk.
5. Analyze your competitors’ Facebook strategy
Next, you should include in your Facebook competitive analysis report a couple of notes on your competitors' content strategy looks like.
It may not be easy to predict their full plans, but based on the data you gather due to your research, you can figure out how they’ve developed their strategy on Facebook.
Pay attention if they repay their audience with contests and giveaways, and find out how often they post and what they post about.
Also, it is important to investigate if your rivals engage with their audience by replying to their comments and learn whether they are using Facebook ads.
Leveraging a professional social media analytics tool like Socialinsider will surely count towards a complete analysis of your competitors' strategy.
As you imagine, there are a lot of Facebook metrics you can track as part of your competitive analysis. It’s up to you and your brand to decide which ones you want to analyze.
Once you add your competitor's Facebook profile into Socialinsider, you gain access to plenty of performance data for Facebook profiles (both for owned accounts and for your competitors).
Each metric and every chart in your dashboard tell an important story, but it can be overwhelming to take all of them into consideration every time you're doing a Facebook analysis on your competitors.
So here are four essential metrics to track on Facebook, via Socialinsider:
Engagement is one of the most important Facebook metrics you can track for your brand, and you should know from the start that it will fluctuate a lot along the way.
On Facebook, the engagement metric includes: reactions, shares, and comments.
If the number of times a post has been shared is high, it's quite likely that your competitors’ audience is loving what they post and likes to share it with their friends.
Even though comments are not a direct factor to demonstrate likeability of a piece of content, it's still an important factor to consider if the brand does interact with their audience on a regular basis.
It also tells how involved the fans are with the brand and how comfortable they are in sharing their comments with the public.
As you might expect, we agree that engagement is a key metric in any social media performance report, so you will find a lot of engagement-related insights in your Facebook analytics dashboard.
For instance, you can discover which post types bring your competitor the highest amount of engagement:
Or which posting times are the most engaging for them:
Or simply track their engagement evolution, and see if you can identify any peaks:
So, once you notice certain traits and patterns in your competitors' activity on Facebook, you can almost replicate that for your audience, since you are in the same niche.
If what you're looking for is a direct comparison between your competitors' performance and yours, you can easily get that from the Benchmarks section.
Just add the relevant profiles into the app and group them into Brands so you can access all the competitive data you need at a glance.
In the above screenshot, where we compared MAC Cosmetics to HUDA Beauty, you can see that HUDA Beauty is posting almost twice as much as MAC Cosmetics, and they are even more successful when it comes to engaging with their audience.
On the other side, the content that MAC Cosmetics is posting fails to engage completely, so it's not only a matter of how often you post, but how well you post.
- Average engagement rate per post
While the overall engagement refers to interactions with every element of a Facebook page, the average engagement rate is focused on one post.
This metric represents the sum of reactions, comments and shares on a specific post divided by the number of total posts divided by 100.
It's also the most reliable metric if you want to know what percentage of your fans actually engage with your content.
If your average engagement rate per post is low, it's an indicator that you need to shift your focus from growing your page's fan count to interacting with your existing following.
Reach shows the number of people who see your content on Facebook. This can be either through paid or organic efforts.
You can see an overview of your reach by going to your page insights, and if you want more details, you can click on the Reach tab.
But while you won't be able to obtain clear information on your competitor's reach, you can look at your own data to find out if this is one of the reasons your posts engagement might struggle.
- Fan page growth or audience evolution
Fan growth is considered a vanity metric. However, it shows you how far your content can reach audiences on Facebook, and it helps you create custom audiences for ads campaigns.
While engagement is more important than a big, dormant audience, showing if your fan count is increasing or decreasing is also a sign of how interesting your content is.
If the growth of your competitor's fan base on Facebook has been stagnant for a while, more likely than not they are facing issues reaching their target audience.
But this doesn't mean you can't use their mistakes to your advantage.
The various factors that led to their failure on Facebook should be closely studied. You should take a look at:
- Did they change something about their social media strategy?
- Have they stopped their spendings on audience engagement ads?
- Has there been any impact on their online reputation over time which has led to a stagnant audience pool?
These are the kind of questions you need to answer to be able to get value out of this competitive analysis.
Similarly, if you notice an ongoing growth trend in their audience size, they are definitely doing something right.
All you need to do is figure out what exactly it is that they are executing well and how it fits into their overall digital marketing strategy.
Notice if there are any spikes in their popularity over the last year.
- What makes their top posts so successful?
- Did they run any successful ad campaigns during this period?
- What's the source of this growing fan base (online vs offline)?
- What's leading the audience to your competitor's fan page?
- Is your competition doing anything innovative or interesting that's grabbing the audience's attention?
If you can successfully answer these questions, you will be inching close to refining your own strategy.
Take this Huawei vs Samsung analysis for example. You can see the differences in the size of the pages, fans evolution, engagement, number of posts.
Although Samsung has a lot fewer fans on their Facebook page and they post far less often, they have a much higher reach, engagement and engagement rate.
These are the kind of valuable insights you can get by using an analytics and reporting tool. However, if you are just starting and don't want to invest in such tools, for now, you can track the data on an Excel spreadsheet.
Developing a competitive brand analysis on Facebook comes with a lot of benefits. We tried to narrow it down to the top 5 advantages of a social media competitor analysis:
- Getting to know your customers better: most of the time, a competitor analysis will help you in better understanding the shared target group, its desires, and needs.
- Avoiding mistakes: this is a big step - monitoring your competitors on an ongoing basis will help you notice which campaign or content fails for them and avoid making the same mistakes.
- Discovering new social media channels: you're probably posting every day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but maybe there is more. What about LinkedIn or Pinterest? If your competitors are using these platforms successfully, this could be a motivation for you and give them a try.
- Understanding what the audience expects: you may have a lot of fans on Facebook, but changes are most of them don't like or comment on your posts. Look at the posts that drive conversations on your competitors' pages and pinpoint what works.
- Finding out if Facebook ads works for you: in case you haven't started Facebook ads campaigns, maybe your competitors can give some insights on how they manage social media and what their most successful ads look like.
Figuring out what other companies in your niche are doing on social networks can offer you insights to reveal your audience’s current habits. This way, you will know who to target.
A Facebook competitive analysis is an important step towards defining your own social media strategy because it helps you avoid making the same mistakes that your competitors did.
Moreover, it provides you with ample ideas on what might actually work well for your own Facebook page (and overall content strategy).