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Social Media Benchmarking: How To Analyze Your Competitors In Three Steps

by Julian Gottke on May 17, 2018
Markets get increasingly saturated and thus more competitive. To compare yourself with competitors is crucial when setting up any kind of strategy. Same applies to our beloved but also fast-paced social media world. In the following article I would love to share some knowledge I gained in the last three years receiving valuable insights of working with clients, partners and the folks here at quintly. How to approach Social Media Benchmarking - Right on!

First Things First - Social Media Benchmarking?!

Cambridge dictionary defines benchmarking as “the act of measuring the quality of something by comparing it with something else of an accepted standard”   Wikipedia, meanwhile, says “Benchmarking is comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics…”. These two explanations basically nail the meaning and that’s exactly what we do in social media. We compare ourselves with the competition to understand if our activities are working well or not.
To look at your numbers solely has pretty much no effect, as you have no base to compare with. Without comparing to the best in class, you don’t know whether running 100m in 14 seconds is fast or whether it’s extremely slow. If you want to win the sprint, you need to know the base to compare. Same applies to social media!
Let’s put it catchy: Don’t end up flying blind, start benchmarking!
First you need to find the right competitor in your industry as well as decide on a benchmark. These can be the same or different companies. We consider this done and jump right into the benchmarking water!

1. Decide on a Network 

We don’t want to compare apples and oranges, so we decided on one network. Let’s choose Instagram for now as it seems to be more exciting for most companies at the moment.

2. Decide on a Use Case  

Influencer Marketing can be a great instrument (apologies for calling you “instrument”, dear influencers) for brands. New advertising formats on Instagram open new possibilities in gathering leads etc. Nevertheless, this time we have a more detailed look on Content Marketing done on Instagram.

3. Decide on Metrics

The first two steps have been comparatively straightforward and fast but are extremely important to keep in mind.
Now the real analytics part begins!
I personally like to start a analysis with general metrics providing the recipient (yourself or your team) with a birds eye view.
Use Case Benchmarking
  The Key Metrics Radar, a very powerful benchmarking metric that provides you with an overview on where the analyzed social profiles perform well. NEXT in this case does a great job, leads in almost all disciplines and should be the benchmark for Zalando, another awesome online retailer from Berlin.
The further outside the data points are the better the job is done in the according area. Zalando posts a little less, does not make use of videos (which increase the reach of the your posts, when used more often) and carousels are rarely being used.

Which Post Types are being used?

A second metric that digs deeper into the post behavior of the analyzed profiles would be the Post Type Distribution visualization.
Social Media Benchmarking
This metric underlines, that NEXT makes more use of the different post types available on Instagram. That does not necessarily mean that interactions are higher on other formats but it could be worth a try and analyze afterwards.
Optimize your social media analysis

Taking a look at Interactions 

In the end we measure our success in content on Instagram by the number of interactions received. In this case, both retailers have a different starting point as NEXT has significantly more followers (503K vs 760K), potentially reaching more people per post. This means for the social media team at NEXT it’s easier than for Zalando to reach a higher number of interactions from the two. Have a look at the numbers.
Surprisingly, Zalando gets very close to NEXT in many cases, overtakes the brand from the UK at some days. This is a great achievement and a sign for great content and a very engaged community. Kudos, Zalando!

Are the big guys still getting bigger?

Short answer - yes, they are! The more important question is who is growing on a faster pace. This is an essential question you need to keep in mind while doing Social Media Benchmarking!
  Even though NEXT already achieved over 200K more followers, they are still growing on a faster pace than Zalando. Zalando still gains 200 followers on average daily, but NEXT even more than double. For a huge retailer with a high reach on a increasingly saturated network such as Instagram, this is a great achievement.
For Zalando, that also means there is still a lot potential to grow. Here new strategies might make sense how to accelerate the follower growth and get closer to NEXT in terms of followers. As we found out, the content is great already but the utilization of new post types might be a good driver in the right direction.
To shortly recap, this is how you can start Benchmarking on Social Media:

How To Analyze Your Competitors In Three Steps

  1. Decide on network
  2. Decide on a use case
  3. Decide on metrics
I hope the process is easy to keep in mind and the selection of metrics showed what’s possible. In a social media analytics tool like quintly there are countless (ok, not countless but over 250) pre-built metrics that provide you and your team with exactly the data you need to measure your specific KPIs through Social Media Benchmarking.
So far so good, happy shopping, happy analyzing!
Any questions? Leave us a comment!

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