UX Design

What is competitive analysis in UX Design?

UX Design

Let’s start with the obvious. What is competitive analysis in general and what does it look like specifically for UX? How do we do it effectively?

A competitive analysis is an offensive and defensive strategy where you identify major competitors, opportunities (strategies) and threats in the current marketplace. It helps you to find out what your competitors are doing right, and it reveals opportunities that they haven’t taken advantage of. 

Stay objective with your competitive analysis and analyze both, your current and potential competitors that might enter the market. Your completed analysis should be able to answer the following questions:  

  1. What is out already out there?
  2. Which products are working?
  3. Which products are not working?
  4. What features are common that are expected by our users?
  5. What features do our competitors not concentrate on?

To ensure that your competitors’ analysis represents all the required information simply follow these 5 steps to stay on top of things. 

  1. Note down at least 10 competitors. 

But where to start? Is it as simple as googling? Yes, it can be. Type in the keywords into Google that best describe your product/service and see what competitors turn up. Another great tool for this is SEMrush. (You can then narrow it down by searching only in your local area.)

Thereafter, break down your competitors into two different categories: direct and indirect competitors. What direct competitors are, is pretty self-explanatory. Think of businesses that offer similar or the same products and services as you do and that are located in the same geographical area. 

To find out who your indirect competitors are, you have to think a bit out of the box. Those businesses do not offer the exact same products or services but could satisfy the same needs of your users. 

  1. Determine what exactly your competitors are offering. 

At the heart of any business is its product or service. This will be the starting point for your research. Here you want to dive deep into the complete product range and the quality of your competitor’s products. This is also the step where you notice the pricing structures and potential discounts they offer to their users. 

Some questions to consider include:

  • Are they a low-cost or high-cost provider?
  • Are they offering volume sales or one-off purchases?
  • How big is their market share?
  • What kind of features do their products/services offer?
  • What characteristics and needs do their ideal customers have?
  • How do these companies differentiate themself from their competitors?
  • What is their distribution strategy for their products/services?

  1. Find out how your competitors market their product/service. 

What are your competitors marketing efforts? Start by analyzing your competitor's website. To get a better picture, what you should look out for, take note of any of the following items: 

  • Do your competitors have a blog?
  • Are they creating whitepapers or ebooks?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • What visual content are they using? Do they use infographics or cartoons?
  • Do they have a FAQs section?
  • Do they highlight press releases?
  • Do they have a media kit?
  • Can you find buying guides or data sheets?
  • What online and offline advertising campaigns are they running?

  1. Check out their social media presence, strategies, and go-to platforms

Social media is becoming increasingly important day by day and every company is utilizing each platform differently. Social media networks are a great way for companies to interact with their users. Analyze how your competitors engage with their brand through social media. Do they offer social sharing buttons with each article? Does your competitor have links to their social media channels? Are these easy to find and clearly visible? Can you see if they use calls-to-action with these buttons?

If your competitors are using a social network that you may not be using, it is worth checking it out and learn how that platform may be beneficial for your business as well. In order to leverage your time, check your competitor's engagement rates on those platforms and find out if learning it, is worth your time. To start, visit the following platforms to see if your competition is using them:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

Thereafter, get out pen&paper and take note of the following quantitative items from each platform:

  • Number of fans/followers
  • Posting frequency and consistency
  • Content engagement
  • Content virality 
  • Identify areas for improvement

After performing your UX competitive analysis, you will have a better idea and understanding of what your competitors are doing. Take a close look at all the information you have gathered about each of your competitors and identify particular areas that need improvement. This part of your competitive analysis is very important as this could be the key that will differentiate your product/service from your competitors.

If you’ve followed 5 steps above, you should have a pretty clear picture of what your competition is doing and what they lag. The main things to keep in mind and what your competitive analysis should represent are summarized in the bullet points below:

  • Identify gaps in the market
  • Develop new products and services
  • Uncover market trends
  • Market and sell more effectively