Competitive Intelligence is becoming more and more important in a globalized world, where competitors can enter from almost any country in the world – and even worse – from time to time, new competitors appear from one day to another in the online space. Disrupting business models tear industries apart and create new ones in a matter of months. It’s a new economy. It’s a new world. And we have to adapt.
Consumers – in both B2B and B2C – are changing their behavior in terms of buying and researching new purchases. Almost any industry and category, according to ConsumerBarometer, shows an increase in buying and researching online before purchasing. This behavior transition started about 15 – 17 years ago in the middle-to-late 1990s and now it’s live, real, and changing the way we do business.
Search engines like Google are still one of the most important sources of traffic in relation to our online buying behavior. Based on this, I believe it is fair to say that any company that wishes to do business online needs to have a strong presence in search. For most of us in Europe, search is equal to Google, though we do acknowledge that both Yahoo and Bing are accessible from Europe. No one is using them. The Google market share in Europe is nearly 90 percent.
Search marketing, whether it’s Google AdWords or Search Engine Optimization, has been used as a way of getting traffic and clients to websites since the mid ’90s. It was very easy back then as the search engines were not that sophisticated in their use of technology and the complexity of the algorithms was low. In other words, we could make websites rank #1 within days or weeks. During the last 10 – 12 years, since Google came to life, search marketing has changed. And today, companies in all sectors meet with a new kind of complexity. From choosing the right partner and placing the money on the right media, it has turned into a complexity of understanding a single sector and actually creating a winning search strategy for the specific sector. Nothing looks the same and we have to deal with everything from Pandas to Hummingbirds.
What is Market and Competitive Intelligence in Search?
Search intelligence is all about collecting and analyzing the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) of a specific category. A category refers to a sub-industry of an industry. Example: Flights and car rentals are both sub-industries in the travel industry. Hence they are both categories.
The competitive intelligence and market research that can be created based on big data from search is overwhelmingly interesting and profound. Compared to traditional competitive intelligence and market research, this can be offered at a much higher speed and at a much lower price while at the same time being based on up-to-date data. This means that decision makers can have access to the data on a daily basis, when they need it.
Some of the questions that competitive intelligence based on search data can answer are:
- Who am I actually competing with in the online space?
- What is the search strategy of the competitors?
- How are the competitors mixing their search strategy within paid vs. organic?
- Who is coming into the market and who is going out?
- What kind of advertising messages is working best for the competitors?
At Hoosh Technology we have a manifesto: “If information is truly important, it will be in either search or social media. If it is not there, it’s probably not important.”
Based on this belief, we have developed InsideIndustry. InsideIndustry is an online service for competitive intelligence and market research.
At Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 I will be speaking more about competitive intelligence and will go deeper into some of the charts and insights that we can uncover from search and social media data.
I hope to inspire you to get better at understanding your market and your competitors so you will not wake up one day and be surprised.
Jacob Hagemann is founder of Hoosh Technology SA. Hagemann will be speaking at a Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 social media track session on “Competitive Intelligence – Social Media Tools and Tactics” on Thursday, October 24 from 11:35 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in salon C. Read Jacob Hagemann’s complete Pubcon speaker biography here.
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