Your company is launching a new product, eyeing a new market segment or contemplating a strategic pivot—as a seasoned marketer, your first move would be to conduct a competitive analysis. This exercise is elementary to uncover critical insights about the new market and gain visibility into the competitive landscape.

However, beyond research, there’s the crucial task of distilling those insights into actionable strategies that’ll give your business an advantage. This is where competitive analysis reports become critical, providing you a roadmap for translating raw data into strategic direction.

In this guide, we’ll explore how competitive analysis reports benefit your business, how you can build effective reports, the areas to focus on and competitive reporting tools.

What is a competitive analysis report?

A competitive analysis report is a strategic document that examines the position and performance of your competitors in your business. The report synthesizes your competitive intelligence research data and provides conclusions for better decision-making. It helps you understand the competitive landscape, identify areas for innovation or improvement and formulate strategies to outperform competitors.

Callout card defining competitor analysis report. It says, "A competitive analysis report is a strategic document that examines the position and performance of your competitors in your business. The report synthesizes your competitive intelligence research data and provides conclusions for better decision-making. "

A competitive analysis report typically contains information on marketing tactics, target audience demographics, product comparison and industry trends.

Benefits of a competitive analysis report

A competitive analysis report serves as a tool for competitor benchmarking. You can use it as a standard for realistic goal setting, accessing your business performance and measuring growth.

Let’s dive into some more key benefits.

Know where your business stands in the market

A good competitive analysis provides a realistic understanding of your business’ position in the market. Rather than make assumptions, use your report to make data-driven calculations of how your business compares in terms of market share, customers, messaging and differentiation.

For example, if you’re selling video editing software, you might use a competitive analysis report to learn how easy or difficult it is for novices to use your tool compared to your competitors’ tools. With this insight, you can define your unique selling proposition, understand customer preferences, identify gaps and decide on a positioning strategy that aligns your business goals with customer needs.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses vs. your competitors

Digging into competitor data doesn’t just uncover their strengths and weaknesses, it also exposes yours. Done properly, competitive reporting removes bias and shows you raw data on the areas where your business excels and lags.

A competitive analysis report also sheds light on the mistakes, failures and successes of your business rivals. So, you can build on those successes, avoid making the same mistakes and better position your business for growth.

Identify untapped opportunities and threats

A comprehensive competitive report uncovers growth opportunities such as underserved markets, emerging customer segments and areas where your competitors are underperforming. It also highlights potential threats like new market entrants or changes in customer behaviors. With this knowledge, you can create strategies to bridge those gaps.

Enhance marketing effectiveness

Reporting on your competitors’ marketing strategies is an opportunity to review and refine your own. For example, if you notice gaps in your competitor’s offering, messaging or positioning, you can devise strategies to differentiate yourself by marketing and selling your unique value more effectively.

Inform stronger business decisions

The insights in a competitive analysis report can inform stronger business decisions across departments such as product, marketing, procurement and others. By anchoring your strategies on data-driven insights, you can better defend your market and meet customer needs.

How to create a competitive analysis report

A competitor analysis report should your teams a clear picture of what the business is up against and the necessary strategies to get ahead.

Follow these steps to create an effective competitive analysis report:

Have a clear objective for your report

Since competitive analysis serves every aspect of your business, it can quickly become overwhelming. Outline it at the beginning of your document to clarify your goals and objectives. This will keep you and your report from getting lost in the vast amount of data you’ll uncover.

Do you want to investigate every aspect of your competitors and create an all-encompassing report? Or are you interested in specific areas like their sales and marketing strategies? Your objective will guide your research and direct the format for the report.

Identify your main competitors

Once you’re clear on the “why”, outline the competitors you must outperform to gain the upper hand in the market.

You can identify these competitors by speaking to your sales team or leaning into customer feedback. Alternatively, you can use competitive monitoring and social listening to learn what other companies your audience is interested in.

It’s also important to identify your SEO competitors as they can sometimes differ from your business competitors. You can find SEO competitors by using keyword research tools to check who’s ranking for your target keywords.

Conduct in-depth market research

The next step is market research to gather and organize information about your competitors, customers and industry.

Deep dive into particular customer segments with detailed customer profiles that will guide your marketing decisions later on. A social analytics tool like Sprout Social helps you conduct market research on social channels using advanced social media listening. Build sophisticated Listening queries to track millions of conversions happening around key topics and get a complete scope of your data to analyze insights by adjusting key filters as well without changing queries.

Sprout's social Listening tool helps you build sophisticated listening queries with templates that track millions of conversions happening around key topics and get a complete scope of your data to analyze insights by adjusting key filters as well without changing queries.

Keep track of your competitors’ social strategies, find out what’s working in your market and learn how well customer needs are being met.

Compare your product offerings

Compare your product to your competitors for quality, price, customer service and other areas to reveal your differentiators. Use social listening to gather information as well as scout forums like G2, Capterra and TrustPilot for unbiased opinions on your product and the competition.

It’s not compulsory to compare every feature you and your competitors offer. Instead, focus on only those relevant to the objectives of your analysis.

Compare your marketing strategies

Research the marketing and sales strategies of each competitor to understand how they conduct business. The goal is to analyze the factors behind their success and use those insights to inform your strategy. Investigate details such as their content marketing plans, influencer collaborations and sales channels. Look at the channels they use to communicate and engage with customers, promote their business and drive the most visibility.

The report should show how each competitor tells their brand story and the value they deliver to customers. These insights will help with clarifying your position and messaging to differentiate your brand and stand out among competitors.

Run a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis helps you evaluate your competitive position by laying out your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats based on all the data you’ve gathered. For instance, competitor analysis can help you collect key information through strategic social listening using filters like keywords, content type, social networks, common themes in Listening data and so on, so you can synthesize key areas the business needs to focus on across the competitive landscape. It’s also a great way to visualize all your research in an easy-to-understand and shareable format.

Sprout's competitor analysis dashboard visualizes key information through strategic social listening using filters like keywords, content type, social networks, common themes in Listening data and so on, so you can synthesize key areas the business needs to focus on across the competitive landscape.

Show your position in the competitive landscape

Finally, a competitive analysis report must show where your business and every important competitor stands in the competitive landscape. This can be achieved by pinpointing the two most important dimensions for competitiveness in your market and mapping them on a matrix alongside your company and its competitors.

With that, you’ll get a clear idea of your position based on the SWOT analysis you created earlier. Conclude the report by making recommendations that serve the original purpose of the competitive analysis.

Examples of competitive analysis reports

Here are some sample scenarios showing the details a competitive analysis report should focus on.

1. Increasing market share

To create a competitive analysis report focused on increasing market share, you must first start with a thorough product analysis. Identify and compare the core features and functionality of your competitors’ products against yours. Consider how their products meet the pressing needs of customers and look for areas of dissatisfaction you can capitalize on.

Evaluate the overall target market, including the customer segments your competitors focus on and their marketing strategies. By studying their positioning, messaging and marketing channels, you’ll discover underserved customer segments or areas of overlap in the market. The report should outline the opportunities gleaned from the analysis and recommend possible ways to address the needs and preferences of the untapped market segment.

2. New product launch

For a competitive report on a new product launch, start with a marketing competitive analysis to identify your direct and indirect competitors. Analyze their market share, product offerings and pricing strategies to determine the best ways to position your product, establish a strong presence and win customers early.

Consider the quality of each competing product, including its user experience and technological capabilities. Look for areas where your product can leverage emerging technology to gain a competitive edge. Also evaluate your competitors’ customer service and support offerings, including their return policies to identify how you can use superior customer service to build trust and loyalty quickly.

3. SEO campaigns

A competitive analysis report for an SEO campaign should focus on evaluating the content marketing, social media presence and SEO strategies of competitors. Analyze the keywords, content types and promotional strategies that drive the most organic traffic and customers for their business. On social channels, monitor their engagement levels, posting frequency, top-performing content and audience growth. These insights are useful for comparing and benchmarking your performance.

The report should also cover local search optimization and online advertising efforts for a comprehensive view of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Top competitive analysis reporting tools

Competitive monitoring tools help optimize the research process, analyze multiple data points and deliver data-driven insights you can use immediately.

Check out these three tools that help streamline the process of creating competitive analysis reports.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social provides powerful tools to help you monitor your competitors’ performance across social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

Sprout Social's profile performance dashboard helps you monitor your competitors' performance across social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

It allows you to benchmark your social performance against your top competitors so you can truly understand your brand’s social health. Sprout’s Advanced Listening tool helps you tap into conversations about you, your industry and competitors across social channels, review sites and communities.

With its powerful AI technology, you can sift through millions of conversations to uncover insights about key topics, your audience and industry in seconds. Those insights help you measure your share of voice (SOV), develop crisis management strategies and identify new market opportunities.

With access to tools like Premium Analytics and Sprout’s suite of competitive reports, you can easily visualize and show the impact of in-depth competitive analysis research. Your report can include:

  • Customized metrics based on your business goals and team’s priorities
  • Interactive charts and graphs that illuminate critical social data
  • Custom date range comparisons for performance benchmarking.

And with Sprout’s dynamic shareable link, you can quickly share the report with your team and external shareholders outside Sprout.

Kompyte

Kompyte gathers competitive intelligence from millions of data points, including social, website, content, ads, reviews, job postings and more. The platform uses artificial intelligence to filter through the noise and deliver actionable insights on your competitors.

Kompyte's dashboard gathers competitive intelligence from social, website, content, ads, reviews, job postings and more.

It automatically organizes competitive data into battle cards highlighting differentiators, market feedback, revenue and everything else your sales teams need to win deals.

Crayon

Crayon uses artificial intelligence to track your competitors and also gives you alerts based on your requirements. It analyzes social content, reviews, press releases, pricing updates and other information to collect and provide insights into top competitors to keep your teams informed with relevant data.

Crayon's dashboard analyzes social content from reviews, press releases, pricing updates and others to collect and provide insights into top competitors.

Crayon allows you to create customizable reports and use battle cards, newsletters and announcements to share competitive intelligence data with your team.

Use competitive analysis reporting to grow your business

A competitive report is a compilation of data and statistics that empowers your company to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies. Once you compile the information from your competitive intelligence, you’ll be able to follow up on your findings with a clear action plan to boost your business.

Sprout can help streamline your competitive research process, benchmark your performance against the competition and create comprehensive reports that highlight your most critical data in an engaging way. Sign up for a free trial to try it for yourself.

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