Discover why competitive analysis will help you create an informed affiliate marketing strategy and why it’s important to your business
On the surface, it may seem counterintuitive to actively seek competition in your field. Wouldn’t it be better if the playground was yours? The answer to that question is actually no – it has the potential to help your competitors far more than they can imagine, especially when it comes to building and perfecting your affiliate marketing strategy!
Perhaps the fastest way they can do this is through competitive analysis. This includes closely examining the strategies your competitors are using so you can take notes and multiply the good while improving on the bad.
But how will you connect the dots between what your competitors are doing and your own strategies? We’ll dive into the details of affiliate marketing strategies to help you get the most out of the competitive analytics your business can run.
Why move on to competitive analysis?
As of this year, over 80% of brands use affiliate marketing. This means there are many opportunities for you to learn from your competitors. And with more competition than ever before, you’ll have plenty of sources of ideas and comparisons – all of which will help you showcase your brand better than others in your space.
The key is to make sure that your marketing strategies are not just good, but actively the best compared to your competitors. This is impossible to achieve without first closely analyzing exactly what your competitors are doing and how they are doing it.
In other words, the biggest reason to opt for competitive analysis is to give yourself an edge over the competition by letting them show you how they’re doing well (and maybe where they’re not). Your company gets a chance to grow, and your strategy team can take notes to help them improve the way your business plans work.
Given that the majority of affiliate marketers in 2021 report that successful affiliate marketing accounts for around 20% of their annual revenue, there really is no better topic to apply competitive analysis. It can really help you take your affiliate marketing strategy to the next level, increasing your revenue and keeping your business growing.
Making competitive analysis work for you
We now know why competitive analytics are so valuable and why they are particularly useful for affiliate marketing strategies. The next question to be answered is how to use competitive analysis in this way.
Simply put, you have to make sure you’re looking at the right topics. Developing your competitor tracking strategies is only effective if you also know exactly which directions to watch. When you do this, the data you collect about your competitors becomes an incredibly valuable asset. So what should you pay attention to?
Processing of commissions
Affiliate marketing is built around the idea of earning commissions through affiliate links. That’s why it’s vital to constantly monitor your commission rates – and competitive analysis is uniquely helpful here. It can help you make sure your commissions are a fair compromise between your company and its affiliates.
Your affiliate commission rates can never exist in a vacuum. While they may not be more attractive than your competitors, they should be on the same level. Otherwise, why would affiliates choose you over other options available to them? By comparing your commission rates with those offered by your competitors, you can ensure that your affiliates continue to prefer you.
Referral links and how they are used
Referral links are an important part of affiliate marketing because they can allow you to create a direct link between, for example, a blog post and an affiliate product. Therefore, it is important to include them in the analysis of your competitors. You’ll want to research how your competitors are using links and where they can be improved, and make your own links look as appealing as possible to get maximum clicks.
An important example of link usage that should be included in all your competitive analysis is backlinks. These are the links readers follow to reach customers’ websites. By tracking which backlinks your competitors are using the most, you can draw conclusions about your own backlinks and thus improve your affiliate marketing strategy.
Here’s what a backlink analysis might look like:
This picture shows exactly which links generated the most interest and how much. For example, you can see that the clicks on most of the links are fairly stable; this means that the strategy used works more or less equally well for each backlink.
If your own business’s backlink click distribution is less even, it’s worth knowing how to change that. The use of competitor samples and analyzes based on these samples as reference points is very useful in this respect.
It’s also worth noting that your competitors may be using link cloaking. If so, a detailed analysis will help you understand if this is something your business should do for affiliate programs as well.
Social media and influencers
Are your competitors finding ways to find influencers to help promote their affiliate content – and more importantly, you?
The way your competitors use social media is often a big part of their marketing strategy. And the more you know about their strategy, the easier it will be to find a better online hosting solution to increase your social media presence. This will help influencers engage with your affiliate content, which in turn will help increase sales and commissions.
Promotions and deals
What kinds of deals are your customers offering and are they measuring what the competition is ready to deliver? These are the kinds of questions you can find answers to through careful competitive analysis.
For example, if you can make sure that your affiliates offer the best retail loyalty programs on the market, it will be much easier to increase affiliate sales. Of course, you can help optimize such promotions by comparing them to those offered by the competition and making sure yours is better.
Promotions don’t always have to be in the form of discounts, either. Your business can also benefit from promoting, for example, your affiliate’s superior supply chain operations so potential audience members can immediately see how sustainable and otherwise beneficial the supply chain is. This can help maintain an edge over competitors.
One final item on the list of things your competitive analysis should include to help improve your affiliate marketing strategy is to take a close look at how the competition is handling communication. For example, do they have an automated call distribution system and, if so, is it exploiting its maximum potential to assist their customer service team?
Your strategy should include as many as possible, not just the means of communication your competitors are currently using. If you make it easier for customers to reach you and/or your affiliates through less traditional means, such as the ability to receive faxes to email, you’ll be meeting the needs of more customers.
Does your competitor offer virtual phone communication? Then maybe you would go a step further and offer a free virtual phone number to any customer who wants it. Are your competitors primarily Apple focused? Make sure you target a wider audience by providing them with video messaging apps for Android as well.
By analyzing your competitors’ communication methods, you can learn to outperform them, which will keep pace with your affiliate marketing strategy. The more you can do this, the more your company will stand out and the more you can increase your revenue as a direct result.
Things to keep in mind
Your competitor’s marketing strategies are a freely available resource for you to get the most out of, and you can do just that by using them as your metaphorical springboard. Analysis can tell you what works for your competitors and what doesn’t. Your company can then use this information to optimize its own strategies.
This is how your affiliate marketing can go through big improvements. On top of that, they will be the kind of improvements that will put your company above the competition, as you’ve already learned from their mistakes.