Fall in Love With Benchmarking

Marketing Tools & Tips Social Media Best Practices

“Don’t worry about what I’m doing. Worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Internet is full of quotes encouraging people to stay in their own lane. While this message may be helpful to individuals struggling with productivity and focusing on the task at hand, it just isn’t applicable in a business setting. In order to stay relevant and create the strongest content, it’s imperative to keep tabs on your competitors’ performance relative to your own.

In business, this comparison game is known as competitive benchmarking. Tracking a set of defined metrics helps evaluate the performance of your brand against others over time. Speed up your analysis and achieve stronger results by refining your benchmarking practice.

Of course, we’re a little biased towards our own product (😇), but in this post we’ll lay out the process for benchmarking competitively in any workflow.

The start of a benchmarking race track

The Case for Benchmarking

Despite an increasing reliance on social media, only 24.7% of marketers say they can actually prove the impact of social activity quantitatively. 39.3% are unable to show its impact at all.

I like to think of benchmarking as a track meet. While your top priority is to focus on your individual performance and fly across the finish line, it’s also a good idea to be aware of the athletes by your side. Noting if they are surging ahead, keeping pace with you, or falling behind will give you a clear picture of where you rank among the group during the race.

It’s even more helpful if you take a closer look before and after the meet, analyzing the other team’s approach to training, gear, coaching methods, and any other aspect that impacts their athletic prowess. By identifying the X factors at play before, during, and after the race, you can benchmark your own strategy against your competitor’s, both when they’re on the top of their game and when they’re struggling.

Racers running on an outdoor track

Step 1: Define the Competition

The first key to successful benchmarking is to define who you want to watch and why. Encourage your colleagues to join you for a brainstorming session. When compiling the options, I suggest making the following lists:

After you’ve narrowed down who you want to watch and put them into a landscape, that’s when you can begin gathering telling insights. Landscape comparison helps you draw comparisons between the focus company (your brand) and the competitors’ performance. This provides several benefits, including (but certainly not limited to):

A marketer holding a phone and a notebook doing benchmarking work

Step 2: Get an Inside View Without Privileged Access

Unless you have a seat at the company table, you certainly won’t have access to internal information about a brand’s strategy. However, by observing how frequently they post, the channels where they’re most active, what they talk about, how they engage and best of all, how your shared audiences respond, you’ll be able to glean some very valuable insights about how they operate and work.

Posted URLs analysis

You may have anecdotal information to support your theory that tweets are better with text and photos only, and that URLs and video lead to poor post performance. However, the numbers may tell a different story.

Detecting Boosted Posts

A level playing field is important for a fair game in both sports and social benchmarking. Your competitor’s social post might be blowing your post out of the water, but is it because of stellar content or pay-to-play? Detecting boosted posts can help answer that question for you so you can figure out the types of posts to put your own dollars behind.

Robot using a lawn mower

Step 3: Automate your benchmarking

Using Rival IQ, Google Data Studio, or another tool, group your competitors’ social performance and slice and dice it with charts to look at audience size, engagement rates, post totals, and more.

It’s never been easier to access meaningful insights and improve your marketing efforts. Implement competitive benchmarking into your strategic plan today…we promise you’ll love the results.

Katie McCall

Katie McCall is a strategic communications consultant, working with clients to establish trustworthy and engaging reputations, driving authentic communication with fans and influencers. She specializes in branding and positioning, storytelling and online advocacy networking. In addition, Katie is a lifestyle portrait photographer, serving clients in the greater Seattle community and beyond.

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