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Conducting Competitive Analysis in User Research

competitive analysis in user research

Ever feel like you’re playing a guessing game when it comes to figuring out what your users really want?  You’re not alone.  

That’s where user research swoops in to save the day, giving you the inside scoop on what makes your target audience tick.  But here’s the kicker:  what if you could also peek over your competitor’s shoulder and see what their users are up to?  That’s where things get really interesting.

Competitive analysis in user research is like having a secret weapon. It’s not just about knowing who your rivals are; it’s about understanding what they’re doing right (and wrong) from the user’s point of view.  

By taking a closer look at how users interact with competing products, you can uncover a goldmine of information.  Think of it as unlocking hidden desires, spotting pain points your competitors might be missing, and discovering opportunities to make your product shine.

So, if you’re ready to level up your user research game, buckle up!  This article is your roadmap to conducting competitive analysis like a pro. 

We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, giving you the tools and know-how to gather insights that’ll take your product from “meh” to “must-have.”  Get ready to create user experiences that’ll have your customers raving and your competition scratching their heads.

What is Competitive Analysis?

Competitive analysis in user research is a process of evaluating the products, services, and strategies of your competitors to gain valuable insights. 

It involves examining how users interact with competing offerings to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement in your own product. By diving deep into the competitive arena, you can better understand your target audience and make informed decisions to enhance your product’s user experience.

The primary objectives of competitive analysis are threefold. 

  • First, it helps you understand the market by identifying your main competitors, their target audience, and their unique selling propositions. This knowledge allows you to position your product effectively and differentiate it from the competition. For example, if you’re developing a fitness app, competitive analysis might reveal that your competitors focus on workout variety, while you could emphasize personalized coaching to stand out.
  • Second, competitive analysis enables you to identify user needs and pain points that your competitors may not be addressing adequately. By observing how users interact with competing products, you can uncover frustrations and areas where user expectations are not being met. This information is invaluable for prioritizing features and improvements in your own product. For instance, if users consistently complain about the lack of a particular feature in your competitors’ products, you can prioritize its development to gain a competitive edge.
  • Third, competitive analysis helps you spot emerging trends and opportunities for innovation. By keeping a close eye on your competitors, you can stay ahead of the curve and identify potential gaps in the market. This foresight allows you to adapt your product strategy and introduce features or services that meet evolving user needs. For example, if you notice a growing trend towards gamification in your industry, you could incorporate game-like elements into your product to engage and retain users.

Conducting competitive analysis offers several key benefits. By learning from your competitors’ successes and failures, you can reduce the risk of making costly mistakes and increase the likelihood of creating a successful product. 

The insights gathered from competitive analysis can also guide your product development, design, and marketing strategies, ensuring that your decisions are user-centric and data-driven. 

Ultimately, by understanding user needs and expectations through competitive analysis, you can craft a product that delivers an exceptional user experience, leading to increased user satisfaction, loyalty, and growth.

Why is Competitive Analysis Important in User Research?

Understanding the Market Landscape and Identifying Opportunities

Competitive analysis plays a crucial role in user research by providing a comprehensive understanding of the market landscape. By thoroughly examining your competitors and their offerings, you can gain valuable insights into the current state of the industry and identify potential opportunities for growth and differentiation. 

This understanding allows you to position your product strategically and capitalize on gaps in the market that your competitors may have overlooked.

Conducting a competitive analysis helps you answer key questions about your target audience, such as their preferences, pain points, and unmet needs. 

By observing how users interact with competing products, you can uncover valuable insights that inform your product strategy. For example, if you notice that users consistently praise a specific feature in a competitor’s product, you can prioritize the development of a similar or enhanced feature in your own offering to meet user expectations and gain a competitive advantage.

Moreover, analyzing the market landscape enables you to identify emerging trends and anticipate future shifts in user behavior. 

By staying attuned to the latest developments in your industry, you can proactively adapt your product to meet evolving user needs and stay ahead of the curve. This foresight is particularly valuable in fast-paced, technology-driven markets where user preferences can change rapidly.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses of Competitors

One of the primary objectives of competitive analysis is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. By thoroughly examining their products, features, and user feedback, you can gain a deep understanding of what they excel at and where they fall short. 

This knowledge is invaluable for informing your own product strategy and ensuring that you differentiate yourself from the competition.

When evaluating your competitors’ strengths, consider factors such as their unique selling propositions, user engagement, and customer loyalty. By identifying the aspects that contribute to their success, you can learn from their best practices and incorporate similar elements into your own product. 

For example, if a competitor’s mobile app has a particularly intuitive navigation system that users love, you can use that as inspiration to enhance your own app’s user experience.

On the other hand, analyzing your competitors’ weaknesses provides opportunities for differentiation and improvement. By identifying areas where your competitors are falling short, you can prioritize the development of features or solutions that address those shortcomings. 

For instance, if users frequently complain about a competitor’s lack of customer support, you can emphasize exceptional customer service as a key differentiator for your product.

Discovering Best Practices and Industry Standards

Competitive analysis is an excellent way to discover best practices and industry standards in user research. By studying how top performers in your industry approach user research, you can learn from their successes and adopt proven strategies that resonate with your target audience. 

This knowledge can help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure that your user research efforts are aligned with industry expectations.

When identifying best practices, pay close attention to the methods and techniques that your competitors use to gather user insights. 

For example, if you notice that leading companies in your industry rely heavily on user interviews and usability testing, you can prioritize these methods in your own research plan. By aligning your approach with industry standards, you can ensure that your findings are reliable, actionable, and comparable to those of your competitors.

Additionally, competitive analysis can reveal innovative research techniques that you may not have considered before. 

By exploring how your competitors engage with their users and collect feedback, you can discover new ways to gather valuable insights and improve your own research processes. 

For instance, if a competitor successfully leverages online communities or social media to gather user opinions, you can adapt these strategies to expand your own research channels and reach a wider audience.

Informing Product Design and Development Decisions

Competitive analysis plays a vital role in informing product design and development decisions. 

By gaining a deep understanding of your competitors’ offerings and user preferences, you can make data-driven decisions that align with market demands and user expectations. This knowledge helps you prioritize features, optimize user flows, and create a product that stands out in the marketplace.

When evaluating your competitors’ products, pay close attention to their design elements, such as user interface, navigation, and overall aesthetics. By identifying design patterns that resonate with users, you can incorporate similar elements into your own product to enhance usability and visual appeal. 

For example, if you notice that users consistently praise a competitor’s clean and intuitive interface, you can use that as a benchmark for your own design choices.

Furthermore, competitive analysis can help you validate or refine your product roadmap. By understanding the features and functionalities that users value in competing products, you can prioritize the development of similar or enhanced features in your own offering. 

This ensures that your product remains competitive and meets the evolving needs of your target audience. For instance, if a competitor introduces a highly sought-after feature that gains significant traction, you can adjust your roadmap to include a comparable feature and stay ahead of user expectations.

Enhancing User Experience and Staying Competitive

Ultimately, the goal of competitive analysis in user research is to enhance the user experience and maintain a competitive edge in the market. By continuously monitoring your competitors and gathering user insights, you can identify opportunities to improve your product and deliver a superior user experience. 

This ongoing process helps you stay agile, responsive, and relevant in an ever-changing market landscape.

Competitive analysis enables you to benchmark your product against industry standards and user expectations. 

By comparing your offering to those of your competitors, you can identify areas where you excel and areas that require improvement. 

This knowledge allows you to focus your efforts on enhancing the aspects of your product that matter most to users, such as usability, performance, and customer support. 

By continuously iterating and refining your product based on competitive insights, you can create a user experience that sets you apart from the competition.

How to Conduct Competitive Analysis

Step 1: Identify Your Competitors

The first step in conducting a competitive analysis is to identify your competitors. 

This involves determining which companies offer products or services that are similar to yours and target the same user base. It’s essential to consider both direct and indirect competitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market landscape.

Direct competitors are those that offer products or services that are closely comparable to yours and target the same user needs. 

For example, if you’re developing a project management software, direct competitors would include well-known tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp. These competitors are likely to have similar features, pricing models, and target audiences, making them the most relevant for your analysis.

On the other hand, indirect competitors are those that offer products or services that address the same user needs but in a different way or with a different approach. Continuing with the project management software example, indirect competitors could include collaboration platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, which offer some project management functionalities but focus primarily on communication and team collaboration.

To identify your competitors, start by conducting thorough research through various channels. 

Use search engines to discover companies that appear in search results for keywords related to your product or service. Analyze app stores or software directories to find similar offerings in your category. 

Additionally, explore industry reports, market research studies, and user forums to gather insights on the competitive landscape and user preferences.

When researching competitors, pay attention to factors such as their market share, user reviews, pricing strategies, and unique selling propositions. This information will help you gauge the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor and determine their relevance for your analysis.

Once you’ve gathered a list of potential competitors, prioritize them based on their relevance and impact on your target market. 

Consider factors such as their market position, user base, and the extent to which their offerings overlap with yours. This will help you focus your analysis on the most significant competitors and ensure that your insights are actionable and relevant.

For example, if you’re developing a fitness tracking app, your list of key competitors might include popular apps like Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and Strava. By prioritizing these competitors based on their market share and user engagement, you can concentrate your analysis on the most influential players in the industry.

Creating a comprehensive list of key competitors is crucial for conducting a thorough competitive analysis. 

It ensures that you have a clear understanding of the market landscape and can make informed decisions based on the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of your rivals. 

By carefully identifying and prioritizing your competitors, you lay the foundation for a valuable and actionable competitive analysis that will guide your product development and user research efforts.

Step 2: Determine the Scope of Analysis

Once you have identified your key competitors, the next step is to determine the scope of your competitive analysis. This involves defining the specific aspects of your competitors’ offerings that you want to examine and setting clear goals and objectives for your analysis. 

By establishing a well-defined scope, you can ensure that your analysis remains focused, efficient, and aligned with your overall product strategy.

When defining the aspects of competitors to analyze, consider the factors that are most relevant to your product and target audience. 

Common areas of focus include user experience, features, pricing, and marketing strategies. For example, if you’re developing a mobile app, you may want to analyze your competitors’ user interface design, onboarding process, and key features to identify best practices and areas for improvement.

User experience is a critical aspect to consider in your competitive analysis. Examine how your competitors’ products are designed, how users interact with them, and what pain points or frustrations users may encounter. 

This can include evaluating factors such as navigation, usability, and overall user satisfaction. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ user experience, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your product and provide a superior experience for your users.

Features are another essential aspect to analyze. Compare the features offered by your competitors to those in your own product. Identify any gaps or areas where your competitors excel and consider how you can improve or differentiate your offering. For example, if a competitor offers a highly sought-after feature that your product lacks, you may want to prioritize its development to remain competitive.

Pricing is also a crucial factor to consider in your competitive analysis. Examine your competitors’ pricing strategies, including their pricing tiers, subscription models, and any additional costs or fees. 

Analyze how their pricing compares to yours and consider how it may impact user perception and decision-making. By understanding your competitors’ pricing, you can make informed decisions about your own pricing strategy and ensure that your product remains competitive and attractive to your target audience.

When setting goals and objectives for your competitive analysis, align them with your overall product strategy and user research initiatives. Clearly define what you hope to learn from the analysis and how the insights will be used to inform your decision-making. For example, your goals may include identifying market trends, uncovering user pain points, or validating product features.

Prioritizing the most relevant areas for analysis is essential to ensure that your efforts are focused and impactful. 

Consider the aspects that are most critical to your product’s success and allocate your resources accordingly. For instance, if your product heavily relies on user engagement and retention, you may want to prioritize analyzing your competitors’ onboarding process and user retention strategies.

To illustrate, let’s consider an example of a company developing a new e-commerce platform. In this case, the scope of the competitive analysis may include the following aspects:

1. User Experience:

   – Navigation and search functionality

   – Product presentation and descriptions

   – Checkout process and payment options

   – Mobile responsiveness and cross-device compatibility

2. Features:

   – Product recommendations and personalization

   – Customer reviews and ratings

   – Wish lists and saved items

   – Order tracking and returns management

3. Pricing:

   – Pricing models (e.g., subscription-based, transaction fees)

   – Shipping costs and policies

   – Discount and loyalty programs

By determining the scope of analysis and prioritizing the most relevant areas, the company can focus its efforts on gathering actionable insights that will inform its product development and user research decisions.

Remember, the scope of your competitive analysis may evolve as you gather new insights and identify additional areas of interest. Be flexible and adaptable in your approach, and continuously reassess your priorities based on the insights you uncover.

Step 3: Gather Competitor Data

With a clear scope and objectives in place, the next step in conducting a competitive analysis is to gather data on your competitors. 

This involves collecting information from various sources to gain a comprehensive understanding of their products, strategies, and user perceptions. By leveraging a combination of online research, user feedback, and data analysis tools, you can build a rich repository of competitor data to inform your analysis.

One of the primary sources of competitor data is their own websites, applications, and marketing materials. 

Start by thoroughly exploring your competitors’ online presence, including their product pages, feature descriptions, and promotional content. Analyze the language they use to describe their offerings, the benefits they highlight, and the target audience they appeal to. Take note of any unique selling points, differentiating factors, or key messages that they emphasize.

For example, if you’re analyzing competitors in the project management software space, visit their websites and sign up for free trials or demos to gain hands-on experience with their products. 

Explore the user interface, test out different features, and evaluate the overall user experience. Pay attention to how they structure their information architecture, guide users through tasks, and handle common use cases.

In addition to exploring competitor products directly, gather user feedback and insights through surveys and interviews. 

Reach out to your target audience or existing users who have experience with competitor products. Ask them about their perceptions, likes, dislikes, and pain points with those products. Seek to understand what they value most in a solution and where they feel competitors fall short.

User surveys can be conducted through online platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, allowing you to reach a larger audience and collect quantitative data. 

Interviews, on the other hand, provide an opportunity for deeper, qualitative insights. Consider conducting one-on-one interviews or focus groups to delve into user experiences and uncover specific examples or anecdotes related to competitor products.

Online tools and platforms offer a wealth of data and insights on competitor products. 

Explore social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to monitor competitor activity, user engagement, and sentiment. Analyze the content they share, the tone they use, and the reactions they receive from their audience. This can provide valuable insights into their marketing strategies and how users perceive their brand.

Review sites and forums are another valuable source of competitor data. Websites like G2 Crowd, Capterra, or industry-specific forums allow users to share their experiences, rate products, and provide detailed feedback. 

Analyze the reviews and ratings of your competitors’ products to identify common themes, strengths, and weaknesses. Pay attention to the specific features or aspects that users praise or criticize, as these can inform your own product development priorities.

As you gather competitor data, it’s crucial to organize and document the information in a structured manner. Create a centralized repository, such as a spreadsheet or database, to store and categorize the data. Develop a consistent format for capturing key details, such as product features, pricing, user feedback, and notable observations. This will make it easier to analyze and compare the data later on.

For example, if you’re collecting data on multiple competitors in the e-commerce space, create separate sections or tabs for each competitor. Capture information such as their product categories, pricing models, shipping options, customer support channels, and user ratings. Use consistent labels and categories to ensure that the data is easily searchable and comparable.

Remember to keep your data collection efforts ethical and legal. Stick to publicly available information and respect any terms of service or privacy policies of the platforms you use. If conducting user surveys or interviews, ensure that participants are aware of the purpose of the research and obtain their consent before collecting any personal information.

By systematically gathering competitor data from multiple sources, you can build a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape. This data will serve as the foundation for your analysis and help you identify opportunities, challenges, and areas for differentiation in your own product strategy.

Step 4: Analyze and Interpret Data

Once you have gathered a substantial amount of competitor data, the next step is to analyze and interpret the information to derive meaningful insights. This involves examining the data from various angles, identifying patterns and trends, and drawing conclusions that can inform your product strategy and user research efforts.

Start by identifying patterns and trends in competitor offerings. Look for commonalities and differences across their products, features, and user experiences. 

For example, if you’re analyzing competitors in the mobile fitness app market, you may notice that most apps offer similar features like workout tracking, goal setting, and progress monitoring. However, you may also identify unique features or approaches that certain competitors employ, such as personalized coaching or gamification elements.

By recognizing these patterns, you can gauge industry standards and identify potential gaps or opportunities for differentiation. 

If all competitors seem to be focusing on a particular feature or target audience, it may indicate a significant market demand or expectation. Conversely, if you identify an underserved user need or a gap in competitor offerings, it could present an opportunity for your product to fill that void and stand out in the market.

Next, conduct a comparative analysis of competitor features, user experience, and value propositions. Examine how each competitor’s product stacks up against others in terms of functionality, usability, and overall value to users. 

Create a feature comparison matrix to visualize the similarities and differences between competitor offerings. This can help you identify areas where your product excels or falls short in comparison to the competition.

For example, if you’re evaluating project management software, compare the task management capabilities, collaboration features, and integration options offered by each competitor. Assess how intuitive and user-friendly their interfaces are, and consider the learning curve required for users to adopt and effectively use each tool. 

Analyze the value propositions that competitors highlight, such as productivity gains, team collaboration, or customization options, and evaluate how well they resonate with your target audience’s needs and preferences.

Assessing competitor strengths and weaknesses is a crucial part of the analysis process. 

Identify the areas where each competitor excels and where they may have limitations or drawbacks. Consider factors such as product quality, user satisfaction, customer support, and brand reputation. Look for patterns in user feedback and reviews to gauge the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each competitor.

For instance, if you’re analyzing e-commerce platforms, you may find that one competitor is praised for its wide product selection and competitive pricing, while another is known for its exceptional customer service and easy return process. 

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your product and address any gaps or shortcomings in the market.

As you analyze the data, look for ways to synthesize the findings and draw actionable insights. Identify overarching themes or trends that emerge from the data and consider how they align with your product vision and user research goals. 

Summarize the key takeaways and insights in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for stakeholders to understand and act upon the findings.

For example, if your analysis reveals that users consistently prioritize ease of use and intuitive navigation in fitness apps, you may conclude that simplifying your app’s user interface and streamlining the onboarding process should be top priorities. 

If you identify a significant gap in the market for personalized nutrition guidance, you may decide to incorporate that feature into your product roadmap to differentiate yourself from competitors.

When interpreting the data, it’s important to consider the context and limitations of your analysis. Recognize that competitor data is a snapshot in time and may not reflect the full picture or future developments. 

Be cautious about making assumptions or generalizations based on limited data points. Instead, use the insights as a starting point for further exploration and validation through user research and testing.

Remember to document your analysis and insights in a clear and structured manner. Create visualizations, such as charts, graphs, or infographics, to help communicate the findings effectively. Share the insights with relevant stakeholders and use them to inform product decisions, prioritize features, and guide user research efforts.

By thoroughly analyzing and interpreting competitor data, you can gain a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape, identify opportunities for differentiation, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your product’s user experience and market position.

Step 5: Apply Insights to Improve User Experience

The ultimate goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to leverage the insights gained to enhance your own product’s user experience and market position. By carefully examining the strengths, weaknesses, and best practices of your competitors, you can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to differentiate your product in the market.

Start by identifying specific areas in your product where you can apply the insights from your competitive analysis. 

Look for opportunities to address user pain points, incorporate desirable features, or streamline user workflows based on what you’ve learned from your competitors. For example, if your analysis reveals that users highly value a particular feature in a competitor’s product, consider how you can implement a similar or improved version of that feature in your own offering.

Let’s say you’re developing a project management tool and your competitive analysis shows that users frequently praise a competitor’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface for task management. 

You could prioritize the development of a similar interface in your own product to enhance usability and meet user expectations. Additionally, you might identify an opportunity to take it a step further by incorporating advanced filtering and sorting options to provide even greater flexibility and efficiency for users.

Incorporating best practices from competitors is another way to apply insights to improve user experience. 

Identify the elements or approaches that consistently receive positive feedback from users across multiple competitors. These could include effective onboarding processes, clear navigation structures, or well-designed mobile experiences. Adapt and integrate these best practices into your own product, tailoring them to fit your specific user needs and brand identity.

For instance, if your competitive analysis reveals that users highly value the ability to customize their dashboard or workspace in productivity apps, you could prioritize the development of customization options in your own product. 

Look for ways to provide users with the flexibility to personalize their experience, such as allowing them to rearrange widgets, choose color schemes, or create custom views based on their preferences.

In addition to addressing gaps and incorporating best practices, use the insights from your competitive analysis to develop strategies for differentiating your product in the market. 

Identify the unique value proposition that sets your product apart from competitors and emphasize those aspects in your design and marketing efforts. Consider how you can leverage your product’s strengths to target specific user segments or address unmet needs in the market.

For example, if your competitive analysis reveals that most e-commerce platforms focus primarily on price and selection, you could differentiate your product by prioritizing exceptional customer service and personalized recommendations. 

Develop features and workflows that prioritize user support, such as live chat functionality, detailed product guides, or a seamless returns process. Highlight these differentiating factors in your marketing messages and user onboarding to attract and retain customers who value a superior service experience.

It’s important to recognize that competitive analysis is an ongoing process, not a one-time exercise. 

As the market evolves and new competitors emerge, it’s crucial to continuously monitor and update your competitive analysis. Regularly assess how your product compares to the changing landscape and identify new opportunities for improvement and differentiation. Set up alerts or use monitoring tools to stay informed about competitor updates, product releases, and user feedback.

For instance, if a competitor introduces a groundbreaking feature that gains significant traction with users, evaluate how it impacts your product’s competitive position. 

Assess whether incorporating a similar feature would enhance your user experience or if there are alternative ways to address the underlying user need. By staying agile and responsive to market changes, you can ensure that your product remains relevant and competitive over time.

When applying insights from competitive analysis, it’s essential to validate your assumptions and decisions through user research and testing. 

While competitor insights provide valuable direction, it’s crucial to ensure that any changes or improvements align with your specific user needs and preferences. Conduct user interviews, usability tests, or surveys to gather feedback on proposed enhancements and iterate based on user input.

Remember to communicate the insights and strategies derived from your competitive analysis to relevant stakeholders within your organization. Share the findings with product managers, designers, developers, and marketing teams to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal of improving user experience and competitiveness.

By applying the insights from competitive analysis to your product development and user experience efforts, you can create a product that not only meets user expectations but also stands out in the market. Continuously iterate and refine your approach based on ongoing competitive analysis and user feedback to maintain a competitive edge and deliver a superior user experience.

Tools and Techniques for Competitive Analysis

Conducting a comprehensive competitive analysis requires the use of various tools and techniques to gather data, analyze user behavior, and draw meaningful insights. Here are some essential tools and techniques that can help streamline your competitive analysis process:

Online Research and Data Collection Tools

Online research and data collection tools are invaluable for gathering information about your competitors. These tools enable you to efficiently collect and organize data from various sources, saving time and effort in the process.

One popular tool for online research is Google Alerts. By setting up alerts for your competitors’ brand names, product names, or relevant keywords, you can receive automated notifications whenever new information about them appears online. This helps you stay up-to-date with their latest developments, press releases, or customer reviews.

Another useful tool is SEMrush, which provides insights into your competitors’ online presence, including their search engine rankings, advertising strategies, and organic search performance. With SEMrush, you can analyze your competitors’ keyword rankings, identify their top-performing content, and benchmark your own website’s performance against theirs.

For example, if you’re analyzing competitors in the fitness industry, you can use SEMrush to identify the keywords they rank for, such as “best workout apps” or “fitness tracking devices.” This information can help you optimize your own content strategy and target similar or related keywords to improve your online visibility.

User Feedback and Survey Platforms

User feedback and survey platforms are essential tools for gathering insights directly from your target audience. These platforms allow you to collect valuable data on user preferences, pain points, and perceptions of your competitors’ products.

SurveyMonkey is a widely used platform for creating and distributing online surveys. With SurveyMonkey, you can design custom surveys, target specific user segments, and analyze the results to identify trends and insights. You can ask users about their experiences with competitor products, their satisfaction levels, and the features they value most.

Another popular platform is UserTesting, which enables you to collect video feedback from real users as they interact with your competitors’ websites or applications. UserTesting provides valuable qualitative insights into user behavior, usability issues, and overall user experience. By observing how users navigate and engage with competitor products, you can identify areas for improvement in your own offering.

For instance, if you’re developing a new e-commerce website, you can use UserTesting to gather feedback on your competitors’ checkout processes. You can observe how users interact with the cart, fill out forms, and complete the purchase. This feedback can help you identify friction points or confusing elements in your competitors’ checkout flows, allowing you to streamline your own process and improve user experience.

Heatmapping and User Behavior Tracking Tools

Heatmapping and user behavior tracking tools provide visual representations of how users interact with websites or applications. These tools can help you understand user engagement patterns, identify areas of interest, and uncover potential usability issues.

Hotjar is a popular heatmapping and user behavior tracking tool that combines multiple features, such as heatmaps, session recordings, and user surveys. With Hotjar, you can visualize where users click, scroll, and spend the most time on your competitors’ websites. This information can help you identify the most engaging elements, optimize layouts, and prioritize content.

For example, if you’re analyzing competitors in the e-learning industry, you can use Hotjar to track user behavior on their course pages. You can see which sections users spend the most time on, which call-to-action buttons they click, and where they encounter friction or drop off. These insights can inform your own course page design and help you create a more engaging and user-friendly experience.

Another tool in this category is Crazy Egg, which provides similar heatmapping and user behavior tracking capabilities. Crazy Egg allows you to segment user behavior based on different criteria, such as referral source or device type, providing a more granular understanding of user interactions.

Benchmarking and Comparison Matrices

Benchmarking and comparison matrices are powerful tools for evaluating your product against competitors across various dimensions. These tools help you systematically compare features, pricing, user experience, and other key factors to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for differentiation.

A feature comparison matrix is a table that lists the features or capabilities of your product and your competitors’ products side by side. By visually representing the presence or absence of specific features, you can quickly identify gaps or areas where your product excels. This information can guide your product development priorities and help you communicate your competitive advantages to potential customers.

For instance, if you’re creating a project management software, you can develop a feature comparison matrix that includes categories such as task management, collaboration, integrations, and reporting. By comparing your features against those of your competitors, you can identify unique selling points or areas where you need to improve to stay competitive.

Pricing comparison matrices are similar to feature matrices but focus specifically on the pricing plans and structures of your competitors. By analyzing how your pricing compares to others in the market, you can ensure that your product is competitively priced and positioned appropriately for your target audience.

SWOT Analysis Framework

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning framework that helps you evaluate your product’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to your competitors. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your competitive position and identify strategic initiatives to capitalize on your strengths and address your weaknesses.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, start by listing your product’s internal strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are the unique capabilities, resources, or advantages that set your product apart from competitors. Weaknesses are the areas where your product falls short or faces challenges compared to others in the market.

Next, identify the external opportunities and threats in the market. Opportunities are the favorable market conditions, trends, or customer needs that your product can leverage for growth and success. Threats are the external factors that could negatively impact your product, such as emerging competitors, changing regulations, or shifting customer preferences.

For example, if you’re analyzing a mobile fitness app, your SWOT analysis might look like this:


– Personalized workout plans based on user goals and fitness levels

– Integration with popular wearable devices for seamless tracking

– Engaging social features for community support and motivation


– Limited exercise library compared to competitors

– Higher subscription price than similar apps

– Lack of offline access for workouts


– Growing demand for home-based fitness solutions due to the pandemic

– Partnerships with fitness influencers or brands for content creation

– Expansion into new markets or languages


– Established competitors with larger user bases and brand recognition

– Low entry barriers for new fitness apps entering the market

– Changing app store policies or privacy regulations

By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can develop strategies to leverage your strengths, address your weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats. This framework helps you make informed decisions about product development, marketing, and competitive positioning.

## FAQ

1. How often should I conduct competitive analysis?

   – The frequency of competitive analysis depends on the dynamics of your industry and the pace of innovation. In fast-moving industries, quarterly or even monthly analysis may be necessary to stay ahead of the curve. For more stable markets, an annual or semi-annual cadence may suffice. The key is to establish a regular rhythm and adapt based on market changes and product development needs.

2. How do I prioritize which competitors to analyze?

   – Start by identifying your direct competitors, who offer similar products or services to the same target audience. Then, consider indirect competitors who may meet similar needs through alternative solutions. Prioritize competitors based on their market share, growth trajectory, and the degree to which they target your key customer segments. Also, keep an eye out for emerging startups or disruptors that may be flying under the radar but have the potential to shake up the market.

3. What if I can’t access certain data about my competitors?

   – While public data sources and user research can provide a wealth of information, there may be cases where certain data points are unavailable or confidential. In these situations, focus on what you can observe and infer from the available information. Look for proxy metrics or indicators that can help you triangulate and make educated guesses. And remember, even partial or directional insights can be valuable in informing your competitive strategy.

4. How do I balance competitive analysis with other user research priorities?

   – Competitive analysis should be seen as a complementary activity to other user research methods, not a replacement. Use competitive insights to inform and enrich your user research agenda, but don’t let it

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If your CRO programme is not delivering the highest ROI of all of your marketing spend, then we should talk.