When developing social media insight reports for your brand, it’s easy to fall into the habit of including the same competitor analysis month after month. However, looking at brands working in the same space, potentially in the same market, is not always the most effective way to find inspiration or signals for your brand to leverage.
Why should I be wary of including competitor data in my reports?
When it comes to compiling social reports, plugging in a competitor’s numbers can be a quick page filler, but it’s not going to help build stronger content or provide true benchmarks of performance. In fact, you might not be reporting on accurate data at all.
Factors such as post spend, audience targeting, ad bids and even timing can make a considerable impact a competitor’s post performance and influence visibility of their content. A rookie error can be simply reviewing their recent public page posts, counting the engagements and sharing this with your team as an accurate depiction of their engagement.
What are dark posts and how do they affect the accuracy of my competitor analysis?
Dark posts are ads and content that appear off a brand’s social page, and are served only into the audience newsfeed. Since social ad data is not public there is no-way to know how much reach a client received or how much media spend is behind a each piece of content.
There are a number of reasons that a brand may not post content on their page, a few popular reasons include:
- To avoid audience targeting from becoming contaminated. This can be be an issue when a brand has various lines of business or products that cater to different demographics
- To support A/B testing, whether that is creative, messaging or targeting. If a brand page receives considerable organic reach, this may interfere with a particular ad test
- To avoid over cluttering a page if there is too much content
While reporting on inaccurate data never looks good, the biggest risk here, especially as an agency, is missing the opportunity to add real value to your client or brand. So what should you include in a competitor report and what are alternatives to your brand frenemies and rivals?
What should I include in a social competitor report?
It might sound simple, but focus on what your clients are doing in terms of content rather than their levels of engagement. This will be more insightful. Review how they incorporate their brand into content, what types of media are they build, who they collaborate with in terms of influencers and partnerships, what is their message and which products do they push? This is more valuable than sharing their engagement metrics.
Alternatives to direct brand competitors
Have a look at the broader social landscape and consider comparing your brand to companies outside of its immediate industry.
In some instances your brand might be leading the way on social within its market or even industry, benchmarking month-on-month with direct competitors, who may not be so savvy online, is not going to add value.
Instead, ask the question, who would your brand/client be if it was an FMCG brand? An airline? A telecom? From anywhere in the world.
Being accountable to the reports we share and the insights we pull, can often be overshadowed by the day-to-day tasks and ongoing, retained programs. Reporting isn’t just an opportunity to monitor progress and set goals, but to take a moment to observe what activity, innovations and ideas are happening outside of our brand or industry. This allows us to draw inspiration, to challenge our own ways of doing things, and encourage greater creativity in our programmes.