Demand Horizon

with Gerry Campbell

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Competitive Analysis

Utilize available tools to see what search terms people use

Gerry Campbell

Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Demand Horizon & Search Expert

Lessons Learned

If the level of competition is fairly high, there is a marketplace.

According to Jakob Nielsen, five user discussions give a good indication of viability.

Aim for the unknown, where all the profit is.


Lesson: Demand Horizon with Gerry Campbell

Step #7 Competitive Analysis: Utilize available tools to see what search terms people use

So now we go into competitive analysis. Now, for this I used a tool called SEMrush. We’re going to shift tools here. Google Trends is generally available. SEMrush is a tool that people who are buying search marketing use to analyze where they might do the best job of buying queries or buying search terms, buying key words. So if you have a budget of $10,000 and you’re going out to buy traffic to your page so people hopefully click on it and get the chance to download the app or push to their phone or whatever else, you would use this tool, or tools like it, to help figure out what your buy should be.

So I went in and I did a search for the term "parking app" and I got back a whole bunch of junk on the page. Some of it was relevant, and some of it wasn't. What I got here was competitors in organic search, so it's showing up in the center of the page, that are all of the companies showing up on this topic. So now we've said parking app is interesting; it's growing. Who’s operating here? So we find the “Best Parking”, “Parkopedia” “Parking Karma”. These guys are all there. The level of competition is relatively high, so this is a marketplace. So there is an opportunity, and people are starting to compete up for this opportunity, and they’re managing large keyword lists. And there is another way you can look at it to see how much they are paying for each keyword to have their ads show up, and these were actually high., unbelievable. Play with it; get to know it because it's going to be a great place to start. But there's a guy named Jakob Nielsen - J-A-K-O-B N-I-E-L-S-E-N, I believe, who is a usability guy who makes an argument that you can use as little as five user discussions to get a pretty good idea. Just five. So we over-indexed. People who are used to deterministic goals where there's a very clear goal to aim for, this methodology is probably a little soft. Because we're aiming for the unknown where all the profit is, I'm willing to accept that it's soft.

So in this case we knew that families were in general, the target. And we were poking around, rooting around, trying to find out anything that we can find out where there's a signal in families. So that was the target market that we knew that we ultimately wanted to address. So, I guess if you were using the needle in the haystack classification, we had a general idea who the haystack was and we started then to look for the needle. Now, in the parking app example, everybody had to park somewhere and the only question is, "Did you walk here?" And if you walked here, not interested. And if you parked, they've got something to offer.

Now I've isolated a competitive set. Now I take that to Google Trends. I throw them all into Google Trends. Here's what I take out of this, Google Trends is growing quickly on the topic. None of these guys are taking a big chunk in the market. Do you see all those little lines, the yellow and the red bumping down at the bottom? They're not taking the market, so there seems to be a highly competitive market that seems to be relatively wide open.

Let's go one step deeper. I take out the total market. Now I'm just looking at the terms. Now what I see is that ParkMe has been relatively flat. SpotHero is breaking out. Now we get interesting. What is SpotHero doing that they're breaking out? Fascinating stuff, right? Don't you want to know who your competitors are and what features they have that are breaking out?

There's another screen that I didn't show here that allows you to see what terms people search for when they link into a site. I would be able to see people who go to ParkHero, what did they search for when they landed on that, what features were they searching for. Pretty interesting stuff. Now we're starting to zero-in on where opportunity might be.

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