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Great Failures in Competitive Intel Why so many analyses of the competition fail, and how web marketers can improve the process

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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com Great Failures in Competitive Intel Why so many analyses of the competition fail, and how web marketers can improve the process


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bit.ly/randintelfail Get the presentation:


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Tragically Common, Competitive Intel Failures 4


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Assuming Knowledge of the Root Cause #1


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We’ve analyzed 50 of our most important search terms and found that the top organic result almost never appears in the ads


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We think this is due to Google’s preference for diversity in their SERPs. Via Econsultancy


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Recommended Action: Test removal of our paid search campaigns for a subset of keywords.


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Recommended Action: Test removal of our paid search campaigns for a subset of keywords. This isn’t necessarily a crazy, terrible idea. So why do most of us know it won’t work?


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Observation: We saw X. A Flawed Competitive Intel Process Analysis: We collected data. Correlation: We validated X’s frequency. Recommendation: We proposed an experiment.


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A Process ^ more successful


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Observation: We saw X. Analysis: We collected data. Correlation: We validated frequency. Recommendations: We proposed validation methods for each potential cause. Hypotheses: We brainstormed potential root causes.


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Mistaking a few Outliers for a Representative Sample Set #2


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Competing in help desk software will require a very high domain authority


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Err.. Wait, maybe not.


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We Bias to What We Know Given my background in search, I often conflate rankings success with business success


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And We Bias to Outliers Via NYTimes: Silicon Valley’s Startup Machine


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Often to the Detriment of the Truth Funding only <25yr-old, college-dropout founders is terribly limiting Via HBR


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This Isn’t the Only Way to Skin a Cat. Hammered Metal Lion by Selcuk Y?lmaz


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A Solution ^ more holistic


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Cast a Wide Net Analyze: Our four biggest competitors in the search rankings.


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Cast a Wide Net Analyze: Our four biggest competitors in the search rankings. Analyze: A broad range of competitors, noting correlations that predict both failure and success


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e.g. Instead of looking exclusively at the tactics of top ranking sites…


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e.g. We look at the what high ranking sites do that lower ranking sites don’t.


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e.g. AND try to understand how sites that perform poorly in search results may be attracting traffic and leads through other channels


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Overinvesting in Imitation #3


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Via Visual Website Optimizer Could this actually HURT conversion?


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Via Visual Website Optimizer


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Via Visual Website Optimizer A/B Test Results Page without the shield icon had 400%+ CR improvement vs page with the icon. [Note: results ARE statistically significant]


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We need to remove the security messages on our site ASAP!


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We should test this.


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Is this the most meaningful test we can perform right now? (I’m not saying it isn’t, just that we should prioritize intelligently)


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Via Kayak’s Most Interesting A/B Test vs.


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Via Kayak’s Most Interesting A/B Test A/B Test Results “So we decided to do our own experiment about this and we actually found the opposite that when we removed the messaging, people tended to book less.” - Vinayak Ranade, Director of Engineering for Mobile, KAYAK


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Good thing we tested! Good thing we tested! Your evidence is no match for my ignorance!


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2 Problems ^ w/ this approach


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#1: We don’t know for certain why or whether a tactic worked (or if it will work for us). #2: Copying a competitor’s strategy ensures that we lag rather than leap them.


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Underinvesting in Your Own, Unique Strengths #4


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What’s Our Competition Doing?


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Blogging Twitter Google+ Events PR In-Person Sales Email Social Ads Retargeting CRO Outdoor Radio Print Video Instagram Pinterest Pinterest Reddit Image Search Facebook SEO PPC TV Display


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Blogging Twitter Google+ Events PR In-Person Sales Email Social Ads Retargeting CRO Outdoor Radio Print Video Instagram Pinterest Pinterest Reddit Image Search Facebook SEO PPC TV Display


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Blogging Twitter Google+ Events PR In-Person Sales Email Social Ads Retargeting CRO Outdoor Radio Print Video Instagram Pinterest Pinterest Reddit Image Search Facebook SEO PPC TV Display We Should Do These.


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A Question ^ better


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Things We Can Do Better Than Anyone Else Tactics That Will Reach & Resonate With Customers What can we do here?


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Things We Can Do Better Than Anyone Else Tactics That Will Reach & Resonate With Customers Well, we’re unusually great at visual content…


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Blogging Google+ Events In-Person Sales Email Retargeting CRO Outdoor Radio Print Pinterest Reddit SEO PPC TV Display Twitter PR Social Ads Video Instagram Pinterest Image Search Facebook


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Now the 2 Questions Become… Twitter PR Social Ads Video Instagram Pinterest Image Search Facebook Which of these channels/tactics can successfully reach our audience?


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Now the 2 Questions Become… Twitter PR Social Ads Video Instagram Pinterest Image Search Facebook Who’s great at this stuff, and what are they doing that works?


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Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz | @randfish | rand@moz.com bit.ly/randintelfail


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