Have you ever wondered how your competitors drive traffic to their pages? Or how they choose the focus of their digital campaigns? With Traffic Analytics’ Top Pages report, you can satisfy your marketing curiosity and use the insights to tune up your strategy.
In this post, we’ll explore 8 interesting ways you can use Top Pages to gain competitive insights and how those insights can give you an edge as you strive to outperform your competitors.
1. The Possible Number of Your Competitors’ Customers
Among all of the top pages, you may be the most interested in those that have “cart,” “basket,” “pay,” “trial,” and “free trial” in their URLs.
Remember that users can reach these pages both internally and externally (with an abandoned cart notification, their browser’s autocomplete or with a link to the cart that their friends or family had shared).
For example, here is a snapshot of Sephora’s funnel: we see the number of unique users that put something in the basket, got to the checkout, and then confirmed the purchase.
The numbers gradually decline as users work through the sales funnel. This is normal to a certain extent–not everyone who puts an item in their cart with make a purchase–but an extreme discrepancy could indicate an issue.
2. Maximum Potential Audience of Your New Product/Service
If you’re planning to launch a specific new product or test some parameters in an upcoming promotion, you should examine your rival’s top pages that belong to similar campaigns. Perhaps you can discover some techniques to apply to your own business.
How Much Traffic Did They Generate?
Check your top-performing competitor to get an idea of your maximum possible reach. Gain some insights to determine if their audiences were engaged in a particular piece of content on the website.
You can see how many unique users went directly to the Hubspot’s blog and check the most popular articles.
What Traffic Sources Did They Use to Market a Similar Product or Service?
By filtering out historical data, you can uncover the outputs of each channel over time; this will allow you to determine your approximate investment in these channels.
We’ve got a real-world example of how Macy’s generates traffic to their women’s clothes section:
Notice their women’s clothing page has a blend of traffic sources. Direct accounts for a little over half of the page’s traffic, with search and referral traffic making up the remaining visits. If you were to launch a similar line of clothing, you might model your strategy off of Macy’s, or try somthing different to gain an edge.
3. Newly Added, Growing, and Declining Pages
Using the “Insights” section of the top pages report, you can uncover newly added pages, or older pages that are rapidly growing or declining in popularity. The tool allows you to filter by category and traffic type to narrow your analysis.
Tracking these pages can provide a variety of insights into your competitors strategies, including:
- New Products
- Changes in pricing
- Audience targeting shifts
- Emerging or fading promo campaigns
For example, selecting “Newly Detected” pages for Sephora.com, we discover a new landing page promoting fragrances for men and a promo page for a new sale on makeup.
Below the insights section, the Top Pages list can also reveal pages that Google doesn’t index. These could be landing pages made for PPC campaigns, which can make perfect examples to study the effectiveness of marketing channels.
Here is, for example, what you will see on one of the top pages of Sephora:
You could visit these top pages yourself and see what structure, design, and CTAs your competitors used. This kind of research can inform your own campaigns and landing pages.
You can also use the 1Y trend column to see what pages are gaining traction, and which pages are on the decline. For example, it looks like the community.sephora.com page is gaining traction in a big way.
Analyzing the introduction of new pages along with their growth and decline over time can help you assess how your competitors are thinking about the market, responding to market trends, and pivoting as conditions change. This behind the scenes look can help inform your strategy looking toward the future.
4. Your Competitors’ Top Products or Services
Which of your rivals’ pages do you think generated the most traffic? Probably, those that devoured a big part of the marketing budget and initially contained the most exciting products or services for the target audience.
Pay attention to the top pages that represent your competitor’s specific products or product categories. Study what traffic sources your rival leverages. Then, consider adding similar pages to your own campaign, or, to the contrary, focus on promoting the rest of your product range. The latter case might be a reasonable strategy at times and won’t escalate competition.
For instance,the list of top pages of Coursera reveals that the most promoted and most visited pages are professional certificates for Google Data Analytics, Google UX Design, Google Ecommerce Marketing, and Google Project Management.
You can dive deeper and find the most popular items in specific categories or for different target audiences in the same way.
5. Top Content on Competitors’ Sites and Partners’ Media Platforms
This insight will be exceptionally valuable for content strategists and SEO specialists. The list of top pages can alert you to what pages you could add to the structure of your website. Even more precisely, it can indicate which content you should focus on to generate and retain the most traffic.
Beginning broadly, look at the “Entrances” and “Exits” metrics associated with each of the top pages. These numbers can tell you which pages are bringing the most traffic to the site, and on which pages users exit the site.
Pages with high entrances indicate a clear appeal for users; they’ve entered the URL or followed a link to the page for a reason. Discrepancies in the numbers can also provide insights. For example, if a page only brings in a small number of visitors, but accounts for a large number of exits, it could point to potential issues with the page.
Now, you can look a bit closer by exploring the topics other websites bet on in their seasonal and regular campaigns and reveal what channels they use for their successful promotion. You can gain insights based on this data that will help you plan an even better campaign for your own site, whether it be for general brand awareness or conversions.
The more traffic you receive, the more ultimate target actions you may have. If you search for blog-related URLs in the list of top pages, you will find out if and how your competitors invest in content creation and promotion. You may also find that this strategy isn't fruitful for your industry.
For example, searchenginejournal.com’s blog post on alternative search engines brings a tremendous amount of traffic to their site through Search.
Finally, you can view these metrics for potential partners to discover their most externally visited pages. This can help you determine the type of content they like or may need before you reach out about a potential co-marketing relationship.
6. High-Priority Languages and Most Valuable Regional Markets
Let’s get even more detailed and find out the breakdown of traffic to your competitors’ top pages by country. Search for a URL that contains a country code. If a localized page or subdomain has made it to the global top, the named country is of great value to the business.
Once you’ve learned the number of unique visitors to this regional page, you can try to estimate the size of your competitor’s audience in this country. Then, analyze the traffic channels your competitors chose to promote each of these regional top pages.
Have a look at the example of Louis Vuitton and how their global audience impacts their business. The country codes highlighted in red represent the intended region for these pages.
Here we see a long list of localized pages that rise to the top of Louis Vuitton’s top pages list. The US, Australia, Japan, Germany, and Latin American language pages all appear. As a global designer brand, we can learn a lot about the industry by examining these metrics across various locations.
7. The Focus of Your Competitors’ Marketing Campaigns
After you have analyzed separate top pages inside and out, it is time to dig deeper. See if you can group these URLs under categories or detect any trends. For example, perhaps several product pages made it to the top of the list in a specific period; this could mean their product category was the focus of a marketing campaign at a particular point in time.
If a company provides several services, consistent clusters of same-type top pages will help you detect what the company is most known for.Zillow, for example, turns out to be more visited (and stronger promoted) for the purchase and sale of real estate, rather than listings for places to rent.
You may also find additional interesting trends by looking closely at campaigns. For example, it looks like Zillow’s rental campaigns bring much more traffic through referrals than their purchase pages. This kind of information can clue you into their strategy, and provide ideas for your own campaigns.
8. Changes in Consumer Strategy, Target Audience, and Product Range
After you have discovered a company’s key product or product category, see if they tend to change their strategy and positioning over time. Keep an eye on the fluctuation of traffic to the same-type pages. For example, car companies are beginning to release electronic options for their vehicles.
Ford’s most popular models used to be the F150 and the Mustang — like in May 2018, we see these models show up in their top pages:
While more recently, the brand has been actively promoting the F150 Lightning and the Mach-E SUV:
In fact, we don’t see any non-electric vehicles on the top pages report for Ford, which represents a major change in just four years in terms of product offerings and customer desires.
More Analytical Angles, More Insights for Your Strategy
As you can see through these 8 examples, the Top Pages report can reveal so much more than simple visits to a website. When the various aspects of the tool are cross examined, you can learn a great deal about competitor sales numbers, audience, products, and promotions. More broadly, you can get a sense of what trends consumers are excited about in the market.
Taking these insights, you can improve on your own traffic generation strategies and ensure your site’s pages are optimized for success.