Survey of U.S. Brand Marketers Reveals Competitive Analytics Tools Aren’t Addressing Brands’ Biggest Concerns

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In February 2021, BrandTotal leveraged Pollfish to survey more than 500 brand marketers across the United States. We wanted to understand how they are using competitive analytics tools and whether that has a positive impact on their digital and social media advertising spends. 

Social networks utilize “dark” advertising, meaning that not all of a brand’s ads are visible to each consumer due to hyper targeting. 85% of social ads are “dark” and because of this, brands can only see 15% of their category competitors via public ads, leaving them with very little visibility. Complete social competitive intelligence that covers both dark and public ads is the only accurate way to understand whether a brand’s current creatives and content are compelling (or not) as benchmarked against its competitors’ social strategy and performance.

The survey revealed that:

  • A quarter of respondents shared that the most valuable insights from competitive analytics is about ad creative, highlighting the need to measure creative performance. The second-largest group of respondents, 23%, said that insights on price or quantity-specific promotions proved the most valuable. 

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  • When ranking current tools, there was no clear winner, with the highest rank at 3.8 out of 6. The data shows that current tools may not be addressing the needs and concerns of today’s modern brand marketers during the consumer shift to social commerceGroup 32

  • 38% of media buyers admit to not leveraging competitive insights to effectively shift media buys in real time. 

    • More than two-thirds (68%) of survey respondents reported regularly leveraging competitive insights to shift digital advertising and media spend. However, when asked about frequency, 38% of respondents shared that they “only sometimes” made changes or optimized social media spend for some promotions, but not regularly, with 18% saying that they set it and forget it, not making changes once the media buys are arranged. 

    • With an eye to the competition, over half of the respondents shared they shifted their media mix and spend to a different social channel based on what competitors were doing. 

  • CMOs and brand leaders are regularly monitoring and flagging items manually to media buyers.

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    • Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they regularly monitor competitive insights and competitor brand ads and campaigns manually with their marketing team, with more than half of respondents saying that their CMOs and C-suite executives are regularly flagging competitor promotions to the media execution team. 55% of respondents agreed that competitive analytics helps their brand spend more efficiently, resulting in greater ROI of social advertising. 

Understanding your category competitors matters, because it leads to better media campaign flighting, and allows the media execution team working on behalf of a brand to strategize targeting to improve conversions and ROI. Insights into what the competition is doing via a marketing technology dashboard is essential for today’s CMOs and brand managers. And BrandTotal can help.

If you’d like to uncover actionable insights into your competitors’ paid social media strategies and advertising secrets to optimize brand impact, please request a demo today.