Image of a man rethinking his promotional strategy

How to Improve Your Promotional Strategy Using Competitor Ads 

Patricia Montenegro

Promotions are a key element of the marketing mix. Putting a strong promotional strategy in place can lead to increased customer awareness of your product or brand, and higher sales. An important aspect is the look and feel of your ads. A successful promotional strategy can bring your brand to a more targeted audience.

As always, retailers are competing for the same audience and potential customers. Ads are the gateway to gaining new customers – the retailer who has the most compelling ad (in addition to an effective assortment and prices to go along with it) will win over consumers.

By being aware of the look and feel of competitor ads, you can use them to change your promotional strategy to have a competitive edge. Quad has put together steps to help you improve your promotional strategy using your competitors’ ads.

1. Determine Your Top Competitors

In order to follow your competitors’ ads, you need to first establish what competitors pose a real threat. Keeping tabs on all potential competitors can be a waste of time.

When determining your top competitors, keep a couple of attributes in mind. Competitors who pose a real threat sell similar products, at a comparable price, and target the same market. Additionally, keep in mind the volume they sell; if they sell at a significantly lower volume, they most likely don’t pose a threat.

2. Conduct AAudit of Your Own Ads and Promotional Strategy

Before you can analyze your top competitors’ ads; you need to first be able to evaluate where your ads and promotional strategy stand. Take a look at the metrics from your ads and see if they met your goals. For example, if you had a goal of increasing conversions with a free shipping promotion and you launched two versions with different wording – which ad did best? A/B testing ads and keywords can provide insights into what your audience responds to.

An image of a laptop containing trends of historical data to help improve your promotional strategy.

3. Mine Historical Data

Now that you understand where your own ads and promotional strategy stand, you can begin mining historical data. Historical data can look at a retailer’s promotional analytics, which uncovers promotional frequency over time, promotional mix, cadence, and patterns. Utilizing these insights reveals your competitors’ go-to-market and promotional strategy.

Analyzing years of promotional data can be a time-consuming task. Retailers can weigh the pros and cons of building it in house or using a third-party solution. We analyze data through the Quad platform, which reduces the manual labor and is easily scalable. It also contains over three years of data and boasts the world’s largest database of historical email and webpage snapshots.

4. Compare

Now you have all the pieces to compare your competitors’ ads and promotional strategies to your own. Take a look into the success rates of your promotional campaigns, which ones did best? Now compare the look and feel of those promotions with those of top competitors’.

You can analyze what your competitors did differently. This can include noticing their call to actions, and taking into account their messaging. At Quad, we do this by taking a look at where retailers promoted their sales; via Twitter, email, or on their website homepage. Then we can determine their promotional mentions over time. This can provide an inside look into their promotional trends, such as the days of the week they promote their sales most often, and how early they start promoting for big retail sales seasons such as back-to-school, or Black Friday.

Image of a man rethinking his promotional strategy

5. Reassess Your Promotional Strategy

Even successful ads run their course and need updating. To continue to improve ads, test new ones over time and analyze how your promotional strategy is affected. While testing your own promotional strategy, closely monitor your competitors. Take a look at how they’re doing, when they’re promoting ads, and what they look like. Through competitive intelligence you can get an inside look into your competitor’s promotional strategy to stay steps ahead of them and alter your promotional strategy as needed.

The retailer with the stronger promotional strategy and most compelling ads will win over shoppers. Using competitive intelligence and promotional analytics, you can follow your top competitors’ ads to edit your promotional strategy to set you up for success.

Quad can help you keep up with your competitors’ promotional trends and gain a competitive edge. Schedule a demo today.  

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