Why owning a brand’s presence online means understanding brand comparisons

April 13, 2022

As more and more businesses target ecommerce for growth, brands need to understand who they are being compared against in order to win on ecommerce sites like Amazon and Walmart.

To build insights into the comparisons that are being drawn online, brands and their analytics providers should be monitoring a number of key data points. These are revealed in our new report: The insights to own a brand’s presence online.

The report advises organizations to look beyond a brand’s own content for insights in order to comprehensively protect a brands’ image and optimize performance on ecommerce sites.

Explicit and implicit comparisons

 It’s important to remember that brand comparisons can be made explicitly and implicitly.

Comparison shopping websites, such as Google Shopping and Shopping.com, make direct associations between products and brands. These sites have helped to fuel ecommerce growth in recent years with 59 per cent of customers preferring to shop online because comparative shopping is easier. Comparison shopping websites explicitly compare a product or brand’s features and benefits, as well as price.

Retailers and marketplaces offer their own product comparison features too. These pages can provide side by side checklists surrounding a product’s features and benefits, its price, availability, plus fulfilment options. These features not only help with product discovery, they inform and influence buying decisions and can mean a purchase is just a few clicks away.

Comparison

But product comparisons can be implicit too, and it is crucial to track the more nuanced brand comparisons that can be made online through banner advertising, related product suggestions and keyword searches, for example. This is important because these subtle and less obvious competitor brand references can undermine brands and steal their sales. Unfavorable associations and matches, for example, can be damaging in devaluing a consumer’s existing view of a brand.

Regardless of category, all brands need to understand how they are being compared to other products and brands. This is true for brands who seek to dominate and own a given category; as well as brand leaders in a category with multiple players.

 Five areas to track for brand comparisons

Our report identifies five key areas, which should be monitored for brand comparisons and provides the reasons why.

  1. Retailer brand pages

Brand content can also appear on retailer brand pages, especially in the case of NPD or promotions. Since these pages are the first port of call for the majority of online shoppers, it’s vital these pages are tracked for unwanted comparisons.

  1. Banner advertising on retail sites

Similar to Point-of-Sale in physical stores, banner ads make it easier for shoppers to find what they need. They also assist in brand building and recognition. As such, brands need to be aware of the competitor products that appear online via banner advertisements.

  1. The brand search experience

The brand search experience should be tracked to determine who is ranking for keywords in a given product category or for key brand terms. Paid search is important here too – making sure brand paid search ads adhere to guidelines.

  1. Related products and feature comparisons

Retailers often aim to simplify shopper choice online by providing feature comparisons with other products such as Amazon’s ‘compare with similar items’ feature or ‘featured items you may like’ prompts. These make explicit comparisons between brands and products and should be tracked

  1. ‘What other customers viewed’ suggestions

‘Customers who viewed x also viewed y’ features suggest product and brand comparisons online and should be monitored to identify potential risks and threats. Given the speed at which information changes online, monitoring for unwanted comparisons should be looked at on a daily basis to flag up any issues as soon as they happen and avoid missed sales.

In summary

 Those that are looking to optimize a brands’ presence and performance online need to monitoring these five areas for unfavorable explicit and implicit comparisons. Given the speed at which information changes online, monitoring for unwanted comparisons should be looked at on a daily basis to flag up any issues as soon as they happen and avoid missed sales.

To find out more about what data and insights to monitor to optimize a brands’ presence online, read our latest report.

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