Going by our numerous SEMrush reviews over the past couple of years, I’ll admit that it’s one of the best market intelligence tools. No question about it. It has proven over and over again that it’s extremely reliable in not only SEO research, but also competitor intelligence across search platforms plus social media.
More specifically, SEMrush packs a host of solid tools that are capable of generating insights about organic keywords, organic competitors, domain ranking on SERPs, Google Ad Campaigns, Google display ads, backlinks, product listing ads, search engine traffic, etc.
That’s a heck of a lot of features on one platform. Hence, it’s understandable why SEMrush is widely renowned as an all-in-one digital intelligence suite.
However, and rather interestingly, it seems SEMrush still has space for more tools. And so, it recently extended its numerous functionalities to provide yet another set of intelligence assets, just when we thought the platform couldn’t possibly get any better.
What exactly am I talking about here?
Well, it turns out you can now dive much deeper into your competitors’ traffic for intel on their respective top web pages, as well as the corresponding checkout trends, the volume of customers, the top products, etc.
And that’s not all. SEMrush has additionally introduced what it calls a “Market Explorer” tool, which reportedly allows you to research extensively about new markets.
Then get this. According to the team at SEMrush, you can strategically combine these new features for more impactful intel on opportunities that your business might want to capitalize on.
Now that sounds like something worth checking out, regardless of whether you’re a regular user of SEMrush or not.
And so they did. SEMrush has taken the time to thoroughly try out all the new features on SEMrush. We’ve carried out numerous tests by now to give you the truth, and nothing but the truth, on whether the new tools will provide a bang for your buck.
The Top Pages Feature
As soon as we embarked on our journey with this new report, it became apparent that it’s not entirely about top page insights. So, don’t let the name fool you. SEMrush’s new “Top Pages” feature is much more than just a means of generating reports about the best-performing pages.
Here’s a full breakdown of all the intel I was able to get from it:
Competitors’ Most Popular Pages, Products and Services
I guess this one is a bit obvious.
And yes, I confirmed that SEMrush is indeed capable of analyzing your competitors’ traffic patterns to identify the main areas of interest.
It establishes the specific pages that attract the bulk of the traffic, from where you can further determine your competitors’ top products or services.
And why would this be relevant?
Ok, imagine uncovering the specific webpages your competitors have been relying on. This intel alone can help you plan an effective counterstrategy.
You could, for instance, introduce similar pages on your site since the target market is still the same.
And in case the product competition happens to be too aggressive for your liking, you could do the opposite- avoid engaging your competitor directly by focusing all your marketing efforts on the rest of the products.
If, for example, your competitor is great at “B”, you could choose to ignore it by prioritizing “A” and “C” products instead. Thoughtful, don’t you think?
The Volume of Your Competitors’ Customers
Previously, SEMrush only went as far as showing your competitors’ traffic numbers. The Top Pages feature has changed this by tracking even the activities conducted by your competitors’ site visitors.
It doesn’t go too much into detail though. But rather, it monitors the URL parameters of your competitors’ site traffic. Then subsequently, you get to generate inferences based on URL indicators such as “free trial”, trial”, “pay”, “checkout basket”, or “checkout cart” (you can filter the list of pages by these and similar keywords).
Hence, it’s possible to estimate the volume of conversions each of your main competitors is scoring, based on the number of site visitors who add items to their shopping carts before proceeding to checkout, and finally completing their payment.
Competitors’ Campaign Trends
With a list of top pages in front of you, you could further analyze your competitors’ campaign tendencies based on their selling patterns.
If, for instance, you try to organize various URLs chronologically, you might identify repetitive seasonal purchasing patterns. And that could mean your competitors have been applying seasonal marketing campaigns.
But that’s not all. Such info also comes in handy when you’re trying to assess your competitors’ upselling and cross-selling trends.
Competitors’ Unindexed Landing Pages
Not all landing pages are indexed by Google. Some of your competitors might be intentionally hiding their best-performing landing pages from search engines to mislead intelligence tools that track search traffic.
Ok, I must admit that this trick might have been a problem for even SEMrush for the most part. Until the “Top Pages” feature ultimately came to its rescue.
At the moment, therefore, the Top Pages’ insights cover even your competitors’ hidden landing pages. This gives you the chance to assess all the effective strategies and campaigns your competitors are using on their best-performing hidden pages.
Popular Content on Your Competitors’ Platforms
The Top Pages’ insights aren’t always about the best-performing products and services. In some instances, they also help you identify the type of content that resonates well with your target audience.
The trick is to simply check and confirm if any of your competitors’ content pages feature among the most popular pages. Then subsequently, you can go ahead and review the corresponding content topics to get a rough idea of the type of stuff you should be posting on your blogs.
In the end, you could even learn about the content trends your competitors have been leveraging for increased sales.
Competitors’ Selling Strategies
By keeping tabs on your competitors’ best-performing sales pages, you should be able to notice whenever they start changing their selling strategies.
SEMrush Traffic Analytics even makes things much easier for you by keeping records of its past top page insights. Hence, you just need to compare the previous trends with the current ones to get a good idea of how your competitors’ selling strategies have been evolving.
Come to think of it, the whole thing doesn’t have to end there. You could further use the analytics to predict your competitors’ future trends, and possibly prepare for counter-campaigns ahead of time. Sounds like a fair method of staying ahead of your competition.
Best-Performing Regional Markets and Languages
If you’re the type of ecommerce merchant dealing with multiple regional markets across various language zones, you might want to pay special attention to your competitors’ Top Pages’ insights.
The traffic info alone should point out your competitors’ best-performing regions, based on the traffic numbers and sales volume they record on their localized pages or subdomain.
Consequently, you might end up discovering new promising regional markets, or possibly get insights about the performance of products in various regions, as well as the overall value of each independently localized site version.
That’s how you ultimately make up your mind on the regions and languages you should prioritize.
The Potential Performance of a New Product or Service
The launch of a new product or service typically comes with a lot of uncertainties. Yes, that’s right, I’ve been there and I know exactly how it feels.
So, of course, I was pretty excited when I learned the Top Pages report in SEMrush Traffic Analytics happens to also come in handy during product launches.
That said, the trick here is pretty straightforward. Simply evaluate the potential performance of what you have in mind, based on the traffic numbers posted by your competitors’ product pages. More specifically, you should focus on the competitors who sell the same range of products you’re planning to launch.
Then once you identify a competitor with positive sales trends, try to analyze their campaign strategies for insights into how to handle your target market.
The Market Explorer Tool
When it comes to market research, the Top Pages feature does a neat job alright, but let’s face it. You need much more than competitors’ page insights to make well-informed decisions about the core market parameters.
Thankfully, SEMrush has always been aware of this, and it eventually released a solution in the form of the “Market Explorer” tool.
Now, as the name suggests, the SEMrush Market Explorer tool deals with market research. Along with the Traffic Analytics tool (including the Top Pages report), Market Explorer makes part of the SEMrush Competitive Intelligence Add-On. It can be purchased in addition to the SEMrush’s main suite to help ecommerce businesses conduct due diligence on all the relevant parameters, to avoid embarking on uncharted market territories.
In simple terms, therefore, you can think of Market Explorer as some sort of fortune-telling psychic that lets you know what you should expect along the road should you choose to proceed.
It’s worth noting, however, that this tool doesn’t entirely operate independently. You should typically use it along with other SEMrush tools for increased market research efficacy.
And speaking of which, the market research process is divided into three fundamental stages:
- Industry and Market Overview
- Target Audience Analysis
- In-Depth Competitor Analysis
Stage 1: Industry and Market Overview
The point here is to give you a general idea of the market you’re planning to venture into, plus its accompanying industry variables.
Now, while there are many different approaches one could possibly apply here, SEMrush Market Explorer chooses to use competitor case studies to demonstrate the standard industry conditions. That means it analyzes various market parameters based on the performance of previously existing businesses.
Identify Industry Leaders
And what better way to start off than to identify the industry leaders who’re widely considered to be successful?
Yes, that’s right- Market Explorer requires you to specify the most outstanding brands before proceeding.
You don’t have to remember all of them though. One ecommerce company should be enough. Just enter its domain name into the system, and SEMrush will help you come up with additional options.
Well, in essence, SEMrush will display a list of related businesses that you can choose from.
And when it comes to that, I’d advise you to prioritize them based on their list ranking- from the top to the bottom-placed options.
Ultimately, you should be able to assess every single industry player based on their traffic trends, traffic sources, audience characteristics, traffic volume, etc. All these analytics are conducted by Market Explorer.
But, that’s just the first step. After reviewing the traffic volume, you should move on to the market growth indicators.
Analyze Market Growth Indicators
The market growth dynamics make all the difference between a potentially promising market and one that seems to be plateauing out.
Therefore, the traffic size is not the main focus per se. But rather, SEMrush helps you analyze the overall market growth by tracking the traffic changes over time. And this requires you to filter various traffic patterns according to their corresponding historical data.
Review Industry Trends
If you’re looking into an exceedingly volatile industry like hospitality, you might have noticed that the traffic patterns change drastically on a seasonal basis. A high traffic volume at one point could be followed by a period of extremely low lead generation levels.
Well, of course that might sound unfortunate, but the truth is, it isn’t. Although hospitality is not a consistent year-round industry, its market trends tend to be regular. Both high and low seasons usually affect all the players.
That said, you should instead be worried about irregular industry trends. You confirm this by comparing the traffic figures on each business with the corresponding market numbers.
A stable market with regular industry trends will repeatedly display a parallel trend when you compare the two indicators. A drop in the market trends should be accompanied by reduced traffic across each business and vice versa.
Determine The Current and Future Business Direction
A solid business plan is best created when you critically analyze and compare all the current info you collect from the sampled businesses. You should particularly focus on the present-day indicators such as the company development progress experienced by various companies, their corresponding business models, plus the primary products and services.
Then by comprehensively analyzing and comparing them, you should get a good picture of how the current market is performing, plus the type of products being sold. This even helps you make informed predictions about the state of the business environment in the near future.
Consider Possible Threats
SEMrush further helps you identify any potential business threats that you might face in the future. Plus, you get to prepare accordingly for the level of competition that awaits once you join the market.
Ok, fair enough. But how exactly do you figure out the possible market threats using the Market Explorer tool?
Quite simple actually. You see, by default, SEMrush provides insights into the type of businesses you’ll be competing against in your field of interest.
Now, combine these findings with the market trends, plus your product considerations, and you’ll begin spotting possible market gaps that your competitors might try to fill in the future.
Stage 2: Target Audience Assessment
In addition to market and industry info, the Market Explorer tool happens to provide traffic insights that you can use to define your target audience.
Now, target audience analysis, to be specific, is all about defining who you’ll be engaging in your campaigns, where you’ll interact with them, when you’ll reach out to them, the most effective engagement channels, as well as the accompanying optimization measures.
And yes, SEMrush comes with all the analytics capabilities you might need for these definitions. But, get this- for the best possible outcome, you should rely on the Market Explorer tool along with the SEMrush Traffic Analytics’ features.
That said, here’s a brief breakdown of the entire target audience process, plus the corresponding tool features you could take leverage:
Determine The Market Size
Before we even proceed, it’s worth noting that market size is distinct from industry size. While the latter is principally evaluated in currency, the former is described using the volumes of potential customers. And that’s precisely what you’ll be trying to determine here.
Thankfully, SEMrush Market Explorer makes this incredibly simple through its Market Overview report. A quick scan through the figures should reveal the traffic trends in your selected industry of interest.
In fact, it stretches beyond the present-day numbers, revealing even the past trends, as well the corresponding growth rate over time.
Hence, you should have an easy time calculating the marketing budget you’ll need to reach out to such an audience.
Examine Consumer Demographics and Psychographics
Consumer demographics, such as gender and age, happen to be one of the factors that heavily influence consumer behavior and buying patterns across all the industries.
Additionally, how you market your products and position your brands depends substantially on your audience demographics, plus the accompanying psychographics. A campaign can only be effective if the promotional content resonates well with its audience’s interests and lifestyle.
Well, it turns out SEMrush Market Explorer helps you define this too. Its traffic report reveals not only the overall audience overview, but also the characteristics of various personas who’ve predominantly interacted with the businesses in the industry.
Establish The Value of The Location
Going into a new location can be a considerably risky engagement because of the multiple variables that come into play. Each location has its own culture, language, seasons, demographics, as well as demand and supply fluctuations.
In Western countries, for instance, consumers are particularly fond of shopping between the months of October and December, unlike Eastern-based consumers. The main reason being, the two sets of shoppers have different holiday calendars.
But, don’t rush into reviewing calendars yet. You have to first identify the most promising audience regions before you delve into their cultural specifics.
Now, the most straightforward approach here would be reviewing the Geo Distribution report in SEMrush Traffic Analytics. Then by identifying the precise location sources of your competitors’ traffic, you should be able to establish the most fertile audience locations.
It’s worth noting, however, that this option is not feasible for everyone. The best candidate would be a dropshipping merchant, or possibly a large international brand.
Smaller ecommerce merchants, on the other hand, usually come with specific countries in mind. And in that case, the best option would be skipping the first step and jumping right into assessing the country’s market.
The Market Explorer tool allows them to filter their insights by region for deeper analysis of various consumer segments.
Study Your Target Audience’s Behaviors
Understanding your target audience’s interests is critically important. But, it doesn’t stop there. If you want to truly figure out your audience, you have to go beyond their interests and analyze even their behaviors.
But, don’t get me wrong. We’re not talking about just any behavior. But rather, audience behaviors here refers to their campaign response patterns, purchasing patterns, and web surfing tendencies.
In other words, therefore, you need to know the type of websites they spend most of their time on, the platforms they frequently visit, the type of surfing devices they use, etc.
All these and many other insights are available in the SEMrush Traffic Analytics tool. And to identify the most common behaviors, compare the audience insights from the most dominant competitor with traffic analytics from the rest of the competitors. Then, of course, pay special attention to the shared elements.
Stage 3: Detailed Competitor Analysis
With your market, industry, and target audience all figured out, the only thing remaining is in-depth competitor analysis.
Ok, I know what you might be thinking here. We’ve already identified competitors’ in our previous stages. So, what’s the point of this step?
Well, you see the thing about competitor analysis is, basic intel is not enough. The most valuable and insightful intel can only be generated after conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the relevant parameters.
And that’s precisely where SEMrush’s competitor intelligence capabilities come in. It helps you analyze not only your direct competitors, but also the indirect ones that happen to offer alternative products.
All in all, detailed competitor analysis entails:
The point here is to understand how your competitors influence the product, as well as their possible strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, you can use the resultant findings to identify potential product positioning opportunities.
Analysis Of Your Competitors’ Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve assessed all the relevant product variables, you can proceed to conduct extensive research about your competitors’ marketing strategies.
Now, this is one thing you can bet SEMrush has completely perfected. While its Market Explorer tool provides helpful competitor insights, it’s only one of the many competitor analysis tools on the SEMrush platform.
The Traffic Analytics tool is particularly useful when it comes to competitor strategy research. It can accurately direct you to the principal areas where your competitors focus the bulk of their marketing efforts. Plus, it reveals the precise platforms and digital channels that your competitors rely on for lead generation, audiences, and traffic.
The Market Explorer tool, on the other hand, provides a simple and direct way of analyzing your competitors’ respective shares. Plus, you also get to benchmark the performance of various digital marketing channels.
For more focused insight into digital marketing channels, SEMrush has some 40 more tools for in-depth analysis of competitors’ organic and paid tactics, content assets and social media presence, as well as PR efforts.
But, that’s not to say SEMrush was previously weak. The platform has been doing well enough in the fields of digital marketing research and competitor intelligence, and the additional tools only come as supplementary assets to reinforce an impressively strong system.
Well, I must admit, these are the type of updates that give me goosebumps, as I totally enjoy trying out innovative digital tools.
But, let’s hope they SEMrush won’t compromise its user experience with time. Because come to think of it, too many tools on one platform might be a little bit overwhelming.
However, that notwithstanding, it’s a thumbs up from us here at Ecommmerce-Platforms.