3 of the best Hitwise reports to transform your digital marketing efforts

You simply can’t have a successful digital strategy and realistic digital marketing goals without a robust competitor analysis and benchmarking exercise. End of story.

Competitor analysis and benchmarking will steer educated decisions around budget, hours, channel mix, placement targeting, audience segments, demographic targeting and much more.

Enter Hitwise…. Here we’ll show you the three best ways to leverage Hitwise reports to help steer key decisions around your digital strategy.

We’ll look at a fictional retail website, myretailexample.com.au, who is looking to close the gap with a leading competitor in the lead-up to Christmas.

Report 1 – Clickstream Reports

Hitwise Clickstream Reports identify the websites your users have been to before and after they visit your website. This is different from a referral report in your onsite analytics tool because this doesn’t require the user to click on a link to arrive at your site.

Knowing where users have clicked from, you can allocate more marketing resource to this audience. You’ll know where your visitors come from and go to – including banking, social, news/entertainment, search engines and competitor sites.

For example, before visiting myretailexample.com.au;

  1. 16% of users were on Google
  2. 6% where on Facebook
  3. 3% where on Gumtree
  4. 2.3% where on ninemsn.

These are referred to as Upstream traffic.

This insight can inform your channel mix strategy so you can ensure you are targeting users with the correct messaging in the right channel. For example, you might now decide you need more budget for Facebook sponsored ads, YouTube display ads, TrueView video ads, a YouTube home page buy-out or Gmail sponsored ads.

Similar to the Hitwise upstream report, you can also see what websites visitors visit after they have left your site. This is the Downstream report.

From using both reports, you can see how the traffic behaves before and after visiting myretailexample.com.au.  This example demonstrates how important Google search is to myretailexample.com.au, hence supporting a decision to direct more marketing resource into Google search. Knowing that 6% of users go to Google after visiting your site, a remarketing strategy to help convert prospects into sales would be a well-informed next step.

Report 2 – Search Intelligence Report (Share of Search Clicks)

Another powerful Hitwise report within is Share of Search Clicks, which allows you to look at your organic and paid search click share. Although you can get this report directly from your onsite analytics reporting, with Hitwise you can again compare with your industry average or a particular competitor, giving you much deeper insights.

Sticking with myretailexample.com.au, the campaign is getting ready for the seasonal Christmas online rush and the goal is to go head-to-head with the category leader:

You can see the click share is much lower than the leading competitor. By exporting the report in excel, you can get the actual numbers that make up the graph. If you know that over the 3 month period (August – October) your search click total was 3,640,800 and % click share was 0.08% average, you can reverse engineer and estimate that your competitor received 6,571,000.

We can take this a step further using another hitwise search intelligence report to ascertain the paid and organic search split for your nearest competitor and compare that with your own search traffic.

Report 3 – Search Intelligence report (paid vs organic)

The paid vs organic search intelligence report allows you to drill into the keyword level and determine what keywords are driving to your competitor’s website, and what the paid and organic split is. You can also look at paid and organic search split at a holistic view below.

From this example you can see;

Myretailexample.com.au = 3,640,800 clicks from search

  • paid search = 451,095
  • organic  = 3,189,705

Leading competitor = 6,571,000 clicks from search.

  • paid search = 2,083,070
  • organic  = 4,488,129

Comparing organic alone, there is a 30% difference. That is something you can work on with your SEO team with a view to closing that gap as part of a longer term strategy. It is clear that for now, leading into a seasonal spike you can close the gap swiftly with increased investment in paid search. The paid search difference is 70% and if you close that gap your overall click share difference would close to within 20% as opposed to 45%. As an ecommerce website, perhaps you can increase your investment in the Google/Bing merchant centre and focus efforts on dynamic product listing ads, increase Google/Bing daily budgets, remarketing or keyword expansion.

Using these 3 quick Hitwise reports, you can learn more about your audience behaviour and allocate budget to your channels (Facebook, YouTube and Gmail) accordingly. You can also see that organic visitation share is quite strong and that there is a massive opportunity to increase paid search activity. With this view, you will have a lot more confidence that you are ready for your peak season and closing the gap with your leading competitor.

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