PM Voyeurism: Looking at competitors after evaluating the product.

So the moment when you need to take a closer look at your competitors has finally come!
After evaluating the target audience, it turned out that everything’s not quite as simple as you thought. You need to understand who’s ready to buy the product and how to communicate with these people.
Read our article and its examples and share which methods you used in the comments.

Finally, the audience analysis is over and now it’s time to take a closer look at the nuances of the assessment and as well as what competitors do in such situations. After the survey, it may seem that there are many people with the particular problem you’re trying to solve, but this is just peanuts -> need to understand there’s plenty of people like this.
It turned out that there are very few people who actually need to solve this problem on a regular basis. Let’s figure out how to correctly evaluate the audience, whether the audience will be big enough and whether the audience will continue to grow.
The audience that we’re aiming for as a manufacturer of a new product is the SOM (see image above). This segment doesn’t use or isn’t satisfied with the solutions that already exist on the market.

Let's assume this audience is ready to use our product, because has a suitable price, they like using it, and they trust the product. We now have the opportunity to provide these people with the necessary solution.
Audience Assessment Tools
  1. Google Trends can help to estimate the number of relevant keywords and how many users entered these queries into search engines.
  2. Facebook Ads help check the first tools’ results. It provides an analysis of the maximum number of international audiences. 
You can find out the size of potential audiences in your Facebook Ads account.
For example, let’s say we need males from New Zealand 20–40 years old who ski. FB estimated that there are around 420–1100 such people.
3. Governmental statistic centers publish various reports in the public domain, which can also be used to study target audiences.

If the first three tools are not enough to get you the information you need, then you can use statistics that are published by various special agencies, organizations, consulting agencies, government agencies, etc.
An example using VK live broadcasts from Mikhail Karpov’s team
Before launching VK live broadcasts, it was necessary to understand how many people would be interested in broadcasting, because the number of views largely depends on the number of streamers. Before starting the survey, an announcement was posted in the group that invited people to sign up for testing. After waiting a few days, the team wrote: “Guys, if you want to participate in the testing, you need to follow these steps: set up your computer, download this program, etc.” At this stage, only the most active people remained interested in the thread, and those are the type of people that the team was counting on.
This helps understand the service's economic framework and how to build the service itself, how much content there will be in the very beginning, and so on.
People from communities of millions were involved in testing. In these cases, two types of surveys can be used: the first one is sent to the most active members of the target audience, and the second goes out to everyone. After that, you need to analyze the statistics of how many messages were opened. Usually at least 100 people participate in such things, but it’s much better if it’s several thousands.
Everything can completely change at any stage of development: if the company decides not to run the feature, then the people who participated in the testing need to be informed that the launch is delayed and that they will be sent a follow-up notification when the work resumes.

Advertising Channel Analysis
When assessing an audience, you need to understand what the best places to connect with your audience are. The communication channels that will be used to introduce your product must be determined in advance.
At this stage, you should pay attention to which communication channels your competitors use:
  • What are their (competitors’) goals? How do they present their ideas and what do they talk about?
  • Where are they leading the audience? What do they offer?
  • Which audiences are they targeting?

There are several tools you can use to see what your competitors are doing:
  • App Annie - for mobile apps;
  • SimilarWeb - for desktop versions.

Now you know the problem, the people who have this problem and how to reach out to them.
But suddenly you find out that these people don’t have any money. Let’s look at ways to understand how much money a potential target audience is willing to pay and how much money its members actually have, before injecting the entirety of the budget into the project.
In order to do this, we need to analyze the competition’s price tags, income data and the purchase volume of their respective audience; then we run surveys; we place ads that lead to our landing page based on the inquiries, where the audience is looking for our product; and organize affiliate advertising with links to non-existing products.

Examples from various competitors:
With B2B competitors, you can simply go to their site and see who their partners are. You can call them on behalf of a competitor or on behalf of your own company and discuss the price of cooperation.
B2B case study: a dating site called "Photo Country". This site can be used to interact with someone you like – start a conversation, etc. The developers came up with a new feature called “Become a Fan” and decided to evaluate how many people would use it. The user clicked on the “Yes, I want this” button, and a pop-up window appeared: “Unfortunately, the ‘Become a Fan’ service is not yet available, but we will notify you as soon as it is up and running.”
In order not to deprive the user of their hopes in using the new feature, the developers offered a free, already existing function as a “consolation prize” with the message: “As a way to say thanks for your interest in our service, we have sent you 1 free ‘Admiration’ - send it to anyone you like!”
To accomplish all the tactics as described in this article, you need competitors and their audience.

Remember to choose the right communication channels and don’t forget to learn from your competitors: most errors can be predicted this way.