Keeping up with your competition’s web presence can be a time consuming task, particularly in the ecommerce space where the information on web pages is constantly changing. However, new website analysis application CompeteShark, founded by Kiran Kumar and Shaun Thambyah, is looking to make that process easier with a platform that visually tracks changes to a site’s content and layouts in real-time.
From a user perspective, customers on the platform add themselves and their competitor’s URLs into the system, and then the CompeteShark engine goes to work. The application continually scans the competitors’ websites and detects changes in their copy, changes to layout, and changes to any sorts of promotions or campaigns that may be running.
Although a user currently has to nominate who their competitors are, the vision is that over time, the platform will be able to capture all the data being input at scale and then it will be able proactively identify competitor sites across key segments like insurance, banking, travel, credit cards, and retail. For a platform like this, the more data that is captured, the richer the platform becomes, and this type of data and analysis is becoming increasingly important for online businesses to remain competitive and profitable.
The reason? Because when you look at consumer behaviour these days, we are always scanning horizontally across a number of different brands, so our brand loyalty isn’t quite what it used to be anymore. As consumers we are always looking out for the best offers in the market.
“For users of the platform they might have a look and go, ‘Hey, two weeks ago we had a big dip in our conversion, our website was fine, our technology was fine but it was potentially something that our competitors were doing that were affecting our sales’. And that’s really key in commodified sectors like telecommunications,” says Kumar. “If you look at prepaid SIM Cards or mobiles, people don’t really have a loyalty to a particular network provider. They’re happy to go with one that’s providing the best value of the day.”
What CompeteShark is doing at the moment is real-time alerting, and it has a time machine link where users can see what their exact competitor landscape looked like on a particular day.
“We take visual snapshots of the actual website and you can see exactly how it looked, you can do a before and after comparison,” says Kumar. “Our vision is to be predictive. So if you look at the retail sector, seasonality is a big thing like Mother’s day campaigns and Valentine’s day or Christmas. So once we have data captured across multiple geographies, we can provide very calculated and very exact data on when they can optimise their campaigns to the timing of events. Because from a marketing perspective, they don’t want to do it too early and they don’t want to do it too late. They need to pick the exact time so they can get the best conversion from their campaigns.”
Right now, marketing is going through a paradigm change: digital marketing is now all about being tactical and nimble, being able to react to change quickly. Gone are the days when you had long-planning cycles and you could invest time in being strategic. Implementing strategy around your brand is still part of it, of course, but now you have to move much more quickly.
Because marketing nowadays is very experimental in the way it is executed, it becomes very difficult for brands to keep track of their competitors because everyone’s running so many different experiments – there are a lot of activities happening on the fly. So basically, what CompeteShark is aiming to do is take what is a very manual process and automate it by continuously scanning a market round-the-clock and providing a bunch of records that can be analysed, allowing users to make a strategic judgement around things they need to implement in their own marketing activities.
CompeteShark, which is still in public BETA, is a SaaS-model product that is still doing some price testing. However, plans range between $90 and $300 a month based on whether you’re a small company, a brand marketer, or an enterprise level client. Obviously the higher the plan you’re on, the more competitors you can keep watch of on the platform.
The startup raised $150,000 through Sydney Seed Fund last month, which has been used to initially validate the product within the market place. Now that the platform has started to get that validation, the founders are prepping to raise a larger round in the very near future.