Successful marketing campaigns often involve partnerships. Businesses need venues where they can advertise, brands join forces to reach across audiences and offer more compelling products, and influencers have a special place in today's digital marketplaces. But how do you know who to connect with?
In this use case, we’ll use Semrush One2Target and Traffic Analytics to show you how to uncover partnership opportunities and determine the best potential partners for your business.
1. Explore audience overlaps
To look for potential partners, begin by thinking about how your audience (or the audiences of competitors) overlap with other brands. The Audience Overlap Report in One2Target is a simple way to get started. For the sake of this use case, we’ll pretend we work for the sunglasses brand, Oakley.
Begin by entering your domain or a competitor’s domain into the tool. When you enter a single domain, the tool presents the Visited Domains table. Here, we’ll see domains that visitors to oakley.com also visited.
When seeking partnerships, you may not want to partner with brands who sell the same products you sell. For example, Oakley might not want to partner with Ray-Ban because they both specialize in sunglasses. On the above list, however, there are some interesting adjacent brands that sell different types of products.
Here we might note a few brands with strong overlaps. For example, REI, an outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, has a strong audience overlap of 7.25%.
Beyond a significant 161K overlap in users, the company also has a large traffic flow of 13.1M for the month of December 2022, and a Potential Audience of 11.9M when visitors of both domains are considered.
2. Look for overlaps in particular categories
Once you’ve looked at audience overlaps generally, you can begin to use the “Category” filter to look for opportunities in particular industries or niches. For example, filtering by the “Automotive” category shows some interesting results.
Motortrend.com, a magazine focused on the auto industry, has a high audience overlap with oakley.com. This particular publication may be a good advertising venue since there’s already a shared audience, and chances are if some portion of the audience already overlaps, there will be other audience members who will connect across brands.
If we enter motortrend.com into the tool and compare the domains, we discover motortrend.com has a larger audience than oakley.com, and a surprisingly strong overlap as well. This is a good sign for potential partnerships.
To continue on the theme of magazines and publications, we can also filter by the “Publishing” category to see what other venues have an overlap.
A few other options appear in this list including timeout.com, a publication that focuses on travel experience, and runnersworld.com, which focuses on the sport of running.
3. Take a deeper look at potential partner traffic stats
Once you’ve selected a few potential partners, it’s time to take a deeper look at their traffic stats with Traffic Analytics. A good look at their metrics can help you determine whether the potential partner’s position in the market is strong and that the partnership will be worth the effort involved.
The Overview Report provides the high level traffic stats you need to understand the partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a look at REI’s traffic from January to December of 2022.
Though the year-over-year Visits and Unique Visitors fell by 8% and 13% respectively, the domain still posted strong traffic numbers for the year. So, while REI’s traffic is strong, their growth year over year was less than ideal.
Next, check the quality of the site’s traffic by looking at the Page/Visit, Average Visit Duration, and Bounce Rates.
These metrics allow you to better understand how engaged users are when they visit the site. Seeing a lower Page Visit alongside an almost 11% higher visit duration suggests visitors are finding the products they’re looking for with fewer clicks and spending more time on fewer pages. This is a good sign. Looking at the bounce rate, which fell nearly 1% and remains at a low 45%, the site seems to be meeting visitor needs.
Next, check the Traffic Sources graph to determine how the business is generating their traffic. This can provide insights into their strengths and weaknesses, and might illuminate some opportunities you can offer from your end of the partnership.
Looking at REI’s traffic, we discover a strong brand following based on traffic that goes directly to their site. It also appears their SEO strategy is strong based on their Search traffic stats. On the flip side, their Social and Referral traffic are small.
In this case, Oakley might offer to refer traffic to REI to boost their traffic or they might leverage their social media to increase traffic to REI’s site.
Finally, check the Distribution by Country chart at the bottom of the Overview Report. This widget provides insights into markets across the globe where your potential partner is having success.
In this example, REI seems to have a strong footing in Canada, the UK, and Australia, which could be an asset to Oakley in the event of a successful partnership.
4. Explore potential partner audiences
As a final step in the partnership assessment process, jump over to the One2Target tool to explore the potential partner’s audience. This can help you see where your audiences are already aligned, and if any of your partner’s audiences might be a good fit for your company.
Here, we’ve entered rei.com and oakley.com into the tool to compare audiences and look for potential opportunities. Here’s some data from the Demographics Report.
Demographics-wise, the age brackets are almost identical, with REI showing slightly higher numbers in the 45-54 age group and the 65+ age group. There may be an opportunity here to connect with older audiences through a partnership with REI. Likewise, REI’s audience is more evenly distributed with 48% of the audience being women. Again, this may present an opportunity.
Next, we can look at the Socioeconomics Report. Look for other variations in the audience to see where the potential partner might be able to help you connect with new audience segments.
While quite similar, there are some notable distinctions between REI and Oakley’s audiences. REI’s audience tends to lean more toward larger household sizes and slightly lower incomes. Again, this could be an asset for Oakley as they attempt to broaden their reach through this partnership opportunity.
Finally, check the Behavior Report for audience Social Media and Device preferences. These metrics can help you think about how to execute a partnership most successfully as you bring your offers to the world.
While there are a lot of similarities in behaviors as well, a couple of distinctions appear on a quick glance. First, REI’s audience has a much higher preference for Reddit and Linkedin. Second, they’re much more likely to use a desktop.
5. Make a decision about whether to pursue the partner
With all of the data collected using these .Trends tools, you can weigh the pros and cons of any potential partnership. Remember, partnerships take time, effort, and resources to build, so it’s crucial to make sure both your business and the potential partner have something to bring to the table.
In terms of the example partnership between Oakley and REI, a partnership may be a good fit. While REI doesn’t seem to be growing at any notable speed, they have a much larger audience, strong markets in different geographic regions, and have connections with audiences Oakley might benefit from if they could make the connection.
On the flip side, Oakley is smaller, but they’re growing faster, have a footing in the Brazilian market, and know how to use Social media to drive more traffic, all of which might be valuable to REI.
At the end of the day, partnerships are all about give and take based on the unique strengths of each partner. Here, we may have a match.