Taking a sneak peek at your competitors’ site traffic is the best way you can discover relevant benchmarks for assessing your own digital marketing performance.
For instance, reporting to your boss (or client) that your traffic grew by 10% sounds great. But if you’re dealing with business-savvy people (and I hope you are), they’ll immediately ask – what was the market’s overall growth rate this year? And what were our competitors’ growth rates?
And they’d be right to ask for this info.
You can only find this data with the help of third-party market and competitive intelligence tools. While many solutions love to call themselves “your ultimate competitive intel platform”, very few offer valuable and actionable data.
This is exactly what I’ll address in this post to help you choose between multiple traffic analysis solutions.
Site traffic analytics – top solutions and tool comparisons
Semrush Trends: Full Coverage of Market and Competitive Intel
Semrush’s recently repackaged competitive intelligence toolkit is called Semrush Trends.
The solution includes two tools that are added on top of your regular Semrush subscription at a separate cost:
- Market Explorer
This tool gives an extensive market overview, reflecting the market’s growth (decline) dynamics, the key market players, their online market share, as well as uncovering in-market audience demographics, interests, platform preferences, and more.
- Traffic Analytics
This tool is often referred to as Google Analytics for competitors. You’ll get a performance overview of any website, along with a channel-by-channel traffic source breakdown that provides insights into your rivals’ traffic acquisition priorities.
On top of this, the tool also uncovers your competitors’ most visited pages, engagement, and user behavior stats.
Traffic Analytics allows you to check up to five competitors at once, without the need to go back and forth in your traffic comparison.
With industry-standard data accuracy, Semrush Trends is a wonderful solution for those looking for the best value per dollar spent.
With transparent pricing (you can have a basic Semrush plan + Semrush Trends for $319), this platform features some amazing perks:
- Mobile data
- Historical data (you can go back as early as April 2016)
- Largest geography coverage – 190 countries and regions
- Access to Semrush’s ecosystem of advanced tools for everything digital marketing: SEO, PPC, content marketing, digital PR, and social media.
Similarweb: A Custom Solution for Market and Competitive Insights
Similarweb may be the first solution that pops up when you think about traffic analysis. It has several features similar to Semrush:
- Accuracy-wise, Similarweb’s traffic data quality is comparable to Semrush. In some cases – lower-mid traffic range (50K-150K visits) – it is even superior, while for smaller (<50K) and larger (150K+) sites Semrush shows fewer errors.
- Similarweb data covers 90 countries and allows you to go back to 37 months. Note that all these features, as well as mobile data, come at separate pricing, so you will have to spend more to do extra research.
- It provides traffic data for two more channels than Semrush – it returns traffic stats for display and mail.
This platform offers other add-ons to bring its feature-set closer to Semrush, such as keyword research, PPC management, and more. However, since all these areas aren’t its specialty, I wouldn’t recommend paying extra for access to these tools.
Similarweb is a good option if you don’t need wide geography, device, or overall digital marketing coverage – you can get a customizable plan that serves your needs and you won’t pay for anything you don’t need.
The most confusing part about Similarweb is its pricing. It’s simply not transparent, so you have to talk to a sales rep before getting a ballpark number.
Alexa: Convenient But Not Comprehensive
The next tool you’ve probably heard of is Alexa. Thanks to the Alexa website rank, this tool became extremely well known in digital marketing circles.
At first glance, Alexa seems to cover everything you need when it comes to competitive research:
- Run website analysis for traffic, keywords, and backlinks.
- Discover sites you share large audience chunks with.
- See how your site stacks up against competitors in regards to traffic, traffic sources, and engagement.
- Reveal topics that resonate the most with your audience.
However, Alexa’s data comes with one big drawback. It only gathers data from users who have installed browser extensions that have an Alexa script. This narrows down Alexa’s data coverage so the quality is less representative than Semrush or Similarweb.
I’ve covered the three best solutions for truly extensive market and competitive insights. However, there are a few other options that cover smaller sections of the analysis process.
- Serpstat offers insights into your rivals’ organic and paid strategy, however, it doesn’t have traffic data or diverse channel coverage. This is more of an SEO or PPC research and management tool that shouldn’t be viewed as a market or full-on competitor analysis solution.
- SpyFu could also be described in similar terms as Serpstat.
- Ahrefs is a more comprehensive solution than the previous two – it covers the organic and paid aspects of website analytics. While it has superb SEO capabilities – its toolkit is especially renowned among advanced SEO professionals – when it comes to market and competitive analysis, it really doesn’t compare to Semrush, Similarweb, or even Alexa.
What’s the best tool for website traffic analysis?
I hope this article has given you the necessary background to go out into the digital world and pursue success with some top-notch market and competitive analysis tools.
While each tool I have mentioned has its perks and drawbacks, you will have to come up with a list of criteria before making the final judgment.
The possible factors to consider:
- Data quality and accuracy: this aspect is especially important for traffic analysis, as you don’t want to make adjustments to your digital marketing strategy based on the wrong assumptions.
- Extra features: since you’re paying for a solution, you may want to assess what is included in the price of a subscription. As in Similarweb’s case, the platform comes with a lot of features, but they are all available at an extra cost. Whereas, Semrush is all-inclusive.
- Pricing: This point doesn’t need any further elaboration.
Let me know which tool is your favorite when it comes to gathering market and competitive intel.