SimilarWeb and Alexa are two of the biggest players in the online competitive intelligence field. Alexa, one of the most well-known and commonly used competitive intelligence tools around the world, has been go-to for most marketers, publishers and business executives for years. A company that in its 8 years has rapidly grown, SimilarWeb gives Alexa a good run for its money when it comes to traffic data, web rankings and more.
As a digital marketing company with many years experience utilizing such tools (and following our full reviews of both Alexa and SimilarWeb), we at AddThink have decided to put these two competitive intelligence powerhouses head to head, to help you decide which is the right tool for your marketing and the business decision needs.
For the purpose of this comparison, we have compared SimilarWeb and Alexa using their ‘most popular’ plans- that is, the plans they encourage users to purchase- SimilarWeb’s Advanced vs Alexa’s Insight. We have chosen amazon.com as our ‘test’ domain.
Alexa’s Site Overview offers a slightly more descriptive picture of the traffic flow of the domain you are analyzing. By analyzing information such as the upstream and downstream sites, visitor demographics and backlinks of a competitor’s domain, you can find new online opportunities for your business, such as potential partner sites, new target markets and much more.
Alexa’s ‘Site Keywords’
Alexa’s Site Keywords offers 3 categories of keyword information:
- Organic Keywords: ranked by the percentage of search traffic each keyword brings to amazon.com.
- Paid Keywords: ranked by the number of ads that appear for each keyword.
- Opportunities: shows keywords that send traffic to amazon.com but are also being targeted by the site’s competitors.
Data Sources and Accuracy
According to SimilarWeb’s website, their data is collected from 4 main sources:
- SimilarWeb Panel: With over 200 million monitored devices across over 190 countries, the Panel’s data is collected from tens of thousands of software applications and extensions.
- SimilarWeb Crawler: SimilarWeb’s own web crawlers scan over 2 billion web pages per month to analyse online content.
- ISP & Partnership Data: Local internet service providers located in different countries help SimilarWeb collect clickstream and app data.
- Direct Measurement Learning Set: Hundreds of thousands of websites and apps directly connected to SimilarWeb that provide measurement sources.
SimilarWeb claims their collected data is carefully checked and screened to ensure statistical bias is ignored from their samples. The traffic algorithm calculates visits on a daily basis to ensure the representations are as accurate as possible.
Our team performed a small test, analyzing a number of our clients’ websites in both SimilarWeb and Google Analytics to compare the results. Our tests indicated that SimilarWeb’s traffic data (visits and traffic sources) more closely represented data from Google Analytics for sites with greater sums of traffic (over 50 thousand monthly visits). However, SimilarWeb’s data was quite accurate in terms of reporting traffic trends and distributions no matter the size of the site.
Alexa’s traffic data is collected from their Traffic Panel, sampling millions of users’ online behavior via one of over 25,000 browser extensions. On top of the extensions, Alexa also pulls data from sites that have installed the Alexa script on their site (and certify their metrics).
We compared Alexa’s data with that of Google Analytics for a number of our clients’ websites. Whilst certain metrics such as pages per session and audience geography were spot on, others were not as accurate. Although, we did notice that for websites with greater traffic, the breakdown of traffic sources (in Alexa’s site comparison) did more closely mimic the results of Google Analytics. Interestingly, for sites with smaller quantities of traffic (in the range of 60,000-70,000 visitors per month) for which it had ranked the site out of its top 100,000, Alexa could not offer any data insights, while SimilarWeb offered a full analysis.
Another thing to note, is that the majority of Alexa’s insights are based on the previous 3 months of data collection, whilst SimilarWeb allows you to change the data set to analyse metrics from 1 month to 12 months prior.
Packages and Pricing
Alexa and SimilarWeb both offer 3 paid packages, as well as a sneak peak of their data for free. Without signing up, you can view the basic Site Overview data on Alexa or a comprehensive selection of metrics on SimilarWeb (such as traffic sources, top 5 paid and organic keywords, similar sites and related mobile apps).
- Basic ($199/month): Offers website analysis with up to 6 months of data, 30 results per metric and full website comparison. Also includes Mobile App Analysis with 3 months of ranking and 6 months of traffic data.
- Advanced: Offers website analysis with up to 12 months of data, 500 results per metric, full website comparison and mobile app analysis. The Advanced package also includes Industry Analysis (traffic and engagement metrics for over 200 industry categories) and Google Play Keywords insights.
- Enterprise: Website analysis with up to 24 months of data, unlimited results, filtering by countries and US states, mobile web metrics, full mobile app and industry analyses and Google Play Keyword Insights. The Enterprise package also offers Mobile App Engagement data such as daily active users, usage patterns, retention, app index, current installs and 6 months of engagement data. This mobile app data is a definite bonus as the online shift to mobile continues.
- Basic ($9.99/month): includes Alexa Rank, engagement metrics, reputation metrics, basic demographics and up to 6 months of historic traffic trends (reach% and pageviews%).
- Insight ($49/month): offers the same metrics as the basic plan plus traffic sources, full audience demographics and keyword research.
- Advanced ($149/month): offers the same metrics as the Insight plan plus Alexa’s Site Screener, full traffic metrics plus a full site audit every two weeks from Alexa.
Alexa currently offers a 1 week free trial on all plans.