A couple of weeks back a really nice guy from SimilarWeb contacted me about a product he assured me would supplant Alexa as the web’s most prolific website ranking device. Speaking with, Daniel Buchuk, their Head Of Brand & Business Strategy today, as it turns out he was probably right. Swamped like an Okefenokee alligator here, I was erratically testing SimilarWeb, only to be scooped by none other than TechCrunch and The Next Web.
Well I say, “rats” on that, and offer up my short assessment for our marketing readership here.
The little engine of Amazon’s that could in web analytics for years now, Alexa (landing above) is actually a favorite tool of mine. I have the little Chrome and Firefox toolbars additives up top, just so I can quickly evaluate the relative strength or weakness of a website. I expect many use the tool for similar reasons. Plus, the skinny on Alexa rankings and comparatives has always been simplicity and fairly accurate basic site scrutiny. As anyone knows though, Compete and Quantcast, plus some others, cut deeply into Alexa’s core constituency sometime back. Daniel offered his take on gaining momentum on Alexa:
“It is exciting to see SimilarWeb becoming a must-have tool for competitor analysis, but the best is yet to come. We are working at full steam to finish SimilarWeb PRO, the best system to stay on top of your competitors web activity. It will enable users to create bespoke portfolios of competitors and our technology will proactively alert users about significant traffic changes within their competitive landscape.”
To transition this story away from focusing on Alexa, maybe the best way to do so if relating a recent incident between me and support there at Alexa. After my first evaluation of SimilarWeb, admittedly a brief one, I began to wonder at Alexa’s ultimate accuracy. The reason being we have a travel news website, indexed in Google News, and a long player in a niche – bottom line, stuck in Alexa ranking just under half a million. Fast forwarding, I decided to contact Alexa. Fast in responding, the representative quickly A – browbeat me with newbie info, then B – suggested we add the paid Alexa analytic for our site. “Hmm, I wondered?”
SimilarWeb has situated itself nearly perfectly where complacency left a big hole. Strategy or luck, the Israeli parent, SimilarGroup is leveraging the same user-centrism Alexa made millions off of, only in more modern and cooler costume. Plus, the metrics play out a lot differently too. Differentiating, Martin Bryant over at TNW says SimilarWeb provide far more fine grained data, and this is certainly true as the screen below reveals a bit. I chose Waggener Edstrom from our PR niche as an example, and while there is still not enough data in SimilarWeb’s system about grainy things like social and referral comparatives, showing Edelman and Shift Communications at the least indicates a smart matrix for me.
Taking this track a step farther, I input APCO Worldwide, a bit of an older entity where web analytics are concerned. As you can easily see in the social referral graphic below from SimilarWeb, doing some nifty competitor analysis, and other studies, is a bit of fun with this cool new tool. Looks like Margery Kraus has her people jamming where Facebook is concerned. I can personally attest to this, having contacted their SM team there many times. Onward and upward.
You Old Fogey…
The big “take away” here for anyone interested in site numbers is, Alexa has but one choice at this juncture – revamp or perish. I do not say this casually, I said before the Alexa toolbar and comparative ease is a favorite. However, just as Yahoo! lost a massive market share, as Netscape faded into the never never, and as surely as Google is teasing complacency too, Alexa has left a double garage door open. Excuse the metaphors here, but the metrics cat is out of the bag, all that remains is if Alexa can modernize fast enough, or be overtaken by the superior interface before they can. The new tool looks, acts, and is warmer and fuzzier, when the data is in, it’s over unless.
These are like tools in a race to users, sad for Alexa to have to be racing at their age.