Regardless if you are a business owner, marketer, salesperson, blogger, or someone trying to build up their social media and online fan base, tracking your analytics (finding meaningful patterns in data) is one of the best ways to measure performance.
We all want to see how popular our websites are and even monitor how our competitors are doing. But if done correctly, your analytics can identify and attract the right type of customer, help you optimize your marketing campaigns, increase your web performance to attract more customers, and benchmark your site with your competitors and industry.
The problem is that making sense of the data and measuring marketing effectiveness can be a challenge. According to a recent study, a majority of organizations find this the biggest bottleneck they face. Thankfully there are some tools that can help make sense of your data by providing actionable insights, uncover opportunities, and give competitive intelligence. Here are some top online sites and tools I use!
Google Analytics is by far one of the most robust web analytic tools that analyzes your visitor traffic. Based on that data, it gives you a picture of your audience, your demographics, needs, and helps you segment them. Your dashboard shows how many people visit your site, how long they stay, where they come from, what pages they visited, and other detailed information.
In addition to giving you valuable website insights, you can use the “Behavior” and “Conversions” reports to improve your website’s usability to get them to stay longer, identify your target audience, and see where your visitors drop out of your conversion process if you have one.
Google Analytics also helps you optimize online marketing campaigns. You can target a niche audience and measure the results of your different marketing campaigns. Now instead of making assumptions, you can make changes to your marketing and website with real-time data. Best of all, getting an account is free, all you will need to do is put the tracking code on your site, then watch the data come in!
Alexa tracks traffic to your site based on what they call their global traffic panel, which is a sample of millions of Internet users using 25,000 different browser extensions and their Alexa script. The global traffic rank of your site (or a competitor’s) is a measure of how it is doing relative to other sites on the web over the last 3 months. They calculate the rank using their proprietary methodology that combines your site’s estimate average of daily unique visitors and your estimated number of pageviews over the past 3 months. They also provide your site’s rank in your respective country.
Alexa, like Google Analytics, gives you data on your audience demographics. It tracks how similar your site’s audience is to the general internet population (gender, education, browsing location). It also gives the audience geography or where your site’s visitors are located. Alexa tracks where your visitors come from in terms of search traffic (need to be ranked less than 100,000 globally), and top search keywords that send traffic to your site. There is more that the site offers and most of the information is free, but you will have upgrade to their premium version to get more detailed information. Alexa was founded in 1996 and is now owned by Amazon.
SimilarWeb is similar to Alexa in that measures online behavior worldwide and generates marketing insights. They too have a number of different data sources to analyze the billion plus webpages out there. SimilarWeb states that their panel data is the biggest in the industry with tens of millions of users. Then they use statistical analysis and machine learning techniques to turn it into the actionable knowledge they give you. They also provide similar sites to yours or a competitors.
They have a free version, but if you want more detailed information, you will have to pay. Interestingly, my rank in SimilarWeb is quite different than in Alexa by a large margin. I think the biggest thing to note is to take each of the rankings with a grain of salt, it may or may not be a good reflection, but it will at least help measure your progress over time. SimilarWeb also tracks traffic sources, geography, referring sites, search traffic, social, and much more.
Compete.com is another one similar to both Alexa and SimilarWeb. They have their own behavioral data methodology to give marketing and business insights. If your website doesn’t have enough visitors, you will have to subscribe to a paid subscription to get it. Otherwise, sites with enough visitors will get a data overview, similar sites like the one you are measuring, where the traffic comes from, and also a comparison tool to compare your site to other ones.
Compete delivers digital intelligence analyzed from their data to help businesses improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers. They have analytical experts in different industries to give recommendations on effective online experiences and to help create profitable advertising campaigns.
Quantcast measures audience insights for over 100 million web and mobile sites. Like the other web analytic tools, it collects and organizes real-time data about the traffic a website gets, and the demographics of your audience (age, gender, children per household, education, income, political affiliation), geographic, visitor interests, and other similar websites data. Quantcast also has a compare tool to measure your site’s activity in relation to your competition.
Quantcast focuses on analyzing the performance of your site from a marketing perspective, so you can identify your respective audience. It also allows marketers and publishers to buy and sell ads targeted to certain segments for-real time and relevant advertising.
Follow combines some of the web analytics tools above with other web data and gives you an online dashboard with the respective site’s metrics. Follow states that they make it easy to know everything your competitors are doing online. It is free for Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari. After you sign-up, you need to add an extension to your web browser.
Once the Follow extension is installed, you can see how websites acquire and engage its audience. You can follow a website and get alerts to see what your competitors are doing. I use chrome, so when I go to a website, I see the extension on the right of the url bar above my bookmarks. You can click the extension and a window pops up, giving you the traffic estimates from Compete and Alexa, the search engine optimization (SEO) information, top keywords, search engine marketing, social media mentions, and much more.
WooRank analyzes websites and gives actionable insights on how you can optimize your website. The information helps you achieve higher search engine ranking, convert more visitors into customers, monitor your competitors, and track the performance of your marketing campaigns.
WooRank scores your website, and provides a prioritized list of tasks you should do. There are further recommendations based on optimization, mobile-friendly, usability, social shareability, and measuring your Alexa traffic.