A lot of people love baseball because it’s all about quantifiable data. You can measure not just things like a pitcher’s Earned-Run Average (ERA), but even a batter’s performance against a left-handed pitcher when the bases are loaded with two outs in extra innings during the playoffs.
While not quite as dramatic, digital PR today is also full of data – and we want as much of it as we can get because it helps measure the success of campaigns and show return on investment. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular website analytic tools: Compete.com and Alexa.
Compete.com: An easy way to find metrics like unique monthly visitors for a website, Compete.com is a panel-based measurement service. This means their data is a sample drawn from more than 2 million U.S. consumers who have opted-in to provide information. By comparison, Google Analytics uses web analytics data collected by cookies. To oversimplify – Compete.com measures actual online behavior based on consumers, while web analytics measures behavior based on cookies.
So while Compete.com is a quick way to gauge traffic, it shouldn’t be your only stop when gathering data. What Compete.com lacks in a larger sample pool, it more than makes up for in ease of use and user interface. Simply type in the site you’re looking for and you get a snapshot of web traffic over the last month, months, or even years:
Scrolling down, you also get useful information like UMVs from the previous month, the percent change month over month, the Compete.com ranking, as well as related sites to check out for competitive analysis.
Advanced functions at the Pro and Pro Enterprise level give users an expanded sample pool, keyword research and analysis, and industry category settings. But as mentioned above, take these figures with a grain of salt as each analytics site will use a different data collection methodology, and as such will produce different results. Give it a test drive at https://blog.compete.com.
Alexa: Now owned by Amazon, Alexa takes web analytics a step further by providing useful data like historical traffic trends, demographics, sites linking in, social metrics, user engagement, as well as a base-level competitive review. Alexa is available in three tiers of Basic, Insight, and Advanced. The Basic level offers just site metrics – to get more advanced data like keyword analysis, SEO checker, and site audits means springing the Advanced tier.
Alexa’s dashboard provides an at-a-glance snapshot of your website’s performance. The downside is you can only view one website per dashboard, so if you’re managing multiple sites, this could get clunky. But it does provide the basics like global and US ranks, daily pageviews, bounce rates, and average duration of visits. On the right, we see competitors and their rankings.
Clicking through to see all metrics provides a bit more information, such as average traffic rank, audience geography, and referring sites.
Alexa claims they are most accurate because they count 100 percent of your traffic by installing their Certify Code on your site that begins directly measuring and reporting. They also claim to filter out web crawlers and other bots that artificially inflate figures. In addition, it will alert you to any sudden changes, so if there’s a sudden drop, you can quickly isolate the root cause and take action.
So as you can see, Alexa and Compete.com serve different purposes – Alexa is great if you’re managing a blog or website, and need to ensure you have a handle on your site’s traffic metrics. Compete.com is great if you need a quick look at the UMV figures for a placement, to vet a digital influencer’s website, or to measure keyword effectiveness. Also important to note that Compete.com recently partnered with comScore, so we’ll likely see a change in their offerings in the near future.