My Honest Review Of SimilarWeb (Read Before Buying)
September 29, 2023
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Companies that have adopted SimilarWeb review are not shy about calling it an analytics must-have. In reality, that is a watered-down summation of the powerful data analytics platform.
SimilarWeb is a gateway to competitive intelligence and website insights like traffic sources, audience metrics, geo profiles, and keyword performance. To leverage it is to employ one of the largest sources of digital information on the planet. It’s a tool that imparts significant value to companies with an online presence.
This in-depth review serves to highlight its key features as well as how the platform is deployed, with great success, in various industries. If you’re wondering whether SimilarWeb is for you, then you’ll find all the answers you seek here.
This information comes from a collection of business reviews, first-hand experience, and the SimilarWeb official website, so it is up-to-date, factual, and unbiased.
SimilarWeb – Overview
SimilarWeb is a web analytics tool that was founded in 2007 by Or Offer. The company sells web analytics services, which other companies use to optimize their ad campaigns and increase revenue.
It derives its significant data cache from a panel of web users that numbers in the hundreds of millions. This is the largest panel in the world.
SimilarWeb uses this panel’s collective internet activity in combination with web crawlers, external providers, contributory networks, and public data sources to create the multidimensional data that comprises its market intelligence.
Companies use SimilarWeb’s market intelligence to get insights on customer behavior, view competitor data, conduct market research, and even track down sales and investment opportunities.
SimilarWeb is free to use, with limited functionality, and its free trial runs out after seven days. It offers a Pro Package that starts at $200/month, but this is only revealed after speaking to a consultant.
In summary, here’s what the platform has to offer:
- Nine data metrics – Website overview, audience, geography, search traffic, display advertising, similar sites, referring sites, social, and mobile apps.
- Mobile app analysis – Overview, engagement, store page analysis, category analysis, and app keywords.
- Highly visual interface.
- Reliable data.
Nine Data Metrics
SimilarWeb’s dashboard is made up of nine data metrics covering about every aspect of a website’s performance. These are laid out in a rich visual format that’s particularly handy when doing side-by-side comparisons. This wealth of data represents the entirety of the company’s intelligence database and is divided into the following sections:
Under the Overview tab, you’ll see the website’s ranking, estimated monthly visits, and engagement stats.
The rankings show the site’s position globally, nationally, and in its category. Monthly traffic estimates go back six months, and engagement stats include the number of page views and average time on page.
The Geography tab shows where the site’s traffic is coming from. It displays it visually and numerically with a color-coded map chart and the percentage of traffic contributed by the top five highest sources of traffic (countries).
The third tab, labeled Referrals, shows a list of the site’s top ten inbound and outbound referral sites. The data shown here is aggregated from a period of three months.
The Search tab shows how much of the site’s traffic comes from organic keywords vs. how much of it comes from paid keywords. It also shows the share of search queries by engine and ten of the website’s best-performing keywords.
The Social tab lists the social networks sending traffic to the site. It lists the five highest sources of traffic, as well as the overall percentage of traffic, gained using social networks.
The Display tab shows the site’s top publishers and ad networks. It also shows how much traffic the top ten publishers bring in and the total percentage of traffic gained through display advertising.
You can click on Show The Ads to see real screenshots of the website’s ads.
The audience tab shows the website’s audience from both downstream and upstream marketing. It also shows other sites visited by the audience and arranges them by topic, category, and most visited.
The Similar Sites tab shows websites with similar content. This includes websites with the same topics, keywords, and possibly shared audiences.
Mobile Apps is the final tab on the dashboard. It shows any mobile apps related to the website.
Mobile App Analysis
SimilarWeb has sophisticated, in-depth app analysis capabilities. The company has invested heavily in the mobile sector to extrapolate valuable insights into mobile apps' performance. Even with some of their data collection apps still in Beta, the platform seems as dedicated to mobile app traffic as they are to website traffic.
Companies with mobile apps can take advantage of these intricate metrics to see how they perform against the competition and how popular they are in the category/industry.
App analysis is comprised of:
The Overview contains:
- A rating based on how the app ranks in its category.
- The number of installs.
- Audience Reviews.
Engagement data is restricted to Android users only, but it shows engagement metrics such as user behavior and average time on the app.
Store Page Analysis
The store page analysis compares the app store data of two or more apps. This includes traffic from external (search engine) and in-store keywords as well as the quantity of traffic from each source.
Putting two apps side-by-side is easy enough with the search bar's help, but there are other ways to find apps that are similar to yours.
You can search for apps via:
Apps On Fire
The analysis dashboard has a native feature called Apps on fire where it shows the five best-performing apps on Android and iOS. The apps are listed by how much their store rank has improved.
It’s worth noting that there are two ranking systems at play here. You have the Google Play Store/App Store ranking, and then there’s SimilarWeb’s app index.
This index’s ranking algorithm bases its results on the number of app installs and daily active users of each app. That makes the data look very different from the rankings provided by the store. This can be construed as beneficial because, ultimately, you’re getting more indicators of an app's performance.
You can narrow down your search for an app by setting filters such as the app store it is listed in, its category, country, and whether it’s free or paid.
You can also search for apps that rank for specific keywords via Google Play’s keyword analysis and the App Store’s top keyword feature. This allows you to view popular keywords by industry/category, plus all the apps that share your keywords.
This data can be exported in an Excel file for further analysis. Companies use this data to refine their keywords and improve their understanding of the search traffic in their category.
Highly Visual Interface
SimilarWeb collects a lot of data, and from a developer’s perspective, the biggest challenge is to display this data in a condensed yet highly detailed layout. How they present their data matters just as much as their sources' quality and the platform does a commendable job in both cases.
To ensure a satisfying user experience, SimilarWeb’s interface is vibrant, easily navigable, and well-labeled. It is reminiscent of an old-fashioned Alexa interface, both from a visual perspective and from its intuitiveness.
These are the strengths of the SimilarWeb interface:
- Speed: It remains fast despite the tremendous amount of data it fetches and the sharp visuals it produces.
- Data visualization: Charts, lists, and images are used to provide clear visuals of all the data displayed on the dashboard.
- Info buttons: Placed under each topic, info buttons give a quick explanation of the type of data generated.
- Data descriptions: On every subtopic, there is information about the data on display, including referrals, SERPs, relevant links, and more.
- Autocomplete: The tool automatically fills in competitor names based on its database, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.
SimilarWeb’s interface is a major reason why the web analytics service is a precious resource to heavy-duty digital marketers. It leaves nothing out and displays in-depth analytics in a way that’s easy to understand.
As mentioned earlier, SimilarWeb depends on a variety of data sources, most significantly their global user panel, to extrapolate their intelligence. The obvious concern here is the accuracy of these data sources, which is the key determinant of its reliability.
According to the website, the developers at SimilarWeb understand that no single data source is perfect and that every collection method has its strengths and weaknesses. It is why the company collects from not one or two, but four types of data sources:
- Direct first-party data – This data comes from people who willingly share their internet activity with SimilarWeb. This group includes website and mobile app owners as well.
- External data providers – SimilarWeb has partnered with companies that have millions of subscribers, who make up the largest external data supply in the industry.
- Contributory networks – SimilarWeb also uses anonymous data provided by their contributory networks. This data is anonymous because it is extracted from the site level, not through individual devices, and lacks Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
- Public data – The company uses its homegrown indexing engines and technologies to crawl the vast caches of public data available online.
Combining data from these four types of sources creates the multidimensional data that is the basis of the company’s operations. It has clearly invested a lot in its collection methods because the more sources it has, the more refined its data becomes.
That’s why it makes sense that some of its estimates are less accurate than others. Using Google Analytics’ traffic reports as the control figures, I measured the web traffic of a number of sites using SimilarWeb and discovered that it is less accurate for sites that get less than 50,000 visits a month.
The discrepancy, although noticeable, isn’t significant enough to be a drawback. And in the majority of cases, the estimates are closer to the accurate figures. In the few inaccuracies, SimilarWeb seems to slightly overestimate the numbers.
A few more tests proved that SimilarWeb has a rather accurate estimation of traffic distribution from different sources. That makes it sufficient for estimating a website’s traffic size over time as well as its sources.
All in all, the data is reliable enough to be used as a scale for website comparison.
SimilarWeb – Free Vs. PRO Package
The web analytics service offers a free trial, but the majority of its users are premium clients. They charge a monthly membership fee (disclosed upon consultation) once the 7-day free trial ends.
Oddly enough, the company doesn’t notify trial users that their period has ended, so it has suffered a lot of 1-star reviews from irate users who were charged without their knowledge.
Overall, the PRO Package has mostly good reviews, some of which attest to its value as a digital marketing tool.
Here is how the two plans look side by side:
With or without a subscription, you can download a full data report as a PDF file, which is forwarded to your email. This report, which is more or less a compilation of screenshots, can be requested alongside the code snippets for the website’s traffic sources graph and monthly visits.
As a PRO user, you also have the ability to download all charts and graphs as image (PNG) files and download Website Referral Traffic, Popular Words, and Search Terms data as Excel files that you can edit for your own needs.
The site reports that you save will attract weekly notifications on their changes, so users receive weekly update alerts on their dashboard and email.
You can choose to get general updates or keep track of specific metrics such as global rank and referral traffic.
Paid Custom Reports
Even if you don’t subscribe to the platform, SimilarWeb can still be of use to your business. It provides paid custom reports on request, which are tailored to your specific needs and preferences.
Therefore, you can simply purchase market intelligence if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use the tool.
Who Should Use SimilarWeb?
SimilarWeb’s in-depth market intelligence is helpful in multiple professions. It can be used to estimate the size and performance of a business with remarkable accuracy, making it a very handy data resource for research and optimization.
SimilarWeb For Marketers
Marketers have to constantly scour the landscape and their competition for the latest marketing strategies. To them, SimilarWeb isn’t just a tool for competitive analysis; it’s a gateway to insights like traffic-generating keywords, referral opportunities, ad network performance, and more.
Apart from giving you a collective overview of traffic and engagement levels across your marketing channels, SimilarWeb lets you “copy” your competitors’ strategy. It’s a superb system for finding new ways to grow your business.
Since these are strategies that already work for similar companies, you can focus your time and resources on the activities that drive the most traffic and cut down spending on less effective marketing channels. This is a surefire way to improve your ROI and increase your traffic share over time.
Keywords are beacons that lead new traffic to you. The “brighter” they are, the more easily found. And since SimilarWeb is a tower from which you can see every keyword that’s drawing traffic, it’s easy to find the brightest beacons.
Quite akin to paid keyword tools like Jaaxy Pro, SimilarWeb allows you to filter through keywords based on metrics like their search volume, click rate, competition, and more. With this information, you can improve your traffic share on the best-performing keywords to draw more traffic through your organic and paid search marketing.
Transparent Referral Sources
If your business is big on referral traffic, then SimilarWeb can be very valuable. Not only does it help you discover new referral opportunities, but it is also instrumental in managing your referral sources to ensure that you’re getting the best quality traffic.
With its in-depth analysis, you can inspect prospective partners, assess their traffic by channel, see what their audience likes, and gauge their engagement levels. You can also keep an eye on all your referral sources' performance and see how much traffic they bring, so it’s easier to know which sources are worth investing in.
Inspiration For Ad Creatives
Even with paid traffic, you never know what you’re doing right, which is why SimilarWeb’s ad-peeking capability can be a godsend. It allows you to create benchmarks for traffic and performance based on how your competitors, and the industry as a whole, are performing.
It gives you inside access to your competitors' ad activities, showing everything from Display Ads, video ads, PLAs, and more from a given period. It also shows you the ad networks that your rivals are using to get to their audience, and incidentally, how these ad networks perform.
SimilarWeb For Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs can take advantage of SimilarWeb to learn more about the market, competitors, and customers. It is an extremely useful source of insights that can be leveraged in advertising, product promotion, and company growth activities.
One of the most important uses of SimilarWeb is the creation of benchmarks based on how other companies are performing. To understand how to grow and improve, you must first gauge your digital presence. And the only way to do it is by looking at how others in your industry are fairing.
Benchmarking will help you create sound digital marketing strategies faster. It will also show you your overall position in the industry, which is a good way to calculate your market share and see how you can reach more people.
SimilarWeb is an increasingly useful tool for market research. Not only does it reveal emerging trends that you can capitalize on, but it also gives you a rather in-depth analysis of your market.
With the ability to cut out the guesswork when it comes to industry analysis and market research, it’s easier to create campaigns that resonate with your market. Real-time data analysis means that you can quickly adapt to market trends and build campaigns around the most recent market insights.
Whether you’re just keeping tabs on your competition or looking for new growth ideas, SimilarWeb is an incredible tool to use when researching other companies. It provides information that normally wouldn’t be publicly available, so it can be used to obtain a competitive edge over unwitting competitors.
Not only that, but SimilarWeb’s evaluation of a company’s digital performance is detail-rich, and you only need to study the data it provides to discover other companies' digital strategies, their campaign spending, and their possible revenue.
For entrepreneurs, nothing is more valuable than information about their audience. That’s why SimilarWeb is a must-have for any company looking to understand their customers' online behavior.
It can be used to reveal audience information such as age, gender, and location. It can also go further to tell you their search interests, your conversion rates, and incoming vs. outgoing traffic.
SimilarWeb is a great way to improve your audience engagement and explore new audience segments based to grow your customer base.
With all the help it offers when searching for new customers, SimilarWeb doesn’t stop there, but it continues to aid your conversion efforts with its detailed data presentation from all your digital marketing activities.
Some of the most useful data it provides is conversion data. SimilarWeb lays out every metric, including those at the bottom of the funnel, to help you understand what converts your audience into customers.
It plays a key role in the optimization of your conversion strategies and is an instrumental force for driving sales.
SimilarWeb For Salespeople
SimilarWeb caters to over 100,000 sales professionals, who rely on its data insights to find and retain business, and close deals more successfully. It is said to increase win rates by 10%, sales opportunities by 30 %, and ROI by 150 %.
As a sales tool, SimilarWeb’s strengths lie in its ability to narrow down similar audiences, create actionable insights, and improve lead quality to ensure more conversions.
Find New Opportunities From 100M+ Potential Customers.
SimilarWeb grants you access to over 100 million sales opportunities, 50 million of which come from publishers, 30 million from e-commerce sites, and 40 million from advertisers. Whether you’re in the process of establishing your customer pipeline or seeking new sales opportunities, the platform avails plenty of ripe avenues to pursue.
With the ability to filter these sources to match your preference, whether you’re vending digital services or real-world products, you can narrow down large sections of internet users with your desired customer traits. The potential for growth is nearly limitless.
Use Actionable Insights To Improve Your Sales Pitch
The sales pitch is often the first contact between you and your audience, so it is important to refine it until it matches their needs and interests. SimilarWeb’s audience insights can lend a very helpful hand when crafting the perfect sales pitch.
With unparalleled visibility into website traffic performance and technographics, you can arm your sales team with actionable insights that will help them close more sales, bringing you more revenue.
Qualify Your Target Audience
With SimilarWeb, you don’t have to settle for scraps when it comes to traffic. The platform’s innate ability to investigate user behavior will come in handy when building your ideal customer profile.
Digital revenue and performance data let you qualify your target prospects to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your ad investment. This way, you can focus your resources and efforts on getting quality traffic that will lead to more conversions.
SimilarWeb For Investors
Today, investors must base their decisions on more than the financial performance of a company. One important metric is their digital presence, and SimilarWeb is a great tool for assessing how healthy a company is online.
It’s a source of new investment ideas, an encyclopedia of website information, and a handy dashboard to monitor your companies' performance.
Pinpoint Emerging Investment Ideas
SimilarWeb equips you with a pipeline of new investment ideas in real-time. The platform’s database, which is updated every 48 hours, will help you keep abreast with emerging players and trends.
Assess the Health Of Any Company
SimilarWeb grants you unparalleled visibility into a company's digital health, information that’s crucial when evaluating your investment opportunities. You can use this information to validate your decisions to invest or pull out, especially since you can use other websites as benchmarks for your investments' performance.
SimilarWeb allows you to customize your analyses to a great extent, which means you can search for data in different contexts and focus on the metrics that matter to you most.
Monitor The Performance Of Your Companies
SimilarWeb gives you 360° visibility into the performance of digital platforms, industries, and geographical locations, and this unparalleled view can afford you the power to keep a close watch on trends, inflection points, and the companies you’ve invested in.
You have a wide range of data sets at your disposal, including organic search performance, monthly traffic, traffic geography, and traffic trends. This data, which is constantly refreshed, can be invaluable to your investment portfolio.
See The Digital Landscape In Its Entirety
SimilarWeb provides unlimited data at the industry and website level. It provides web traffic and engagement insights, and it is one of the best sources of data on the performance of digital marketing channels.
The service uses data from real users and is, therefore, a treasure trove for audience information. It’s also a powerful keyword research tool, and it can help you refine your SEO best practices with its keyword search filters.
The icing on the cake is the platform itself, which is very user-friendly and data-rich. Visual data formats make large amounts of information easy to digest—you don’t need to be a digital marketer to understand each dataset.
Pros, Cons, And Verdict
There are a lot of perks to using SimilarWeb, as well as a few drawbacks, but the overarching outcome is largely beneficial. To those who see it as a digital marketing revolution, these are some of the benefits they enjoy:
- Huge datasets. It includes site visits, traffic quantities and sources, social media, geo-distribution, audience metrics, and more.
- Comprehensive overview. At a glance, the well-structured data summary tells you all the important aspects of any website.
- Decent user interface. It makes going through large amounts of data much easier, especially since it is snappy and responsive.
- Organic keywords. SimilarWeb collects organic search keywords even when they’re not provided.
- Global data. It’s not just focused on users in the US, Canada, and Europe.
- Sufficient free version. It offers a lot of functionality to users without subscriptions.
- Exportable data. All your research on SimilarWeb can be exported in PDF, PNG, and other file formats.
SimilarWeb is a great web analytics service, but it’s not perfect. The platform does have a few shortcomings, some of which may be addressed in future updates. They are:
- Lack of unique visitor tracking. There’s a notable lack of information on the number of unique visitors per given period, which is an important metric.
- Web traffic is purely desktop traffic. The estimates don’t include traffic from mobile devices, which make up a significant portion of web traffic in 2021.
- Seems less accurate with smaller websites (under 50K monthly visits).
SimilarWeb is irrefutably useful, particularly to site owners and digital marketers. The competitive intelligence it provides enables you to copy what the pros are doing, get a sense of the business landscape, and benchmark your website and others' performance.
Data estimates are a little skewed in some instances, and it is advisable to get a second report from Google Analytics when structuring campaigns based on traffic size and conversion rates. However, it’s a good source of traffic volume by channel and an even better audience geo profiles source.
Touted as a tool for ‘heavy-duty’ digital marketers, SimilarWeb can satisfy your need for competitive intelligence and industry data that you can use to grow for years to come.
About THE AUTHOR
After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.Learn more about SparrowBoost