Compete (owned by TNS Media in the UK), founded in 2002, is a provider of web traffic data of analytics, research and business intelligence used to help define and refine marketing strategies. It gathers information from a list of approximately 2 million plus consumers and ISPs and then collates this information and analyzes it to provide custom reports for client companies for competitive intelligence, keyword research, market analysis and marketing strategies.
Compete is also well know for offering a browser plug-in that is used by millions who rely upon it as a quick reference tool. This tool is also integrated with a number of other tools and services including Aaron Wall’s very popular SEO Book plug-in. We like and use both plug-ins.
But, as below, Compete’s traffic data needs to be taken with a grain of salt (raw traffic) – in our experience it can be off by 30-50% (or more) when contrasted with Google Analytics. Although to be fair, even Google Analytics is not always as accurate as many think. Effective online marketing strategies necessitate an embrace of multiple platforms and processes!
Compete.com focuses on providing marketers (mostly to bigger corp entities) with actionable digital intelligence, providing perspective on web traffic patterns, keywords and insight about direct competitor’s web traffic.
Unlike others, Compete is just not scraping raw traffic and providing this via a services or tool; they are actually gathering information from consumers and other sources and then analyzing it for specific metrics.
Direct competitors include: ComScore, NetRatings, Quncast, Alexa, which is owned by Amazon and Nielsen/Net Ratings and second tier services providers (Keyword Research and Analysis apps and services) like SpyFu, SEM Rush and Market Samurai.
Compete.com offers a number of useful tools that small businesses can put to work for their Internet marketing strategies:
Search analytics: Compete pulls information from consumers who have signed up with them, ISPs and other sources (not just Google) and provides this in a very sophisticated reporting format. This report can be used for one or two sites and shows: Highly Engaging Keywords, High Traffic Keywords, Natural Keywords, Long Tail Keywords, Total Time Index and Average Time Index with a scale rating for comparison purposes.
Keyword Analysis: Where Compete really shines is in its Keyword Analysis a capability, especially for competitive intelligence. This service (reports) can give you real insight into a competitor’s search engine rankings by specific keywords and also help you uncover market segments you may not be addressing with your content and keyword strategy.
Ranked lists: Looks at various sites and keywords, and ranks them based on a number of factors such as search volume, popularity, time spent, monthly volume and saturation. These can be broken down into top 200 up to 500K domains.
Site profiles: Compete.com can look at a website – either yours or one belonging to a competitor and tell you quite a bit about the site’s search engine strategy, and about how well that strategy seems to be working. In this way you can test your own SEO efforts and make adjustments. You can also look at competing sites and see some of the tactics they’re using that work, and in some cases adapt those tactics to improve your web site traffic and keyword rankings.
Audience profiles: This report enables you to take a close look at the audience for a given site, and gives you a surprisingly deep look at the demographics and behaviors of site visitors.
Site Profile Overlay: Similar to an Analytics program, providing a snapshot of: Unique Visitors, Pageviews, Average Stay, Demographics Profile and includes an active link to more referral and search analytics. Note: the Site Profile Section also enables you to compare up to five sites simultaneously, which is powerful and provides actionable intelligence, enabling you to get some sense of a competitors web site traffic and keyword usage.
Referral Analytics: This is a good feature, providing you with specific search engine’s a site is doing well with and again, may uncover real competitive intelligence.
There are three main tiers to compete.com pricing, as well as a team pricing option. Here are the primary subscription models and their features.
The Intro Plan:
Detailed site traffic data
The ability to export data
Ranked lists that give up to the top 200 sites
The intro plan is $199 per month, or $166 per month when you buy a year at a time.
The Standard Plan:
All of the features of the intro plan
Ranked lists give up to the top 1,000 sites
You can also compare paid vs. organic site traffic
The standard plan is $299 per month, or $250 per month when you buy a year at a time.
The Advanced Plan:
All of the features of the standard plan
Ranked lists give the top 15,000 sites
Analysis of paid search keywords
Incoming traffic source analysis
Outgoing traffic destination analysis
The Advanced Plan is $499 per month, or $416 per month when you buy a year at a time.
The team plans are built with custom pricing models. They allow multiple users, and they include telephone support. They also add in features like industry category graphic and behavioral category traffic.
Compete’s web based reporting interface is fairly intuitive, and has a relatively low learning curve. But, be forewarned, you need to have good baseline familiarity with search engine optimization and related keyword analysis to get a lot out of this platform.
Or, be prepared to learn same to get ROI if you are using Compete, especially with the higher pricing tier (Advanced Plan), which is not low cost. Again, effective marketing strategies necessitate using multiple platforms like Compete coupled with others including Google Analytics, backlink and keyword analysis tools and dovetail with your content marketing strategy as well.
This is a valuable platform and service. The biggest criticism we have (and others) is that some of the data on web search traffic can be off by 30-50%, or more in some cases. But, web site traffic does not exist in a vacuum and when we compare contrast Google Analytics traffic with WordPress Traffic Tools we use or Server Traffic Reporting, we find discrepancies in Google Analytics as well.
But, for a small to medium sized business, this is a great service that will help you get a better handle on your search engine rankings and optimization and then compare and contrast this with direct competitors. Giving you insight and actionable intelligence, especially for keyword rankings that you may be missing and/or market segmentation.
But, to get the true breadth and depth of this platform you need to sign up for Compete’s Advance Plan, which may be expensive for many small businesses at $499. per month. You may or not be much better off paying an SEO firm or agency to run a detailed SEO Audit and here is a guerilla marketing tip: check out Google’s Ad Planner and Google Trends, although the latter seems to be losing some of its accuracy.
Again for best marketing strategies best results you may want to test Compete and then map their data against Google Analytics and adjust your marketing mix (content, social media, email marketing, blog) moving forward.