Alternative methods of measuring your digital marketing performance
If you are looking for an alternative solution following the demise of Hitwise, then we may be able to help.
If you have missed the news, then catch-up by reading the news about the demise of Jumpshot – one of the leading suppliers of clickstream data to the digital marketing industry.
Less than a month after Jumpshot’s parent company Avast announced it was no longer going to be collecting and selling consumer data and closing its web analytics subsidiary Jumpshot; then Hitwise one of its key customers followed suit and announced that it too is to close down with immediate effect.
This whole saga posts serious questions about the longevity of SaaS solutions that are based on the collection of clickstream data without adequate disclosure and permission from consumers.
In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of accessing products that use clickstream data and what alternatives there are for search marketers by using intelligently gathered anonymous data from the SERPs.
What is Clickstream data used for in SEO and digital marketing?
This data was sold to marketing agencies (and other companies) who wanted to know their users’ behaviour and the performance of their company within the market (ie. the market share). Many of those who worked in online marketing putting together reports to show the actions of users before and after leaving a site, highlighting that if one did not keep users’ interested on their site, then they would go to a competitor (also seen in the clickstream data).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Clickstream data?
Clickstream data gives you access to detailed information about the user behaviour of a large anonymous panel of web users
This can include websites and pages visited, searches within those websites, organic market share% data, competitive upstream and downstream insights and even basket size, bounce rates and more besides
Some of this information really is very hard to get from any other source
Depending upon how the data is gathered it can not be representative of the market or country you are in or the demographics of the audience you are targeting
It can sometimes be stratified and weighted or be biased to a particular device type (e.g. mobile devices) which means the data points have to be extrapolated and estimated for other devices
It can be very expensive to gather and thus the downstream products that use this data can be prohibitively expensive to all but the largest brands and agencies – putting them out of the reach of most SMEs
There are serious question marks around how legitimately the data is gathered and re-sold – are consumers really aware that their data is being packaged and sold in this manner
If you are reliant on this data then there is a risk that your supply could be abruptly terminated as we have seen in recent cases with Hitwise and Jumpshot. Given the relatively high profile campaigns lead by privacy lobby groups and the steps by leading industry players like the Google Chromium team (see Privacy Sandbox for more information) to stem the flow of user data collected by browsers and browser plugins – then surely they will not be the last companies reliant on clickstream data to shutter operations.
Authoritas vs Hitwise – What can Authoritas offer to existing Hitwise clients?
If you have been affected by Hitwise’s closure, if you are a client of Hitwise worldwide looking for a quick new drop-in solution that can give you consistency in your search marketing and competitive performance monitoring then look no further!
Yes, you can look at Similar Web (already offering a 60 day free trial to Hitwise users) and yes they have an interesting product but it is also based on clickstream data – and isn’t this simply a case of being out of the frying pan and into the fire? You’ve been burned once, and suffered the inconvenience of having your reporting you rely on suddenly halted – do you really want to risk getting burned again?
Authoritas – offers an alternative array of big data-driven tools that can replicate some (but obviously not all) of the existing functionality of your Hitwise reporting solution.
Hitwise allowed users to look at the overall traffic behaviour of sites and industries. This meant users were able to see the sites and also the industries their visitors went to BEFORE they landed on their site. It was also useful to find out where visitors were going after they left a site, were they going to a competitor for example? It was also very useful for calculating your market share of search (organic and paid) versus your competition.
With the demise of Hitwise as well as Jumpshot, it will become harder and harder to analyse this clickstream data. There are other platforms available (today at least) but the majority are still not being 100% transparent about how they source their data.
Equivalent SEO Analysis, Insights and Reporting to Hitwise
At Authoritas and Linkdex, we have never collected, aggregated or used clickstream data of any kind in our products.
Authoritas Data Collection Methodology
We gather our information from our SERPs API…anonymously! We use a real web browser and a unique IP address simulating a fresh user visiting a search engine for the first time.
We capture the full search engine results page(s) and can analyse all the different SERP features (ads, organic, shopping, videos, featured snippets, news, images, etc, etc) that appear for a given keyword phrase or question in any search engine worldwide, in all major languages on a mobile or desktop device, and even to a local search level if required.
We capture all ranking URLs and can then intelligently analyse this data to give you some great competitive benchmarking data, competitive insights and gap analysis for SEO and content marketing – this data can also be useful for paid search teams.
In effect, unlike anonymous web stream data, we can customise the collection for you of a very specific set of industry relevant keywords and questions that your potential customers will be searching with and can research the competitive landscape giving you a completely anonymised and unbiased view of your search marketing performance.
Better still – no personally identifiable information (PII) is accessed using our methods! It is all gathered and modelled at the country, industry, category, website, page, and keyword level.
Our Campaign Visibility feature allows users to group their terms by keyword tags and keyword groups as well as by domains/sub-domains. This means users are able to gain an accurate market share of their site against competitors overall and then drill-down into each category or market niche.
It is an interactive feature, meaning users can add and subtract different domains which in turn produces different results as seen in the screenshot:
Hitwise was well known for its downstream analysis, its market share and the split of other sites spend, as well as their unique users.
Within Authoritas we can calculate the market share of competitors down to common keywords they are ranking for. This can get even more granular as we can drill down into keyword groups and tags. By calculating market share we can see whether there are sites also engaged in PPC activity, although in most cases, the sites have a higher percentage of searches coming from organic. Users can also see the Visibility Value of organic traffic for each competitor – and the CPC and SV for every KW in your market that you and your top 100 competitors rank for.
We have over 125 million commercial keywords in our database. Our Visibility Explorer lets you see your performance against a number of competitors across 26 countries. Users can view performance of sites from the end of 2018 and see how the sites are trending, giving users seo competitive analysis at the click of a button of rankings, search volume and SERPs results. You can also query any keyword phrase you like in real-time, on demand across all major search engines worldwide using our SERPs API.
Market Share/Content Strategy
Hitwise was able to find out the percentage market share a website owned by industry. This provides a good top level overview. With the Authoritas platform, we can see all keywords from your top 100 competitors as mentioned above.
At Authoritas, we can go into the detail of the market and share not only the share, but also the number of keywords in the market, the market value and the number of searches, giving you actionable insights to implement in your strategy.
We also include other metrics like ‘Authority’ and ‘Relative Strength’ so you can compare your sites’ performance and backlink profile vs the competition. Furthermore, then you can drill down at a page level and see who you are competing with for a cluster of keywords, e.g. Is there a dominant competitor monopolising the SERPs in this niche, is it a duopoly with two of you fighting for supremacy or is it a free-for-all – a fragmented market niche with no single dominant competitor which gives you more of an opportunity to go after.
We also make recommendations about your top pages to optimise, suggest existing content to optimise and new content areas to explore.
Keyword Ranking API
If you create your own internal company dashboards for measuring your digital marketing performance or you were one of Jumpshot’s or Hitwise’s industry partners using their raw data then you may well be able to replace some of this clickstream data with global keyword ranking data. Using our SERPs API you can:
Power your own SEO dashboards with accurate keyword ranking data from any search engine using a real browser.
Supports all major search engines in all major markets and languages globally desktop or mobile rankings
Undertake local search analysis geolocated to postcode/zip code or decimal lat/long
Create global dashboards that summarise your performance and allow you to drill down to local markets
Understand who you are competing with in Paid Ads & Google Shopping
Understand your competitive position in all major Universal Search features
You can collect a customised set of rankings, search volume and SERP results as well as the following 33 SERP features you can extract from our platform:
Ads (PPC – Top & Bottom)
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
People Also Ask
People Also Search For
Places (Local Pack)
Positioning (X and Y coordinates of elements)
People Also Search For
Top Stories (News)
Tweets (Social Media)
On top of this ranking and traffic information our platform gives you information about links, share of search, crawling stats and reporting and exporting to Big Query.
Links: Access the world’s largest web-map, combined with source code analysis and scoring algorithms to provide cleaner data with greater insight as well as seamlessly view author and social information behind links.
Share of Search: Analyse and report on Share of Search for large and niche keyword universes through time.
Content & Website Crawls: Get content and technical insights across each domain indexed covering up to millions of pages.
Reporting: Take advantage of our advanced reporting system for efficient, insightful and effective client reporting.
By securely integrating data from your analytics software with our proprietary data and leading 3rd party partners like Majestic, we can give you additional practical insights and more useful reporting.
When rankings fluctuate between URLs, your traffic and user experience can suffer. Identify these issues and overcome them with Ranking Flux and Keyword Cannibalisation Management.
Export Data to Big Query:
Mash-up your internal business data with our SEO data and create your own reports in Google Data Studio.
Data Exports & APIs:
Export reports or ad-hoc data to .csv, .xls or .pdf format. You can also extract key client data from Authoritas through our Platform API.
If you have been hit by Hitwise and are scratching your head for a solution then why not get in touch and we can setup a brief 20-30 minute call to discuss your needs and how quickly we can put in a replacement solution that will offer you more for less. Our solution is guaranteed to be cheaper than your Hitwise solution as we don’t rely on expensive clickstream data!
Unlock the power of keyword clustering with our new feature, using variable SERP similarity analysis to group similar keywords. Set your own thresholds to refine your SEO and content strategies, making sure every keyword counts. Streamline your efforts, avoid content overlap, and gain competitive insights with ease.
TL;DR – Everyone is talking about the importance of understanding User Intent in SEO, but there are few practical and scalable solutions for incorporating your newly discovered understanding of searcher intent into existing SEO strategies.
The SERPs are ever-changing, sometimes the changes are subtle almost imperceptible and other times they are marked reflecting a change of approach by Google to the way in which it wants to present itself to its users much like a Chameleon adapting to changes in the environment!
OK, that was the first thing that came to mind for me and I’m sure for many SEOs like me, who have been using ‘question answering’ as a technique to rank for Universal Search results such as Featured Snippets, People Also Ask and Organic FAQs.
This week we’re pleased to announce that we’re releasing a new module – the Keyword Explorer tool. Along with other “explorer” tools in the platform (and ones we’re developing for page and link analysis) this is free to use – in this case to allow you to explore keyword and content ideas.