SimilarWeb: Spy on your competitors' web data

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Intelligence tactics
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 17 August, 2018
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Gitit Greenberg, senior director of marketing insights at Israel-based SimilarWeb, describes their platform as “the Google Analytics for every website in the world”.

According to SimilarWeb’s own website, they’re a market intelligence platform boasting “the world’s greatest database of digital behaviour”. They’re “the standard for understanding the digital world”, designed to give companies the ability to “understand, track and grow their digital market share”.

We asked a few questions about how the product might help people working in finance, from retail banks to corporate development, as well as public and private investors.

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SimilarWeb’s founders must have believed there was a strong need for their product – what was it?

We live in an era where everybody talks about the importance of the data revolution in the digital world. Our founders identified a huge gap, where there was no transparency into the performance of digital behaviour – if you have a website, you know what you’re doing, but you don’t know what’s going on around you.

Then there was an issue of understanding the context that you operate in. We always tell our prospects and our clients – the fact that you’ve moved 10% year-on-year you might think is great, but if your competitor actually moves 40%, then 10% isn’t really good. But if all your competitors decrease, then actually you’re doing a fantastic job.

If you have a website, you know what you’re doing, but you don’t know what’s going on around you.

What kinds of market intelligence and insights can SimilarWeb give financial services brands?

If you’re a bank and you’re trying to get people to get loans or credit cards, you want to optimise your marketing mix and your user acquisition strategies to maximise the leads you’re getting to those applications on your website.

It’s also about who to partner with. In terms of marketing, there’s a lot of services today like Credit Karma and other companies - Lending Tree and Bankrate - whose main business is comparing financial products - mortgages and loans - and sending traffic to the sites that offer them. And therefore it’s really crucial to know who to partner with, who your competitors are partnering with, how your competitors are managing their marketing mix, how they go about social, how they go about SEO, how they go about CPC.

We also have a lot of solutions for investors, private investing teams, or even corp dev teams within big financial institutions. When you talk about investing in private companies, you don’t know a lot of information, it’s just not out there, especially digitally. We can provide very, very good indicators about the health of a company through their digital metrics. Same with public investors trying to understand indicators prior to the public reporting.

Also, a lot of the time, if you’re talking about the more B2B side of financial services, you’re just finding prospects to connect with and offer your services to. So for example, if I’m at Credit Karma and I want more prospects to use me as a referral source, I can use SimilarWeb to determine who the leaders are in a category.

How do financial clients access the data, given many of them aren’t necessarily data/tech people?

We provide value to different levels of sophistication. With our SaaS platform, we’re not focusing on data, we really want to focus on insights. Our UI is very friendly and everything is very visualised. So you don’t really need to understand data – if you understand your business, you can see the indicators very simply.

If you want consumer insights in other forms, you can connect to our API.

We have a free offering, a general product which actually provides tonnes of insights on any website in the world; you can go in and just enter a URL and you will get a preview to what we can provide.

How deep can you go in analysing digital behaviour?

We can provide data about how people are engaging with your content, what are the popular pages, and how people arrive at your site.

Also we have demographic data, and even deeper than that we have a whole layer that can provide you with audience overlap – how many of them visit your site and your competitors’ sites in the same session, and we can even provide you with how many people have converted on your site, versus how many people who converted are coming directly or through SEO or through a paid campaign – so you can optimise your marketing mix.

What’s the real value in that data?

The value is that it’s preventing you from making the wrong decision, and more than that, it’s giving you the clarity of what you need to do.

In the financial world, everybody’s talking about the digital revolution, and we’re actually starting to see it. We’re seeing a lot of old financial institutions, whose digital marketing mix is still very traditional: they get a lot from direct or branded search and they don’t invest a lot in other channels. They’re seeing disruption coming their way - for example, Lemonade in the insurance world, which is getting most of their traffic from social channels.

If a company exists in a silo, they’re missing out. If you don’t pay attention to trends, if you’re not dynamic enough and if you’re not aware of what your competitors are doing and how you compare, or of new competitors entering your market, you might find yourselves irrelevant very fast.

SimilarWeb is running a webinar on 26 September covering Growth Strategies in the Consumer Finance Industry.

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.