Why the data is not always accurate?
Competitive intelligence data is never 100% accurate
It’s important to understand what competitive intelligence is and isn’t. Competitive intelligence web data is never 100% accurate. For instance, if you were to compare the number of estimated visitors we see a site getting on our traffic estimate charts versus the number of exact visitors being shown in your Google Analytics account, the numbers aren't going to be the same.
This is because we and our data partners do not have 100% accurate data. The only way for us our partners get 100% accurate visitor numbers would be to actually hack into someone’s Google Analytics account and return you the visitors count, but we don’t do that, that’s illegal. We don't have access to that data, so we have to try and estimate it in different ways. It's not always perfect; in-fact it, never is.
Competitive intelligence data is a rough approximation of what the stats may actually be. For example on the traffic estimates, our data partners have their own methodologies for estimating the number of visitors each site gets.
It’s best to use competitive intelligence data as a way to roughly gauge how well a site is performing but realize that the stats may be a bit off. Comparing the data to your own site’s Analytics and saying that Follow gives inaccurate data isn’t the point, you already have Analytics for your own stuff, so you don't need Follow to estimate any of your traffic numbers. The competitive intelligence data we and our partners provide will try to give you the best gauge of how other sites are performing. Not your own.
Now you may compare your stats vs the estimated stats we have on your website and they could be way off. This is just how it is, but having some estimates and realizing the data could be a range of values around the estimated numbers can still be helpful and useful. For example, if you compare the estimated traffic of you versus a few competitors and you notice their traffic is higher, than their traffic probably is higher. The visitor counts may not be exactly correct, but you can see relative to you, they're getting a lot more traffic from the estimates. That's still valuable.
It’s the same thing for estimated ad spend. Of course the only way to know the exact ad spend is to log in to someone’s online advertising account. But how this data is collected is by estimating the top keywords driving traffic to a site, estimating the traffic those keywords get, their estimated CPC prices and then coming up with an estimated range of how much the site may spend to advertise online.