Dennis Yu

Alexa, Quantcast, ComScore, Compete, etc... Are they accurate?

We get this question all the time, so I’m going to answer it here and then point people back to this post.

Alexa is the most well-known of the traffic measurement services, but also the least accurate. Let me explain why. Alexa rankings are based on the behavior of the folks who have downloaded the toolbar. No wonder that tech-heavy and venture capitalist sites have fantastic Alexa ratings– the tech people are disproportionately represented as Alexa users. The Alexa on this blog fluctuates between 50,000 and 250,000, which is better than the 30 million plus sites being tracked. Though my blog gets only a few hundred folks a day, it has an Alexa rank better than many sites that get 10,000 unique a day, such as some of our clients.

What you need to know about Alexa is this:

  • If the Alexa rank of a site you’re looking at is not under 100,000, then the odds are the traffic is low.  And if your traffic is low, then the activity of just a few users can make your number bounce from 2 million to 20 million– it’s just noise.  Remember, Alexa estimates your popularity by extrapolating the behavior of a few users up to the entire web. But the Alexa userbase (those who use the toolbar) is highly skewed.
  • You can game the Alexa toolbar by having your friends visit your site or employing a bot service– seems silly to go to that effort just to better your rank.  I suppose geeks can have their boob jobs, too.
  • You CAN compare Alexa figures between sites in the same category– so one daddy blogger versus another daddy blogger is fine since they’re likely to have the same mix of Alexa users.  But a tech blogger versus a kids’ site?  Nope.

Compete and Quantcast are usually far more accurate.  Quantcast allows you to be “quantified” by placing a tracking pixel, so it’s the most accurate.  Yet I don’t see the benefit in sharing your stats with the world– but then again, I don’t understand why some people share some of their most personal details in public forums.  When we do analysis, we use multiple third-party traffic sources– and typically, Compete and Quantcast go together, while Alexa deviates.  Some thoughts about these two services:

  • Compete is great if you want to compare multiple sites at the same time– hence, the name “compete”.  I haven’t personally paid the cash to use the Pro service, but can’t imagine that any paid service is really worthwhile, given how many free tools are available.
  • Quantcast is great for individual site demographics and tells you what other sites are in the same category.  I’d ignore the education and income measures– no way they can accurately determine that.  A neat trick is to take the related sites to spit out by Quantcast (your competitors, I’m assuming) and then paste those domains into a or other keyword research tool to get their keywords.

ComScore is for big companies that have a lot of money to spend on reporting, although the unwritten rule is that if you pay ComScore for their reporting, you might somehow rank better in their various reports.  ComScore doesn’t matter to you unless you’re VC funded or a big company that is depending upon who ComScore says is top in a particular category for your valuation or ad rates.  There is a minor conflict of interest here, but not much more so than the fact that automobile review magazines accept ads from car dealerships, or that Yelp takes ads from restaurants that have reviews in their directory.

But the most important tool to use in grading your site is your own analytics– and you should be using Google Analytics here unless you are an enterprise client that can afford a custom clickstream tool to do click-level attribution, or are perhaps doing some crazy form of lead generation.

The question is what your goal is with these 3rd party traffic tools. And there are different tools for different jobs depending on whether your aim is keyword research on competitors, exploring new demographics for a product you want to launch, researching the other players to demonstrate where you’ve kicked ass over the last year (to get a raise), or perhaps it’s just a nice stat to consistently track each month over time.

So what tools do you prefer to use for assessing popularity on the web?  My favorite is still Alexa because it’s easy to use and commonly understood.

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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