Today’s article will be an in depth look at reverse engineering competitors traffic flow and revenue. For this article we will use a popular Nigerian news site as the example. The site is Premium Times NG (www.premiumtimesng.com). If I owned a competing Nigerian news site; I would want to research this competitor to see which ad network is displaying ads.
The best way to identify how they are monetizing their site would be to install the popular browser extension/plugin called Ghostery. This plugin has support for both Google Chrome and Mozilla FireFox. Ghostery is primarily used a privacy (anti-tracking) plugin and also an ad blocker. In our scenario the best use case of this extension would be revealing ad network trackers, this means you will be able to quickly glance at any site and see which ad networks are used to monetize their content. This is essentially a shortcut that allows you to bypass having to go through manually viewing the page source code.
On this example site, we can clearly see that they are using the Criteo ad network. This information is useful, because now you have the option of buying their ad space from Criteo, or trying to replicate your competitor, by applying to Criteo’s publisher program. The last step of researching your competitor’s traffic can be done with either an Alexa account or SimilarWeb. Here you can see that the primary traffic source that does the heavy lifting is newsnow.co.uk ; with this info if you are attempting recreate their traffic flow, you would try to advertise on newsnow.co.uk and then monetize your site with Criteo display ads.