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This article was published on April 8, 2015

Measuring the health of a start-up through the lens of online marketing

Measuring the health of a start-up through the lens of online marketing
Ariel Rosenstein
Story by

Ariel Rosenstein

Ari is the Senior Director Of Corporate Marketing at SimilarWeb. He has spent the last decade in ad-tech working on The Agency before jumpin Ari is the Senior Director Of Corporate Marketing at SimilarWeb. He has spent the last decade in ad-tech working on The Agency before jumping over to Kenshoo where he launched their marketing activities. He also led the marketing for Adquant, a Facebook ad platform, making it a top 10 Facebook PMD.

Measuring the success of a start-up can be difficult, especially if the start-up is in a growth mode and customer acquisition is being valued more than revenues. However, if we look through-the-lens of online presence and online marketing, we can start to understand the impact that a start-up has in terms of recognition and traction.

We took the leading contestants from The Next Web’s EU Tech 5 Award and analyzed them with SimilarWeb’s data to build a guide for measuring the success of a start-up.

We analyzed:

  1. Overall online footprint
  2. Online audience growth
  3. Mastery of Social Media
  4. Media coverage

1. Overall Online Footprint

Nothing measured impact more than looking at the total web visits for a website. As we can see from the data below, Tranferwise is by far and away the most popular start-up in terms of web traffic, even with Festicket getting the most votes on The Next Web.


2. Online Audience Growth

Measuring the overall online traffic for a website is a very useful metric, but for start-ups it can also be misleading. Start-ups are at different phases of development and have different target audiences. For example, one could be working with a B2B model while another is focused on B2C. What we can look at is the growth of the company in relation to its own performance. Start-ups that fail to grow fail to succeed. Here we see the growth for the top 10 contenders for the Tech 5 award, as measured by traffic increase YoY.

IMage- 2


3. Mastery of Social Media

Social media is usually not the main driver of traffic for most websites, especially those with products to sell. But social network traffic is a good indicator of how much a company’s audience is engaging with their brand. Social network traffic is also a good indicator of word of mouth, if customers are willing to promote their engagements on Facebook. For example, the brand is now exposed to that person’s entire social network.

Of the top start-ups that we analyzed, FairPhone is doing the best on social media. More than 10 percent of their traffic comes from social sites, 65 percent of FairPhone’s social traffic comes from Facebook and another 19 percent comes from Reddit. In comparison Transwise only gets 1 percent of their social traffic from Reddit, relying mostly on Facebook (91 percent of their social traffic).

4. Media Coverage

Creating buzz for your start-up is crucial. One of the most important services that sites like The Next Web offer is to give a much needed forum for new start-ups to attract attention. In the online marketing world we can measure this in traffic from referral websites (which exclude search engines, ads, and social networks).

Bynder is getting a large chunk of their referral traffic not from the media but from software recommendation sites like Capterra. But they have also done a very good job in getting coverage in sites specific to their target market as the IT news site sends them a healthy amount of traffic.


Important media sites for the group of ten start-ups include TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Mashable and of course The Next Web.

Build your own start-up metrics

If you would like to see the stats for any of these start-ups in-depth you can look them up at, along with data for any other website. See which countries are most important to a start-up or see how much they rely on advertising to drive traffic. Using the freely available data you can build your own index to judge the merits of a start-up that you find interesting.

See the stats live for all the sites. Bynder, Freespee, Delivery Hero, 1001Menus, Black Lane, Drivy, Fair Phone, TransferWise, Cabify, Festicket

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