What is SparkToro? What you need to know before subscribing (2024)



I was provided with a free press version, 7-days access to try the tool.

In this review, I’ll talk about:

  • What is SparkToro
  • What SparkToro does
  • What you can accomplish using the software
  • What I have really liked
  • What I have not liked

What is Sparktoro?

SparkToro is an audience intelligence tool to conduct market research and provide target audience intelligence insights in a way that is affordable, quickly accessible and hugely actionable.

With just a few searches, you can quickly find out where is your target audience hanging out across many sources on the web, like websites, YouTube channels, Twitter accounts, podcasts and more.

Not only that, but it also solves for a specific and time-consuming task which is finding out which publication can influence your target audience the most. In the below example, you can see that people searching online for “customer retention”, also visit the following websites:

  • clickup.com
  • producthunt.com
  • zendesk.com
  • mckinsey.com
  • azure.com

And they also search for these keywords “account retention strategies”, “user retention metrics” and “client retention definition”.

So, what the tool does very well, in my opinion, is to uncover new opportunities for a variety of digital marketing tasks, such as:

  • How to find guest posts on websites that your target audience reads
  • Start new affiliate relationships with influencing people/ websites
  • Find journalists that you can outreach for content marketing
  • Find websites for partnerships for all sort of various campaigns

The list is longer than that, these are just four use cases of what you can accomplish with SparkToro, so I recommend really trying the software to find out more yourself.

In this review, we will use some examples of features and functionalities, and we will go into details about the metrics.

What tasks can you accomplish?

As you can see from these few words I have written, the problem Sparktoro solves now used to take days, if not weeks in some cases, plus a lot of manual work and oftentimes a considerable budget.

Normally market research can cost from approximately $15,000 up to $35,000 and this type of budget is not available to every company.

Research data

Sparktoro searches thousands of social media accounts, websites, podcasts and other channels to find out where your audience is and classify the accounts in terms of which one is the most influential.

What you do with this data is up to you.

Compare data

The tool compares these audience sources with custom-made metrics and attributes to determine the most influential ones for SEO, press, social, content and outreach campaigns.

Prioritise data

Research and comparison are not enough, in this world of data made of millions of data points you need to know which one is:

  1. More influential than others for a set of attributes
  2. Bigger than others, because influential doesn’t always mean big

Analyse data

You can find out how influential, large or extended is your brand compared to your competitors.

Discover new opportunities

Surprise yourself and discover more accounts, websites, podcasts and other places you didn’t know where influential.

A detailed look of the features

As we have seen above, with SparkToro you can accomplish several tasks. Let’s have a closer look at each of them, starting with what is called Audience Intelligence to research your data.

To get this result, just create an account for free if you want to use it and you’ll see the search bar. The bar consists of two parts:

  • What your audience does/ how it behaves/ what it speaks about
  • The second part is about your topic of interest

Then you can filter it by channel:

sparktoro channels

Essentially, based on the results, your target audience that frequently visits the website: www.bbc.co.uk, in the United Kingdom, also visits pemsrv.com (69/100 affinity), betaseries.com (59/100 affinity) and other sources.

Do you want to know which social media accounts this target audience also follows and engages with?

SparkToro got your covered:

social channel affinity

Which podcasts is the audience visiting BBC also visits?

Here we go:

podcast affinity

Ultimately, does your PPC specialist need to know which accounts he can target on YouTube with a display campaign?

Here is a list of all YouTube channels the BBC audience also visits:

youtube channels

also, Sparktoro added new tools in 2024, such as the Reddit tool. Do you want to know what subreddit your BBC audience is visiting? Here you go:

subreddits tool

What information do you get? A closer look at the metrics

As you have noticed, SparkToro uses a set of metrics in the search results, depending on which filter you use. Let’s have a closer look at the metrics and what they mean.

Imagine you search for people that frequently talk about “Google Tag Manager”.

The website’s section

If you filter it by “websites” you got this information:

Percent of audience: % of sources that match your search amplifies, visits or engages with the websites in this row – UPDATE 2024, the percent of audience doesn’t exist anymore. Sparktoro replaced it with Affinity metrics:


affinity metric

Because I don’t know this type of audience, I can’t prove this are actually the websites that BBC visitors also visit.

So let’s try with a keyword I know very well: SEO consultant. Here is a list of websites:


seo consultant affinity websites

Because I write a lot about SEO, I can confirm this list is spot on.

What I didn’t know is how influential searchenginejournal.com, given that’s not an SEO agency or a consultant. But I guess the reason why it’s in this list is because SEO consultants believe SEJ is important.

I was expecting to see also searchengineland.com and Ahrefs.com up on this list.

The second metric is Linking Websites which is an indication of what authority is passed from one page to another via link building.

It helps you determine how strong is a given domain in terms of SEO power.

The third metric is called Domain Authority (DA), which probably doesn’t need any explanation.

The new metric that Sparktoro added recently is Traffic, which also doesn’t need any explaination.


traffic metric

How to use this information is up to you. But I would use it for pitching my guest posts.

If you are a company looking to build your affiliate program, you can do similar research to find bloggers that want to become your affiliates.

The Social Media Accounts section

Now, let’s review the metrics for Social Accounts.

Affinity: this is SparkToro’s estimate on how much of your audience talking about “SEO Consultant” also follow or engages with a list of social accounts.

For example, SparkToro considers Neil Patel to hold 65% of the audience related to “SEO Consultant”. Also, Sparktoro created a new metric called “SparkScore” which measures the level of interaction and reach.

sparkscore

SparkScore: it measures a social account’s reach relative to its following. It’s a very complex metric, but essentially it measures the influence of the social accounts.

Social Followers: this is the easiest metric, which basically tells you how many followers each profile has across all platforms.

All these metrics show information that can help you planning your influencer’s outreach strategy, or which influencers you want to be noticed from, except for Matt Cutts 🙂

The Podcast Section

This section shows these metrics and information:

  • Percent of audience, as seen before this is the estimated amount of people talking about “google tag manager” also following this podcast;
  • The number of episodes, which displays the number of Podcasts via iTunes. At the moment SparkToro doesn’t show other sources like Spotify, but I am sure soon it will be added.
  • Last podcast, the date when the last podcast aired via iTunes.

With this information, I know now which podcasts I can try to pitch to speak if I wanted to become an authority on SEO Consultancy.

podcast section

If I was new to the SEO consultancy space, this report would have saved me hours of time.

Instead of googling websites, I get the list in seconds. Instead of surveying customers to see which social accounts they follow, or which podcasts they follow, I get this list in one page, without asking anyone.

The Keywords Section

This section shows which other keywords this audience is searching. Don’t confuse this list of keywords with keywords variations provided by SEO tools, it’s not the same thing!

This is a list of keywords that people looking for “seo consultant” also search.


similar keywords

This section contains four metrics:

  • Affinity – we have seen this metric before, it measures the influence this keyword has for this type of audience
  • Volume, no need to explain this one.
  • CPC – also a very familiari keyword metric
  • Volume History – it visualises the trend of this keyword.

Audience Research

This is the default view of SparkToro when starting a new search.

Audience Insights is advanced demographic information on your audience.

audience research

You got information about:

  • Words and phrases used in their profile bios
  • Searches for a given keyword
  • Most visited websites

If I was new to this audience, I would take me weeks and many surveys to find out this information.

search bar

Compare Audiences

This second section of the marketing tool is designed to compare and contrast audiences.

UPDATE April 2024: Sparktoro removed this section.

Profile Searches

The social profile does exactly what it suggests: you get audience insights about a brand or a person (=profile).

To test this feature, I have decided to search for the company I used to work at www.futurefit.co.uk, out of curiosity.

The results are pretty much accurate in describing what Future Fit’s audience looks like. It also described what the audience is interested in:

However, I have run again into a couple of bugs.

First of all, there is a spelling mistake on the word “Acccounts”, which is just a typo.

And the second one is a little bit more surprising. According to SparkToro, Future Fit doesn’t have any social accounts at all.

This struck me as very inaccurate. Future Fit has over 2,300 followers on Twitter, over 10,000 followers on Facebook and almost 5,000 followers on Instagram.

This not a huge deal, but if you were looking at fitness brands on social channels, you would probably skip Future Fit Training.

Regardless of the bug, the report for Future Fit is very good.

Lists

If all this info is too much for you to remember, you can create a list, which is a way to save it for later.

Suppose you have searched for “Google Tag Manager”, you have found some websites and social accounts you need, then you can use the “Lists” to save them for later:

Once you create a new List, you can name it and save it in your Lists section.

While creating a list is a simple task, when retrieving it, the information is not exactly the same as when I have searched for “Google tag Manager”.

During my review of Sparktoro, I have retrieved my List and found that the retrieved list was missing the “Percent of Audience”.

I have got the SparkScore, the Social Followers, but I am missing the Percent of Audience stats.

It’s not a huge problem, but if I wanted to check the most influential account, I would have to run again a search for the term “google tag manager”, which is not ideal.

At least, lists are very useful for remembering what I have searched before and retrieving the information easily within 1 click.

SparkToro Pricing

This is how Sparktoro’s pricing breaks down:

As most software pricings, if you buy the 12-months option, you get 3 months for free.

The Free $0/month option is very limited. You can only run 5 searches a month and you don’t even get the full results, only a sample of them. This includes a sample of results only.

The next option is the access with 50 searches included per month, for those planning to use the marketing tool occasionally.

Then, you got the Business Plan at $112/month including 500 searches, where 100% of Sparktoro functionalities is included.

The last plan costs $225/month for unlimited searches and it’s intended for those who use the tool extensively.

So, as you can see, SparkToro is not cheap, I have to admit.

Is Sparktoro worth it?

Let’s start with the things I don’t like.

Price is one of them, I find it expensive and the cheapest option at $38/month only gives you 50 searches.

There is a free plan with very limited searches (5/month) and a sample of results. Otherwise, you’re looking at $112 for their “Standard” plan, $225/month for a “Agency“ plan.

If you choose the annual billing, there is a discount of 25% (or 3 months free).

If it was for me, I would offer a bit more with the Free option, like 5 searches a month and all the results included. This would encourage people to think strategically before searching for something to make sure you don’t run out of searches.

Finally, and this is not a criticism, more of a wish-list.

1- I would be useful to have metrics to help you prioritize your campaigns in terms of the impact they might have and how easy are they implement.

For example, when I have searched for industries I am familiar with, how can I improve my odds of getting more referral traffic from, say, Searchengineland.com when searching for “seo consultant”? Is it even worth making the effort in getting into their radar on Twitter?

A bit like Rand Fishkin does, when he finds useful content on the web, he is happy to share it. So, it makes sense trying to get his attention.

But SparkToro doesn’t give you this information.

2- The other thing I don’t like is that there isn’t any integration with other tools. It would be cool to have, for example, Google Analytics integrated to help answer some questions like this one: how do I know which website would perform better? You can turn to your Analytics and find similar websites/ referrals that would give you a clue on which SparkToro’s websites to outreach for your campaign.

Sharing historical data that you already have with Sparktoro’s data can be a powerful combination.

What I really like about SparkToro

As I said, it’s a unique tool with a precise and immediate set of data at your disposal, which is almost impossible to get anywhere else. In this regard, it’s super useful.

Also, the tool is very easy to use, the User Experience is phenomenal and overall navigation amazing. I have always felt like I knew what I was doing at all times.

The data is accurate. I have searches industries I am very familiar with and the company I work for. That way, I could compare what I know against Sparktoro’s dataset. I found it to be very accurate and organised.

Conclusion

Overall, while SparkToro’s data is super useful, I don’t think it can appeal every single marketer. Don’t get me wrong, this data is useful for every marketer, however, justifying the monthly expenses is probably more difficult for some kind of marketers:

  • Solo bloggers who need this data once in a while, to find out where they can guest post
  • A podcaster looking to interview his next guest and in need to find which type of audiences he/she has been followed by
  • A small company trying to launch a new product and wants to find out where their industry’s audience is hanging out, to have access to them on YouTube, social channels and websites.

However, the monthly expense is probably justified if you are an agency and work with many different clients across several industries. Let’s see some examples:

  • Did you land a new client from an industry you know nothing about? Sparktoro is the first tool I would use to learn more about their audience
  • If an agency does lots of Digital PR and wants to get their content shared across many websites, influencers and podcast, SparkToro on a monthly fee are definitely worth it.
  • Do you specialise in link building and want to get attention, referral traffic and backlinks from websites matching your client’s audience? Another great use of SparkToro and the monthly fee.
  • Do you run a small business and want to attract their station’s listeners, artists and personalities to purchase your products or services? If you are interested in advertising on internet radio with GlacerFM, then Sparktoro is for you.