Alternative data is a trending topic in the investment space. After all, it provides investors with real-time insights and trends outside of traditional data sources.

But where is the best place to find alternative data?

This guide compares the 8 best alternative data providers for 2023. We examine the top providers for data accuracy, timelessness, pricing, and much more.

List of the Best Alternative Data Providers 2023

To get the ball rolling, here’s a list of the 8 best alternative data providers for retail investors:

  1. AltIndex: In our view, AltIndex is the overall best alternative data provider. This is a free-to-use platform that offers real-time insights on thousands of stocks, as well as cryptocurrencies. AltIndex covers thousands of alternative data points, including everything from Twitter and Reddit mentions to job postings, app downloads, and website visits.
  2. FlightAware: FlightAware offers real-time data on the global aviation space. Not only in terms of commercial flights but private jets and cargo transportation. This data can prove invaluable for investors in the aviation, travel, and supply chain industries.
  3. Plaid: Plaid is an alternative data provider that specializes in financial transactions. It provides users with up to 24 months’ worth of credit card data across multiple metrics. This includes the transaction amount, date, category, and location. Investors can use this information to evaluate broader economic trends, such as consumer spending habits.
  4. SimilarWeb: One of the best ways to evaluate the sentiment of a company is via SimilarWeb. This provider offers alternative data on website visits and trends. It highlights whether website traffic is on the rise or decline and how long visitors remain on the platform. These metrics can provide insight into the real-time performance of a company – especially those that operate 100% online.
  5. Another alternative data source offering timely information is This provider not only lists over 18 million filings made by US stocks but real-time alerts. This provides investors with information on annual reports, quarterly filings, and other regulatory requirements – almost always before the mainstream media.
  6. Advan: This alternative data provider specializes in foot-traffic analytics. While it serves a range of industries, Advan is favored by commercial real estate investors. Some of the monthly data it provides include population growth, housing market demographics, and income bands. Advan claims that its data is two years ahead of official consensus reports.
  7. Foursquare: Foursquare specializes in geo-location data, including Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi signals. These signals provide real-time insights into foot traffic, covering over 50 million Foursquare members. This includes data points on where consumers are eating, drinking, and dining. Customer plans are available to meet individual requirements.
  8. Descartes Labs: This alternative data provider specializes in satellite imagery. It has a use case for various industries, soft commodities, mining, precious metals, defense, and supply chain forecasting. In particular, Descartes Labs claims that commodity traders benefit from a 90% price forecast accuracy when using its satellite data.

Top Alternative Data Platforms: Full Reviews

We will now move on to our comprehensive reviews of the best alternative data providers.

Each provider specializes in a niche area of alternative data – such as satellite imagery, geo-location signals,  and real-time aviation trends.

Investors can read on to choose the best alternative data platform for their trading requirements.

1. AltIndex – Overall Best Alternative Data Provider for Retail Investors 

While high-level alternative data often comes at a vast cost – this isn’t the case with AltIndex. On the contrary, AltIndex does not charge any fees at all. So what is AltIndex? In a nutshell, AltIndex provides real-time insights on thousands of data points. It serves two investment spaces – stocks and cryptocurrencies.

Regarding stocks, it supports thousands of companies that are listed in the US. This covers some of the best small-cap stocks on the NYSE and NASDAQ. There are various ways to find trending stocks on AltIndex. For example, users can search for their preferred stocks to reveal many alternative data points.

This includes social data, such as the number of followers, likes, and searches. Not to mention overall brand sentiment on social media. Website data is also provided, such as traffic and page visits.
AltIndex also examines job posting trends associated with the respective stock.

AltIndex review

For instance, if the number of job postings is trending upward, this could highlight the firm is in a strong financial position. Additionally, AltIndex also provides alternative data on news mentions, ESG scoring, and the overall business outlook. Another useful feature is that AltIndex tracks patent filings.

This can be useful when searching for biotech stocks with new treatments. Those without experience in interpreting alternative data will also find AltIndex of value. It offers stock price predictions based on all of the data it gathers.

This is in addition to an overall investment rating that is generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
It also uses AI to give stocks an employment, brand, and growth score. Another way to find trending stocks on AltIndex is to click on a specific data point.

AltIndex review

For example, when selecting ‘Reddit Mentions’, we find that Bank of America has increased by 371% in the prior seven days. Cryptocurrency investors will also find that AltIndex provides valuable insights. It offers data points on Bitcoin and some of the best altcoins.

This includes Dogecoin, Ethereum Litecoin, and XRP. We found that social media metrics are particularly useful when analyzing cryptocurrencies on AltIndex. For example, the number of mentions on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, 4chan, and news articles.

It also provides trends on social media followers, website traffic, and Google searches. AltIndex also offers cryptocurrency price predictions and an AI score on whether the coin is a buy, sell, or hold. To get the most out of AltIndex, it’s best to open a free account. This enables users to create a watchlist and receive alerts.

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Real-time insights on stocks and cryptocurrencies. Data points include website visits, job postings, social media metrics, news mentions, and overall sentiment. Also uses AI to rank and score assets. Stock and cryptocurrency investors that want alternative data on trending assets Free


  • Overall best alternative data provider for retail investors
  • Thousands of data points on stocks and a selection of cryptocurrencies
  • Extract alternative data on trends, visits, followers, sentiment, and more
  • Completely free to use
  • Create a watchlist to track assets and receive alerts


  • Only supports a limited range of cryptocurrencies

2. FlightAware – Get Real-Time Insights on Commerical, Private, and Cargo Flights  

FlightAware provides an unprecedented range of alternative data from the aviation, travel, and supply chain industries. It is best known for tracking commercial flights on a global and real-time basis. That said, it also tracks private jets and cargo transportation.

Some of the use cases are as follows. First, those with exposure to aviation stocks can extract insights into specific airline performances. For example, the percentage of flights that depart and arrive on time, and the number of delays and cancellations.

Moreover, an analysis of the routes taken by airlines can yield information on efficiency and fuel costs. Crucially, this alternative data enables investors to assess the investment thesis on airline stocks, such as Delta, Southwest, and Ryanair. For instance, suppose an airline is constantly experiencing delays or cancellations.

FlightAware review

This will not bode well for the airline stock in the long run. Another use case of  FlightAware is to evaluate broader travel industry trends. For example, a bullish market might see new routes and destinations being added by airlines. But a bearish market might see a reduction in flight numbers.

FlightAware can also be used to analyze the efficiency of supply chain routes, considering it also tracks cargo transportation. Those wanting full functionality on FlightAware will need to consider signing up for the Enterprise WX plan, which costs $149.95/month.

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Real-time flight data on a global basis. Covers commercial, private, and cargo flights. Investors involved in the aviation, travel, or supply chain industries. The free, basic, and enterprise plans cost $0, $44.95, and $99.95 per month. But for full functionality, sign up for the Enterprise WX plan at $149.95.


  • Overall best alternative data provider for retail investors
  • Thousands of data points on stocks and a selection of cryptocurrencies
  • Extract alternative data on trends, visits, followers, sentiment, and more
  • Completely free to use
  • Create a watchlist to track assets and receive alerts


  • Only supports a limited range of cryptocurrencies

3. Plaid – Alternative Finance Data to Analyze Consumer Spending Habits   

We found that Plaid is one of the best alternative data providers for financial data. Plaid provides insights into consumer spending habits and trends, via credit card transactions. Not only is data extracted from over 12,000 banks and financial institutions in the US, but also from Canada, the UK, and Europe.

Moreover, alternative data is also extracted from over 8,000 financial apps and services. This provides an unparalleled amount of alternative data for investors. As such, the only way to use Plaid is via an API. This enables users to sort and filter data that is relevant to their needs. 

It is important to note that the credit card data provided by Plaid complies with privacy protection regulations. In other words, it doesn’t provide any personal information about the buyer. It does, however, provide a lot of insights into transactions themselves. 

Plaid review

For example, Plaid displays the size of the transaction in the local currency. It also shows the category, such as retail, entertainment, or energy bills. Plaid also displays the location of the transaction, including the full address and postcode. 

This information provides investors with a range of insights, fueling informed investment decisions. For example, if credit card data in the UK shows that there is increased spending on non-essential goods, this highlights that consumer sentiment is positive. 

In turn, the investor might consider gaining exposure to UK-based retail stocks. Similarly, if there is increased spending on travel-related services in the US, this could warrant investment in the aviation industry. When it comes to pricing, Plaid offers bespoke monthly plans. Users can also buy data on a pay-as-you-go basis.  

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Up to 24 months’ worth of credit card transaction data. More than 12,000 banks and financial institutions in the US, as well as the UK, Europe, and Canada. Also extracts data from over 8,000 financial apps. Investors looking for insights on consumer spending habits and overall sentiment. Data can be broken down by demographics, industries, and locations. The free plan offers just 100 transactions. For full functionality, opt for the custom monthly plan. Alternatively, users can buy data as they need it.


  • Alternative data from credit card transactions
  • Over 20,000 banks, institutions, and financial apps supported
  • Extract data from the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK
  • Understand consumer spending habits and broader trends


  • Does not publish prices on its custom monthly plans

4. SimilarWeb – Leading Provider of Website Analytics and Internet Traffic Data

We found that SimilarWeb is one of the best alternative data providers for website analytics. This provides investors with invaluable data on internet traffic, enabling them to assess which brands are trending. There are many aspects to the SimilarWeb platform – so let’s break down the key use cases. 

First, investors can explore the most trending websites, in terms of daily and weekly visits, as well as percentage gains and losses. Investors can then break this information down further by the specific sector or industry. For example, an investor might want alternative data on the best stock trading platforms.

SimilarWeb will then provide real-time insights on visitor numbers, ranked from top to bottom. It will also display which stock trading platforms have witnessed the biggest jump or decline in visits over a specific period. Stock trading platforms rely on website visits to make money, as trading results in commission.

SimilarWeb review

In turn, if a certain stock trading platform is experiencing a surge in visits and time spent on its website, this could mean the company is doing well financially. And hence, the investor might consider buying the platform’s stock. In addition to visits, SimilarWeb provides plenty of other alternative data points.

For instance, whether users are visiting the desktop or mobile version of the website. Or whether they have downloaded the platform’s app. Demographics can also be broken down by gender, age, and country of the visitor. In terms of pricing, the starter and professional plans cost $125 and $333 per month, respectively.

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Real-time data on website visitors and internet traffic. Trends can be broken down by industry and sector, as well as demographics. Investors looking to assess the performance and brand reputation of websites. Particularly useful for evaluating online-only companies, such as brokers and e-commerce retailers. The starter and professional plans cost $125 and $333 per month, respectively. Custom plans are also available for large-scale users.


  • Best alternative data provider for website traffic
  • Evaluate key internet trends – including website visits and user growth
  • Filter information by industry, sector, and demographics
  • Tracks millions of websites in real-time


  • Prices start from $125 per month

5. – Real-Time Alerts on Filings Made With the SEC 

Another top-rated source of alternative data is As the name suggests, this platform provides an all-in-one dashboard for filings made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Currently, there are more than 18 million filings on the platform. However, the real value comes from its alert service.

For instance, suppose a large hedge fund files an application to the SEC to launch a Bitcoin ETF. This could result in a temporary increase in Bitcoin’s price. Those signed up to would have received a real-time alert as soon as the application was submitted.

As such, they would have had an edge over the broader crypto market. Similarly, is also useful for insider stock transactions, which also need to be submitted to the SEC. This provides information on stock purchases or sales made by company directors and executives.

For instance, suppose the company CEO sells a large quantity of stock. This could be viewed as a major red flag and a complete lack of belief in the company. Considering the information is received in real-time, investors can trade the filing.

Another use case is to keep tabs on small-cap stocks. After all, small companies rarely make the financial headlines, making it difficult to keep tabs on their performance. Other useful filings include company director changes, regulatory compliance, and legal proceedings.

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Real-time alerts on filings made with the US SEC. This includes insider transactions, regulatory compliance, IPO and other exchange listings, and legal proceedings. Supports all stocks listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ. Investors looking for an edge in the market before financial news becomes mainstream. Also ideal for performing in-depth analysis on a company, especially small-cap stocks. Free


  • Get real-time alerts on new filings made with the SEC
  • Includes many data points surrounding regulation, applications, and financial performance
  • No fees to use the service
  • Supports all US-listed stocks under the remit of the SEC


  • SEC filings are often long and complex in nature – requires ample time to read

6. Advan – Alternative Data for Foot-Traffic Analytics in the Real Estate Industry 

Advan is one of the best alternative data platforms for obtaining foot-traffic analytics. Put simply, this refers to real-time data on the movement of people. Advan obtains its alternative data in many different ways. This includes geo-location methods, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS signals.

It has also formed partnerships with over 1,000 mobile app providers. When installed on a user’s phone, this also provides real-time data on their movements. All data collection methods utilized by Advan comply with privacy regulations. This means that the identity of the individual users being tracked is not made public.

Although Advan serves many different industries, it is particularly useful for commercial real estate investors. This is because Advan provides alternative data on a wide range of real estate trends.

Advan review

For example, it can break down specific housing markets by consumer behaviors, population growth, work-from-home metrics, and income bands.  This enables real estate stakeholders to make informed investment decisions.

Not only that, but Advan updates its data on a monthly basis. This provides investors with data two years faster than census reports. According to Advan, its alternative data correlates to the official census by 98%. The main drawback with Advan is that it doesn’t publish its prices. Instead, users will need to ask for a custom quote. 

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Foot-traffic data that tracks the movement of people. The data is obtained via geo-location signals and app usage. Provides alternative data on migration metrics, such as population growth and income bands. The data is two years faster than the official census. Commercial real estate investors looking for alternative data trends on key property markets. Not published – custom plans only.


  • Unrivaled alternative data on migration trends and population growth
  • Ideal for commercial real estate investors seeking in-depth insights
  • Data is updated monthly – making it two years faster than the census
  • 98% correlation with official census data


  • Does not publish prices – users need to ask for a custom quote

7. Foursquare – Geo-Location Data for the Retail and Hospitality Sectors 

Foursquare is also one of the best alternative data platforms for obtaining geo-location data on foot traffic. But unlike Advan, Foursquare specializes in the retail and hospitality sectors. It has access to an unprecedented amount of alternative data from over 50 million users. 

The data is collected in real-time from GPS, BlueTooth, and WiFI signals. All of the information it collects enables investors to evaluate consumer trends and sentiment. For example, suppose an investor noticed that a new fast food chain is witnessing significant growth throughout the US. 

It also finds that people are spending longer time frames when visiting the fast food chain. Not only that, but the fast food chain continues to witness repeat business from previous customers. These trends highlight consumers have positive experiences with the chain. 

Foursquare alternative data

Perhaps because of food quality, service, and/or value.; Either way, the investor might then decide to buy stock in the company. Ordinarily, most investors would wait until the company releases its quarterly report to obtain information on revenue and operating income. 

But by using Foursquare, investors get a first-mover advantage. Moreover, Foursquare users can also leave ratings and reviews, which provides even more invaluable data. Foursquare pricing depends on the depth and number of API requests the user needs.  

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
Real-time geo-location data on foot traffic. Specializes in alternative data trends for the retail and hospitality sectors. Explore where people are eating, drinking, and shopping. Also provides user-centric data, such as reviews and ratings. Investors looking for real-time trends on consumer spending habits and overall brand sentiment. Especially useful for investors in the retail and hospitality spaces. Custom pricing plans based on the depth and number of API requests needed.


  • Obtain geo-location data on over 50 million people
  • Understand in real-time where people are eating, drinking, and shopping
  • Unparalleled insights on consumer spending and brand sentiment
  • Extract data from user reviews and ratings


  • Full functionality is expensive – might not be suitable for casual investors

8. Descartes Labs – High-Level Satellite Imagery for Commodity Traders

Descartes Labs is one of the best alternative data providers for commodity traders. It specializes in high-level satellite imagery. But rather than simply providing satellite images to its clients, Descartes Labs goes one step further. 

This is because the Descartes Labs team will analyze the images to assess potential trends surrounding demand and supply. For example, consider a satellite image of a large-scale wheat farm. Through satellite imagery, investors can assess the farm’s crop quality and potential production yields.

Descartes Labs review

This enables investors to make forecasts on the demand, supply, and price of wheat. In another example, Descartes Labs is also useful for evaluating crude oil supplies. For example, a satellite image can provide information on the number of oil barrels being stored in key oil-producing countries.

Satellite images can also be used to gain insights into potential supply disruptions. This would then allow the commodity trader to enter a long or short position accordingly. Descartes Labs claims to have a commodity forecast accuracy rate of over 90%. Prices are not displayed on its website, meaning users will need to obtain a custom quote. 

Type of Alternative Data Target Market Pricing
High-level satellite imagery of key industries, including agriculture, oil, precious metals, and defense. Its in-house team analyzes the satellite imagery to provide real-time insights. Claims to have a commodity forecast accuracy rate of over 90%. Aimed at traders involved in soft and hard commodities, including crude oil, natural gas, wheat, sugar, and more. Enables traders to get insights on demand and supply before being reported by the mainstream media. Not published – custom plans only.


  • High-level satellite imagery for the commodity industry
  • Markets include energies, precious metals, and agriculture
  • In-house team of analysts evaluate satellite imagery findings
  • Get a significant advantage over the broader commodity markets


  • Does not publish prices – is largely aimed at institutions with vast resources


How Does Alternative Data Work?

Still asking yourself what is alternative data? Alternative data provides investors with unrivaled insights into their respective markets. More specifically, alternative data comes from outside of traditional information sources, such as:

  • Company earnings reports
  • Press releases
  • Interviews with mainstream media
  • Financial news 

The above information sources have one thing in common – they are used by the vast majority of investors when making investment decisions.  

For example, consider an investor waiting for Amazon to release its quarterly earnings report. The report is overly positive, with Amazon revenues far above what sell-side analysts had predicted. This means that the investor, alongside the broader market, decides to buy Amazon stock. 

Crucially, this example highlights that traditional data sources do not offer any advantage. Everyone receives the information concurrently, so investors are simply trading news after it has been announced. 

Now consider the alternative data process. 

  • An investor might use a platform like AltIndex to get insights on Amazon long before its quarterly earnings report.
  • AltIndex shows that the number of visitors to the Amazon website continues to trend upward. 
  • It also shows that users are spending a lot longer on Amazon, and bounce rates have declined significantly. 
  • This leads the investor to buy Amazon stock. 
  • The reason for this is simple; the alternative data provided by AltIndex illustrated an increase in revenues. 
  • This sentiment was backed up once Amazon released its quarterly earnings.  

This is just one example of how alternative data can give investors a head start in the market. There are many other use cases and alternative data sources. For example, satellite imagery, geo-location tracking, website analytics, social media sentiment, and migration figures.  

What are Some Examples of Alternative Data?

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s explore some real-world examples of alternative data. 

Social Media Metrics

One of the most powerful alternative data sources is social media. After all, according to Statista data, more than 4.8 billion people use social media globally.

A good example of this is AltIndex, which scrapes real-time data from the most popular social media platforms. This includes Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.

AltIndex provides insights on which stocks are trending on social media, in terms of:

  • Mentions
  • Searches
  • Followers

AltIndex will then provide this alternative data in an easy-to-view format. For example, it provides a ranking list based on which companies are witnessing increased engagement on social media. It also does the same for companies that are seeing a decline in sentiment.

This enables investors to make informed decisions on which stocks to buy or sell. For instance, consider a stock that witnessed a huge increase in followers over the prior seven days. This could indicate that the company has positive sentiment from the broader social community.

In turn, the investor can then look at reasons for this sudden growth, such as a new product or service. After performing due diligence, the investor might then decide to buy stock in the company.

Another example of alternative data is to look for website traffic and trends. One of the best alternative data sources for this purpose is SimilarWeb.

Let’s suppose that SimilarWeb data shows that the Etsy website continues to see a decline in the number of daily visitors. As an e-commerce marketplace, Etsy relies on visitors, who, in turn, pay commissions on sales.

This decline concerns the investor, who currently holds a position in Etsy stock. As such, the investor decides to offload their Etsy stock as a risk management strategy.

This example shows that alternative data not only highlights investment opportunities – but also potential portfolio risks.

Financial and Regulatory Filings

Companies listed on US stock exchanges must make filings to the SEC. This is required for various reasons related to regulation, compliance, financial performance, and director changes.

Another requirement for companies is to file insider transactions related to stock purchases or sales. This provides a great source of alternative data for investors.

However, a significant number of SEC filings are made on a daily basis. So staying up-to-date can be a logistical nightmare. This is where platforms like can help. The platform sends real-time alerts when selected companies make a new filing to the SEC.

  • For instance, suppose the investor receives an alert from about a new filing made from a small-cap stock.
  • The filing refers to an insider transaction, where a company director has purchased a significant number of shares.
  • This highlights that the director is bullish on the future potential of the company.

As such, an investor might decide to follow suit, by also buying stock in the firm. After all, the director wouldn’t have invested their own money if they didn’t believe in its potential.

Foot Traffic and Geo-Location Data

Another great source of alternative data is foot traffic. This provides insights into the movement of people, usually in real-time. The data is collected in various ways, but the most effective is via geo-location information.

foursquare data

For example, Foursquare collects data from WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS signals across more than 50 million users. There are many use cases for this data from within the hospitality and retail sectors.

  • For instance, suppose a real estate investor is considering investing in a shopping mall.
  • To assess the availability of the investment, they use foot-traffic analytics provided by Foursquare.
  • The alternative data shows that the shopping mall consistently attracts foot traffic throughout the week, with an even bigger surge over the weekend.

This data convinces the investor to proceed with their shopping mall investment.

  • One of the most important considerations to make when using alternative data is whether or not it complies with data privacy regulations.
  • This is especially the case with geo-location tracking.
  • Crucially, providers like Foursquare and Advan comply with all relevant laws on privacy. They never reveal the identities of the people being tracked.
  • Instead, the data is provided in an anonymous and aggregated format.

Satellite Imagery

Alternative data providers like Descartes Labs provide high-level satellite imagery. One such use case is in the commodity trading industry.

For example, consider an investor that receives a satellite image of a major oil production facility in Saudi Arabia. The image shows that storage tanks next to the facility are nearing maximum capacity.

This highlights that there could potentially be a short-term reduction in demand. In turn, the investor might enter a short-selling position on CME oil futures.

Key Advantages of Alternative Data for Investors 

Still not sure if alternative data warrants the hype?

Here are some of the main advantages of using alternative data to make investment decisions.

First-Mover Advantage

One of the main reasons seasoned investors use alternative data is it gives them a first-mover advantage. This means that investors can enter and exit trades based on information that isn’t readily available to the public.

For example, consider an investor that obtains satellite imagery on increased tensions near a major natural gas supply route. The investor can enter a long position on natural gas, in anticipation of supply chain constraints.

Early Risk Warnings 

Another advantage of alternative data is it can provide early risk warnings to investors. For example, suppose an investor analyzes data from FlightAware. They find that an increasing number of airlines are reducing flight schedules.

FlightAware data

This indicates that the broader aviation industry is experiencing reduced demand. As such, an investor holding aviation stocks can exit their position at the earliest possible time.

Find New Investments Before They Become Mainstream 

Hedge funds, asset managers, and many other financial institutions use alternative data to find undervalued investments. For example, consider a newly listed pharmaceutical stock that specializes in medical cannabis treatments.

The pharmaceutical company recently filed a patent with US and European regulators. Alternative data of this nature is highly valuable. It highlights that the pharmaceutical stock has potentially discovered a groundbreaking treatment. Therefore, investors can buy its stock well before the news comes mainstream.

What to Consider When Selecting an Alternative Data Platform

Earlier in this guide, we reviewed the 8 best alternative data providers for 2023. However, there are many other providers in this space. As such, investors should know what to look for when selecting a platform. 

The key considerations to make are discussed below.

Type of Alternative Data

The first step is to evaluate the type of alternative data provided by the platform. For example, AltIndex specializes in social media metrics, website analytics, and brand sentiment on stocks and cryptocurrencies., on the other hand, provides real-time alerts on new regulatory filings made with the SEC. Then there’s Plaid, which offers credit card transaction data from banks in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe.

Sourcing Suitable Alternative Data

Investors should only source alternative data that align with their investment strategy. For example, AltIndex is useful for investors wanting to gain an edge in the stock market before quarterly earnings reports are released. While Plaid is ideal for evaluating broader consumer spending habits and trends.


Next, investors should do some due diligence on the alternative data platform. After all, if the alternative data is being used to make investment decisions, it must be accurate.

Advan alternative data

The best way of assessing this is to explore how the provider obtains the data. For example, Advan uses geo-location tracking methods. It obtains real-time data from GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth signals – not to mention partnerships with over 1,000 apps.

Having an understanding of how alternative data is collected will provide insight into its credibility and accuracy.

Time Delay

Timing is crucial when making investment decisions on the back of alternative data.

For example, suppose an alternative data platform offers website analytics. This enables investors to evaluate trending brands via website visits and other traffic data. However, if the analytics are not provided in real-time, the data is likely useless.

Ultimately, alternative data should be provided in the fastest time possible. The quicker the information is received, the greater the edge in the market.

Costs vs Expected ROI

In many cases, alternative data is expensive. This is because of the methods required to obtain the alternative data.

For example, not only does Descartes Labs offer high-level satellite imagery, but an in-house team that analyzes the data. This doesn’t come cheap, so providers like Descartes Labs are largely aimed at institutional investors.

With this in mind, investors need to consider the costs of obtaining the alternative data, alongside the expected return on investment (ROI). Crucially, there needs to be a suitable upside when purchasing alternative data. This is because there is no guarantee that the data will yield investment returns.

Is Alternative Data Expensive?

Alternative data can be expensive. We found that there is often a direct correlation between the value of the alternative data and the respective cost.

For example, obtaining satellite imagery from Middle East oil rigs isn’t a cost-effective process. Nor can the data be evaluated by people without advanced knowledge of this specific niche. This is also the case with other alternative data sources, such as geo-location signals and credit card transactions.

Alternative data is now a hot commodity, and institutional investors are prepared to pay a lot of money to obtain it. For example, SimilarWeb explains that fund managers are currently allocating over $3 billion into alternative data sets. This is expected to rise to over $100 billion by 2030.

That said, casual investors that are just exploring the alternative data space might consider AltIndex. Although the platform offers thousands of useful data insights from social media and internet trends, it doesn’t charge anything for its service.


The best alternative data providers for 2023 have been ranked and reviewed. While most alternative data sets are costly, AltIndex is ideal for casual investors.

It offers fee-free data sets on thousands of stocks and cryptocurrencies, including social media trends, Google searches, and an AI-backed sentiment score.

AltIndex also sends alerts when a new trend has been discovered, giving investors an edge in the market.



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