Spying On Competitors Google Ads

Want to know how you can outdo your competitors with your PPC campaign? Check out these tips on spying on competitors’ Google Ads using the best tools to spy on Google Ads.

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud — 20 minute read.

With competitors at every turn, staying ahead is essential, especially as a site owner. One effective way to achieve this is through Google Ads competitor analysis.

However, what do you do when all your efforts to use the best SEO tactics are in vain? Believe it or not, it’s time to spy on your competitors and see what they are doing right.

Google Ads Spying

Imagine having access to a tool that enables you to gain insights into your Google Ads competition and using that information to devise superior ad campaigns and enhance organic traffic.

Buckle up because, in this guide, we will be sharing some of the best Google Ads secrets. Learn how to spy on your Google Ads competitors and gain insight into the right tools to use as site owners.

To gain an edge in Google Ads, you must equip yourself with top-tier tools, like Google Ads Keyword Planner, for competitor monitoring. Here’s a breakdown of them.

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Why Do You Need To Use Spy Tools?

As a business owner who has already established a successful online and social media presence, you may be contemplating whether employing a spy tool to garner insights into your competitor’s ads is necessary. Well, unless your website is already the highest-ranking one on Google, the chances are that you are looking for ways to rank higher.

You may be using the best digital marketing strategies to have a beautiful landing page and excellent conversion rates; however, what tools are your competitors? This is an important question that most site owners fail to ask themselves.

1. Create A Better Digital Marketing Formula

No matter how great you think you are, even the best businesses have the strongest competitors. And if you wish to rank higher and get above your competition, it is essential to understand their content and marketing formulas and tricks.

Examining your competitors ' Google Ads is a convenient method to gain insights. Utilising Google Ads Auction Insights can provide a substantial understanding of their successful and unsuccessful strategies. This, in turn, can help you create an effective online marketing formula for your business, which avoids the same mistakes competitors have made in the past.

This saves you immense time and effort but also helps you formulate the best strategies. Sure, your competitors landing pages and traffic sources may look fantastic, but do you know the in-depth strategies that the best-performing competitors are using? Now you can.

Ad Rank Works Google Ads

2. Understand The Market And Find New Competitors

Without comprehending what you’re vying for, including YouTube Ads in the mix, providing your consumers with appropriate products and services could be challenging. However, studying competitor display ads is an excellent way to learn more about your competitors and their behaviour.

Competitor ads help you understand essential data such as the Google Ads keywords they are using, auction insights, cost per click, and more. They also enable you to scope out new competitors in the market and find the SEO tools and keyword research they are engaging in.

This understanding will aid in maintaining a lead in your niche and ensure better performance than competitors, particularly in acquiring paid search traffic.

What Do Competitor Analysis And Auction Insights Tell You?

One notable advantage of using Google Ads is its ability to expose your competitors, including their ad spend, instantly. Nothing is hidden here, and as soon as you type something on the Google Search engine, it will show you all the related competitor ads.

So, how can you use this feature of Google Ads to your advantage and better analyse competitor ads?

Stop building SEO strategies that can automatically bring your ads above competitors’ ads. The primary reason behind this is that you essentially have no idea whether or not these competitor ads and Google Adwords campaigns are profitable for them. So, instead of fighting your way to the top, try to collect more data and perform accurate competitor analysis.

When analysing what Google Ads competitors are utilising, there are several critical pieces of information to identify, including the search terms they’re targeting:

Infographic Ad Rank Breakdown

29 Best Spy Tools To Crush Your Competitors

Google Ads campaigns are among the most excellent tools business owners can use to stay at the top of the competition and reach worldwide audiences. However, not many know that you can use this tool to spy on what your competitors are using to gain more organic traffic.

Let us introduce you to some of the best spy competitor tools to ensure you know precisely what competitors are doing right. These PPC tools will help you stay one step ahead of competitors.

So, if you want to know which tools to use strategically to your benefit all the time, read on.

1. Google Ads Account

Most likely, you already have a Google Ads or Google AdWords account. Inside this, you will find a tool called Auction Insights. This enables you to run an auction insights report to view competitors that enter the same Google ad auctions and bid on your business’s profitable keywords.

By digging deeper, you will find vital information on the ad groups, Google Ads campaign, keyword research, and other data on your competitors. Google Keyword Planner is one of the best places to begin keyword research. Meanwhile, the Auction Insights report will provide essential data on your ad copy and compare it to the best-performing Google Ads.

However, consider that many other competitors exist outside the Auction Insights report. So, how do you find them? You can use different tools like iSpionage that help you find more competitors and their PPC campaigns. Don’t worry; we will cover this tool in the next section.

2. iSpionage

You may be under the impression that you use the best marketing tools to attract organic traffic sources. However, even the best marketers have blindspots for online marketing. So, how can you generate more leads and outperform competitors using Google?

iSpionage can help you do this easily. This particular keyword monitoring tool lets you search competitor websites and ads, check their PPC tools, and how effective their ad copies are. Plus, it alerts you of any missing profitable keywords that your competitors may be using.

Aside from that, iSpionage will help you figure out how much a competitor is spending on a PPC campaign.

3. SimilarWeb

You may observe that your competitor is gaining huge Google Search traffic. If you want to know exactly how much monthly traffic they are getting and the traffic sources, SimilarWeb is the perfect tool.

It is a tool that allows you to determine which channels and platforms competitors use the most to drive traffic and where traffic sources originate. Once you have the real-time data, you will use the same tools better to drive the traffic away from them organically.

Then, you can ensure traffic is directed towards your pages using suitable PPC campaigns.

4. SpyFu

Regarding the best keyword tools, most business owners swear by SpyFu. This tool has a beautiful, simplistic, and aesthetic user interface, making it a pleasure for starters.

An interesting feature of SpyFu is the competitor Kombat Venn diagram. This colourful representation shows you the top keywords being used by competitors, which you are missing out on. You can also follow their Cost Per Click and how much they spend on it.

Once you have this data, you can decide which keywords are worth bidding on to get higher on the ladder.

5. Ahrefs

To keep track of your competition, you need to know what landing page they are using, their Google Ads campaign look, etc. You also need to find out the phrases and keywords they are bidding on, their ranking positions, and how many backlinks are pointing to competitor campaigns.

And by running the Ahrefs Organic Search Report, you can find the exact keywords your rivals are using correctly to rank high during organic search results. Not just that, you can also see the results of how much traffic each particular keyword is driving.

Once you have all the necessary information, you can conduct a thorough competitor analysis. Plus, you can use two other tools on Ahrefs called The Top Ten Pages report and Content Gap.

The former helps uncover which websites drive traffic to your competitors’ pages. Likewise, the latter can help you find new keywords you may have missed out on but which rivals are using to rank high on search results.

6. SEMrush

Another excellent tool that you can use to discover your competitor’s keywords is SEMrush. This tool also helps you uncover YouTube intel and Product Listing Ads. Additionally, it can analyse and track how effective your ad copy is on social media platforms and do the same for competitors.

While developing insightful PPC campaigns, SEMrush can help you create compelling ones if you’re facing problems. Plus, you can track, monitor, and manage keyword rankings. It is one of the most beloved tools many SEO agencies use because of how simple and complex tasks it allows them to perform.

7. Serpstat

When looking for a competitor analysis tool to provide valuable data for organic and paid research? Serpstat can help you. This spy tool allows you to view the CPC for each keyword you use. You can use this information to view all the contextually relevant and related keywords that other domains use on Google.

You can discover some of the best keywords with high-ranking opportunities (and find out the ones rivals are already using). Not just that, one of the best tools on Serpstat also allows you to monitor the performance of your competitors’ domains and generate specific keyword maps of their websites.

As you gather more data about competitor websites, you remain better positioned to develop strategies to win the competition.

8. AdBeat

Wishing you could furtively uncover the secret strategies your competitors use for their ads? Or maybe you want to find out how much each advertiser is spending on publishers. Adbeat does both of these jobs for you while uncovering the various trends on each social media platform.

One of the reasons why so many SEO strategists and agencies like using AdBeat, is its simplistic user interface. Unlike some other spy competitor tools on the market, AdBeat is one of the easiest tools to use, even for beginners.

However, most ad networks and advertisers will be using it because of the brilliant insights it provides on competitor landing pages, campaigns, and who is using what ad copy.

9. What Runs Where

Those looking for a more complex tool to discover where and how various display traffic comes from and what drives it should opt for What Runs Where.

This spy tool gives you in-depth details about specific ad placements, as the name may tell you. It also helps you discover the media platforms and channels that drive traffic, text ads, and well-performing images.

The great part about this tool is that it gives you details on traffic through running Google Ads campaigns and other vital media channels. These include AppNexus, Media Buy, and other networks that Google typically cannot access.

Once you can figure out the traffic source, it won’t be long before you can use direct placements for individual display campaigns.

10. KeywordSpy

As the name already tells you, KeywordSpy is a spy tool that helps you study the kind of keywords being used by competitors. However, unlike many other keyword research tools, this one provides more in-depth data on keyword tracking.

You can use KeywordSpy to know precisely what your competition is advertising on their Google Ads campaign. Furthermore, you can access detailed reports on the ad copies, budget, stats, and competitors’ affiliates.

The tool is relatively easy to use and highly effective, and adding it to your spy tool arsenal can prove an excellent strategy.

11. Anstrex

The name Anstrex has a pretty cool meaning. It comes from a combination of the first two letters of the words “analyse,” “strategise,” and “execute.” With a creative name like that, you may imagine how its developers have built a brilliant tool to help you get ahead of competitors.

Essentially, Anstrex allows you to view ad networks using a simple user interface that no beginner would have trouble understanding. But what makes this PPC spy tool stand out from the rest?

Its highlight lies in this tool, bringing you unmatched data from millions of ads spanning thousands of publishers and advertisers worldwide. The brand offers its customers a free two-day trial, so there’s no harm in trying this PPC tool.

12. BuzzSumo

Instead of spending hours a day spying on competitors, what if you could find a spy tool that would do it on your behalf? Well, that’s precisely what BuzzSumo offers its users.

This fantastic tool identifies the top influencers in the industry and then checks out their content to figure out what is working for them and what isn’t. After gathering this data, you can effectively build a PPC campaign to get more customers every time.

Using the tool is pretty straightforward as well. Type a competitor’s domain in the search bar and let BuzzSumo do the rest. You will see all the vital social media network metrics brilliantly laid out in neat stacks and columns.

13. The Search Monitor

The research experts behind The Search Monitor have dedicated decades to mining SEO and SEM. Since its inception in 2007, The Search Monitor has been steadily tracking online ads and their performances. The tool has been known to crawl millions of ads every hour, so you can imagine how helpful it could be for your SEO game.

Once you sign up, automatic alerts on the tool will inform you about each crawl. There is no need to put in extra effort; wait for the data to arrive. Then, you will see all competitor data, such as their ad copy, ad rank, market share, and PPC clicks.

14. Pro Rank Tracker

Pro Rank Tracker is a personalised way of tracking the keywords that rivals use to check their ranking. Unlike other PPC spy competitor tools, Pro Rank Tracker offers users a list or graph of competitor report analysis for easy comprehension.

You can search for a competitor’s domain and add specific keywords you want to track. The tool will show you how these keywords are ranking for your competitors.

15. BuiltWith

As the name suggests, BuiltWith tells you precisely what your competitors use to build their websites. This tool gives you in-depth insights into shopping cards, web hosting providers, CMS, chatbots, and whatever else they use.

Besides, you can find information about the ad management tools they are using — Google Analytics, a CDN, Facebook Pixels, etc. You can see how much they spend on each tool annually.

Once you determine what they are using, you can apply the same strategies to gain online traction.

16. Wappalyzer

Wappalyzer is an exciting tool that lets you see all the JavaScripts and other technologies used on your competitor’s landing page or website. Hence, you can come across some fascinating information on the tools they are using to up their PPC advertising game.

You can easily install the tool to your preferred search engine on the desktop. Once installed, please look at the competitor’s trade secrets and use them for your campaigns.

17. GCLID Parameters (via Google)

Before uploading URLs and PPC channels, you first append Google’s GCLID parameters. Doing so will allow you to compare the lead data with the raw PPC data. As a result, you have adequate information on what type of PPC campaign you can use for the best quality conversions.

And once you have that information, you can better allocate the budget for executing these campaigns.

18. Woopra

What if you could track competitors, conduct analysis, and gain valuable insights whenever you were on their websites? With the Woopra extension for Chrome or Firefox, you can. The great part is that it is super easy to use and takes a few seconds to ring up the results, unlike other tools that can take several minutes.

Plus, it offers a free trial version you can take advantage of before signing up for it.

19. Brand24

Leading businesses use Brand24 to monitor their mentions and watch competitors. This brilliant tool gives you detailed, colourful graph representations that help gain valuable customer insights and determine which customers speak about competitors.

You can also view their feedback, reach customers, and look at their sentiments about different brands and their experiences. This gives you a chance to figure out what mistakes your competitors are making and how to avoid them to risk losing customers.

20. Stillio

Small businesses often cannot allocate the required budget for high-end, advanced spy competitor tools. If you are on a budget and are looking for a way to spy on competitors without breaking the bank actively, Stillo might be the perfect option.

Essentially, this tool takes automatic screenshots of competitors’ landing pages and home pages. Or, you can choose to automate the process at specific times during the day for better analysis.

21. Facebook Ad Library

Being on a budget can feel restrictive, and what if you don’t have enough funds to invest even small amounts in PPC tools? Worry not, as you can use Facebook Ad Library for free.

Use this tool to browse all the active ads on Facebook spanning different regions, countries, and categories. Spy on target competitors by visiting their Facebook accounts and going to Page Transparency. Once you click on the “Ad Library” option, you can access all the necessary data you need to get started.

22. SocialBakers

Wondering what your competitors are up to online? Use SocialBakers to get all the necessary information about how users respond to their pages, what they are posting, and how paid ads are faring. However, be ready to pay a hefty price for this tool ($200/minute).

23. Hootsuite

Hootsuite has many other benefits people don’t know of, a popular tool used to schedule and publish social media posts. Did you know you can use this tool to generate and track social media analytics?

Such data can help you make necessary adjustments to your pages to create better content useful to consumers. Plus, it enables you to keep an eye on key competitors and hashtags and keywords.

24. Fanpage Karma

With over 10 million profiles in 180 countries, Fanpage Karma claims to be one of the topmost players in social media management. This tool enables you to analyse social media interactions on your page and competitor pages.

You can also track the nitty-gritty of these interactions in posts per day, weekly visitors and fans, audience reach, etc. We love its Shitstorm Alert feature that immediately alerts you when a competitor posts something.

25. Sprout Social

If you want to find out exactly where your competitors are putting in their PPC budget, Sprout Social can help. This social analytics tool effectively breaks down organic and paid research for social media platforms into segregated bits that are easy to analyse and track.

26. MOAT

Those who want to know where their competitors are placing image ads online can easily find the data on MOAT. Similar to What Runs Where MOAT features an in-depth collection of all the ads from the big players on the market. Plus, it gives you the precise placement of each ad to understand and analyse better.

The best part? It’s completely free to use!

27. MixRank

App marketers will love MixRank — a tool that neatly segregates data by different operating systems and devices. You can uncover important contact information and find leads on the key decision-makers your competition may already be tracking and targeting.

28. Mention

Curious about what your customers are saying about you? Mention lets you sneak in on conversations and analyse as many profiles as possible. You have exclusive access to forums, reviews, blogs, press, and whatever you need to get to the bottom of the conversion barrel.

29. AdPlexity

Do you want to know which banners and landing pages are the most popular worldwide? Well, not only can you see this information, but you can also download the promo materials these websites are using with the help of AdPlexity.

The best part is that this tool allows you to view data from over 100 affiliate networks, 80 countries, and 90 carriers.

How Can You Stop PPC Competitors From Using These Spy Tools On You?

Now that you know about the best spy competitor tools you can use on competitors, it’s time to move on to the big question- what steps can be taken when your competitors are spying on you?

If you have spent any amount of time and effort spying on your competition, rest assured that they are doing the same. Your competitors would never rank higher without using the right tools and driving traffic towards them.

So, it’s natural to want to protect your valuable data from the prying eyes of your competition. There are two basic changes you can make to your Google AdWords account to prevent this from happening.

a) Remove Competitors’ Office Locations

If you are sure that competitors are using tools to spy on your ads, exclude their office locations from the Google Ads account. Once you add this to a campaign, rest assured that they will not be able to see and spy on your ads in that specific city.

b) Remove Competitors’ IP Addresses

Google Analytics will not provide you with information on which IP addresses are visiting your landing pages. However, you can use a Snitcher tool to find out which companies are viewing your ads and the frequency of their analysis.

It can help find which competitors are viewing your website often, but it can also be used as an excellent lead-generation tool.

Getting Ahead Of Your Competitors With Google Ads

Now that you are equipped with the best PPC spy competitor tools, it’s time to shine.

We hope this guide helps you learn more about Google Adwords campaign secrets and use the best tools to your advantage. Of course, protecting your website is just as important as spying on others. So, make sure you take the time to protect your data first.

We understand PPC campaigns can be confusing and time-consuming. At sitecentre®, we want to help small businesses succeed. If you need any assistance with Google Ads or want to know more about creating a high-converting landing page, reach out to us.

With that, we have reached the end of our guide. Stay tuned for more such interesting reads!

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®.

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