Competitors are lurking in every corner, and you constantly need to be at the top of the game as a business owner.
However, what do you do when all your efforts at using the best SEO tactics go in vain? Believe it or not, it’s time to spy on your competitors and see what they are doing right.
And what if we told you that there was a tool that allows you to get competitor insights and use the information to create better ad campaigns and get more 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 on the right tools to use as business owners.
If you want to spy on Google Ads, you’ll need the equip yourself with the best tools on the market for competitor monitoring; we’ll break them down for you below.
Why Do You Need To Use Spy Tools?
As a business owner with a successful online and social media presence, you may be wondering if you need to use a spy tool to gain insights into the competitors. 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 business 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 digital marketing formulas and tricks.
An easy way to do this is by checking out the Google Ads that your competitors are using. You can gain tremendous insight into what has worked for them and what hasn’t. This, in turn, can help you create an effective digital marketing formula for your business, which avoids the same mistakes competitors have made in the past.
This saves you immense time and effort, but it 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.
2. Understand The Market And Find New Competitors
Without understanding what you are competing for, it can be tricky to offer your consumers the right products and services. 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 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 out the SEO tools and keyword research they are engaging in.
This will help you stay at the top of your game and fare better than competitors.
What Do Competitor Analysis And Auction Insights Tell You?
One of the most significant advantages of using Google Ads is that it instantly shows you all your competitors. 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?
For starters, 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 Ads campaigns are profitable for them. So, instead of fighting your way to the top, try to collect more data and perform accurate competitor analysis.
A few essential bits of information that you should find when looking at what Google Ads competitors are using are -
- What kind of PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns are they using?
- What do their landing pages look like?
- What are their traffic sources?
- How are their conversion rates?
- What specific keyword are they using?
- Are the ads your competitors use profitable?
- Are their Facebook ads faring well on social media?
- The monthly cost of competitors’ ads
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.
Now, let us introduce you to some of the best spy tools to make sure that 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 every 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 the same keywords as your business.
By digging deeper, you will find vital information on the ad groups, Google Ad campaign, keyword research, and other data on your competitors. The Auction Insights report will also 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.
You may be under the impression that you are using the best digital marketing tools to attract organic traffic sources. However, even the best marketers have blindspots for digital marketing. So, how can you generate more leads and outperform competitors using Google?
iSpionage can help you do this easily. This 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 keywords that your competitors may be using.
Aside from that, iSpionage will help you figure out how much a competitor is spending on PPC campaigns.
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 to use.
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, using suitable PPC campaigns, you can ensure that the traffic is directed towards your pages.
When it comes to the best keyword tools, most business owners swear by SpyFu. This tool has a beautiful, simplistic, and aesthetic user interface that makes it a pleasure to use for starters.
An interesting feature on 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.
To keep track of your competition, you need to know what landing pages they are using, their Google Ads 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 competitors are using correctly to rank high during organic search results. Not just that, you can also see the results of how much traffic each 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 you uncover which websites drive traffic to your competitors’ pages. Likewise, the latter can help you find new keywords that you may have missed out on but which competitors are using to rank high on search results.
Another excellent tool that you can use to discover keywords being used by competitors 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 organic rankings. It is one of the most beloved tools many SEO agencies use because of how simple it is to use yet the complex tasks it allows them to perform.
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 competitors 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.
Wishing you could furtively uncover the secret strategies being used by your competitors for their ads? Or maybe you want to find out how much each advertiser is spending on publishers. Adbeat does both 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 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 best part about this tool is that it gives you details on traffic through Google Ads 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 sources, it won’t be long before you can use direct placements for individual display campaigns.
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 campaigns. 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.
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 the fact that this tool brings 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 giving this PPC tool a try.
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 that will get more customers every time.
Using the tool is pretty straightforward as well. Just 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 come to you. 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 competitors are using to check how they are ranking. Unlike other PPC spy tools, Pro Rank Tracker offers users a list or graph of competitor analysis for easy comprehension.
Here, 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.
As the name suggests, BuiltWith tells you precisely what your competitors use to build their websites. This tool gives you in-depth insights on the shopping cards, web hosting provider, CMS, chatbots, and whatever else they are using.
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 figure out what they are using, you can apply the same strategies to gain traction online.
You can easily install the tool to your preferred search engine on the desktop. Once installed, please look at the competitors’ 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 campaigns you can use for the best quality conversions.
And once you have that information, you can better allocate the budget for executing these campaigns.
What if you could track competitors, conduct analysis, and gain valuable insights every time you were on their websites? With the Woopra extension for Chrome or Firefox, you can. The best 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.
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 take a 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.
Small businesses often cannot allocate the required budget for high-end, advanced spy 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 homepages. 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 on 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. Better still, 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.
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).
Hootsuite has many other benefits people don’t know of, a popular tool used to schedule and publish social media posts. Did you know that 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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 Location
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 tools, it’s time to shine.
We hope this guide helps you learn more about Google Ads 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!