Monitoring the Competitive Ad Landscape

Establishing an Advertising Baseline

It can be arduous, not to mention intimidating, to begin a new online advertising campaign. There are so many different channels to plan for (e.g. display, search, social media, direct, etc.), as well as company- and industry-specific variables. So much so that coming up with a starting point can feel impossible.

Fortunately, advertisers have their pick of the litter when it comes to Web resources that monitor how others spend their promotional dollars. These resources empower enterprises with the essential competitive intelligence needed to establish a "baseline" for their brand's advertising campaign.

Here's a quick look at four of the most popular digital ad campaign and keyword tracking platforms available:


One of the best places to start when developing an Internet advertising strategy is to research the search keywords/phrases that are used to generate traffic within an industry vertical; this provides general insights into what the target audience is looking for and what approaches other companies are taking to acquire visits.

SEMrush is one of the most popular competitive keyword research tools available today. It provides users with insights into the PPC keyword targeting, rankings and traffic data of their competitors. Simply enter a competitor's URL into the search bar and SEMrush returns a detailed look at the company's organic search and paid advertising campaigns through a series of metrics. The report includes a search traffic estimation, how much the company spends on AdWords ads and, most importantly, the expected search volume of its targeted keywords. Users can check the actual text ads of their competitors by affixing "by ads" to the end of a URL search.


Competitive intelligence solution gives advertisers a sneak peak at where other enterprises are running display (banner) advertising, as well as who they're buying inventory from and the exact ads that they're using. This provides users with indepth, real-world, actionable insights, which can be used to plan for and improve targeting over time. By studying competitors' display campaigns, advertisers can avoid poorer performing publisher segments and ultimately improve/increase the ROAS for their own campaigns.


Advertisers not only use the popular SpyFu platform to track rankings of paid and organic search keywords on Google, Yahoo and Bing, but also to increase website traffic thanks to the tool's smart recommendations feature, which aims to drive additional clicks from SEO or Ad- Words campaigns. SpyFu also allows users to search for competitors' domains and discover where that domain has appeared on Google, including every purchased keyword on AdWords, every organic rank and every ad variation over the last six years. SpyFu provides much - if not all - of the information needed to establish a baseline for the modern ad campaign.


Build your campaign from the bottom up with digital marketing intelligence provider AdGooRoo. The robust platform, used by many well-known brands, offers insights into competitors' display ad campaigns (e.g. the ads themselves and the sites they appear on) and provides access to an extensive database of search data. This database includes information on nearly every industry, 920,000 PPC advertisers across 14 search engines and within 50 countries. AdGooRoo provides insights and actionable data about these various industries, including competitors' specific search marketing campaigns and their back linking and display ad strategies. Advertisers can even identify the competitors (and affiliates) that are bidding on and using trademarked brand terms in PPC ads.

About the Author:

Michael Garrity is an Associate Editor at Website Magazine.


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