The Best Ad Spy Tools for Digital Marketers 2020

best ad spy tools 2020

Here’s  thing: everything you do online can be tracked. Every visit, click, and conversion you make is recorded somewhere and, hence, can be traced all the way back to you. Before you get all paranoid and go nuts on your allowed cookies, there’s a silver lining: you can also track everything someone else is doing online. 

Let me take a wild guess and suggest that, as a marketer, you’d like to know what your competition is up to. Picture this: you get to see where they get their traffic from, how much they charge for their paid campaigns, which of their creatives perform best, and more. Sounds juicy? 

Today we’re talking about ad intelligence and reviewing the best ad spy tools that blur the already shady line between the Internet intel and the ever-standing issue of online privacy even further.

What is ad intelligence? 

As an advertiser, you want to send the right message to the right audience at the right time

 Easier said than done, I know. That’s why we’re happy to live in 2020, when there’s a tech solution for every need. You’re probably familiar with some tracking software already (Voluum? Anybody? 🤞), as it keeps record of all your data and lets you optimize your campaigns for the highest profits. 

Ad intelligence, just like tracking software, is essential for digital marketers. It refers to software solutions that specialize in gathering data on brands’ online advertising activities. Ad spy tools let you see how your own brand, your competitors, and other companies spend money on ads and which of their strategies seem to pay off the most. 

Thanks to ad spy technology, you can get insights into the competition’s offers, promos, traffic, and creatives to later use this knowledge while setting up campaigns in your tracker. Ad spy tools provide you with the information crucial for competitive advantage

If you find yourself wondering if any of your competitors are using one of the ad intelligence programs to spy on you – yes, they most certainly do. And it’s about time you pay them back. 

Below you will find a detailed description and comparison of the best ad spy tools for SEO and website management, social media and mobile app tracking, special affiliate-centered PPC & CPA campaigns, as well as a couple more programs I’d personally vouch for. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Best ad intelligence software for beginners 

Let’s start with the basics. Assuming you’re just getting started in the business, you need to know what others are doing. That’s how you learn. But you are also probably mesmerized by the amount of information available online. So start small and grow as your marketing knowledge and business evolves. These ad spy tools are bound to be a nifty little enhancement of your marketing strategy from day 1. 

BigSpy

There are two key reasons why BigSpy is perfect for newbies: it’s free and it’s intuitively simple. This ad spy tool lets you search by marketing objectives, CTA, as well as creatives for a particular market segment. The platform also allows you to receive notifications about selected brands and companies. Compared to paid ad spy tools, BigSpy might be too simple for its own good as it doesn’t provide in-depth statistics or analysis. But for those of you data-geeks, it calls for an independent research, so the glass is half full! 

  • Size: 650 million ads 
  • Selected features: top charts; featured ads, “heat” metric
  • Ad channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Yahoo, YouTube, Admob
  • Price from: free
  • Live support: yes 

Moat

If BigSpy isn’t big enough for your appetite (see what I did there?), how about giving a go to the largest digital-ad search engine on the market? Moat specializes at finding ad creatives used for a particular brand. You can later use it as an inspiration for some of your own ad placements or to simply stay up-to-date with the competition. Each entry features information about the dimensions of a particular creative and the period when the ad was active. Moat lets you access viewability, brand safety, measured impressions, and more! 

  • Size: N/A 
  • Selected features: 50+ metrics for video & display ads, heatmaps, fraud detection
  • Ad channels:Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube
  • Price from: N/A
  • Live support: No

AdSpy 

AdSpy should be your go-to ad intelligence solution if you specialize in running Facebook and Instagram ads. It’s a very affiliate-friendly tool, so make sure you check it out! AdSpy team specializes in locating cloaked ads on Facebook and Instagram, so you get granular review of the less-known advertisements.   

  • Size: 91+ million ads
  • Selected features: search through comments, cloaker bypass, big data statistics
  • Ad channels: Facebook, Instagram
  • Price from: $149/mo
  • Live support: No 

Best ad spy tools for SEO purposes

Search engine optimization is important. We all know that. Which is why many brands (hopefully, yours included) invest a lot of time, money, and effort into growing their online presence organically. 

Activate your inner James Bonds with these absolute must-try ad intelligence programs designed specifically for tracking and analyzing your competitors’ SEO efforts. Know what they do, how, and why, and there you go, you’ve got yourself your very own SEO marketing strategy hustle free! 

SEMRush Competitive Intelligence

If you’ve heard of SEO, you’ve heard of SEMRush. Advertising themselves as the all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals, this platform has become synonymous with website optimization. Yet it can also be used as a powerful ad intelligence tool. SEMRush Competitive Intelligence is an add-on, which means it comes as an addition to the existing subscription plan for the basic SEMRush plans, and lets advertisers and publishers alike use this tool to discover competition’s strategy. 

  • Size: 310 million ads 
  • Selected features: top content & social media engagement analysis, Google ranking
  • Ad channels: all 
  • Price from: $200 + paid SEMRush subscription
  • Live support: Yes 

SpyFu

Similarly to SEMRush, SpyFu focuses on domain comparison based on keywords, organic SERP traffic, and ad variations. It’s been accredited as one of the Top 50 Products for Marketing in 2020. The main downside is that the platform only gathers data from custom domains, so you’ll need an extra tech solution to access data from your competitors’ social media channels. 

  • Size: 103 million domains 
  • Selected features: custom reports, influencer marketing & backlinks, lead generation
  • Ad channels: websites 
  • Price from: $33/mo
  • Live support: Yes  

Social Media ad spy technology

Social media is a one delicious pie filled with quality traffic. And ads. Because one wouldn’t exist without another. So, naturally, you want to advertise on social networks. But more importantly, you want to know how your competitors advertise on social. Thanks to this intel you’ll be able to tailor your ads accordingly, but also access the most-engaged audience, match the best social network to the best potential buyers, and, hopefully, save a buck or two on paid advertising (we’ll be back on that topic in a sec). 

PowerAdSpy 

PowerAdSpy is the best example of an affiliate spy tool. Designed by affiliates, for affiliates (just like Voluum here!), it is easily one of the most useful solutions you could add to your digital marketing arsenal. However, its pleasures don’t come cheap and most of the advanced features are available only for more expensive plans, so prepare to fork out.  

  • Size: 50 million ads
  • Selected features: data interval search, multiple filtering options, tracking system
  • Ad channels: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Quora, Reddit TikTok, GDN, Native 
  • Price from: $588/year
  • Live support: Yes

Anstrex 

Source

When it comes to native ad spy tools, there’s no second to Anstrex. Here, social media is your playground. Easy to place, familiar to the eye, and very – very – convertible. On top of that, you can access other websites that publish native advertisements and spy on all of your competitors at once. 

  • Size: 10+ million ads
  • Selected features: lander editor (check out this list for more), related ads, campaign insights
  • Ad channels: social, websites, ad networks
  • Price from: $59.99/mo
  • Live support: Yes 

Best ad spy tools for paid advertising

Whether you’re an experienced affiliate or simply getting started with different aspects of digital marketing, paid advertising is unavoidable. You’re bound to end up running creative PPC and CPA campaigns at some point of your career, and thanks to either one of these ad intelligence programs you’ll have an upper hand against your rivals. 

iSpionage

iSpionage is a powerful platform that lets advertisers access competitors’ traffic and conversion strategies. Working similarly to SEMRush, iSpionage finds information on your competition based on their Google Ads activities and keywords to later use the obtained information to provide detailed reports. As the main downside, many marketers mention that the interface is not as user-friendly as could be. 

  • Size: 35k+ customers 
  • Selected features: PPC ad copy effectiveness index score, users’ journey reports, full-funnel visibility
  • Ad channels: all
  • Price from: $50/mo *with annual subscription
  • Live support: No

MagicAdz  

MagicAdz deserves a special place in affiliate hearts, as it’s the only solution on this list which lets you uncover cloaked ads with just one click. Unfortunately, as of today it’s still a one-trick pony, which only works as Facebook ad spy. All ads in the platform’s database are connected to the actual lander used by the advertisement, so you can analyze your competitors’ entire funnel. Moreover, MagicAdz lets you create your own cloaked Facebook campaigns. 

  • Size: N/A 
  • Selected features: search by keywords, 1-click affiliate ads, spy on affiliates
  • Ad channels: Facebook
  • Price from: $89/mo *with annual subscription 
  • Live support: Yes 

Other TOP ad intelligence solutions you should try

Not everything in life neatly falls into a specific category. In fact, some of the best things don’t. Much like these ad spy tools right here, at the very bottom of this list. These solutions become a definition of “last but not least”, because while they all are different, they share one thing in common – you’d want to give them a try because they could change your advertising game for real! 

AdPlexity

Now, we’re entering the big game for serious marketers only. AdPlexity is a powerful all-in-one tool for multiple traffic sources. It lets you analyze competitors’ eCom, mobile, native, push, and desktop campaigns. The main downside is that you’re basically paying for each type of traffic separately, so depending on your needs the price can go quite high. On top of that, AdPlexity doesn’t cover affiliate Facebook Ads, unlike some other listings in this post. 

  • Size: 75 countries supported 
  • Selected features: uncover hidden mobile campaigns, affiliate-offer ads
  • Ad channels: Android in-app, pop-ups, mobile web
  • Price from: $149/mo 
  • Live support: Yes 

SocialPeta

SocialPeta made this list as an app-centered ad spy solution, yet in fact, it does way more than that. For example, the platform supports AliExpress, Amazon, and Shopify products analysis, as well as deep analytics for influencer marketing, etc. 

  • Size: 5+ million global advertisers 
  • Selected features: 20+ segmentation applications, brand influence, global advertising costs’ trends 
  • Ad channels: in-app, eCommerce 
  • Price from: custom 
  • Live support: Yes 

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a traffic intelligence solution. It gathers data across multiple websites and applications. The program focuses on both SEO and SEM investments, which makes the data collected deeper and more precise. On top of that, the platform has access to smaller, niche websites. One of the downsides of this ad spy tool is that SimilarWeb doesn’t let you cross-reference your competitors’ traffic with your own, hence you end up downloading massive spreadsheets to run these tasks manually. This could easily be automated with the use of other third-party tools, such as Voluum Automizer

  • Size: 80+ million apps & websites analyzed 
  • Selected features: search traffic & keyword analysis, marketing channels analysis, creative and videos 
  • Ad channels: in-app and website
  • Price from: $199/mo
  • Live support: Yes 

Final remarks 

As you can see, there are plenty of ad spy tools available online for you to discover your competition’s offers and promos. The best way to know which one will satisfy you for sure is to actually go and try them all for yourself. So what are you waiting for? 

Just keep in mind that once you start gathering ad intel on your competition, there will be a lot of data. It can get truly overwhelming. To save yourself some headache, time, and money – consider investing in an ad tracker from the very beginning. Not sure what an ad tracker exactly is and how it could help you in the long run? Check out this little article that will put your doubts to rest! 

There you go, we’re all set. Just one thing is left to do: 

Get Voluum and analyze without limit!

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