Figuring out which ad campaigns are going to work for your business is like huffing and puffing your way through a marathon. In the mudd. Thankfully, your competition has gone before you, paving the way with research, expert consultation, content creation galore and A/B testing to boot!
With the following six tools, you can make good use of the work others have done and jump start your campaign with a faster, higher success rate. Some are paid, some are free (or at least free trials), all are WORTH IT!
Tool #1: Follow.net
The first competitor research tool I want to share with you is Follow.net, a tool thatallows you to enter your competitor’s website and pull up all kinds of analytics. It integrates with several major tools (some of which I will be talking about below) to provide a plethora of basic data (basic is a key word here).
When I need quick information, I know I can turn to follow.net and easily pull some stats. Here is an overview of what you will garner by using follow.net.
First off, you will be able to see how many unique visitors your competitor’s site is getting as well as information about these viewers.
Next comes a list of top competitors, top performing keywords (you can see the 6th-10th for free and the 1st through 5th using the paid version). Additional graphs show the top performing landing notes and URLs, top few placements and top banner ad(s).
Finally, Follow.net shows you your competitor’s latest Twitter mentions and demographic data.
For $37/month you gain access to all of the data that Follow.net has to offer. In my experience, I’ve found that Follow.net is great tool for those who want to get bits and pieces, but don’t need the in depth information provided by the original applications (the ones follow.net is culling the information from). It’s a cheap option that is great for getting started.
Tool #2: iSpionage
iSpionage is a paid tool that provides specific competitive intelligence information. Simply visit the site (www.ispionage.com) and enter your own keywords. You can also enter your website or your competitors’ websites and get in-depth information.
By clicking “Get Competitive Data,” you’ll be transferred to a multi page site full of valuable information. Tabs at the top can be selected to view PPC Competitors, SEO Competitors and Ads (See #1 on image below).
You will automatically be shown Google data, but you can also select Bing/Yahoo (See #2 on image below).
Pay special attention to the “Days Seen” column, which tells you how long an ad has been running (See #3 on image below). Better performing ads will be left by smart marketers to run longer, so you can figure those that have remained long have been highly successful.
As you scroll down through the page, you will see that you can find full copy for the top 5 performing ads (full copy for all ads if you purchase the premium version of iSpionage) as well as the destination URL (landing page). Most likely, this link will take you to a lead magnet or tripwire offer.
Other data includes the number of other keywords being used for each ad, the days each ad has been seen, and the date the ad was last seen.
You can also use iSpionage to look for competitors within your industry. On the home page, click on the “Landing Page Gallery” and view top landing pages by category.
Tool #3: Adbeat
Adbeat is full of worthy intelligence. Unfortunately there is no free trial and it is not the cheapest thing in your toolbox. With the Advanced Plan you will get display network intelligence plus mobile, direct buys, and native ad networks. Mobile is so critical that I would highly suggest purchasing the Advanced plan.
When compared to iSpionage, AdBeat provides some similar information. The difference is you get less info on organic SEO but a lot more information on ads, ad networks (where to advertise) and more.
I like to search top ads for my competitors before starting a new campaign. I check out where the top ads are running and I look at the landing pages. I then check out the different landing pages and compare the number one to the ones that didn’t perform so well.
Figuring out what’s causing the difference between the top and bottom performers is a fun practice that I use to help me when making decisions about my own landing pages. You may find out that you don’t need to perform as many split tests when you see the outcomes!
AdBeat is a complete, multifunctional tool with a tremendous amount of opportunities. I suggest checking out tutorials so you get the most from your account!
TIP: Ghostery plugin for Google will allow you to take your AdBeat analytics with you across the web! Once it’s running, you can simply go to any website and you will see a little pop-up that tells you what networks the ad is running on!
Tool #4: BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is a great tool to find out what people are interested in! It’s not as much about what people are buying, but rather what they’re sharing online.
Enter your keyword and hit go. BuzzSumo will filter through social media channels and show you easy-to-view graphs of the posts that have gotten the most engagement/shares, etc. You can sort by Twitter shares, Facebook Shares, LinkedIn shares, Google+ shares, Pinterest shares or total shares.
I use BuzzSumo to find out what content is appealing to my audience. I also use it to find out potential topics for Lead Magnets and Tripwires.
Tools #5 and 6: WhatRunsWhere and AdClarity
WhatRunsWhere and AdClarity work similarly to AdBeat. Check out their websites and figure out which tool you like best!
There are tons of products out there to help you in your market research, but these are six that I have personally found to be useful. Follow.net is a great option if you aren’t ready to invest in one of the more expensive tools, and sites like BuzzSumo offer free yet valuable information.
What is the biggest success indicator for ads in your industry? Let me know in the comments below!