6 Secret Ways To Spy On Your Competitor’s Ads

These are 6 hacks that experts use to spy on the competition and create banners and display ads that make your conversions skyrocket.

The best part?

You won’t need expensive software or complicated tools. All these hacks work great in 2019 – and they’re completely free.

In short: If you want to learn how to create ads that convert as well as your top competitors – this guide is for you.

Let’s get started.

SimilarWeb

What good is an advertising campaign if you don’t know where to advertise? 

The first hack on this list is a research tool that’ll help you figure this out.

It has a paid option, but all you need is the free version to get some interesting insights on your competition.

Just head to similarweb.com and enter the URL of one of your competitors.

Note: Similarweb is a web traffic analysis tool, and it works best on large websites with tons of traffic, so pick the biggest names in your market to get the best data.

As an example, when you enter nike.com in the search field you should choose the first suggested result if you want the site with most traffic:

With Similarweb, you get information on things like website traffic, bounce rate, time on page, and a long list of other useful information:

For this article, the first piece of information we’re interested in is to find out where Nike’s traffic comes from:

They get an estimated 4% of their 50 million monthly visitors from display advertising and 6.7% from social networks.

This in itself may not be very useful, but keep scrolling and you see this:

Now we’re getting somewhere!

45% of Nike’s social traffic is from Facebook. That’s an estimated 1.5 million visitors per month from Facebook. Obviously, this is a channel that works well for them. 

You can also see where they put their main display advertising efforts:

Nike seems to favour Awin as their main Ad Network, and their top display advertising publishers (where they place their banners) are the big social networks. 

Unfortunately, to see all the publishers you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version – but this free information should be enough to get you a rough idea of where your competitors find the most success.

For Nike, Facebook seems to work well as a traffic source, but this may look different for your particular niche. 

Another interesting piece of information is the Audience Interests field:

Now, it may not come as a surprise that Nike fans like sports and fashion – but you might find some useful tips here about the audience for your particular niche.

You can also see the 5 most common other websites that Nike fans visit, in this case for example stockx.com and asos.com.

This information could come in handy when you’re building audiences for your marketing campaigns.

Similarweb is pretty limited in the free version, but this could still be a good place to start when trying to figure out where to focus your marketing efforts. 

Combined with the other tips in this article you’ll get a long way in figuring out what could work for your brand.

Since Facebook is such a successful channel for Nike, let’s figure out exactly what they’re doing there to get all those visitors. 

The next hack is a real gem, and could possibly be one of the most powerful free ways of spying on your competition in 2020.

2 – Facebook Ad Library

In April 2019, Facebook opened up their Ad Library to everyone – even to people who don’t have Facebook. 

Due to various privacy scandals, Facebook has created a site where you can see every ad that’s currently running on their platform.

If this doesn’t get you excited I don’t know what would. 

It looks like this: 

You can find it here.

All you have to do is enter the name of your main competitor and you’ll see all the ads they’re currently running.

We already know that Nike gets a lot of traffic from Facebook. Let’s figure out how they do it.

Just enter “Nike” in the search box and you’ll get suggestions of relevant pages:

Select the correct Facebook page (in this case it’s the one called Nike, with 34.8M likes), and you’ll be taken to this page:

On this page you’ll see all the ads Nike is currently running on Facebook. At the moment, that’s roughly 11,000 different ads in the United States alone. *mind blown*

As an advertiser, this is pure gold. 

Nike is one of the biggest sports brands in the world, and usually, the bigger the company, the more certain you can be that they’ve done extensive testing of their ad creatives. 

This means you don’t have to!

They already know what works, so all you have to do is copy their design and add your specific brand details.

Scrolling through their ads you’ll notice something interesting:

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Jonathan Olsson

Jonathan Olsson

Head of Marketing

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