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How to Spy on your Competitor Google Ads? (2023)

We discuss how to spy on your competitor Google Ads from Google Ads experts.

We curated the BEST expert resources on how to spy on your competitor Google Ads. Let’s GO!
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Note: SaaSwrites is a curated growth marketing hub and resource built to help SaaS founders grow their products. We sincerely thank all our experts for their constant value addition to this world.

Why you should spy on your competitor Google Ads?

Jackson Pinkoski says a good Google Ads has a lot to do with your competition:
Bad Google Ad:
  • This is the best product
  • Company Name
  • These are services we offer
Good Google Ad:
  • Us vs Competitor
  • Here's a solution we provide to your problems.
  • Here is how we can be your partner for exactly what you're searching for

In fact, you can crush your competitors by targeting competitor keywords

For example, here’s how you can do it!
  • Brand name: ABC
  • Keyword competitor's targeting: 'ABC alternative'
  • Google ad copy of ABC: "No ABC Alternative is Good Enough | Find Out Why"
Asif tested this idea with 1 client recently. A lot more people booked free demos (vs. other campaigns).

Now that you know how spying on your competitor Google Ads can help you, here’s how to do it:

Look at your competitor's Google Ads Page to Spy on their Ads

Jackson shares an insanely simple, zero-cost way to spy on your competitors' Google Ads:
(99% of marketers don't know about this)
Step 1: Search a Phrase
You have two options here.
One is searching a phrase related to your offer (e.g. men’s minimalist watches).
The other is searching for a specific brand (e.g. MVMT Watches).
Both should spit out ads.
notion image
 
Step 2: Click The Little Dots
Next, click the three little dots to the right of the advertiser’s name.
This will pop up, and from there, click “see more ads from this advertiser”.
notion image
Step 3: Choose Time, Location, & Format
Now you’re on a page of ads for that advertiser.
Choose time, country, and format if you have specific preferences for those.
This will filter the ads shown below.
If you can’t see any ads, turn off ad block or use a different browser.
notion image
Step 4: Browse Ads
After filtering by time, location, and/or format, it’s time to browse the ads.
Scroll through, study them, and look for inspiration.
I bet you’ll find something useful.
Bonus: How To Use This Tool
That’s the simple process.
Here’s the more applicable one…
  • Search competitor brand names
  • Search phrases related to your offer
  • Compile a bunch of brands
  • Browse all of them
  • Look for angles
  • Synthesize into ads for your brand
Simple.

Watch: Ian breaks down into a 6 min video on how to spy on your competitor Google Ads
Video preview

You can also Create your Google Ads from your Competitor’s Inspiration

Jackson Blackledge says you don’t have to create every Google Ads campaign from scratch.
Instead, you can…
  • Spy on your competitors
  • See which keywords they're targeting
  • Look at their best ads
  • Use that data to improve your ads
Here’s how to do it in 5 simple steps:
1. Use Auction Insights
This is a tool within Google Ads that tell you how you stack up against businesses that are targeting the same keywords.
Check this page out to get ideas for which competitors you should spy on.
2. Search Keywords
This one is low-tech, but it can get you great results.
Just take your top keywords, search them, and see what comes up.
I bet you’ll get some inspiration from the ads they show.
3. Find Your Competitors’ Keywords
Most decent keyword tools let you search a URL.
After that, it’ll spit out keywords it believes the business is targeting.
Here are some tools that can help you with this:
  • SpyFu is probably the best option
  • iSpionage, SEMRush, and Ahrefs are all worth a try.
4. Do Further Keyword Research
You should have keyword research done on your own, but after you find your competitors’ terms, search those on Google and use them to find more phrases.
Again, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and other keyword tools should all work well.
5. Compile, Analyze, and Test
The next steps are organizing what you found, reading it, using it to brainstorm new ideas, turning those ideas into ads, testing them, and optimizing them.
This is a difficult process, but once you have the data, it gets a lot easier.

Is your competitor using your brand name for their Google Ads? Here are some thoughts from SaaS founders on what to do!

Dominic says the moment a competitor starts buying Google ads on your company’s name, it probably means your idea is validated enough. Have you had a similar situation?
What do you do?
  • Vedant says that's a compliment! They are trying to grow off to you but in the end if the customer specially searched for you, they are going with you :)
  • Gabor said he had the same and did the following:
    • bought ads for my brand to get to pos #1 for the highest bid
    • outperformed the competition because I got almost all the clicks (50-70 CTR!)
    • once you outperformed cut the cost back to 10-20 cents
    • So, you stay on the top with a minimal budget, and by outperforming the competition your quality ad is higher, and your price decreases over time.
      The opposite happens to your competitor: he will have to pay much more which will result in fewer clicks and less ROI.
  • Dmytro says you can rebuy the position and try to kick them. But!
    • It proves that you are already the first. They are many steps away and try to catch you—impossible if you don't stop improving.
  • Ahmad says it’s not a good situation to be in. On one hand, it's great that your idea is validated enough to attract competition.
    • But I think there is no way around competition. Most indie developers orbit in the same sphere.
      If you have the budget, you could try to outbid them for the ads. Otherwise, you could try to build up your brand even more so that people are more likely to recognize your company name.
  • Thomas says this is super common, and the only thing you can really do is outbid them and/or make your product so good that people end up picking it over the competitor.
    • I guess you can also bid on their keywords too.
      You can also do comparison pages. If your competitor is who I think, they have one comparing against your product.
      But idk how impactful these are. It often seems that only the smaller company does it, comparing against the Goliath.
  • David says focus on your conversion rate and, on the quality of your traffic.
    • As long as they're not converting better than you are for your brand term, you will win and, they are just locking in unprofitable traffic.

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