Whether you have a new business or your company has been around for years, understanding your competitors is crucial. How are their businesses faring? What techniques are they using to attract more customers? What are you missing?
In the past, studying your competitors’ marketing techniques has been easier because most promotions are available for public consumption. Ad spying is an age-old method of learning other businesses’ advertising strategies.
Nowadays though, promotions are highly targeted, which means if you don’t fall under the target demographic, it would be hard for you to find the ads that your competitors use. If you chance upon one of your competition’s ads, it would mostly be out of luck or from an extremely thorough search.
Does this mean you can’t see what your competitors are doing to promote their products? Does this mean you have to spend the greater part of your time researching?
Actually, no, you don’t have to. Thanks to adspy tools, you can have that competitive intelligence with very little time and effort.
Below, please find a tabulated review of each product followed by more detailed description of each tool:
|Spy Tool||Ad Types||Price||Verdict|
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|Push, Native & Dropshipping Ads||$69.99 to $139.99/mo||Best Bang for Buck|
|AdBeat||Native, Display & Video Ads||$249 to$399/mo||Expensive. Limited Geos. Comprehensive|
|What Runs Where||Native & Display Ads||$299 to $399/mo||Expensive. Poor Quality. Limited Coverage|
|AdPeriscope||Adult Ads||$89.99/mo||Best Tool For Adult Ads|
|AdPlexity||Mobile, Desktop, Push, Native, Carriers & e-Commerce Ads||$149 to $249/mo||Expensive. Fewer Ad-Networks. Comprehensive.|
|AdVault||Native Ads||$97/mo||Extremely Limited Coverage. Poor Performance.|
|SpyOver||Native Ads||$149/mo||Expensive and Limited|
|Native Ad Buzz||Native Ads||$47 to $97/mo||Limited Reach.Extremely Poor Coverage.|
|Dropship Spy||Dropshipping Ads||€29.90/mo||Limited ad type|
|Visto||Facebook Ads||$99 - $329||Extremely expensive but best choice for Facebook ads.|
|Power Ad Spy||Social Media & Native Ads||$49 to $349/mo||Poor coverage. Facebook spy very limited|
|IDvert||Facebook, Native, Adult & e-Commerce Ads||$99 to $349/mo||Expensive and worthless.|
|BigSpy||Social Media, Search & Display Ads||$99 to $499/mo||Comprehensive but poor features|
|Pathmatics||Social Media, Video & Display Ads||Request for Quote||Extremely Expensive. Meant For Big Corps.|
|SpyTeg||Adult Ads||$99 to $299/mo||Limited reach|
|Publer||Social Media Ads||1,999 Rub||Limited reach. Mostly for Russian market.|
|AdsUncover||SnapChat Ads||$119 to $599||Very Expensive but only spy tool for snapchat ads|
|Push CPA Rip||Push Notification Ads||Free||Limited reach. Mostly adult push ads. Not many features.|
|BoostPro||Facebook Ads||$149||Poor performance. Not easy subscription. Meant for Russian region|
There are multiple spy tools available in the market, with each tool spying on different ad types and ad platforms. Let’s have a look at each one.
Anstrex offers various tools that can spy on three ad formats, two of which are paid and one that is free at the time of writing this article. Anstrex Push and Anstrex Native are the two paid tools.
Anstrex Push collects ads from 38 push notification ad networks. They currently have more than 3 million push ads targeting 92 countries in their database, coming from more than 32 thousand advertisers. It also is now covering ads served using in page push notification technology. It is priced at $89.99 per month.
Anstrex Native compiles native ads from 27 ad networks. Their current database holds more than 10 million ads from almost 157 thousand advertisers, spanning 80 countries. It is priced at $69.99 per month.
Aside from having a multitude of filters, both tools have Advanced Boolean Searching, which allows users to get more accurate results by combining the filters and excluding some. These tools also display the Ad Strength and Ad Gravity, which are scoring systems that rate the performance of an ad for its lifetime and for the past weeks.
Furthermore, Anstrex has incorporated a landing page Downloader and Deploy tool which not only allows users to rip landing pages but also to edit these pages and quickly deploy them to their server. You can spy on your competitor, copy their ads and landers, and start running campaigns to similar ads in a matter of minutes!
If you’re interested in subscribing to both services, you can take advantage of the discounted price of $139.99 per user per month.
It is one of the most affordable tools out there with coverage which is second to none and features that you will not find in many higher priced tools.
If you want to search for display/banner ads based on the advertiser or company, AdBeat is a good option. In addition to display/banner ads, this spy tool gathers native ads, video ads and landing pages per advertiser domain name. It scans more than 90 ad networks for ads running in 20 countries.
Not only does AdBeat show users what their competitors are running where, but the platform also shows the publishers showing the advertiser’s ad, how much has been spent on a specific marketing campaign, overall trends, and more. Valuable insights on a company’s marketing strategies are presented as well.
The cheapest plan is worth $249 per month. To have a look at how AdBeat works, you can sign up for a free account that is useful but has limited features.
This was a pretty popular ad spy tool back in the day and has been around for ten years now. It was recently acquired by Pathmatics. WhatRunsWhere focuses on display and native advertising for both desktop and mobile devices.
This tool can be used by both company strategists and affiliate marketers, as there is a switch that allows you to see either just affiliate ads or just branded ads.
One glaring limitation with this tool is that it only compiles ads from five countries: USA, UK, CA, AU, and DE. They look into 500 networks and 20 thousand websites though, which is why they have collected about 60 million ads in total.
To find the desktop display and native ads, the monthly subscription is $299. To include all mobile ads, the monthly fee is $399. They offer a full refund within the first 3 days of using the platform if you’re not satisfied.
The tool has not seen much development in recent years especially after its acquisition and appears old and outdated.
AdPlexity is a comprehensive intelligence tool that collects ads from almost every ad format. They have one for Mobile, Desktop, Native, Push, e-Commerce, and Carriers.
The number of countries they track depends on the tool, with the lowest coming from Carriers tool (30 countries) and the highest coming from Push ads (80 countries). You can find ads based on traffic source, affiliate network, advertiser, keyword, and more. You can also download the landing pages to a zip file.
The Mobile, Desktop, and e-Commerce spy tools are priced at $199 per month, while the Push and Carriers tools are worth $149 per month, and finally, the Native spy tool is worth $249 per month.
However, they don’t offer a complete package for one price (no discount for multiple tools, except when using coupon codes from their partners and affiliates), which is its biggest downside. The coverage is also limited in terms of ad-networks and geos. Each product is priced separately and there are no bundled discounts which can result in a hefty price tag if you want to subscribe to multiple spy tools.
If your focus is native advertising, AdVault is another option. It monitors 13 ad networks and compiles ads from 19 countries. As of the moment, they have collected almost 17 million ads in their vault.
AdVault lets you discover winning campaigns through a few indicators, including Times Seen, AdStrength, and Ad Run. You can also bookmark specific advertisers so you can monitor what campaigns they are running and how these are faring.
The monthly subscription fee is usually priced at $249 but is currently available for a discounted price of $97.
Again, the price is high and coverage is extremely limited resulting in poor ROI (Return on Investment)
This is another intelligence tool focusing on native ads. It has collected more than 9 million ads from 13 ad networks. They have ads covering 70 affiliate networks and 115 countries, which is more than most adspy tools.
Detailed statistics are available for each ad, so you will have an in-depth understanding of each ad’s performance, complete with diagrams and charts.
The Professional Plan is priced at $149 monthly and allows up to two simultaneous sessions. So if you have a staff working on marketing with you, there is no need to purchase a separate plan for them. Free demo access is available for those interested to try them out first.
The name itself is enough to let you know that this one also focuses on native ads. Its database includes more than 5 million ads from 42 thousand advertisers and 10 ad networks.
It has similar features as other intelligence tools, such as filtering ads based on keywords, advertisers, publishers, devices, and networks. You can also save ads to refer to them again in the future.
What they have that others don’t is the Mastermind Forum, where other marketers share their knowledge and techniques.
The Standard Plan is priced at just $47, but this only displays ads from two countries, UK and the USA. To gain access to ads from all countries, you can get the Prop Plan, worth $97.
If you are running a dropshipping business and are using social media to gain traffic to your website or offer, Drop I Spy is another option for intelligence tools. This tool eliminates the need to promote several offers, hoping one of them would work. You can find profitable products and start promoting them, reducing the cost of running unprofitable ads.
You can even inspect and analyze dropshipping websites to see the theme, tools, and techniques that they use to increase sales.
A free plan is available for use, but with the limitation of not seeing the most recent ads collected. The cheapest paid plan is worth €29.90 a month. You can get a 50% discount if you pay the subscription fee annually.
If you’re looking for a spy tool that focuses on ads from a variety of sources, Power Ad Spy can be the one you’re looking for.
It collects ads from Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Reddit, Google, GDN, and more. Their database holds more than 50 million ads, with 50 thousand added every day, spanning more than a hundred countries.
Aside from the actual ads, the targeting options per ad are included. The age, gender, marital status, and other demographic information of the target audience can be seen.
The cheapest plan is worth $49 a month which lets you view ads from Facebook alone. The most expensive plan is worth $349 per month, which includes all networks tracked by the platform. They also offer a free trial that allows users 100 searches for 10 days. However, please be aware that their facebook ad spy does not actually collect paid ads. Instead, it shows posts from various facebook pages and misquotes them as paid ads. This kind of misleading marketing forced us to give lower rating to this product.
This platform supports two types of intelligence tools. The first one is the Media Buying spy tool, and the second one is the e-Commerce spy tool.
The Media Buying intelligence tool collects ads from Facebook, native platforms, and adult networks. The ads they collect are advertised to 60 countries around the world, but mostly in the American and European markets. The monthly subscription is $199 per user.
As for the e-Commerce spy tool, it also displays ads from Facebook, native and even adult platforms, although it only focuses on e-Commerce offers. The best plan is worth $99 per month.
This is another popular spy tool that collects ad data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Yahoo, and Youtube. It has stored more than 650 million ads from all these platforms.
Results can be filtered out based on the platform, creative type, affiliate network, geo, niche, and of course keywords. It shows the amount of engagement the ad has collected, and you can even show the ones with the most engagement first.
To get unlimited searches per day, you can choose the Pro plan that is priced at $99 per month. If you don’t have the budget, you can opt for the free account that allows up to 5 queries per day.
This is a next-level intelligence tool that works best for brand marketers. Not only does Pathmatics collect ads and ad information, but they also analyze the marketing strategies of businesses,
The ad channels that they explore are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. They also collect various video and display ads.
Because this intelligence tool is brand-specific and provides tailor-made competitive analysis, there is no free plan. It is possible to request a demo, though. This tool is mostly meant for big corporations.
If you are looking for an affordable adult ad spy tool that has excellent coverage, AdPeriscope is best tool out there.
It covers ads from 8 major adult ad networks and monitors data from 56 countries and 150 mobile carriers. This is the only tool that monitors ads targeted for specific mobile carriers. In addition, it has other excellent features such as a landing page ripper, alerts to closely monitor your competition, bulk download of ad campaign etc.
Overall, it is an excellent tool at an affordable price point. The price starts at $89.99 with 20% discount available often. Check it out.
If adult ads are your forte, Spyteg is one of your options for spying on competitors. They gather ads from 6 adult-centered ad networks: ExoClick, Juicy Ads, Traffic Junky, Ero Advertising, Traffic Stars, and Traffic Factory.
To date, they have collected more than 170 thousand ads, with 1,500 landing pages, running in more than 70 countries around the globe.
Their cheapest plan is Tariff Professional, which is priced at $149 and allows two simultaneous sessions. If you want to see how the platform works, simply sign-up and login for a demo account.
If you’re running ads in Russia and the rest of the CIS region, it would be a good idea to look into Publer. This affiliate ad spy tool focuses on ads available on Instagram, Facebook, MyTarget, Tiktok, Yandex, and VKontakte.
So far, they have collected more than 8 million ads. Most of these ads are e-Commerce related.
A free account is available, but with limited functionality. To get the full version, you must subscribe to a paid plan. The shortest plan lasts for just 24 hours and costs 449 Rub.
This is another spy tool that focuses on FB Ads. As compared to others, though, it not only lists the ads they have collected, they also provide additional information such as what kind of ad to run, how to target the audience, and what kind of landing page to use.
AdvertSuite works great for e-Commerce marketers, SMM businesses, and affiliates. It has gathered more than 40 million ads running in over 20 countries.
The best part about AdvertSuite is that you only have to pay for it once. For a one-time fee of $67, you’ll get the full features of the tool, as well as future updates, for life.
If you’re running ads on Snapchat, better try AdsUncover. This is the only spy tool that collects data from Snapchat. They have so far uncovered more than 10 thousand ads that run in 22 countries. However, their pricing details are unavailable at the moment.
What if you don’t have enough budget to pay for a spy tool? Is there no chance to learn how your competitors are winging it? Of course, there is! And that’s through free spy tools. Although these competitive spying tools aren’t as good as paid ones, they are still very useful.
Aside from native and push ads, Anstrex also monitors ads meant for dropshipping. This tool helps you find the hottest and viral products being promoted right now. You can even view the actual retail stores and see other products being promoted and sold by the same.
The tool has collected more than 6 million products from 10 thousand retailers and three suppliers. These dropship stores are being promoted to more than 90 countries worldwide.
Furthermore, you can even directly add the product you choose to your dropshipping store, whether it be hosted in Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Woocommerce. Ordering is also linked and automated, making setting up a dropshipping store super easy.
With all these features, one might think that Anstrex Dropship is an expensive tool. Thankfully, it is still in Beta, so the tool is still free for use.
Push notification ads are quite popular these days, so if you need competitive intelligence for cheap, actually for free, Push CPA Rip is a great tool to use. It tracks seven push ad networks, so to date, it has compiled almost 450 thousand ads that are being run to almost 200 countries.
This platform makes money from ads being displayed inside or from donations. The coverage is very limited and mostly shows adult push ads. It has very limited features in terms of finding out details on any particular ad campaign.
This is another platform that is free to use. BoostPro focuses on eCommerce products and offers running on Facebook. The categories of ads they display fall under e-Commerce, weight loss, men’s health, joint, sweeps, crypto, and gambling.
This intelligence tool has collected more than 50 million ads and tops it up with at least 8,000 creatives every day. Ads can be sorted based on engagement (likes, reposts, comments), based on the date posted, or lifetime. Although, this product is priced as free, the claim is quite dubious because there is no data available when you sign up for free. You will be sent an invoice to actually view any of the data and therefore we would like the readers to avoid this tool at all costs.
The best choice of spy tool ultimately relies on your needs and budget. One thing is for sure though -- whatever you spend on your intelligence tool of choice is an investment towards better marketing, and eventually, more profits.
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