7 Best PPC Competitor Analysis Tools | Directive (2024)

PPC competitor analysis is one of the most important strategic steps in constructing a winning advertising campaign.

An effective analysis of your PPC competition can reveal valuable insights that will inform your overall targeting and bidding strategy. You can identify the biggest competitors in your niche, figure out what keywords they’re targeting (and which ones they’re missing), and even review their ad copy and design so you can create something better.

The best thing aboutPPC competitor analysisis that you can automate data collection using software solutions, which saves you the hours of time that it would take to manually investigate each of your competitors. These tools make it easy to spy on your biggest competitors so you can avoid their pitfalls and emulate their successes, which ultimately gives a major boost to your marketing efforts.

To help you get started with PPC competitor intelligence and develop an even stronger PPC strategy for your next campaign, here’s a list of our top 7 PPC competitor analysis tools.

7 Best PPC Competitor Analysis Tools


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Overview: SpyFu is a software platform that focuses on competitor intelligence and analysis for both SEO and PPC campaigns.

Features & Benefits: SpyFu offers powerful tools for PPC research that make it easy to spy on your competitors. You can enter the root domain of any of your competitors and instantly view their monthly Google Ads budget, total monthly paid clicks and the number of paid keywords for that domain. You can click onto the “Ad History” tab and see exactly what their search or display ads looked like during the past five months. You can look at all keywords targeted by that domain and see them grouped by topic.

Pricing & Access: The basic subscription plan for SpyFu starts at $33/month when you purchase an annual subscription.


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Overview: SEMrush is a comprehensive SEO software platform. It includes a variety of tools that support technical, on-page and off-page SEO activities, as well as PPC advertising.

Features & Benefits: SEMrush offers two features for digital marketers conducting a PPC competitor analysis:

  1. Advertising Research– This module lets users type in a competitor domain, sub-domain or URL and get access to their target keywords, ad text, bidding strategies and ad budgets.
  2. Display Advertising– SEMrush tracks display ads all over the world and maintains them in a massive database that subscribers can access. Digital marketers can use this tool to view display ads that their competitors have previously promoted through the Google Display network.

Pricing & Access: SEMrush offers a free trial for users with limited features. The basic subscription package starts at $99/month for single-user access.


7 Best PPC Competitor Analysis Tools | Directive (4)

Overview: iSpionage is a digital marketing software tool with a focus on SEO and PPC competitor analysis.

Features & Benefits: As one of the most advanced competitor analysis tools, iSpionage offers unique features that drive campaign insights for digital marketers. iSpionage has developed its own performance measures for competitor advertisem*nts, known as Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) and Ad Effectiveness Index (AEI). iSpionage offers unlimited research as a feature for all subscription levels, so digital marketers can find out everything there is to know about the competition.

Pricing & Access:There’s a free, browser-based version with limited features, but the basic subscription package costs just $29.50/month.


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Overview: An all-in-one SEO platform with built-in PPC competitor analysis features.

Features & Benefits: All you have to do is type in your URL. Serpstat will automatically generate a list of your top competitors. The Serpstat algorithm automatically parses out which keywords you have in common with each competitor, which keywords they have that you’re lacking and how many total keywords they’re targeting through PPC. You can look at examples of display ads or text ads that your competitors have run in the past.

Pricing & Access:The basic subscription package starts at $69/month. There’s a free version available in-browser, but features and requests are both limited so you’ll have to subscribe to get the most out of this tool.

What Runs Where

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Overview: What Runs Where is the first tool on this list that exclusively does PPC competitor analysis. The firm collects data from 90,000 different advertisers and 20,000 websites across 5 countries, boasting a database of more than sixty million ads.

Features & Benefits: The concept behind What Runs Where is simple. You want to run a successful PPC campaign. The platform offers you deep, granular insights into exactly how your competitors are getting success. You find out what their ads look like, what images they use, what CTAs are working for them, where they advertise and what keywords they bid on. Then, you develop a strategy to start capturing their best traffic at a fraction of the cost.

Pricing & Access: The basic package for What Runs Where starts at $299/month, but it covers only desktop and native traffic. The full-coverage plan costs $399 and includes mobile advertisem*nt data, which is basically essential.

Google Ads Auction Insights

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Overview: Google Ads Auction Insights is an excellent way to measure your ad, bidding strategy and overall campaign performance against your competitors.

Features & Benefits: Auction insights allows you to view a list of competitors who are participating in the same keyword/ad placement auctions that you are. You’ll also be able to evaluate the performance of your campaign using several metrics:

  • Impression Share– This is the ratio of how many impressions you received versus how many you were eligible to receive. A higher share of impressions means that you’re serving more ads than the competition.
  • Overlap Rate– Overlap rate indicates how frequently your ad was shown alongside your competitor’s advertisem*nt. If a competitor’s campaign has an overlap rate of 20%, that means that when your ad was shown, their ad is also shown 20% of the time.
  • Outranking Share– This metric is given as a percentage and defined by how frequently your ad ranked higher than one of your competitor’s ads in an auction in which you both participated.

Seeing how your keyword targeting interacts with your biggest competitors can help you figure out ways to optimize your ad spend and get better results for less money.

Pricing & Access: Auction Insights is a free tool offered by Google to everyone with a Google Ads account.

Facebook Ad Library

7 Best PPC Competitor Analysis Tools | Directive (8)

Overview: The Facebook Ad Library represents the social media platform’s attempt to offer more user transparency into its advertising business. The platform allows users to search by advertiser name and view all advertisem*nts that have been run by a specific advertiser on the Facebook platform.

Features & Benefits: With Google controlling almost 40% of the PPC advertising market, most PPC competitor analysis tools focus on helping you learn what your competitors are doing with Google Ads. Facebook Ad Library is one of the best free methods that digital marketers can use to start spying on their Facebook advertising competitors.

Pricing & Access: Facebook Ad Library is a free service available to anyone with a Facebook account.


Conducting competitor analysis is a critical component of a successful PPC campaign. Use these tools to gain valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies and make informed decisions about your own campaign. However, if you want to take your PPC efforts to the next level, you can count on our expert tech marketing team to get you there. We specialize in Customer Generation and have a proven track record of delivering exceptional results for our clients.

Book a call with us today to learn how you can gain a competitive edge in the world of PPC with Customer Generation. Let’s work together to drive meaningful growth and achieve your business goals!

Brian BuiDirector of Marketing

Brian Bui is the Director of Marketing at Directive - the next-gen performance marketing agency for software companies. He has extensive experience in demand generation & developing ROI-driven search marketing campaigns for SaaS products.

7 Best PPC Competitor Analysis Tools | Directive (2024)


What tools can be used for competitor analysis? ›

In this article, we'll go through five competitor analysis tools you should be using:
  • Ahrefs – SEO, PPC, and content marketing.
  • Brand24 – Brand monitoring.
  • SparkToro – Audience insight.
  • BuiltWith – Tech stack checker.
  • Visualping – Webpage monitoring.
Jan 13, 2022

What is the best SEO tool for competitor site analysis? ›

  • SE Ranking – Best SEO competitor analysis tool for most users. ...
  • Semrush – Best for SEO professionals, larger teams, and enterprise customers. ...
  • BuzzSumo – Best SEO competitor research tool to assist with content marketing & influencer research. ...
  • Brand24 – Best for real-time monitoring of competitors.
Mar 4, 2023

How do I find competitors PPC ads? ›

How to find competitors' PPC keywords? Keyword analysis
  1. Keyword that triggered the ad.
  2. Ads by keyword (look at the headlines, the presence of target keyword in the headline, text, call to action). Collect good ideas.
  3. Position in SERP for the phrase.
  4. Landing pages.
  5. Volume.
  6. CPC.
  7. Competition in PPC.

How do I find competitors PPC keywords? ›

4 Great Tools to Analyze PPC Competitors Campaigns
  1. ClickCease. As the top-rated click fraud prevention service for Google and Facebook ad, we also offer our free AdSpy tool. ...
  2. SEM Rush. SemRush promises to help you discover what you might have missed. ...
  3. SpyFu. ...
  4. iSpionage.
Jan 27, 2022

What are the four components of competitor analysis? ›

Either way, you will use the same four elements, a SWOT analysis measures:
  • Strengths: what is the company doing well? ...
  • Weaknesses: what is the company doing poorly? ...
  • Opportunities: where can/will/should growth occur? ...
  • Threats: what new competitors or threats are coming onto the marketplace?
Feb 8, 2021

What is competitor analysis matrix? ›

A competitive matrix is a visual resource that enables you and your colleagues to better understand your company's position within the market—that is, to better understand how your company stacks up against the competition from a specific perspective.

What are the 2 components of competitor analysis? ›

A competitor's capabilities can be analyzed according to its strengths and weaknesses in various functional areas, as is done in a SWOT analysis. The competitor's strengths define its capabilities. The analysis can be taken further to evaluate the competitor's ability to increase its capabilities in certain areas.

What are the three is of competitor analysis? ›

According to Vicario, there are three key factors that need to be considered when conducting such an analysis, which are: “timing of market entry, market penetration and uniqueness of product.”

What are three 3 possible benefits of a competitor analysis? ›

To succeed in today's business environment, you need to gain a deep understanding of your competitors. With competitive analysis, you can study your competition, objectively judge their performance, and use the information to provide strategic benefits and direction.

Can you use Google Analytics for competitor analysis? ›

Google Analytics is one of the most convenient solutions to track your competitors. This free tool helps you understand your audience through data.

What is the free tool to check competitor keywords? ›

WordStream's Free Keyword Tool gives you hundreds of relevant keyword results, plus additional, actionable information like competition level and estimated CPC, all for free! It's an awesome alternative to Google's Keyword Planner.

What is market mapping for competitor analysis? ›

What Is Competitor Mapping? Competitor mapping is a process of competitive market analysis used to visualize the relationship between two or more variables to help businesses uncover a competitive advantage.

How do I get more leads in PPC? ›

The 10 Best PPC Lead Generation Strategies
  1. Go Where Your Audience is. ...
  2. Set Up Proper Tracking. ...
  3. Get Specific in Your Campaigns and Ad Groups. ...
  4. Create Unique Landing Pages. ...
  5. Put Your Form in the Ad. ...
  6. Make Compelling Offers. ...
  7. Target Keywords with Purchase Intent. ...
  8. Use Negative Keywords.

Does Google Ads do PPC? ›

Google Ads is Google's pay-per-click (PPC) advertising solution, which allows businesses to bid on keywords for a chance to show ads in Google search results.

How many keywords should I use for PPC? ›

10-20 Keywords per ad group will work for 50% of advertisers. You will hear this at our AdWords training days as well, because it's a great place to start! Newcomers to PPC often fill ad groups with +100 keywords, but this doesn't work very well.

How do I target competitors keywords on Google Ads? ›

Use the local competitive search terms report to find search terms that drive competitive queries, clicks and visits. Consider adding those search terms as keywords to increase the likelihood of driving customers to your shop locations. Enable Smart Bidding for store visits in campaigns that use the new keywords.

Can you buy competitor keywords? ›

Is it legal to bid on competitor keywords? Simply put, yes it is legal to bid on competitor keywords. Google has no rules against bidding on brand keywords, regardless of if it is your brand or not. Google's guidance on trademarks explicitly states that “We don't investigate or restrict trademarks as keywords”.

What are the 5 C's of strategic analysis? ›

What is the 5C Analysis? 5C Analysis is a marketing framework to analyze the environment in which a company operates. It can provide insight into the key drivers of success, as well as the risk exposure to various environmental factors. The 5Cs are Company, Collaborators, Customers, Competitors, and Context.

What are the 6 steps of competitive analysis? ›

6 Steps to Performing a Competitive Analysis
  • Identify competitors. The first step to doing a competitive analysis is identifying your competitors. ...
  • Analyze competitors' online presence. ...
  • Check online reviews. ...
  • Talk to competitors' customers. ...
  • Identify their strengths and weaknesses. ...
  • Use research tools.
Apr 5, 2021

What are the 6 steps to identify your competitors? ›

This simple six-point strategy will help you beat the competiton:
  • Define your goals.
  • Determine what data you need to collect.
  • Identify your competion.
  • Collect your data.
  • Analyze your data.
  • Set up a periodic competitor analysis review process.

What are the 10 components of competitor analysis? ›

A competitive analysis should examine your competitors' features, market share, pricing, marketing, differentiators, strengths, weaknesses, geography, culture and customer reviews.

What is 4 strategic analysis? ›

It stands for political, economic, social, legal, and environmental analysis, which determines the factors that affect the environment based on external strategic analysis.

What are the five key elements of the competitive market? ›

The five forces are:
  • Supplier power. An assessment of how easy it is for suppliers to drive up prices. ...
  • Buyer power. An assessment of how easy it is for buyers to drive prices down. ...
  • Competitive rivalry. The main driver is the number and capability of competitors in the market. ...
  • Threat of substitution. ...
  • Threat of new entry.
Jun 10, 2013

What is Michael Porter's five forces model? ›

Porter's Five Forces are Threat of new entrants, Bargaining power of buyers, Bargaining power of suppliers, Threat of new substitutes, and Competitive rivalry. This framework helps strategists understand what makes an industry profitable and provides insights needed to make strategic choices.

How do you create a competitor analysis matrix? ›

Use the following steps to create a competitive matrix for your brand:
  1. List the features of your brand. In a lefthand column of your competitive matrix, you can list factors you use to target customers, such as: ...
  2. List the competitors of your brand. ...
  3. Rank your brand against your competitors.
Feb 27, 2023

What is a competitor comparison chart? ›

What Is a Competitor Comparison Chart/Table? A competitor comparison chart is a type of table that compares a product or business with other similar brands based on a set of features.

What is VRIO framework analysis? ›

The VRIO framework is an internal analysis that helps businesses identify the advantages and resources that give them a competitive edge. The VRIO framework is an acronym for the various measurements of success that relate to your business. It includes value, rarity, imitability, and organization.

What are the two internal analysis tools? ›

VRIO analysis: A VRIO (Valuable, Rare, Inimitable and Organized) analysis helps organize business resources. It is ideal for assessing and categorizing a company's resources. OCAT: An OCAT (Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool) assesses internal performance in a variety of specific dimensions.

What are the 4 variations of competitive strategies? ›

There are four main types of competitive strategies proposed by Michael Porter.
  • Cost leadership strategy.
  • Differentiation strategy.
  • Cost focus strategy.
  • Differentiation focus strategy.

What is the 3 circle model of competitive strategy? ›

The 3 Circles are overlapping circles, representing your Customers' Needs, your Competitors Offerings and Your Company Offerings. Each of the areas of the overlapping circles represents a different element of how your customers experience your products and services, as well as your competitors'.

What are the three 3 types of competitors? ›

What are the 3 Types of Competitors?
  • Direct Competitors.
  • Indirect Competitors.
  • Replacement Competitors.

What are the 4 pillars of competitive advantage? ›

Culture, community, customer enthusiasm and performance – the Four Pillars upon which he built his dealership. If the Four Pillars Philosophy sounds unique, that's because it is.

What is a SWOT analysis of a competitor? ›

What Is SWOT Analysis? SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is a framework used to evaluate a company's competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential.

What are four 4 benefits of competition? ›

Basic economic theory demonstrates that when firms have to compete for customers, it leads to lower prices, higher quality goods and services, greater variety, and more innovation.

Can you use SWOT for competitor analysis? ›

But did you know that you can also use SWOT analysis to analyze your competitors? By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats they face, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies, performance, and potential.

Is there a better tool than Google Analytics? ›

While Google Analytics' tracking code is installed on roughly 36 million websites, popular alternative tools like Hotjar, Matomo, and Clicky are used on around 1 million websites each.

What is the strongest competitor to Google Analytics? ›

Best Google Analytics Alternatives
  • Mixpanel.
  • Heap.
  • Fathom.
  • Plausible.
  • FoxMetrics.
  • GoSquared.
  • Kissmetrics.
  • Adobe Analytics.
May 16, 2023

What is the best tool to search for keywords? ›

The 10+ best keyword research tools
  • SEO PowerSuite.
  • KWFinder.
  • Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.
  • Google Keyword Planner.
  • GrowthBar.
  • Long Tail Pro.
  • Majestic.
  • Keyword Tool.
Feb 8, 2023

Which is the best tool to check keyword ranking? ›

List of the Best Keyword Rank Checker Tools
  • Sitechecker.
  • Semrush.
  • SE Ranking.
  • Ranktracker.
  • SEO PowerSuite.
  • Serpstat.
  • Seobility.
  • SERPWatcher.
May 17, 2023

What are the 4 market positions? ›

The four broad positions that brands typically take in the market are market leaders, market challengers, market followers, and market nichers.

How to do a PR competitor analysis? ›

How to Conduct a PR Competitive Analysis in 5 Steps
  1. Recognize Key Players. ...
  2. Assess Competitor Websites. ...
  3. Blog and Demand Content Captures Priorities. ...
  4. Identify Media Coverage. ...
  5. Don't Forget Social.
Jan 24, 2023

What is the tool used for competitive advantage? ›

The value chain model by Michale Porter can be used as a tool to diagnose competitive advantage and find ways to improve it.

What are the 5 types of competitive advantage? ›

Five types of competitive advantage
  • Cost-based advantage. This is the most obvious way of achieving competitive advantage. ...
  • Advantage from a differentiated product or service. ...
  • First mover advantage. ...
  • Time-based advantage. ...
  • Technology-based advantage.

What are the 4 types of competitive advantage? ›

The four primary methods of gaining a competitive advantage are cost leadership, differentiation, defensive strategies and strategic alliances.

What are the three 3 strategies for competitive advantage? ›

According to Porter's Generic Strategies model, there are three basic strategic options available to organizations for gaining competitive advantage. These are: Cost Leadership, Differentiation and Focus.

What is key competitors analysis? ›

A competitor analysis, also referred to as a competitive analysis, is the process of identifying competitors in your industry and researching their different marketing strategies. You can use this information as a point of comparison to identify your company's strengths and weaknesses relative to each competitor.

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