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PPC 14 min read

How To Carry Out A Quick Analysis Of Competitors' Contextual Advertising

analyze an ad

Stacy Mine
Editor at Serpstat
Tracking competitors is one of the basic tasks of working with context, and it often takes a lot of time for internet marketers. This article will talk about ways to conduct a quick and high-quality analysis of contextual advertising using various tools.
Competitor analysis provides insight into:
What and how competitors sell, is there any work with contextual advertising, or is it set up just once.
What messages and calls to action competitors use, what are they focusing on in advertising? What is emphasized in the ad texts, how they differ from each other.
Are competitors using Google Adwords extensions and add-ons to work with contextual advertising?
What ideas to borrow and remake for yourself.
What are the approximate costs of competitors for advertising.
I will show you how to identify your competitors in SERPs, how to find out what tricks they are using, and how to analyze keywords, ads, landing pages and display ads of competitors. I'll tell you about services that will help you find out the approximate advertising costs and dwell in more detail on a detailed analysis of the competitors' advertising campaign. You will never ask yourself 'how to see what keywords competitors are using' again.

Identifying competitors

An important thing to understand is to explore what is happening in our niche of interest. Based on this data, we will build our optimization strategy and figure out how competitors attract customers.

But first, you need to find out who our competitors are. To do this, go to Google's search results and analyze paid and organic search results. Let's do this using the example of the site of an English language school.

The screenshot on the left shows competitors in paid search results on Google, on the right - in organic:
Analysis of search queries on competitors' sites Analysis of search results of competitors
The first paid search ad leads to the landing page of preply.com website:
ppc analysis
In order not to get lost in the information, I will create a Spreadsheet where I will enter data about all competitors found:
landing page URL;
ad title;
ad text;
additional elements;
call to action;
Google ads;
Google organic.
It is convenient to use the ad diagnostics tool in AdWords to search and analyze competitors in organic on other devices:
ad preview and diagnostic tool
Next, you need to find out if remarketing is working, if there is a Facebook Pixel that will allow you to catch up with advertising on social networks. To find out if there is a Pixel on the site, use the Google Chrome extension Facebook Pixel Helper; to check Google codes - Tag Assistant (by Google):
Facebook Pixel Helper
Through regular Google SERP analysis, we track things like:
Extensions in advertisements:
extensions in serps
Separate landing sites for advertising:
Анализ отдельных посадочных страниц под рекламу конкурентов
You can also use the Google AdWords keyword planner and auction statistics. The planner shows and downloads variants of keywords for the URL; statistics will show the average number of requests per month, plus the planner allows you to split by geography and platforms.

Information about the level of competition of the request will be useful on the minimum and maximum rates for showing at the top of the page.

It is important to remember that the planner shows something in between, not always the truth. Also, it shows which words intersect with the analyzed site. Using auction insights, we will understand exactly who we are competing with in advertising. We can find new sites in this list. We save the list for further use when analyzing competitors via Serpstat:
С помощью статистики аукционом можно узнать, с кем мы конкурируем в PPC
We now have a basic understanding of who our competitors are and what tools they use. However, this is not all, so we will continue the analysis using special tools.
Personal demonstration
Our specialists will contact you and discuss options for further work. These may include a personal demonstration, a trial period, comprehensive training articles, webinar recordings, and custom advice from a Serpstat specialist. It is our goal to make you feel comfortable while using Serpstat.

In-depth competitor analysis

Special services allow you to find out which tips are used by top competitors in the niche and how they can be used in your campaign.

Keyword analysis

Serpstat analyzes domain ads for keywords, identifies competitors for a domain and a keyword, shows volume and impressions, as well as PPC competition in percentage. It is possible to apply and save filters for future use.

Go to the tab Keyword research → PPC research → Keywords, enter the keyword and see the result:
С помощью статистики аукционом можно узнать, с кем мы конкурируем в PPC
The table displays the following data:
Keyword that triggered the ad.
Ads by keyword (look at the headlines, the presence of target keyword in the headline, text, call to action). Collect good ideas.
Position in SERP for the phrase.
Landing pages.
Competition in PPC.
You can apply filters to the table:
setting a filter by volume
You can apply multiple filters at the same time, customize them and save them for later use.

Competitor analysis

In the tab Keyword Research → PPC research → Competitors we see a comparison of competitors according to the following data:
Common keywords.
All keywords.
Total ads.
The list of competitive sites can be changed or you can use sites suggested by the service:
ppc competitors research
In this report, you can see common keywords and save successful options for yourself.
Analysis Of Competitors' Websites: An Extensive Guide

Analysis of ads

Serpstat has a tool for analyzing advertisements, which provides information on keywords triggering ads in search results. Go to the tab Keyword research → PPC research → Ads examples and look at the grouping of keywords that competitors have:
ppc competitors research
It is available to download data with keywords or with all data from the table. Results are filtered and tracked across different search engines.
In the same report, we note new ideas for our advertising.
If we need ads of a specific domain, go to Website Analysis → Domain Analysis → PPC research → Ads examples. In the results, we see the ad of the desired domain, the keyword that triggered it and the cost:
ppc keywords for ads

Landing pages analysis

Let's move on to analyzing landing pages. In the report Keyword research → PPC research → Ads landing pages, Serpstat shows which pages receive traffic from the context and how many ads are configured for a particular page. Collect successful variants:
ppc landing pages
To regularly check the number of PPC keywords for a domain, we can use the My projects tab in Serpstat, where we see data on the growth or fall of PPC keys for our site and competing sites:
competitors in PPC by region
How To Build A Perfect Landing Page For PPC

Analysis of competitors' advertising costs

It is impossible to find out the exact budget of competitors. However, special services allow you to at least approximately estimate their costs.

SimilarWeb shows approximate spending by average bid and traffic in Paid Search. Estimated site traffic is displayed in general information about the site, and paid traffic in Search is Paid:
SimilarWeb estimated costs
In total, almost 22% is paid traffic.

Serpstat determines the average cost per click in advertising: Keyword research → SEO research → Keyword Selection:
Checking the cost of an ad in Serpstat
As a result, we received comprehensive information about what and how competitors are advertising, what messages and calls to action they use in their advertising and what they focus on. In addition, we learned very approximate costs for contextual advertising.
There is a comparison method that only works if you have already launched contextual advertising for a long time. We project our results onto competitor results.

To do this, we consider the competitor's budget as the direct method, then we consider our budget by the same method and multiply by our real budget.

For example:

Your real budget is $10,000. The direct method showed your budget of $5,000, which means that the direct method is understated by half. If a competitor's direct method showed a budget of $3,000, then his real budget is about twice as much.

Thus, we get rid of the systematic error of the direct method. However, you should not do this if you have drastically changed the budget for search advertising over the past year.

In the direct method, we use the CPC that we received from Google. It does not depend on the position taken by the ads. But the fact that your ads and competitor's ads may occupy different positions and they may have different CPCs.

The most interesting thing is that click-through rate (CTR) does not directly affect the cost. If the positions remain the same, an increase in CTR will reduce CPC, but it will also increase the number of clicks and, as a result, the expense will remain the same.
— Andrey Belousov, Growth Hacker
How To Discover A Competitor's Budget For Contextual Advertising: 3 Unusual Methods

Checklist for competitor analysis

We determine the list of competitors. We use information from search results, auction insights, Serpstat. While on the site, we monitor the use of the Facebook Pixel and the remarketing tag. We track the presence of remarketing.
We compare competitors with each other, look at common and missing keywords. We add the necessary data to our plan.
We check the main keywords.
We analyze ad texts, mark CTAs and useful tricks used by competitors.
We look at the groupings of words, add the necessary one to our plan.
Check landing pages.
We improve our own campaigns, remembering about competitors' mistakes.
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