Google Ads

Google Ads Competitor Research

Dominic Sergi

With the digital sphere frequently changing, there’s one constant you can always count on - competition.

To keep your business growing and your results consistent, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on what your competitors are doing.One of the best ways you can do this is - you guessed it - Google Ads!Previously called Google Adwords, it has proven itself as extremely useful to drive traffic to your site. Did you know, however, that you can also use it to keep track of all your competitors’ strategies?Well, you’re in luck! We’re about to tell you how.

Today, we’re deep diving into why competitive analysis matters, the best PPC tools you can use to analyse your competitors, how to use Google Ads as effectively as possible for competitive analysis, and more.Settle in, and let’s take off!

Why does competitor research matter?

There are so many reasons to research your competitors - we’ve outlined some of our top reasons here.

Fast track your process to the best marketing formula

Regardless of what industry you work in, chances are - you’re not the first.Many leaders in your industry have likely tried and failed repeatedly on their way to the top position.Looking at what they now do can simplify your own process, and help you in avoiding making the same mistakes they might have made.Saving time, money, frustration and MORE - what more could you want to be saving?

Scope the market for new competitors

By evaluating the ads of your competitors, you can understand their behaviors.Essentially, using the right tools to evaluate this will teach you what exactly you are competing with, giving you interesting data like auction stats, new keywords, and more.If you’re familiar with what those around you are doing, you can maximize your own efforts to be the best of the best.

What competitor insights should I be looking for?

By using Google Ads, you are guaranteeing visibility on your competitors - frankly, everytime you search a relevant keyword, you’ll find competitor ads instead.Most businesses immediately want to outrank their competitors, but this isn’t necessarily always the best strategy - there’s no way to tell if your competition has profitable campaigns, for example.Before you immediately spend more money to try and outrank your competitors, start by collecting more information.We’ll show you how to find out what your Google Ads competitors are doing, and how you can use this to your advantage.

Which of my competitors are using Google Ads?

First, you need to find out which of your competitors are using Google Ads.The easiest way to do this is to search specific relevant keywords, and see which ads pop up.This doesn’t demonstrate the entire playing field, as certain competitors might have configured their ads for specific times of day, or may have run out of their daily ad budget.Other results could be limited by your location or language of your browser, so not all competitor ads may show up.

What are the best PPC tools I can use?

Here are some of the best Google Ads spy tools that you can use to gain an edge over your competitors.

Auction Insights (via Google Ads Campaign)

The Auction Insights tool is what will allow you to view other domains that enter the same Google ad auctions at the campaign, keyword and ad group level.It also provides information on how well ads are performing, especially in comparison to other advertisers.


SimilarWeb is what will allow you to view your competitor’s monthly traffic, which channels are bringing in the most visitors, and where these visitors are coming from.


Ahrefs is exceptionally handy, and can be used for all aspects of your competitor analysis.Ahrefs will show you top pages, IPs, external links, and more regarding your competitors. You can also use Ahrefs for ad keyword research and analysis.


SEMRush specifically focuses on competitor data, and you can use SEMRush to get ad keywords and traffic numbers of your competitors.


KeywordSpy is another useful tool, allowing you to see a competitor’s keywords, domains, ad copy, and AdWords spend.This software will also suggest specific keyword and ad combinations that are deemed the most profitable and/or beneficial.

Using Google Ad Auction Insights

If you’re already running Google Ads campaigns, you can use the Google Ads Auction Insights report for more detailed information.This report will inform you how you compare to other advertisers for your entire account, a specific ad group, or a specific campaign.Using these reports, you can find out:

  • Average ad position
  • Impression share
  • Quality Score
  • Overlap rate
  • Position-above rate

What are your competitors’ top keywords?

We’re digging deeper now, straight into the Google Ads keywords that your competitors would be advertising on.SEMRush and Ahrefs are two examples of great tools to use for keyword research.Both tools can give you an overview of the keywords, their monthly search volumes, and their estimated CPCs.Sites such as iSpionage can also help you find significantly profitable keywords based on what different competitors are using.After creating an account and logging in, you can then conduct a URL search for your brand.After this, you can use the columns to find both unique keywords and overlap keywords, helping you determine which terms you’re both bidding on and which terms your competitors are bidding on that you’re not.You can even go one step further and export all of these unique keywords as a .CSV. By doing this, you can organise, sort, and work with the terms you’d like to add to your campaigns as a whole.

Our three main tips to use Google Ads as a competitive analysis tool

After all this, you still might be wondering what the best way to go about competitive analysis is.Lucky for you, it’s fairly simple and you can easily be successful. If you know where to look, the right information is there.

Search for your main keywords

Using the right combination of keywords is essentially what will make or break your campaign.By finding great keywords that your competitors haven’t already targeted, you’re already giving yourself an edge over the competition.Look for your competitor - are their landing pages relevant? Or their ad copy?Identify these competitors and the keywords they’re targeting, and you’ll have the magic word - then you can move on to more detailed work.

Use Auction Insights!

As we have mentioned, Google Ads will allow you to obtain all sorts of information about your competition and their campaigns.In particular, Auction Insights has proven to be extremely useful.You can choose if you want to see reports at the ad group, campaign, or individual keyword level.This will not only show you your competitor’s ranking, but the particular reasons behind it too.Overall, Auction Insights allows you to take a close look at what the competition is doing without the need for third-party tools - definitely handy and definitely worth considering.

Use SEMRush to compare your competition

If you’re looking to invest a little to get a lot of data, SEMRush is your best friend.It contains a comprehensive collection of tools you can use to give yourself insight into your competition. You’ll be able to:

  • Learn about your organic competitors
  • Find out which keywords didn’t work for them
  • Distinguish which keywords worked really well for them

You’ll also receive a detailed analysis demonstrating every aspect of your competitor’s keyword usage.You can even be provided with real-time updates on the organic search results of all the keywords you’ve been looking into.If this isn’t enough to convince you, there’s also the Topic Research feature - allowing you to craft new contact on your website and offering insights into the questions that your customers are looking for answers to.

So, what now?

The content we covered today has helped:

  • Identify your competitors
  • Learn about previous campaigns and results
  • Gather all necessary information on the keywords they’re using
  • Use the collected data to create a superior strategy

Stay in the game, and become the best of the best - what more do you need?Combining a few of all the above tools will get you ahead of your competition and keep you there.Still looking for that extra edge? Look no further - get a free proposal with Local Digital today and we’ll propel your business to the next level.

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Dominic Sergi
Dom is a co-founder at Local Digital. Google Ads is his #1 game and driving ad spend efficiencies his aim. He's also well versed in all things digital marketing, sales and business growth.

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