PPC Espionage: How to Spy on Your Competitors' Ads | GlowMetrics

Apr 22nd 2024

Digital Marketing Insights

4 min read

Posted by Nicola Russell

PPC Espionage: How to Spy on Your Competitors’ Ads

In the world of paid ads, staying ahead of your competition requires more than just intuition; it demands strategy, insight, and a little bit of espionage.

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In PPC, staying ahead of your competitors requires more than just intuition; it demands strategy, insight, and a little bit of spying. Yes, you read that right – PPC espionage. In this blog, we will dive into the art of ethically spying on your competitors’ ads to improve the performance of your campaigns.

The Power of Competitive PPC Analysis

Are your competitors running campaigns across LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook, or just Google Ads? What types of ad formats are they using? What offers are they pushing? These are all questions you could (and should) be asking. Understanding what your competitors are up to can provide invaluable inspiration for your campaigns. Thankfully, due to the rise in privacy-focused trends, most major PPC platforms now provide tools that enable you to view the ads of any business.

But before we begin it’s important to remember that spying on your competitors isn’t about copying their campaigns, but rather gaining insights and inspiration to enhance your PPC strategies.

A Privacy-Focused Future

As users become more wary of data collection by tech giants like Google, they’re shifting towards privacy-focused alternatives. This trend, echoed by global privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, is prompting major platforms including Meta, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Google Ads to launch transparency centers and ad libraries. These resources provide users with insights into ads, empowering them to make informed decisions about the advertisements they encounter and the data they share. For advertisers, however, these tools provide valuable competitor research opportunities.

Meta Ads Library

First up, let’s talk Meta—the powerhouse behind Facebook and Instagram. The Meta Ad Library is a goldmine for advertisers, offering insights into launch dates, estimated audience size, ad spend, and impressions. 

It was originally launched in 2018 for ads related to political and social issues, but it has since expanded to include all advertisers on Meta’s platforms. With just a few clicks, you can peek behind the curtain and gain insight into your competitors’ ads. You can use filters to refine your search by language, platform, media type, active status, and date range.

Meta Ads Library

As competition on Meta’s platforms continues to increase, leveraging the Meta Ad Library can give advertisers a competitive edge and ensure the success of their advertising campaigns.

LinkedIn’s Ad Library

LinkedIn’s Ad Library offers the chance to search for ads by advertiser name, keyword, country, and date range. The library includes information such as ad preview, format, advertiser name, payer name, and whether the ad is restricted. For ads targeted to the European Union, additional information is provided to comply with EU regulations, including ad impressions, targeting details, and run dates.

LinkedIn Ad Library

Ads that ran on LinkedIn after June 1, 2023, are included in the library, remaining accessible for one year after their last impression. Typically, ads appear in the library within 24-48 hours of their first impression, with changes or updates reflected within the same timeframe.

Google Ads Transparency Center

Google Ads Transparency Center offers game-changing insights into competitor campaigns across Search, YouTube, and Display. Quickly search your competitor’s business to uncover their most recent ads or you can search by topic, advertiser, or website, with the option to filter listings by region and ad format.

Google Ads Transparency Center


You can also access the Google Ads Transparency Center once you see a competitor’s ad in the search results. Click the three dots, and choose the option to “See more ads this advertiser has shown using Google.”

Google Ads Transparency Center


TikTok Top Ads Dashboard

Last but not least, we have TikTok – possibly the most challenging platform for most PPC’ers to create content for. However, with TikTok’s Creative Center’s Top Ads Dashboard, you can research ads by region, industry, or brand name. Additionally, there are various filtering options to find the best ad examples for some inspiration. Filter by ad type to identify formats that work for brands like yours, or by region to understand what resonates with your target audience in specific areas. Focus your search on a specific industry to learn how competitors use TikTok advertising successfully, or filter by time to make sure your ads align with current trends.

TikTok Top Ads Dashboard


Plus, by clicking on one of the ads from your search results, you’ll have access to ad-specific analytics, enabling you to view essential metrics like clicks, impressions, and CTR, as well as engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares.

PPC Knowledge is PPC Power

By ethically monitoring your competitors’ ads across platforms such as Meta, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Google Ads, you can gather invaluable insights to enhance your PPC strategy. The tools listed above can provide the necessary data to analyse competitor ad copy, CTAs, creatives, landing pages, and beyond. However, it’s essential to remain aware that while you observe your competitors, they can also observe you.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about PPC strategies or require support with your Google Ads or Paid Social campaigns, feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch via contact@glowmetrics.com. You can also stay up-to-date by following GlowMetrics on Twitter or LinkedIn or by subscribing to our newsletter (link below) for the latest tips and news in the world of digital analytics and marketing.

Don’t forget to sign up for a complimentary account on our Resource Hub to access a wealth of valuable resources, including exclusive digital analytics and digital marketing how-to videos and insights!

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Posted by
Nicola Russell

Nicola is the Digital Team Lead at GlowMetrics, preparing and executing PPC & SEO strategies for new and existing clients. Nicola specialises in integrated marketing campaigns, combining the best of paid social and paid search to get the finest of results for her clients
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