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Pathmatics Blog
Ad Intelligence 101 |


Gain Insight on Competitors' Paid Ad Activity: Digital Intelligence Tools

September 28 2016 by Jordan Kramer


The adoption of programmatic advertising has given rise to a “Wild West” ecosystem in digital advertising, making it extremely difficult for brands to benchmark their spend strategies against competitors’ paid efforts.

That’s where digital data intelligence comes in. Having access to comprehensive ad intelligence software allows you to monitor your competitors’ advertising activities and identify trends in their paid strategies. With this intelligence, you have the upper hand. 

Read on to find out what metrics you can effectively monitor across your industry with the right ad intelligence.


1. Spend Timing

Do your competitors have a large promotion approaching, or are they ramping up spend for the holiday season? Perhaps your competitors know something you don’t about your audience’s buying habits. Some competitive ad intelligence offers day-to-day spend reports so you can monitor any significant rises or falls in budget allocation nearly instantaneously.

In the case of State Farm, the largest desktop spender from mid-August into mid-September, the insurer allocated a daily desktop spend between about $97,000 and $427,000. However, on a single day in mid-September, State Farm threw $3.8 million dollars into desktop advertising alone.


State Farm spend from 8/15-9/15


2. Brand Direction

If you identify unusual fluctuations in a competitor’s spending, you can dive into their top-performing ads for that specific time period, allowing you to better understand their strategy. Perhaps your competitor is tapping into new audiences, entering a new market or ramping up for a holiday.

In State Farm’s case, we narrowed our date range to the company’s highest-spend day and analyzed the top desktop advertisements that ran during this huge spike in spend. The insurer’s top ads run on this day surrounded a campaign featuring the Dave Matthews Band. These ads touted a “State Farm Neighborhood Session,” which featured clips of band interviews and performances.



3. CPM

Return on investment is crucial for paid advertisers, so having benchmark numbers across your industry can help shape your strategy moving forward. Ad intelligence allows you to calculate the CPM of your competitors’ advertising activities across channels and sites.  

For State Farm, we can analyze the spend versus the impressions gleaned from:

Purchase Allocation


Websites Advertised On





Mobile & Tablet










State Farm spend from 8/15-9/15


4. Strategy Shifts

Advertising intelligence allows you to keep tabs on your competitors’ brand directions, as well as any shifts in brand focus. Your competitors may be trying to tap into new markets or narrow down their market focus.

With ad intelligence, you can keep close tabs on your industry by analyzing the offers on your competitors’ top-running creatives over time, as well as changes in purchase channels and site allocation. These metrics could indicate shifts in audience targeting or brand direction.

How Can Ad Intelligence Transform Your Business?

Try Pathmatics ad intelligence for free. Having this kind of data on your industry will allow you to benchmark against your competitors, reach new audiences, generate more ROI and create a more effective digital marketing strategy. We’ll walk you through how it works and show you how it can immediately improve your business.

Request a Demo

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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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