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Pathmatics Blog
Ad Intelligence 101 |


Digital Analytics Tools: How Competitors Track Your Ad Strategy

July 18 2017 by Ken Roberts

It’s true: your competition has detailed information on how much your brand spends on digital ads and where you place those ads. Competitors can even see which creatives you’re running.

It’s all possible thanks to ad intelligence software. 

Ad intelligence software tracks how ads are delivered across channels like desktop, mobile and video. The best digital analytics tools build a hierarchy of the services used to deliver ads, identifying the specific paths involved in each ad placement. 

The result is a clear picture of how ads are placed on websites by direct and indirect sources. This information is like looking over an ad strategist’s shoulder.

Why This Matters to Your Brand 

Competitors can pull all sorts of nonsense when they have ad software and you don’t.

They can place creatives to run on the same sites yours do. They can infer which products and services you’re promoting, and take steps to counteract your plan. And they can even save money on their ad spend based on how much you’re shelling out for impressions.

Let’s take an example. 

If you’re Target, you advertise a lot. In fact, from June 11 to July 10, 2017, the brand spent more than $2 million across desktop, mobile and video. 

Pathmatics digital ad intelligence

Now imagine Walmart wants to create huge problems for Target.

It would be quite easy using competitive intelligence software like Pathmatics.

Walmart could use the digital analytics tool to see exactly how Target bought advertising across direct and indirect sources. 

ad intelligence for brand managers

With insights into their competitor's digital ad strategy, Walmart could see exactly where Target placed ads—and how much the brand spent with each website.

ad intelligence for brand managers

ad intelligence for brand managers

Walmart also has the ability to analyze all the creatives Target is running.

ad intelligence for brand managers

This information could then be used against Target. Walmart could:

  • Negotiate better ad deals with its own partners, generating more impressions for less money and ultimately win the brand awareness game.
  • Advertise in all the places Target isn’t
  • Advertise in all the places Target is advertising and dilute the brand’s message.
  • See what products Target is promoting and how it’s advertising them.
  • And so much more.

Doesn’t sound fun, does it?

What to Do About It

Obviously the solution is to use ad intelligence software, too.

But that’s not why we’re talking about it. In fact, we outline the reasons it’s not for every brand. 

The reason we’re talking about it is because the world of digital advertising seriously lacks transparency. Brands don’t know what they don’t know. 

In fact, 90 percent of respondents in a World Federation of Advertisers study say they’re reviewing their programmatic advertising contracts and demanding more transparency. We’ve all seen stories about ads running next to hate speech and inappropriate content.

Brand managers are struggling because the ad industry has so little accountability.

This is why so many advertisers are turning to ad intelligence software. It shows them exactly where their brand’s ads are placed and provides full visibility into the ad placement process. That helps these advertisers save money on ads, get more impressions for their spend, and invest more in the ad strategies that work best. 

Oh, and it also shows them exactly what their competitors are up to.

Want to see for yourself? Check out the full range of capabilities what competitive intelligence software can offer. Take a demo of Pathmatics today to see if it’s right for you. 

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About Author
Ken Roberts

Ken Roberts has been immersed in marketing and technology for over a decade, merging creative strategies with the latest technology, to bring products together with the people who need them. With degrees in Engineering, Computer Science and an MBA, Ken’s background in product management, marketing, sales, analytics and technology lends to his ability to attack product challenges on multiple levels. Ken began his career developing software solutions for medical records before transitioning to marketing. Ken focused on building marketing departments and operating in-house agencies. Ken’s experience with digital platforms, internet based marketing, lead scoring and business intelligence, and reporting, as well as a keen market understanding, are a welcome addition to Pathmatics, only matched by a leadership philosophy that encourages high creativity and ownership from his team.

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