You know the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses”? We usually use this phrase to talk about people who try to “keep up” with their neighbors, buying things like clothes and cars that they can’t actually afford so they look like they’re just as well off.
While we may scoff at this idea, the fact is, most of us do it in some form or another. In digital advertising, however, “Keeping up with the Joneses” takes on a whole new level.
Brands big and small want — and need — to know what their competitors are up to. Digital ad intelligence allows them to do just that, providing real-time, actionable insights that can influence your messaging, ad spend, and more.
With quality digital ad intelligence on your side, you’re not just keeping up. You’re pulling James Bond-level stunts to take your advertising strategy to the next level and get ahead of the competition.
What is digital ad intelligence?
Most advertisers have always tried to perform some level of marketing intelligence. After all, knowing what works for your competition can help you fine-tune your strategy and improve your own results.
Doing this on your own may have worked fine when your only advertising options were the local newspaper and the Yellow Pages. But nowadays, we have more ad channels available than ever before.
According to research by Domo, the world generates an average of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day — a lot of which is dedicated to advertising.
A quintillion has 18 zeros in it. Good luck trying to peruse all that data on your own!
Luckily, we have digital ad intelligence tools — the super-spies of the marketing world. Essentially, an ad intelligence platform allows you to track where your competitors are buying ads, how much they are spending, and the timing of their placements. Intelligence tools can even help you identify which specific advertisements are delivering the best ROI for your competitors.
This data can be so valuable, it almost feels like you’re cheating.
The thing is, these tools are readily available for ad buyers in every industry. If you’re using digital channels as part of your advertising efforts, you can be sure your competitors are monitoring your activity and your results.
There are a variety of digital ad intelligence platforms currently available, such as Nielsen Ad Intelligence, Kantar, and Pathmatics. Obviously, each of these are going to claim their software is the best, but they all deliver on that same basic promise: scouring your competitor’s digital advertising data so you don’t have to.
These tools automatically collect advertising data through a variety of resources, such as web scraping, PDF reports, APIs (application programming interfaces, which define how computers or programs talk to each other), and more. All of this data must go through quality assurance (also automated, fortunately) to make sure you get reliable, trustworthy information.
Better yet, this information is all available in real time (or as close to real time as you can get). No more sitting around waiting for weekly or monthly reports!
Gaining competitive intelligence advantages.
Spying on your competitors is fun and all, but how much will digital ad intelligence help you? Let us count the ways…
First, ad intelligence provides important benchmarking for your own campaigns. When you understand how much your competitors are spending, how much of a share they have on certain platforms, or what type of ROI they get from their campaigns, you have a clear measuring stick for your own efforts.
If your competitors all seem like they’re doing amazing at first, this might be a bit disheartening. It shouldn’t be.
When you look closely at the metrics, you’ll often be able to identify underutilized advertising opportunities. For example, if your competitors are putting all their resources in social media and zero into audio advertising, you could gain significant brand awareness or market share by targeting a platform your competition has overlooked.
Of course, if a competitor is investing in a marketing channel that you want to target, you’ll have the insights you need to target that platform more aggressively without completely blowing your budget. Understanding how you may need to adjust other parts of your campaign will ensure that each platform gets the right level of attention.
Sure, your competitors are probably going to use digital ad intelligence tools themselves. They might try to counter your own moves with changes to their campaigns. While you might end up in some ad-buying warfare, at least you can always be aware of what’s going on.
Fine-tuning your own digital marketing efforts.
Of course, digital ad intelligence platforms aren’t just for spying on the competition. They can also give you important insights into your own campaigns so you can improve your optimization efforts.
This is because these tools don’t just tell you what happened (ex., you gained 30 conversions from Campaign A). They give granular insights that tell you exactly HOW this happened, which can make all the difference when buying placements on multiple channels or when making segmentation decisions.
Want to know what kind of ROI you’re getting from your campaigns? Digital ad intelligence can give you a complete understanding of the costs and results of each ad buy. You can get a big-picture look at your campaign or even break things down to look at individual ads.
This allows you to do a direct comparison of the different platforms you might be using for your campaigns. For example, you might think that Facebook is your best digital advertising option because of its reach. But what if your ad intelligence software reveals that podcast placements are generating conversions at a much higher rate?
By properly attributing sales, leads, and other outcomes to the right source, digital ad intelligence ensures that these kinds of insights don’t slip through the cracks.
In addition to industry and competitor benchmarks, intelligence software can also help you set benchmarks against yourself. For example, you can compare the results of your most recent ad campaign against the results a similar campaign achieved last month — or even last year. You don’t have to wonder if shaking up your brand voice on your latest campaign was a good idea or not — the data will give you the answer.
Robust insights into your own campaigns and those of your competitors will ultimately help you make smarter decisions for everything from the type of creative you run to the platforms where you buy placements.
And, with real-time data, you can start making changes right away. You can stop wasting your ad spend on things that don’t work and start funneling your precious dollars into things that give real results.
Get ahead of the game with digital ad intelligence.
If you’re truly ready to go all-in with your ad campaigns, you can’t afford to ignore digital ad intelligence. It doesn’t matter whether your next campaign is going to focus on audio advertising, display ads, or social media. Advertising intelligence will help you make smarter ad-buying decisions thanks to competitive insights from a wide range of data sources.
When you know what the competition is up to, you won’t just be trying to keep up. You’ll know exactly what you need to do to get ahead and deliver stronger results from your ad campaigns.
Getting more sales while spending less than ever? That should be a dream come true for every ad buyer.
Decibel Ads can help you make better use of your advertising budget so you can get even more out of your intelligence data. By democratizing audio advertising with affordable and accessible pricing, our unique platform will help you get the placements that will help your business grow.