How to see your competitor's Google ads for free


See your competitor's Google ads for free

If you’ve ever wanted to look at what ads brands have live on Google but know that conducting search after search will never give you the full picture, you’re going to want to read this.

Introducing the Google Ads Transparency tool!

Launched in September 2022. it allows you to see all Search, Text & Video ads by any brand currently advertising on Google. You can also filter by date, territory and ad format.

Over the past couple of years, Google has been building on its transparency programme. This started with the advertiser identity verification programme - asking advertisers to provide documents that prove they are who they say they are, what country they operate from and details of what is being sold - and has now expanded to include ‘About this Ad’ disclosures.

In Google's official announcement they said “This transparency helps users learn more about the company behind a specific ad. It also helps differentiate credible advertisers in the ecosystem, while limiting the ability of bad actors to misinterpret themselves.”

This means anyone will be able to click to learn more about the advertiser, but more importantly view all their ads from the last 30 days.

Here's how

Step 1: Search for a brand/product on Google to trigger an ad. 

Step 2: Click the dropdown arrow next to the ad, to the right of the display URL

 

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Step 3: An ‘About this ad’ panel will open, click ‘See more ads by this advertiser’.

 

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Step 4: You’ll be navigated to Google's Ad Transparency page, which will list all the ads the advertiser is currently serving.

Here you are able to adjust the date range, location and ad format to refine your browsing.

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So why is this useful?

The tool allows you to see what creative and messaging other brands are currently using in rotation. It provides an opportunity for inspiration to improve your own advertising, perhaps expanding from text only ads to broader campaign types such as Display and Video.

The tool might also enable you to spot a gap in the market to help differentiate your brand from your competition.

Thinking in terms of competition, it can be a great tool for auditing and providing insight into competitor advertising and the types of copy and creative they use. Being able to clearly see your competitors' USPs, promotions, brand messaging, photography etc. could influence your performance marketing calendar.

As digital marketers, this is a useful feature from Google, providing better competitor insight to inform and differentiate the marketing strategy we provide our clients. It is also a responsible move in the right direction to provide transparency and control to the user, creating an overall more trustworthy ad experience.