The Marketer’s Guide to Native Advertising Spy Tools

Jun 21, 2017

While spending weeks researching the 2017 Native Advertising Technology Landscape, we uncovered a category of vendors that can provide an incredible amount of native ad intelligence to marketers and publishers alike. These spy tools scour the Internet and find native ad units on websites, indexes them, and allows the user to search and sort through them. They even index the landing page the native ad unit links to.

It’s a way for marketers to track their competitor’s strategy and spend, or to simply monitor trends in creative and copy. There’s important lessons to be learned by analyzing campaigns that are already successful.

Publishers can use these tools for the same thing, as well. In addition, publishers can uncover new premium advertisers and see spending shifts in the market place. While many of the tools below also track display, they were each chosen because they spy on native ad units.

The information gathered can help improve programmatic native ROI by uncovering competitor’s strategies, discovering high-performing placements and publishers, and finding top converting landing pages.

There’s another category of vendor represented that gives visibility and attribution within the mobile app environment. Mobile apps are notorious for not correctly reporting analytics. This category corrects this problem and allows marketers to accurately see the performance of their in-app native advertising.

Native Advertising Spy Tools

1. Adbeat – This vendor can instantly uncover any advertiser’s native advertising strategy. It’s billed as a tool for advertisers, agencies, ad networks and publishers. Its results are near real-time.

2. Adjust – This company isn’t quite like the others, a “spy tool,” but still provides a plethora of intelligence. It is a mobile-only business intelligence platform for apps that supports multiple platforms. It provides complete user attribution in the often-foggy landscape of mobile apps. Its real-time analytics segments users and analyzes their behavior to uncover patterns. Works with Twitter and Facebook.

Native Spy

3. Advault – Spies on 13 native advertising networks in 19 countries. It focuses exclusively on programmatic native and their landing pages. It indexes almost 7.3 million native ads. This vendor can also be a resource for affiliate marketers and brands looking to recruit successful affiliates.

4. AdPlexity – Identifies campaign targeting across all popular devices. Monitors native ad units and landing pages across 32 countries. It also gives the user the ability to download complete landing pages – images, css, javascript, etc. in a .ZIP file. In addition, it has the ability to identify affiliate networks.

5. Ad Spider – Tracks almost 7.5 million native ad units in 28 countries from 11 networks across devices. This vendor features a database of publishers and advertiser with full contact information including email and phone numbers. This is particularly useful for publishers and networks when looking for new customers.

6. Anstrex – This vendor boasts 20 native ad networks tracked, over 5.5 million native ad units, almost 54K advertisers, and tracking in 15 countries. It’s a tool for advertisers, content creators, direct sales marketers and affiliates. Allows language filtering and integrates with Alexa and Similarweb.

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7. AppsFlyer – This company is similar to the other mobile app analytics and attribution solution outlined above. Its client-base looks like the who’s who of the Fortune 500. In addition, it’s a software development kit for mobile apps.

8. Brandtale – Discover long-form custom native advertising (sponsored content) across the Internet. Rather than being a database for programmatic native advertising, this solution focuses on full-on sponsored long-form articles. It indexes over 400 publishers, 4,000 brands and 90,000 sponsored articles. Marketers can sort by industry, topic, brands and publishers.

9. LiveRamp – A complete identity and attribution solution across all devices and channels – not just mobile. Let’s marketers track individual users using first, second and third-party data. Builds an omnichannel view across earned, owned and paid media, including native advertising.

10. NativeAdBuzz – A popular spy tool that scours 10 native advertising networks, over five million ads, 42K advertisers, in 12 different countries. It’s filtered search features keywords, publishers, impressions, country, landing page, redirects, devices, advertiser URL, date, language, and network.

Advertising Spy Tool

11. PayPer Trail – A relatively new tool to the ecosystem, this vendor indexes both mobile and desktop data from over 60 networks, allows for advance bookmarking and downloads entire ad units and their subsequent landing pages to a .ZIP file. It also allows marketers and publisher to create automated alerts so they don’t miss out on new campaigns from competitors. It also tracks over 27 countries.

12. WhatRunsWhere – Tracks over 120K unique websites and identifies various advertisers occupying the ad space. Between native and non-native, looks at over 500 advertising networks. Gives access to CTRs across calls to action. While updated daily, this vendor maintains a five-year library of ads and landing pages.

13. BuddyAd – A last minute addition to the list, the only widget-based native advertising spy tool in this guide. This technology features a database full of widgets and site IDs relative to publishers. It also includes real-time scanning so marketers will always know when their native units are properly running. In addition, it identifies poor performing placements so brands can avoid having ad units on poor websites.

Whether you wish to spy on your competitors or see real-time user attribution across devices and channels, these 13 native advertising intelligence vendors can help. There’s no reason to start a programmatic native ad campaign from scratch. Look to the above to uncover which copy, creative and landing pages perform the best and use the lessons learned and apply them to your own campaigns. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The information provided by these native ad tech companies will help accelerate the success of your future campaigns.

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Story by Chad Pollitt

Native Advertising Expert, CMO Influencer VP of Audience and Partner, Native Advertising Institute Indianapolis, USA

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