Affiliate marketing is a competitive business. Even though the market has become very saturated over the last few years, affiliate marketers are still able to achieve amazing profits.
The results don’t come without effort, though. You need to constantly stay on top of your game in order to succeed. You need to know what other affiliates are doing, and you need to use the best tools, offering the widest range of the most advanced features. Internet marketers need to spy on your competition and always try to be one step ahead of them.
Speaking of which… read about the top 5 affiliate marketing spy tools in the industry and the benefits of using them!
What are spy tools in affiliate marketing?
A spy tool is essentially a database of landers and creatives which are used at various traffic sources, in different GEOs, verticals, and ad formats. Depending on the features offered by different spy tools, you can take a peek, and often download, the most popular, most clicked, longest-running, and best-converting landing pages and creatives.
They are updated daily or even hourly to give you up-to-date insights on top performers.
There are a lot of different kinds of spy tools, with some of them specializing in a particular traffic source like Facebook or native advertisements, and some offering different options together in multipacks.
How to use affiliate marketing spy tools?
If you’re thinking that by investing in an ad spy tool you won’t have to worry about creating landers… then you are not entirely correct. Spy tools do offer the option to download assets created by others and use them with minimal adjustments — exchange the links and you’re ready to go. But this isn’t the best way to go about things.
Creative fatigue is a serious issue hindering your campaigns from becoming profitable. People are tired of seeing the same display advertising over and over again, in fact, there is a term to describe this banner blindness which means that people ignore anything that looks like an ad automatically. By downloading the assets and using them as they are, you are walking into a trap. The creatives you find on spy tools with the highest number of clicks are the ones people have seen the most. You might think that if their CTR is high, then by not changing anything, your CTR will be equally high.
In reality, however, creative fatigue is the reason people will not click on your ad because they might have already seen that ad a couple of times and they know where it leads.
The proper way to use spy tools is for inspiration and research. Gather data on what works and what doesn’t. Think to yourself… Does their ad copy have a CTA? How many images are there? Which profitable keywords have they included? Which colors have they chosen? You will likely see patterns in the look of popular landers. A minimalistic page with a spin wheel is the top lander for sweepstakes? Don’t copy it — just remember these things while creating your own stuff. This is how you use competitors’ ads and leverage them into winning campaigns!
When it comes to technical aspects of using a spy tool, it usually lets affiliate marketers choose any combination of country, operator, and OS before searching for anything specific. When you want to search for landers promoting diet pills, all you need to do is specify where and on what devices you want to display the ad and then search by keyword, e.g. ‘diet pills’.
Also, if you have your chosen offer and are looking for inspiration on how to run it, all you need is the campaign landing page URL and you can search for it to see how others are promoting it!
Why should you use spy tools?
Ad spy tools are useful with many ad formats including; push notification ads, native ads, push ads, pop ads, domain ads, and any ad with a landing page. Spy tools are a very important part of the competitive research process. Besides network and traffic source representative’s recommendations, it’s good to look at the whole industry to get the broadest perspective possible. It’s just good old-fashioned market research.
If you already have an offer you can use a spy tool to search for matching creatives. You can also check in which GEOs that type of offer performs best. You can take note of the angles used in popular choices and create your landers based on that.
It actually works both ways. If you do the research before choosing an offer you can tailor your campaigns to best fit the needs of the market — the needs that you determine by browsing through data gathered by spy tools.
In general, spy tools are needed to help you come up with ideas. Which offer to run, what lander and creative to choose, what angle and strategy – you can get all of that by subscribing to a spy tool for your chosen ad format. All you need to do is set those search filters the way you want them and research!
Looking for more affiliate marketing tools?
Click here to learn about the best affiliate marketing tools!
What to look for when choosing a spy tool?
There are many spy tools available on the market, and unless you have enough funds to subscribe to many of them, you need to pick them carefully.
If you already have some experience, you might already know what are your favorite ad formats to run and where. The more specific you can get with your preferences, the easier it will be to make an accurate choice. Spy tool subscriptions are usually divided into different ad formats so it’s best to have a chosen go-to money-making niche.
The most important thing for a spy tool to have is good coverage of GEOs and networks. Different spy tools have different inventories so it’s important to check whether your favorite and most used ad networks and ad exchanges are included in the spy tool’s inventory.
The bigger the database of the ad spy tool the better.
Once you have a huge amount of data you need to be able to navigate through the results. That’s why the next important thing is good results sorting options. In that case, the more granular the better!
Lastly, creatives should be easy to download. Whether you want to try your luck with coping with the landing page or you intend to use it as a base and change it into something original, spy tools should not complicate the process of downloading assets. Researching and filtering take time so saving shouldn’t take more than a second.
Found some creatives that need improvement?
Click here to learn the DOS and DON’TS of push notification ads creatives.
Best Affiliate Marketing Spy Tools
Choosing a spy tool might not be as difficult as choosing a traffic source (because there are so many of them!) but there are enough options on the market to require some preliminary research. Now that we’ve explained what features to look for in an affiliate marketing spy tool, we can share some of our top choices:
Adplexity is one of the biggest and most advanced spy tools used by media buyers on the market. It’s also split into different options for push, mobile, native, desktop, adult, e-commerce, and carriers.
It’s hard to list all the benefits of Adplexity without diving deep into each version of the ad spy tool. The general community opinion is that the interface is very easy to navigate and there seems to be an impressive amount of both search and filtering options.
Just to highlight some of the best features of Adplexity Push — it allows you to see what ads run on carrier traffic, and has the largest amount of push traffic data from over 80 countries, 10 push traffic sources, 90 carriers, and 100 affiliate networks.
Adplexity lets affiliate marketers filter ads by keyword, advertiser, publisher, and affiliate network. Once you’ve got your results you can further analyze the affiliate marketing ad campaigns by filtering by when and what times of the week is the campaign performing best, is it on mobile or desktop, and also which traffic source and what placements send the most traffic.
Each of the different options has unique features to offer and all of them gather data in real-time.
The tool is priced at $149-$249 depending on the option. All you need to do is check whether your preferred traffic sources are on the list of supported networks and you can enjoy in-depth insights into every individual campaign available.
Anstrex offers three different options for native, push, and dropshipping. It’s a great and inexpensive tool that offers a lot of data insights.
The community appreciates Anstrex especially for its easy and clear interface, the best value for money, and an impressive database with easily downloadable landers and creatives.
Anstrex Push gathers over 3 million ads from 92 countries, 15 traffic sources, and 38 affiliate networks.
The results can be filtered by keywords, ad network, category, country, device, affiliate network, tracking tools, and more. You can even search for foreign language ads using English keywords and view each campaign’s CPC bid history. And these are only some of the impressive features worth mentioning!
Priced at $59.99 for native ads and $79.99 for push ads to $124.99 for the both of them, Anstrex becomes the most accessible spy tool in terms of price and functionality.
If you’re wondering why out of all the available options we decide to highlight the push versions of each spy tool, it’s because we needed a common ground for objective comparison while including this push-traffic-only spy tool — SpyPush.
The community is impressed by how easy and quick the response of the search flow is. The price and simplicity of the interface make the tool perfect for beginners. Additionally, the free version that’s available to affiliate marketers for 14 days is perfect for those beginners that are looking to test out an ad spy tool while on a budget.
SpyPush offers over 2M push ads from more than 95 countries and the 10 largest push notification networks.
They let you filter the results by keywords (also in a foreign language), sort by country, ad networks, devices, languages, popularity, activity, ‘first show’ date, and other parameters. You can also find detailed information on creatives, creative jumps, and landing pages.
For the monthly price of $49, you can download lander and creatives with only one click. That’s an excellent deal for beginners if you ask us!
AdPeriscope is a spy tool limited to adult advertising only. It’s created by the people from Anstrex so you might notice some similarities between the two products.
The community says the AdPeriscope does exactly what it promises. It’s a great tool with a massive inventory of adult ads. It’s also said to offer excellent value for money.
It covers inventory from over 50 countries, all major adult networks, and 150+ mobile carriers.
You can search by keywords, ad-network, country, mobile carrier, device type, language, third party trackers & banner dimension and then sort your data by duration, ad-strength, date-seen & Alexa rank of the landing page. You even have the option to create a vault of favorites.
AdPeriscope costs $89.99 and is absolutely essential for advertisers working mainly with adult traffic.
Mobidea spy tools
The ad network Mobidea has its very own spy tools! With two options: native and push, Mobidea offers an impressive inventory of ads that you can spy on.
With over 19M of ads, from over 90 countries, and 40 push networks, Mobidea offers a huge inventory that might even outdo the legendary spy tools.
Apart from the impressive data coverage, Mobidea Push Ads Spy Tool offers insights into exactly which traffic sources perform best with a given offer along with up-to-date information on which devices and countries are being targeted. Additionally, you can check exactly how much your competition is bidding for clicks in every campaign.
The price for the push options is $79.99 while the native option alone costs $59.99. For duo packs, however, the monthly price amounts to $124.99. Good price for excellent data coverage.
Spy tools are necessary for staying on top of your competition. They let you gain inquisitive insights into what’s going on in the industry and help you make choices regarding your future business moves.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a spy tool is to decide exactly what sort of ads you’ll be spying on. Also, make sure to check if the spy tool’s inventory includes your favorite traffic sources and ad networks.
While downloading assets in an easy and straightforward way is a good option to look for in a spy tool, it shouldn’t encourage copycatting. Copy-cat affiliate marketing campaigns are not profitable ad campaigns. Spy tools should help you research the market as well as customer needs and preferences rather than serve as a menu to reuse ready-made creatives.
Do your research, get inspired, and design creatives that will break the bank!
Which do you think are the best ad spy tools?
Leave a message down below, or get in touch on any of the affiliate forums with your answer.