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1 May 2024

6 Under The Radar Competitor Research Tools [Updated 2024]

6 Under The Radar Competitor Research Tools [Updated 2024]

At Optix we do a lot of competitor research. Not necessarily researching our competitors, but those of our clients. We strongly believe that the best brands are distinct from their competition, but you can’t achieve that without knowing what your competition is doing. 

As a side note, the difference between your brand being distinctive and it differentiated is an interesting one. As Marketers we may be tempted to communicate how our brand is differentiated from our competitors but research shows that being distinct resonates much more with consumers. 

There are plenty of tools which are created with competitor research in mind, but those are easy to find. The tools listed here aren’t technically for competitor research but they can be used for it. After all, you don’t want to be using the same competitor research tools as your competitors, do you? 

Milled is technically a search engine for email newsletters. It positions itself as a tool for finding discount codes and deals but it's also a quick way of finding email marketing campaigns. 

Of course you can sign up for newsletters manually but this is a great way to see a lot of emails, including historical ones, in one go. You can search by brand or by keyword. Because of the focus on finding deals, Milled skews towards ecommerce. 

Google Ads Transparency Center 

The Google Ads Transparency Center was created to “empower users to make informed decisions about the ads and advertisers they see through Google”. It also empowers you to see all the ads your competitors are running across Google search, video, display etc. 

You can’t see how the ads are targeted, but with the search ads the headline will give you a good hint. 


LinkedIn isn’t just for posting about your mental health, you can also use it to better understand your competitors. I typically start by seeing how many marketing professionals are listed as working for a company, to get an idea of the scale of their team.

You can also spot which agencies work with your competitors, which recruiters they use etc. by seeing who is connected to who. A LinkedIn connection doesn’t tell you that much but it can give you a hint if you’re playing detective. 

LinkedIn Ad Library

As well as looking up people on LinkedIn you can use their Ad Library to see ads companies are running. This works like Google's Ad Transparency Center and Meta's Ad Library - it lets you search by company name and see real life examples of the ads being run.

You can tell how much budget is being spent but it does give you a good idea of the types of ads your competitor is running. You can also check back in at a later date to see which ads have been turned off and which are still live. This will help you to see which ads are working best.

Meta Ad Library 

Similar to Google’s Ads Transparency Center, Meta’s Ad Library lets you see ads your competitors are running on Meta’s platforms. You can see what creative was used, and which platforms it was shown on, for live ads and historical ones. 

If you keep track of this over time you can see which ads work best for them and which ones get turned off. Over time you can start to see when they run seasonal campaigns and start to predict their next move. 

Companies House

You can see how well your competitors are performing by reviewing their accounts on Companies House. Alongside financial performance data, sometimes a company's directors will disclose further information about the business, including current and future expected performance, in their accounts. This won’t be full of juicy gossip, but it might point out any large risks or challenges they are facing. 

Thomas Haynes
1 May 2024
Thomas Haynes
01392 667766
Optix Solutions
1st Floor, Alphin Brook House,
Alphin Brook Road,
Exeter EX2 8RG


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