Spyfu: Spying on the competition

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Spyfu is a company that lets you spy on your competitors site - you can find out how much they are spending on paid advertising per day. You go to their website and enter a domain name, and you get back the online advertising budget numbers for the site, along with the tool clicks per day and the average cost per click.

The free site provides limited content, but the subscription site promises tools to track and analyze a site’s paid keywords, average rank, number of clicks per day, number of CPC ads etc.

spyfuHere are daily budgets of some high rollers in the online advertising world, from the Spyfu site.

Geico.com $124k - $452k
Orbitz.com $12k - $362k
Progressive.com $84k - $336k

The spread in the numbers is rather large. To make this more useful, the site needs to publish the numbers within some tighter tolerances.

In general, when advertisers sign on to place paid ads on a search engine, most of the click and keyword average pricing data are made available to them. It is possible to get statistics on the number of times a particular keyword is being searched, and how many clicks you are likely to get at a particular cost per click (CPC), so Spyfu is probably just aggregating data, and presenting it conveniently in one place, along with some estimates.

Overture (Yahoo) freely publishes click costs and traffic estimates, but Google adwords has a strict policy of not allowing advertisers to see what other merchants are bidding on a particular keyword. So it is not clear if Spyfu is getting any data from Google at all, or just making educated guesses based upon Yahoo cost estimates.

Here are the most expensive keywords - yes that is the max price the merchants have bid for every click to their site, for those keywords!
spyfu top 100 most expensive keywords

We tried Spyfu on some domains and the results were reasonable. However, for domains that did not advertise on the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN), we could not get any advertising numbers even though the sites are advertising on several smaller search engines.

At first pass, this seems like a very useful tool for online merchants to use. Here are some of the features Spyfu needs to add to its offerings.

1. Add tier II search engines into its estimates
2. Use better filtering for their search terms (they list words such as “a”, “www” etc. which google and other search engines remove as they are very common terms)
3. Get a faster server - the queries are very slow 50% of the time
4. Either get more precise numbers for the ad budgets, or label the numbers as “estimates”.

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7 Responses to “Spyfu: Spying on the competition”

  1. By Sham Saha on Nov 11, 2021 | Reply

    Hi Toni,

    I have discovered Spyfu long time back. It is not new to me. My question is - How come you sure all those PPC related statistics are reliable? These are something, that should be confidential as granted.
    Companies listed over there sites may complain against Spyfu. Is not it?
    Do you really think, those STATISTICS are acurate/somewhat accurate enough to make a conclusion over competitors ?

    Reply to my mail ID.

  2. By Amihan on Nov 14, 2021 | Reply

    For your keyword research try using KeywordSpy - a keyword research technology that will help you know what keywords your competitors are using and how it generates money for them, you can use those keywords to drive traffic to your site and give your business the exposure it needs. It offers Free trials.

    It goes with a ClickBank Affiliates Search Engine where you can see the actual market landscape at ClickBank.

  3. By michael on Jun 13, 2021 | Reply

    Have you heard about www.ispionage.com ? It’s the latest CI tool outhere, I was one of the beta tester… the tool is vveeeeerryy cool, it’s simple, very easy to use, and the data is accurate. They refresh the data daily… and it’s very affordable too. Gotta check it out!

  4. By ace on Aug 29, 2021 | Reply

    i think spyfu is good, and help us to

  5. By Danielle Flynn on Nov 20, 2021 | Reply

    Keyword Competitor ( www.keywordcompetitor.com) is currently the best keyword tool to use. It is the World’s First Real-Time Keyword Research Tool. Other tools use old information from stored databases.

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