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FAQS

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Monitoring & Capturing Data

What PLA monitoring info do you provide?

We have the data that demystifies the PLA!

PLAs are the talk of the town for retail search marketers and aren’t going away anytime soon. They are incredibly effective conversion tools but are often misunderstood. While marketers control the content of PLA ads through a data feed, the problem is a lack of visibility into which product is showing for a keyword query.

What We Monitor: We capture and report on all shopping listings that appear in worldwide search results. This includes Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on Google and shopping listings on Yahoo and Bing. We monitor them similarly to paid search ads, with multiple query checks per day. PLA monitoring is included in our SEM package offering and also within  lighthouse-logo-medium.

Why It’s Tricky: PLAs require more intensive monitoring than other shopping listings. They change with each new search query (like paid search ads) which is different than shopping engine listings that change at a pace similar to organic listings.

PLA Stats We Capture

  • Percent of keywords containing PLAs:  Some keywords do not have PLAs, while others do.  The percent of keywords that contain PLAs can vary per vertical.  See stats for your industry
  • Number of ad units per keyword:  PLAs can show up as small as 2-unit boxes or as large as 6 or 8-unit boxes.
  • Cross-media reporting: SEM, SEO, and PLA ad share, and the intersection of how often you appear on each ad unit.
  • Seller Statistics: Rank, Share of Voice, frequency (i.e. % of the time a seller shows up in product listing ads), seller ratings and reviews, & list of all products promoted by the seller
  • Product Statistics:  Price promoted by each seller, average price for a product, price range (low to high), & ad copy

Best Practices With PLA Stats

  • Determine if your vertical is a heavy user of PLAs and you need to be there (agencies can use to recommend PLAs to clients)
  • Determine if PLAs are pushing down your text ads, causing lower CTRs
  • Determine if the products you want to display are actually displaying
  • Determine if your product’s price is displaying within the range of prices in the PLA unit (too high is a big no-no for CTR)
  • Determine if your product’s images look as good as the other images in the PLA

Other PLA Resources

What affiliate activity do you monitor on Twitter?

Importance of monitoring Twitter for affiliate activity

  • Your affiliates will use any tool at their disposal to drive sales, and Twitter has become a favorite one
  • Just like with a search engine ad, affiliates display an advertiser’s URL or brand name in their tweet but then send the clicker through their affiliate link (for the sale credit)
  • All affiliate managers need a tool that monitors tweets every day of the year and allows the user to easily notify affiliates or vendors that a rule violation is occuring

What The Search Monitor captures for affiliate activity on Twitter

  • We monitor all tweets on Twitter containing an affiliate link (a.k.a. an affiliate URL redirect). We do not monitor every tweet posted.
  • Metrics Captured:
    • Created Date
    • Twitter ID
    • Unique Tweet ID
    • Tweet Copy
    • Retweet or not
    • Merchant Domain Promoted
    • Entire redirect path from affiliate to merchant domain
    • Ad Network
    • Affiliate Id

Tools to use with twitter affiliate monitoring

  • Download report to Excel
  • Send compliance emails with evidence of the issue
  • Schedule the report to run automatically
  • Search for an affiliate – by keywords, Affiliate ID, or Twitter ID

Best practices for using Twitter’s affiliate activity data

  • Find your affiliates who are using twitter to promote your website
  • Explore the use of twitter by affiliates and compare your affiliates’ use to your competitor’s affiliates’ use.
  • Monitor tweet copy for compliance to any copy policies in place for your affiliates
  • Search through tweets for offers used by your (and other) affiliates

How do I enter keywords into the ad monitoring platform?

The Search Monitor crawls online ads looking for the keywords you entered into the system. You have two ways to provide these:

1. Custom Keywords

Enter your own list of ad monitoring keywords into the platform, from 1 to a million. Include every variation you’d like monitored (see examples below). Change the list as often as you need. Don’t worry, these keywords stay within the walls of your account.

2. Lighthouse Library

If you’d rather monitor the most popular keywords in your industry, we’ve got you covered. We created a keyword library containing millions of the most important keywords in paid search, SEO, and PLAs. This library, called Lighthouse, is organized into 1,200+ industry groups, each with dozens of sub-verticals. See grouping. We’ve been monitoring this list for years, so the history is already available.

See how it’s done! Request a demo and we’ll take your custom keywords, or a few of our Lighthouse ones, and show you what we know.

Request a Demo

Keywords take on lots of different shapes and sizes, and you want to monitor all the valuable ones. A few examples:

Popular Ad Monitoring Keyword Variations

  • Trademarks
  • Typo variations of Trademarks
  • Brand-plus keywords – a trademark plus a generic keyword, such as ‘nike shoes’
  • Offer Codes such as coupons, promo pricing, or free shipping codes
  • Phrases such as your slogan, or a string of offer text, such as ‘APR 10% for a limited time’
  • Product names
  • Competitor names
  • High volume search keywords
  • SEO keywords specific to your optimization efforts
  • Long-tail keywords such as product descriptions, e.g., green winter north face jacket
  • Keywords appended with a geo-modifier, e.g., Boston hotels

 

What types of offers do you monitor?

Offers, promotions, and product pricing are monitored in real-time as changes are made by advertisers, with hourly reports and alerts available.

Reports contain offers found in SEM ad copy text, on shopping engines, in PLA’s, and on landing pages.

Retail Offer Reports Contain the Following Information:

  • Product Pricing & Price ranges
  • Shipping Offers
  • Coupon Codes
  • Freebies
  • Sales or Deals
  • In-Store Promotions
  • Seller SOV, Rank, and Ad Copy

 

Do you capture both pre-click and post-click data?

Yes!

Pre-Click Data

  • Pre-click data is information that you can glean by running a search on a search engine. To do it in large volumes requires querying search results pages via mechanical means to simulate the user experience.
  • Accuracy requires repeat checks of keywords multiple times daily – monthly checks are not enough and will lead to great inaccuracies.
  • Pre-click data gives us statistics and information, including page rank, frequency (how often does an advertiser appear), who shows up organically or on the paid side, what’s in the ad copy, where does the ad copy link the user (landing pages, redirects, and tracking URLs are discovered from these links), day-parting strategies, geo-targeting strategies, affiliate and reseller presence
  • The Search Monitor is the source of pre-click data for Lighthouse

Post-Click Data

  • Post-click data is information that is gleaned after a click occurs and is typically gathered via panels of users. Accuracy requires large volumes of volunteer users and incredibly powerful extrapolation algorithms to determine traffic volumes from the user set and apply it to the entire population of Internet users.
  • Post-click data provides us with metrics such as click traffic, clickthrough rate, and search volumes. comScore is the source for post-click data.

The combination of pre-click and post-click data allows us to compute complex statistics such as:

  • Ad Spend by Advertiser. Ad spend is a computation of clicks * cost per click. To get the clicks you need post click data, and to accurately assess the probable cost per click you need rank data. To account for how rank changes impact the CPC you need pre-click data.
  • Traffic by Rank. Traffic at various ranks for keywords is important to know so you can plan and predict how slight changes in your bid or rank will impact your share of available traffic. It enables you to determine if it’s better for you to be in position five versus position two. Should you make a big move or not?To get this statistic, we need both pre-click data to interpret the proper rank for each advertiser, and the post-click data to glean the traffic received by each advertiser. By evaluating how each advertiser performs at each rank aggregated as a group, we can provide statistics on how a ranking change will impact your traffic results.

Want to know more? Schedule a demo and we’ll show you how we do it.   Request a Demo

What makes The Search Monitor’s data so precise?

Precision starts with good data followed by time-tested algorithms pitted against real world experiences.

Good Data In

The data source matters because the stronger the data source, the more accurate the stats or trends will be, leading to better decisions and more predictable outcomes. Good data requires:

  • High Frequency: Frequent/heavy monitoring is key.  Paid search ads, for example, change with every new search, by geo, and even time of day.  To get the most accurate view requires intense high frequency keyword monitoring, in varying geos, at randomized day parts.  The Search Monitor queries keywords multiple times per day up to hourly, from different regions. Other vendors, usually the cheaply priced ones, do not maintain this level of crawl frequency. The result is that they miss advertisers and over or under-shoot impressions leading to highly unpredictable accuracy.
  • Click & CPC Data:  Click data is the key to calculating ad spend accurately.  Let’s look at the ad spend formula for CPC ads:  Ad spend = clicks x cost per click.

Time Tested Algorithms

The Search Monitor relies on our VIP clients (all volunteer) who validate our calculations on an ongoing basis.  This allows for adjustments as the market changes.

As marketers, we often accept lesser data sources because of a false belief that better data simply doesn’t exist. Well, it definitely does, and we are proud to have it.

Stop relying on bad data that leads to poor decisions. Get the only tool that brings the industry’s most accurate data together in one place. Visit Our Precision Data to see 13 reasons why we have the best data in the business.

Want to learn more about our high-frequency, high-quality data?

Request a Demo

Request a demo today!

What is Lighthouse?

Feature Lighthouse

CLICK FOR EXAMPLE

Lighthouse Logo  gives you detailed click and spend data by vertical!

It provides historical paid search, organic search, and PLA statistics organized into vertical categories like Lodging, Apparel, Hobbies, Finance, etc.  Clients receive insight into unlimited competitors across 1,200+ verticals across millions of keywords for Google and Bing.

Lighthouse™ is sold by the vertical at a starting price of $300/month per vertical.  Platform licenses are available to all 1,239 vertical categories.

Data Consists Of 

  • Paid Search Statistics.  Ad Spend, SOV, Clicks, CPC, CTR, Avg. Rank, reach, impression share, ad copy, and offers.
  • Organic Search Statistics.  Ranking, page share, & listing copy across universal search results including organic, local, hotel finder, news, videos, images, shopping, and more.
  • Product Listing Ads Statistics.  SOV, page share, product price, # of merchants, product descriptions, seller ratings & reviews, and PLA page placement

Learn More About Lighthouse

Lighthouse for Travel

Hotels, Cruises, Resorts, Airlines, OTAs, and Auto Rentals have a unique need for geo-targeted information at the city level.  Lighthouse for Travel specifically provides a unique data set across more than 200 popular US destinations with historical data on Ad Spend, SOV, Rank, Ad Copy, Clicks, & CPC.

Lighthouse for Travel also includes Hotel Finder listings that appear in organic search results, with daily rate results coming in Q1 2015.

See a Demo With Data & Reports on Your Industry

Request a Demo

What sites do you monitor?

Here’s a list of the online advertising currently monitored by The Search Monitor. Contact us to learn more, as we are adding new ones each month.

  • Search Engines:
    • Google (Google.com, Google Mobile, Google Search Network, Ask, AOL, & Google Contextual Network)
    • Yahoo (incl. Yahoo Mobile)
    • Bing
    • Baidu (China)
    • Yandex (Russia)
    • Naver (South Korea) Learn more
    • See one that is missing? Tell us!
  • Shopping Engines:
    • Product Listing Ads on Google & Yahoo
    • Amazon
    • Shopzilla
    • Pricegrabber
    • Google Shopping
  • Display Networks & In-App Mobile:
    • 60+ Display Networks, across 150,000+ publishers, & 50,000+ mobile apps
  • Social Networks:
    • Twitter is monitored for affiliate links
  • Affiliate/Partner Landing Pages:
    • Content monitoring of publisher landing pages for offer promotions like coupon codes, promo codes, credit card offers, or telecom offers

Global Footprint

Want to see what we capture for these desktop and mobile engines?

Request a Demo

Request a demo today!

What countries do you monitor?

Afghanistan
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Burundi
Cambodia
Canada
Chile
China
Colombia
Congo
Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Guadeloupe
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Isle of Man
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jersey
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Korea, Republic of
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Latvia

Lesotho
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia, Federated States of
Moldova, Republic of
Mongolia
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Niue
Norfolk Island
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
Saint Helena
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan, Province of China
Tajikistan
Tanzania, United Republic of
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Viet Nam
Virgin Islands, British
Virgin Islands, U.S.
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Why is data from many other ad monitoring tools imprecise?

Many other tools get their data from sources that are not focused on quality data. The stronger the data source, the more accurate the stats or trends will be, leading to better decisions and more predictable outcomes.

  • Small Sample Sizes: Most data sources don’t use a large enough sample population
  • Low Frequency: Most vendors do not sample keywords with enough frequency, and therefore, they don’t see all of the advertisers. Accuracy in advertiser identification requires intense daily keyword queries. Most vendors only query keywords once per month. Lighthouse queries keywords multiple times per day. Lastly, infrequent querying of keywords leads to inaccurate predictions of rank and ad copy variations. Without an accurate prediction of rank and ad copy variations, you cannot compute ad spend, which requires an adjustment to CPC as rank fluctuates and as ad copy relevance fluctuates.
  • Inaccurate Click Data: Most vendors use a data source that cannot provide accurate click data. In order to compute essential metrics like budget, you have to capture clicks. Ad spend = clicks x cost per click.

Learn more about Our Precision Data and see the 13 reasons why our data is the absolute best in the business.

How many pages deep on the SERP do you track?

Our crawling technology monitors two pages deep on the SERP (search engine results pages). Some other providers only monitor page 1 of the SERP and miss important competitor and affiliate activity.

How does geo-targeted ad monitoring work?

All of our packages come with the ability to geo-target search engine monitoring by ZIP, city, state, region, and country in every location. This includes global search engines such as Google, Bing, & Yahoo and local ones such as Baidu, Yandex, and Naver.

Why You Must Geo-Target Your Ad Monitoring

  • Find advertisers that are displaying your trademarks in their ad copy, but only in certain markets. You’ll need this proof to submit to the engines for removal!
  • Find affiliates who break your rules in select locations, such as where your office is not located (since they think you only check there)
  • Identify resellers that are unauthorized to advertise in certain cities
  • Learn how competitors change their offers and landing pages by geography
  • Identify new countries to enter for paid search

Industries That Benefit From Geo-targeting

Industries that benefit the most from geo-targeting include localized retailers, telecom, travel, automotive, and finance.

For example, travel clients may want to learn about advertised room rates, OTA activity, or brand infringements per market serviced. Clients who work in cooperative search marketing scenarios with resellers and distributors can benefit from ensuring rank compliance and keyword/ad copy synchronization.

The Search Monitor uses thousands of IP addresses across the globe to simulate a user in a specific location. We can target any country, city, or region, and the language of the ad.

Want to learn more? Ask us for examples of how geo-targeting can help your vertical. Or, request a demo with your list of geographies.

Request a Demo

What languages do you monitor?

Afrikaans
Albanian
Amharic
Arabic
Armenian
Azerbaijani
Basque
Belarusian
Bengali
Bihari
Bosnian
Breton
Bulgarian
Catalan
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Corsican
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Estonian
Faroese
Finnish
French
Galician
Georgian
German
Greek
Guarani
Gujarati
Hausa
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Indonesian
Interlingua
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Javanese
Kannada
Kazakh
Khmer (Cambodian)
Kinyarwanda
Kirghiz (Kyrgyz)
Kirundi
Korean
Kurdish
Lao (Laothian)
Latin
Latvian
Lingala
Lithuanian
Macedonian
Malagasy
Malay

Malayalam
Maltese
Maori
Marathi
Moldavian
Mongolian
Nepali
Norwegian
Norwegian Nynorsk
Occitan
Oriya
Oromo
Panjabi (Punjabi)
Pashto
Persian
Polish
Portuguese
Portuguese (Portugal)
Quechua
Raeto-Romance (Romansh)
Romanian
Russian
Scottish Gaelic
Serbian
Serbo-Croatian
Shona
Sindhi
Sinhala (Sinhalese)
Slovak
Slovenian
Somali
Sotho (Sesotho)
Spanish
Spanish (Latin America)
Sundanese
Swahili
Swedish
Tagalog (Filipino)
Tajik
Tamil
Tatar
Telugu
Thai
Tigrinya
Tonga
Turkish
Turkmen
Twi
Uighur
Ukrainian
Urdu
Uzbek
Vietnamese
Welsh
Western Frisian
Xhosa
Yiddish
Yoruba
Zulu