In the digital marketing spy tool industry, iSpionage has a fair amount of experience under their belt. They are less focused on organic search engine optimization (SEO) and instead more pay per click (PPC) oriented. I was able to take this web based software for a test drive recently. Below is my comprehensive analysis of iSpionage’s effectiveness for building an effective PPC campaign.
Founded in 2008 in Milpitas, California, iSpionage provides search marketing agencies and professionals with competitive intelligence. With the software iSpionage offers, search marketing professionals can develop a deeper understanding of what ad copy, landing pages, and keywords their competitors are using in their SEO and PPC campaigns.
In turn, users can improve their own online marketing strategies with the actionable and powerful intelligence these insights provide. Among their clients, iSpionage counts AdKnowledge, PriceGrabber, Marin Software, Autodesk, and more.
Top Features of iSpionage
iSpionage offers an array of PPC and SEO features. First, we will look at the PPC features. With Competitive Keyword and Domain Research, iSpionage allows you to spy on your competition. You will learn what ad copy your competitors are using, which landing pages they are directing visitors to, and which keywords they are bidding on just by entering a domain or keyword.
When your competitors make a change to their campaigns or advertisements, you can find out right away with the Competitor Alerts feature. When they change their ad copy or bid on new keywords, you are notified immediately. Any significant changes made by competitors you are keeping an eye on are emailed to you.
Important keywords are the focus of PPC Keyword Monitoring, a feature somewhat similar to the Competitor Alerts. Whenever something changes about your most valuable keywords, you will get a notification by email when you set up a keyword alert. So, when an advertiser begins to get a higher than usual impression share or a new competitor moves into the space, you will be notified.
To calculate how effective a particular keyword is for a competitor, iSpionage has created a proprietary algorithm called the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI). Based on the KEI score for each, they list the top performing keywords. Also, to identify the most valuable keywords your competition is bidding on, you can sort your competitors’ keywords by search volume and estimated CPC.
Based on when an ad was last seen and how long it has been shown, the proprietary Ad Effectiveness Index (AEI) algorithm ranks your competitors ads. They figure an ad must be working if the competitor is still using it after a long period of time. To help you improve your ad copy, the AEI will clue you in on which ads are performing the best for your competitors.
For SEO campaigns, your success measurement is your organic keyword ranking. It is not that hard to manually monitor your keywords if you are only trying to optimize a handful of them. However, you can monitor thousands of keywords with the robust Enterprise SEO Keyword Monitoring features.
The SEO Traffic Value proprietary system feature on iSpionage quantifies organic traffic value a site receives in a dollar amount. This data is a good point of reference for SEO agencies trying to determine what their services are actually worth.
One of my favorite features was all of the tutorials. There is a series of five tutorials that help you learn how to get the most out of your iSpionage account. Plus, there are more advance tutorials about “PPC Relevance and Alignment,” “Competitive Keyword Research,” “How to Achieve PPC Success,” and “Competitor Monitoring.”
Lastly, a lot of companies will have a blog that is lacking in useful content and really just exists for SEO purposes. This is not the case with iSpionage. The blog entries are packed full of useful information that will help you run a successful SEO or PPC campaign.
There are three main plans offered by iSpionage plus a special Enterprise Plan. The least expensive plan is the Silver Plan. It costs $59 per month or $49 per month if you pay for an entire year upfront. With this plan, you get 1,000 keyword and domain searches per day, alerts for five competitors, and a daily export limit of 10,000.
The next plan is the Gold Plan, iSpionage’s most popular option. This costs $89 per month or $59 per month if paying for a year. With this, you get 3,000 keyword and domain searches per day, alerts for ten competitors, a daily export limit of 50,000, 125 keywords monitored daily, and private label PDFs with LOGO.
The Pro Plan is $129 per month or just $79 per month when paying for a year at a time. This plan offers unlimited keyword and domain searches, alerts for 20 competitors, 100,000 daily export limit, 250 keywords monitored daily, and the private label PDFs with LOGO.
Finally, for bigger, serious companies, there is the Enterprise Plan. The price varies depending upon your needs. It includes all of the features of the Pro Plan plus custom data queries, deeper competitor analysis, enhanced competitor alerts, a dedicated customer success manager, and more.
In addition, iSpionage offers a 30 day money back guarantee. You only have to meet two criteria. You must be a first time user, and you must not have downloaded over a thousand data points, such as ad copy or keywords, from their database.
Criticism of iSpionage
The biggest problem I had with iSpionage was finding the time to figure out how to utilize it to its fullest potential. At first, when you start using iSpionage it can be overwhelming. You do not know where to begin. So, there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it is incredibly simple to use.
I read a variety of reviews to see what others had to say about iSpionage, and the majority of users found it to be quite a useful tool. The only bad review I found was some angry commenter who was unable to get their money completely refunded because they did not meet the qualifications (they had downloaded more than 1000 data points).
There is a wide selection of ways you can get in touch with iSpionage. They have a phone number, email support, snail mail, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Their customer service representatives are available 9am to 5pm PST Monday through Friday.
In addition, they have an extensive FAQ section, a broad array of tutorials, and plenty of other resources.
As I was first getting acquainted with the whole iSpionage suite of tools, I felt overwhelmed. I had trouble figuring out how to access different features. So, I called the support line. Without any hold time, I was greeted by a pleasant rep who was able to walk me through the steps to access what I wanted. In addition, he pointed me to a tutorial that would give a more in depth explanation.
iSpionage appears to be much more into the PPC market than the SEO market. However, the software provides some valuable tools for both. iSpionage has proven that they can take on the bigger players in industry with both their SEO and PPC data sets. In addition, they have shown that they put a lot of emphasis on research and development, since they are always introducing innovative features.
With the many premium features, affordable pricing, and outstanding customer service, I strongly recommend iSpionage to any company that conducts business online.