Whether you’re planning your first campaign or want to improve your existing strategy, you'll want to understand what is (and isn’t) working for your competitors.

In this article, you'll learn how to optimize display campaigns by uncovering your competitor's ad strategies to reveal the best-performing creatives and landing pages, and discovering the top ad networks and ad placements in your market. Using Similarweb insights, you'll be ready to plan and execute an exemplary display ad campaign.

Identify your main competition for display ads

First, let’s see which of your competitors are investing in display traffic. Then, we’ll analyze the quality of that traffic before we decide to borrow some of their best practices.

To reveal your main competition in display traffic:

  1. In the Competitive Research module, enter your website and then add up to 4 competitors.

  2. Within the Website Analysis module, go to Marketing Channels page. Hover over Display Ads to see the amount of traffic each player has and get a clear look into who is winning at display traffic among your competitors.

    Marketing Channels Breakdown

The display ad graph reveals the traffic share distribution, but let's dive a bit deeper to see why the players are winning.


To understand your competitor's strategy:

  • On the Marketing Channels page, click on the Display Ads link in the Channels Overview graph to access the Display Overview page.

    Display Campaign Optimization

Display Overview reveals insights on ad visits, top publishers, top ad networks, and key insights on traffic and engagement.

See which of your competitors is doing the best job at targeting the right users with their display ads using metrics and insights to analyze the quantity and, more importantly, quality of traffic.


Average visit duration and pages per visit hint at how many of the visitors from display ads actually completed the website goal (i.e. complete a purchase, book a flight, sign up, etc..)

Discover your competitors’ ad partners

Identify the publishers and ad networks your competitors are working with to acquire more traffic.

  1. Staying within the Display section, go to the Publishers page to discover the publishers that are working with your competitors.

    Identify Publishers

    From here, you can explore the traffic distribution by network or publisher and gain other insights pertaining to traffic share per publisher for different geo’s and time periods.


    Filter the list by network and/or industry to access a more granular view.

  2. Next, navigate to the Ad Networks page to see which ad networks send traffic to you vs. your competitors, and gain an understanding of the traffic split by competitor.

    Identify Ad Networks

    Here you can identify where your competitors are buying traffic and find new programmatic traffic sources. By looking at the traffic split, you can understand if your competitors are acquiring more traffic than you on a specific network, indicating that you might want to expand your activity with that network.


    Export the data to Excel and analyze the traffic trend for each ad network in order understand how long a competitor has been working with a specific network. Extended traffic trends may have an implication on the quality of traffic the competitor achieves.

  3. To find new publishers and ad networks to work with, go to Acquisition Channels > Advertising > Ad Networks/Publisher opportunities. Choose an Industry or Competitor and select a geographical area, then find the list of potential new sources.

    Here you can also discover traffic trends over time for each network which is helpful as you research further.

    Discover ad networks by industry

Implement best practices from your competitors’ best-performing campaigns

Find your competitors’ best-performing ad creatives, landing pages, and messaging to optimize your own campaigns. In addition, gain insight on how long they run the same ads to inform your own ad strategy.

  1. Within Competitive Analysis > Display, go to the Creatives page.

  2. You’ll be able to see the ad creatives, the page each ad links to, and how long the ad is running (active days).

    Display Campaign Creatives Optimization


    Sort the result by "Active Days" and order by high to low. This way, you’ll see the longest-running campaigns first, which are usually best-performing ads.

  3. Next, go to the Videos page in the same section to view your competitors' video ads.

    Display Campaign Video Optimization


  • Compare periods and take note of any major changes in the ad copy and positioning of your competitors.

  • Sorting by Active Days allows you to hone in on the most successful campaigns but also offers insight on your competitors’ ad strategy formula. For example, if they’re running seasonal campaigns or if they’re mostly invested in on-going campaigns, how often do they change their creatives?

Reach your audience on other websites they visit

Find out where your audience spends their time online to optimize your placements and targeting.

To discover websites your audience visits:

  1. In the Competitive Research module, go to Audience > Audience Interests.

  2. Then add the sites of the competitors you want to analyze.

  3. On this page, you can discover websites that share the same target audience. With cross-browsing behaviors data, you can discover the engagement of audiences across these sites, their browsing habits, along with topic distribution.

Key metrics & insights
  • Relevance Score ranks the list base on how significant the overlap is


    Some of these websites won’t necessarily be a direct competitor, but just another website that your audience tends to visit often.

  • Take note of the websites who have AdSense, so you can easily add these websites as new placements in your next campaign.

  • Then, check out the Topics Distribution section as you can use these as inputs for your campaign’s Custom Affinity.

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