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Check out the competition with Google’s Ad Transparency Centre

Finding out what your closest competitors are up to can be a key factor when developing a marketing plan. Well, curtain twitchers can rejoice as Google has officially launched its Ad Transparency Center in the UK!

This long-anticipated feature allows users to rummage through competitors’ Google Ads libraries, including details on search, display and video ads. Simply visit and search by business name or URL. If they are running ads, you’ll be able to see the ads listed for anyone to see. 

Example view of Google Ad Transparency Centre

Why does this matter? 

Chances are, if most of your competitors are running Google ads – They’re likely working! 

You can use this newfound transparency to help determine whether paid search is right for your business. And if you do decide to pursue advertising on Google Ads, you’ll have some great inspiration when developing copy. 

Already running paid search ads? Take a peek at your competition! See if there is anything you can learn from what they’re doing right now.

Examples of adverts run by Google through Transparency Center / Transparency Centre

Even if you don’t run Google Ads, this feature is a great way to keep competitors in check. You can regularly monitor their activity and ensure that they aren’t using underhand tactics or inauthentic claims to undermine your marketing efforts. 

The downsides of Transparency Center

Despite Responsive Search Ads being a staple of Google’s search infrastructure for a number of years now, they are not properly supported in the transparency centre. Instead, only the top 2/3 headline and description options are shown; leaving a lot of information hidden behind closed doors. 

We’d also have loved to see more information from Google. Call us greedy, but more information on competitor keywords and targeting would have really taken this tool to the next level. 

There’s also the fact that spying in this way is a two-way system. In just the same way that you can see your competitor’s ads, they can see yours and so can anyone else who cares to look.

Sneaky digital spy or hacker looking at super secret code. You can tell he's up to no good because he's in a dark room and has his hat on backwards. Photo by Mikhail Nilov, Pexels

Some may respond to this trepidation; your instinct may be that you’d rather keep the scale of your advertising a secret. Unfortunately for some advertisers, this feature is a necessary evil in a digital world revolving around data protection and anti-discrimination. And Google is actually late to the party here as Facebook, LinkedIn and other competitors have boasted similar features for a number of years. 

This newfound transparency places greater emphasis on the need to maintain an ethical and accurate ads library. Providing these values are maintained, we feel the Google Ads Transparency Center is a tool to embrace (despite ‘centre’ being spelled the American way). 

Overall, we think this new tool from Google is one to bookmark. At Carrington, we are going to be using this tool across our client accounts to make more informed decisions when optimising ad copy. 

Looking for help with your paid search marketing? We can help! Get in touch today