What is an Ad Intelligence Tool?

Ad Intelligence Tool

What is an ad intelligence tool — and why is it essential for agencies and brands?

An ad intelligence tool is a platform for standardizing, monitoring, and analyzing advertising campaign performance — usually many campaigns at the same time. A brand may be tracking its own company over multiple channels and multiple campaigns, while an agency will be doing that for multiple brands.

Consider a single company. They could be running ads on both Google and Facebook. If they want to evaluate their performance, they need to log into both platforms. If they want to compare cross-channel advertising, they’re going to need to pull all that data into a separate source, such as an Excel sheet.

But with an ad intelligence tool, all the data is brought in automatically. You can have an all-in-one dashboard for all your channels and you can use that to analyze your information in real-time. With better data, you can draw better conclusions. Maybe your FB campaign isn’t performing as well as Google, but it’s feeding people into your Google campaign. Maybe vice versa.

The more data an ad agency or brand has, the more powerful their marketing can be. Without this information, companies are completely unable to make relevant decisions regarding their advertising spend. Sometimes, it’s as simple as being able to compare ROI across multiple channels with reassurance that your data is correct.

But because the data is often different from platform to platform, advertisers don’t just need a tool that can bring all that data in; they also need a tool that can compare data on an apples-to-apples level. And that’s where true advertising intelligence comes in. Many tools call themselves ad intelligence tools, but they may not have the features needed to reliably compare diverse platforms and channels.

Let’s take a deeper look at what advertising intelligence really means.

Woman using ad intelligence tool

Advertising Intelligence

Advertising Intelligence can be used for everything from paid search intelligence to paid social. Advertising Intelligence is used to integrate different types of data and metrics so that multiple channels can be compared to each other.

With Advertising Intelligence, you know that you’re comparing the right metrics. You also know that you’re getting timely data. The Ad Intelligence tool brings in all the information in real-time or at a regular interval, so your data is being compared over the correct time periods, too.

But without Advertising Intelligence, you can’t know that you’re comparing the right data. You could potentially make entirely incorrect decisions, because you don’t have the information you need to glean actionable insights. You may also find yourself spending a lot of time downloading, cleaning, and standardizing your data – an error-prone process – rather than having accurate information at your fingertips.

Today, most marketers are working with a dozen channels. It’s often difficult for them to glean actionable insights from their data because they can’t even find their data in a centralized location. For a variety of reasons, most advertising platforms attempt to silo their data, or keep their data separate from other channels.

With the right connectivity and the right APIs, it’s possible for marketers to create a real-time overview of all their marketing data and channels — ultimately greatly improving their advertising campaigns. But this cannot happen in a vacuum. It needs the right cross-channel advertising software, the right integration, and the right support.

Retargeting Software

How is Advertising Intelligence different from retargeting software?

It’s primarily an issue of scope. Retargeting software is intended to help you target individuals who have either already purchased from you or who have engaged with your brand.

The idea is simple. Someone who has already interacted heavily with your brand is the most likely to make a purchase (or another purchase). So, retargeting solutions reach out to your existing email list, your existing followers, or your customer base.

They do collect information. Often, from multiple channels, though not always. But this information is used for that direct purpose. An Ad Intelligence tool, on the other hand, is intended to compare multiple channels. Metrics of performance can vary. It is not strictly related to retargeting.

Most agencies will need both retargeting solutions as well as an Ad Intelligence tool. Retargeting is very powerful. But it’s made even stronger if you’re able to use advertising intelligence to pare down to the metrics that you need.

With true Ad Intel, a retargeting ad tool will be even more powerful. You will be able to see the interplay between your retargeting channels and you’ll be able to identify how users are moving between these channels. Without an Ad Intelligence tool, it may be difficult to see how your advertising is impacting each channel, or how the channels are integrated.

Facebook Ad Intelligence

Facebook is one of the most-used platforms for paid advertising. How does Facebook deal with performance evaluation? Is there any type of Facebook Ad Intelligence or Facebook ads reporting?

First, Facebook maintains the Facebook ad library, through which anyone can view all the ads rotating through Facebook for transparency. You can see what types of ads are being promoted on Facebook. Facebook Audience Insights and Facebook Business Manager are tools that businesses and agencies can use to create and track ads.

But Facebook is a walled data garden. It doesn’t standardize its metrics. It doesn’t integrate its metrics into any other solution.

And, for an agency or a brand, that can be a problem. It’s difficult to see whether your organizational impact is expanding beyond Facebook.

With the Facebook Pixel, you can at least track which users are leaving Facebook and interacting with your website. But what about users who interact with you on Facebook and Twitter? What about users who move between Facebook and Google? You aren’t able to get a complete view of your advertising campaigns.

The better solution is a consolidated Ad Intelligence tool. Advertising Intelligence unifies information from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and more, standardizes the data across platforms, and allows advertisers to analyze campaign performance and create dynamic data stories. An Ad Intel tool can track users from location to location and can give you a better overall picture of your multi-channel advertising.

Even better, most Advertising Intelligence platforms also have automated functionality, so it can manage your data without additional administrative burden. Your data will be automatically brought into the solution and analyzed.

The more you can automate, the less time it takes you to do your marketing. And the better you understand your marketing, the more likely you are to get more out of your advertising dollars. This is true for the Facebook platform as well as many others.

Competitive Advertising Intelligence

Competitive Advertising Intelligence — advertising is a zero sum game. Sales that you’re making are sales that another person isn’t making. It’s inherently competitive.

Advertising Intelligence can help agencies and brands carry out an accurate analysis of their campaigns, gaining real insights and a competitive edge. What if you could see the very moment that a campaign pivots? The very moment that something goes viral? You can capitalize on things with greater ease with competitive Advertising Intelligence – the dream of any data-driven marketer.

When it comes to being competitive within the market, marketers need every advantage. Today’s customer is inundated across all sides with advertising messaging. Often, they may know they need a product or solution, but have to do hours upon hours of research into what the right solution is. And for the customer, that’s exhausting. By the time your message gets to them, it may fall upon deaf ears.

But Advertising Intelligence ensures that you remain agile. You’re able to react more swiftly to changes in the market, you’re able to see changes in the market more accurately, and you’re able to spend your money in the places that will be most effective. You can see through your stats if one channel is more effective than the others, if certain ads are performing better, or where your core buyers and core demographics really are.

Because there are so many moving parts to advertising today, it’s often impossible to anticipate which channels will perform best for a given product or a given service. Instead, it’s necessary to test. You may need to send out multiple ads across multiple channels and split test until you find something that works for your audience.

Rather than working with dozens of sets of walled data, Advertising Intelligence allows you to work with a single set of consolidated data. You’ll be able to spend more time on your advertising campaigns rather than continually trying to update your reports and manage your intelligence.

And you’ll be able to show your results. For agencies, this is the most critical part of Advertising Intelligence — the ability to yield beautiful, readable reports for clients.

Of course, there are different Ad Intelligence tools out there. Organizations are best suited with the intelligence solutions that can serve all their platforms — and the ones that can perform automation.