You find highly valuable details when you dig into your competitor’s analytics. One of those takeaways is to see where your competitors advertise.

Take it one step further and you can find their best performing ads. That’s possible once you have access to their analytics, and Nacho Analytics can get you that far.

The rest comes from some creative digging.

Once you have another site’s analytics data in your account, you can spot their landing pages. From there, you can find where they ran the ads that actually converted visitors.

The trick to seeing where your competitors advertise is in pinpointing host names.

Yep. Host names.

A custom host name report could be the most whoa-worthy trick to use in your competitor’s analytics today. Extra bonus–most of that work is already done.

Here’s how it works.

Why would I need to know another site’s host names?

Not every part of your competitor’s site is obvious. You would miss dedicated landing pages that visitors only get to through an ad. You’d never stumble upon them while browsing the site on your own.

These are dedicated landing pages for specific ads or promotions. That alone is a big win. With landing page information + conversion data at your fingertips, you’d know the message that is winning over their customers. (Or losing them–just as important.) All of that is available inside their analytics data.

How do you find them?

When you look at a page’s URL, you’ll notice that the full path has 3 parts. Just before the extended path name is the host name.

The site structure could use separate host names to manage everything from support pages to promotional landing pages.

In the video, Brian mentions a link to create a host name report inside your Google Analytics account. You can get to it here.

It will ask you to select a Google Analytics account into which to put the report.

Then go into that account and look for the Hostname [Domains with your GA code] report in the custom report section.

custom host name report

That reports shows you all of the host names that are generated for that site.

How does that tell me where my competitors are advertising?

This specific report gives you some helpful sign posts to follow.

The first sign post is to find the site’s landing pages.

There’s a bit of work. First you will get a full list of destinations where site visitors might end up.  (:55 of the video) Find one to try, and click on the result.

(1:10) The formatting looks almost unusable. But don’t stop there. This is the path portion of the URL that you need. Remember the host name that you clicked to get to this report? Add the path to the end of the host name, and open the page in your browser.

Doing that will open the actual landing page that you saw in the analytics.

That helps you understand where people are coming in (to that site) and what kind of message reaches them when they get there.

Strong, well-structured campaigns can use tens and hundreds of different landing pages. The more pages they have, the more relevant the message is to the ad or promo.

Where are my competitors advertising?

(4:13) Look at the Page Title (as a secondary dimension) in your analytics.

Tip: Move outside of your custom report.
Behavior>Site Content > Landing Pages

Then (4:34) search the ad platform (in the video it was to limit your results to landing pages from outside ads.

That gives you insight to where this site’s ads are being displayed and clicked.

Now you can see where your competitors advertise–along with additional metrics to weigh the performance of each specific channel.