Comparative Review of Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage

spyfu vs. semrush vs. keywordspy vs. ispionage
With businesses pouring in millions of dollars into paid search and more specifically Google Adwords, Adwords competitor analysis tools are getting more and more importance today.The four major players dominating the market are – Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage. While all of them are comparable, there is often a debate on which one is the best. It is very unlikely to come out with a clear answer if you compare Spyfu, SEMRush, KeywordSpy and Ispionage, however, in this post I am trying to put together some objective data on few parameters and also provide a short subjective review of the tools based on my experience of using them.

Features Spyfu SEMRush Ispionage KeywordSpy
Keyword Base Nothing Specified 120,000,000+ 88,000,000 127,000,000
Domain Base 64,000,000 46,000,000+ 45,000,000 Nothing Specific
Countries Covered US, UK 27 Countries US, UK, Canada 17 Countries
Export Options Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customer Support Live Chat, Email, Phone US, UK Toll Free Phone, Email, Live Chat(Skype) Email, Phone Email & Live Chat
API Access Yes Yes Limited API Access No
Pricing Monthly Packages $79 – $999 Monthly Packages $69.95 – $549.95 Monthly Packages $69.95(extremely limited) – $299 Monthly Packages $89 – $139
Free Trial Yes Yes No Yes
Website Spyfu Website SEMRush Website Ispionage Website KeywordSpy Website

The above data provides a basic understanding of the features but is definitely not comprehensive to make a decision, especially if it is the first time you are buying a tool like this. I have personally used all these tools and if you would ask me to pick two from the list I would pick SEMRush and Spyfu and if you ask for one, it would definitely be SEMRush.

Why I prefer SEMRush and Spyfu over the others

The size of the database is not the only thing you should be looking at for buying an Adwords competitor analysis tool.Though SEMRush has one of the largest database there are other factors that you should be considering.

Over the years of using these tools I have noticed the effectiveness of such tools also largely depends on what is done with the data – to be more precise what sort of reports are you able to get from the tool. Also, the user interface of the tool is extremely important as it directly effects your learning curve with the tool and also your day to day productivity while using it.

I like Spyfu for the fact that it is really focussed on Search and does a really good job at it, whether you are looking for organic or paid search intelligence. The API functionalities are particulalrly effective if you are looking to work on large agency level accounts. Also, it is probably one of the most trusted tools by SEM stalwarts in the industry.

My fondness for SEMRush however stems from multiple reasons..

a) It is the only competitor research tool that provides data from 29 databases across 27 countries. With all the other tools if you are looking to get data for any other market but US, you are in for trouble.
b) The interface is super clean and extremely well planned that automatically pushes the users to the next steps.
c) It also provides competitor intelligence on Video ads and Product Listing Ads and have recently launched a Display Intelligence section as well. This is one tool that pretty much serves all your competitive intelligence needs.
d) I have tried running 3 different accounts that I manage personally through these tools and SEMRush returned the most accurate results ( not 100% but very close), followed by Spyfu, KeywordSpy and Ispionage.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experience if you have used any of these tools or if you are looking forward to buy one, I would suggest you get started with SEMRush Free Trial.

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This article has 2 responses

  • David
    03.01.2016 11:55 am Reply

    Thanks, just what I was looking for. Question – you note that “With all the other tools if you are looking to get data for any other market but US, you are in for trouble.” = what are your thoughts on Keyword Spy for the UK? Comparable coverage to the US?

    Thanks again,


    • 03.01.2016 5:36 pm Reply

      I personally don’t think UK is so much challenging compared to the other smaller markets. UK is covered by Keywordspy, SEMRush and several other tools, it gets difficult when it comes down to the smaller countries, particularly the non-English ones. In terms of coverage, none of these guys really disclose their country specific database size but talks about the overall database size and I would think based on the niche you are searching for your experience could be different for each of these tools. As I mentioned, I have a clear bias of SEMRush, specifically because it not just does a kick ass job in keywords competitive research but also works as a Swiss army knife with all the various features around video ads, PLA research, Backlinks and other SEO research etc.