Researching the Facebook Ads of Your Competitors
It’s always a good idea to know as much as possible about your competitors’ Facebook Ad campaigns, and what kinds of strategies they’re using to accomplish their marketing objectives. There are a number of approaches you can use to monitor the advertising campaigns of your rivals, so that you know what they’re up to, and you may even discover some creative ideas which you want to incorporate into your own campaigns.
Build a swipe file
A swipe file is an area which can be used to gather information about the Facebook Ads being used by your competition, so that you will have the chance to be inspired for your own next marketing campaign. There are a number of tools which can be used to create a swipe file, and one of the best of these is Evernote.
In order to create an Evernote swipe file, create a tag right in your notebook which you can call swipefile. For each Facebook Ad that you want to, include a new note about that ad and then simply apply the swipefile tag. Evernote will also allow you to generate shortcuts for your tags, and this will save time because you can set up a shortcut for your swipefile tag. Whenever it’s needed, you will then be able to click on this tag, and browse through each one of the Facebook Ads which you’ve already saved.
View Ads from your competitor’s business page
In 2018, Facebook delivered an ads transparency tool which was intended to address privacy concerns, but which can also be used to view any of the ads which are currently running on a given Facebook page. This information is available to the general public, and can help you establish a better idea of the kind of ad campaigns your rivals are running, as well as their strategic goals. Be aware that it’s possible some sophisticated advertisers may throw some deliberate and misleading campaigns in there, if they suspect that the competition is monitoring their advertising campaigns.
By tracking this information on a regular basis however, you should be able to recognize legitimate Facebook ad campaigns and to recognize any changes in strategy. To do this, you’ll need to open the Facebook Ad Library and search for the company name of any competition you want to check on. You can also open your competitor’s Facebook page, and then click on the Page Transparency box which is on the right hand side of your navigation panel. Then you will have to click on the option to View in Ad library in the box which is labeled Ads From This Page.
Why Am I Seeing This Ad?
You can gain additional insights into your competitor’s Facebook Ads by using the Why Am I Seeing This Add? option. In order to use this feature, you’ll simply have to click on the three-dots icon that is situated in the far right corner of your competitor’s Facebook Ad, and which appears in your news feed. From the pop-up menu which appears, you will then be able to select Why Am I Seeing This Ad?
There you’ll find an explanation of why Facebook is displaying this particular ad, which you can consult in the About This Facebook Ad window. This may provide you with some insights into what the targeting strategy was when your competitor produced the ad. For instance, the ad you’re seeing may be part of a website visitor re-targeting campaign, if you have recently visited this particular company’s website.
Analyze the competition’s social media sources
There are website analysis tools such as SimilarWeb, which can be used to determine how much of your rival’s Internet traffic has been sourced from the social media. You may find that one particular social media platform comprises the bulk of your competitor’s social media traffic, but you should also pay attention to what the percentage of social media traffic is compared to the total of all traffic visiting your competitor’s website.
This will give you an idea of the importance of each channel to the marketing strategy of your rival. What you learn from this display may be a deliberate investment of time and effort on the part of your rival because that’s where the greatest return comes from, or it may simply be an area they have chosen not to focus on.
Analyze Google Ad campaigns
Facebook Ads isn’t the only thing you should be checking on your rival’s marketing efforts, because they may have chosen to focus their attention on Google Ads. In order to get a more complete picture of what your competitor’s market spend might be like, you can use tools like SpyFu and Ahrefs. You can use Ahrefs to see all the pay-per-click keywords which your competitor has been targeting, and it will also provide you with an estimated search volume, along with traffic stats and the cost-per-click. You’ll be able to export any data that you find as a CSV file, so that you can conduct more in-depth analysis, you can identify trends over time, and so you can create pivot tables which can reveal even more about those ads.
Analyze best-performing Facebook content
Besides looking at your competitor’s advertising channels, it’s also good idea to analyze all organic content, so that you can gain insights into the total picture of their marketing strategy. To be most effective, this analysis should be conducted monthly, so that you have the opportunity to spot any trends or any changes which occur over a given time frame.
Don’t overlook Facebook post comments and the Community tab which appears on your competitor’s Facebook page, because these can be fertile ground for finding the most common support issues and complaints registered by your rival’s followers. As an example, you might discover that one of your competitors recently went through a significant downtime issue, whereas your own server performance has been demonstrated to be stellar. You might then be able to advertise this as a marketing point, to show the tremendous reliability of your software relative to the competition.