As businesses, we’re told to keep an eye on the competition, but there’s a difference between peeping through a shop window and using an advanced online tool. In this guide, we’re going to explain how you can ramp up your efforts to review competitors and how they advertise to your audience.
Up until now, your ‘keeping an eye on the competition’ strategy has probably been a quick look at their social media channels while on a lunch break. Don’t worry, we’re going to explain how you can actually view your competitors’ Facebook ads today. How are they advertising? What creatives do they use? How does it differ from your own strategy?
Before we look at some example tools, you might be asking yourself why should I care what the competition is doing anyway? Shouldn’t I concentrate on my own strategy and find ways to encourage users to convert?
Well, there are a handful of benefits that come with competitor monitoring:
Please don’t think that we’re giving you permission to stalk the competition and then copy their ads word for word; there are so many problems with this idea. That being said, nothing is stopping you from using the campaigns of others to improve your own. For example, it might be a writing technique that all other companies are using that you haven’t yet implemented. After learning what works for competitors, you can use something similar in your own campaigns.
Do they offer a discount through ads? Do they use numbers or specific images to attract attention? Do they go for a personal tone rather than a professional one? Do they focus on the pain points of customers? Are they offering eBooks, podcasts, and other valuable content to the audience?
Another reason to follow the ads of your competitors is to identify areas where you may be falling behind. We mentioned discounts and eBooks in the previous point, and this is often where businesses realize that they’re taking the wrong approach. Think of yourself as a customer; would you choose the business offering a free eBook or the one asking for your email address and offering nothing in return? Similarly, would you choose a business offering a discount or one with no discount?
As you look at your competitors' Facebook ads, you might learn that they’re doing something that makes them more appealing and subsequently generating positive feedback. Now might be the perfect time for you to play catch up and cash in on those stronger results.
We were careful not to talk about keywords in the first two sections and this is because it deserves a section of its own. Again, it’s not about copying, it’s about finding new opportunities as advertisers. By looking at competitors, you learn what keywords they value the most. Are they the same as your keywords or are they in a slightly different direction? Essentially, you’re performing keyword research (and often for free!).
Finally, landing pages are an extension of your ads. Like strawberries and cream, they work best together. Having an ad that resonates is one thing, but people won’t move any further through the funnel if the landing page is poor. As you monitor competitors’ ads, you have a chance to view their landing pages and compare them against your own.
Are they creating different landing pages for each keyword and campaign? How does the landing page continue the experience from the ad? How does each landing page differ from yours? What seems to work? And what doesn’t?
How do you get started with this strategy? Here are some of the best tools around!
In addition to our advanced AI full marketing suite, we offer a few free tools; one of which is Competitor Research. As the name suggests, our platform notifies users when a new ad is opened by a competitor.
Setup is easy and painless. To start, head over to the Competitor Research section of our website and enter your name, email address, and the names of your competitors. From there, you will receive an email to create an account which will redirect to your custom Competitor Ad Research dashboard. That’s it, it’s as simple as 1,2,3! From now on you will be notified via email when your competitor has launched a new ad campaign or updated their creative across social and search. Want to keep track of more competitors? No problem, just log into your dashboard and you’ll find an Add Competitor section.
Also, for those already using or are interested in our Trapica Marketing Suite, we make it simple with all of your dashboards on our one, easy-to-use platform.
Similarly to the previous tool, AdInboxMe will send an email in your direction when the competitor updates their ad strategy. Free of charge, it works in much the same way as Trapica. After entering the Facebook link of your competitor in the search bar, click on ‘Alert Me’ and the system will send notifications at the right times.
One difference between Trapica’s Competitor Ad Research tool and AdInboxMe is although the latter does allow for multiple competitors, you’ll need to enter the links separately and click ‘Alert Me’ each time.
If you haven’t seen this before, Facebook Ad Library was designed to bring transparency to the platform’s ad network. With this in mind, all users can access the ad campaigns of businesses through Facebook itself. If a page runs an ad, the information is accessible through the Facebook Ad Library. The problems are that few people know about this system and that even if you do, you have to manually dig for the ads rather than get an automated email sent straight to your inbox. The reason why platforms like AdInboxMe and Competitor Ad Library are more popular is that they automate the process.
There are actually two different ways of accessing the Facebook Ad Library. Currently, the most popular technique is to go to the Facebook page of your competitor. While here, look on the right-hand side of the page and you should see a box labeled ‘Page Transparency’. After clicking on the ‘See More’ button, there should be an option to ‘Go to Ad Library’. It’s as simple as that and you can view a business’s complete ad library regardless of whether they are a global corporation, an industry leader, or an up-and-coming independent shop. Of course, this means that any Facebook user can do the same to you (and this includes your own competitors).
There’s a second way to access company ads through Facebook Ad Library, but it’s not reliable. Rather than going through a business’s Facebook page, you enter the Ad Library itself and type the name of your competitor into the search bar. If all goes well, the name pops up and you are routed to their ad library. Unfortunately, some people get no results and have to use the other technique instead.
Regardless of how you access the information, it’s important to have a motive in mind before accessing the Facebook Ad Library. Plenty of people have used this tool with good intentions only to get no value from it. One suggestion would be to look at the duration of each campaign. Assuming that the company is paying close attention to its ads, those with the longest history will generally have the best results. Otherwise, the marketing team would have closed it down by now.
Generally speaking, the longest-running campaigns are retargeting ads because these have the longest shelf life of all ads. Dedicate some time to looking at Facebook Ad Library once a month and see what you can learn. You might pick up information regarding their buyer persona, selling approach, product focus, and landing page strategy.
The Facebook Ad Library is a good place to start, but most people quickly realize that they don’t have the time to keep manually monitoring this valuable resource. Soon enough, they’ll see the Facebook Ad Library mentioned in an article and realize that it’s been several months since their last visit. With this in mind, it’s best to set up email alerts with an efficient tool like the Competitor Ad Library from Trapica or AdInboxMe.
After setting up the alerts once, everything else is done for you. Just keep an eye on your inbox and you’ll see when competitors make changes, and better yet, you can keep track of multiple competitors all at once. (And don’t forget, these tools are free.).
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