Let’s face it, we're all obsessed with the competition.
As marketers, we always want to have eyes on what our competitors are doing, both on a strategic and tactical level. And other than manually keeping note or checking out the “Why Am I Seeing This” feature, there's really been no surefire way to take a peek at what types of Facebook ads your competitors are running - outside of having the ads served to you in your feed, of course.
But recently, Facebook released a new feature which enables anyone to see the ads being run by any Page, at any given time, which, while not specifically designed for such purpose, will be hugely beneficial from a competitor analysis perspective.
Here's a quick, step-by-step guide on how to use Facebook's new Ad Transparency tools to get additional insights into the strategies of your competitors.
- First, navigate to the Facebook Page of the business you want to investigate
- Next, in the left-hand side menu, you'll see a new section titled 'Info and Ads'
- Click on this and you'll be able to view all the ads that brand is currently running - you can choose your own location or anywhere else via the location drop-down
As you scroll down, you'll see the different ad types and creative tools they're using to promote their offerings on Facebook. This provides great insight into your competitors’ strategies, as well as what they're prioritizing as business objectives – key points to consider in any competitive analysis.
In this example, we can see that the video game 'Fortnite' is being promoted through paid expansion, while they're also emphasizing the game’s mobile version. We can also see that Fortnite creator Epic Games is using video ads to help generate excitement for the game - if I were a Fortnite competitor, I would take note that video is working well for the brand, and that Fortnite has found a little extra ‘razzle dazzle’ in using emojis in its ad copy.
Now, does this mean that I would want to copy those efforts? No, that, as you've likely guessed, is a bad idea.
Instead, I would want to consider the following:
- Is Fortnite (or my competitor) doing this because it's successful, or does the brand seem to be testing? Fortnite seems to be testing different videos to see which performs the best, BUT the brand also does seem to know that video creative is successful.
- Is there something that I can improve on? Some of Fortnite’s static banners are not sized correctly, so I would make sure that mine are fitting perfectly.
- What is my competitor’s messaging? Is there anything I can rebut in my ads? Try to find something in your competitor’s ad copy that you can pick apart and use to differentiate yourself.
- What is my competitor focusing on? By taking a look at what ads your competition is pushing, you can evaluate your own strategy for opportunities or improvements when it comes to KPIs and business objectives.
As Spiderman' Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Use this feature to search ads on Facebook in good health, and whatever you do, please don’t play follow the leader with your competitive analysis and strategies.
Reference what your competitors are doing, and look for ways that you can improve.