How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Facebook Ads and Targeting!
Yes, that’s correct! You can now see the targeting options for sponsored ads. If you spend as much time on Facebook Ads Manager as I do, when you read this, you’ll be pretty excited.
Understanding the competitive landscape, what's working for other brands and relevant sources of inspiration is a crucial element of the role of any marketer.
As a byproduct of the intense scrutiny and criticism of Facebook’s privacy and transparency policy over the last few years, the social media giant is striving to become ever more transparent on what’s going on behind the scenes.
So without building too much anticipation, here is how to see not only your competitor’s ads but also their targeting:
How to access your competitor’s Facebook Page Ad Library?
If you are not quite sure what the Facebook Ad Library is, you are not alone! It is a great place to see every ad that a page has live on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.
It's perfect for seeing your competitor’s creatives and ad copy. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide any statistics, however, it will display the date on which the ad went live.
Our top tip is to scroll down and see which ads have been live the longest. The theory being that the best performing ads are live for the longest amount of time.
How to get down to business and see all these ads?
First off, head on over to your competitor’s Facebook Page. In this case, I chose to use Under Armour as an example. Have a look at the bottom right-hand corner and you will see a little box entitled ‘Page Transparency’. Go ahead and click on ‘See More’:
You will then see a popup displaying:
- When the page was created
- What other pages it was merged with
- What name changes it underwent
- The location of people who manage this page
Most importantly though, you can see if this page is running ads and access their Ad Library directly.
Click on ‘Go to Ad Library’:
At the top of the page, you can filter based on the country you are interested in seeing ads. In this case, I chose the ‘United Kingdom’:
And voila! Now you can view all the ads Under Armour is currently running to their UK target audience:
See the video tutorial on how to access your competitor’s Facebook Ad Library:
How to access your competitor’s Facebook Page Ad Targeting?
Now, this is the exciting part! It is now possible to see how ads are being targeted.
There is a limitation, however - you can only see this on ads being served to you, in your Facebook Newsfeed.
When you see an ad in your feed, click on the three horizontal dots on the upper righthand corner of the ad and click on ‘Why am I seeing this Ad?’
You will then be provided a variety of insights based on who these ads are targeting.
Let's look at some examples:
#1 Custom Audiences - Page Likes
ROI Communities are targeting people that have liked their page and are within a particular age range 18 to 65+.
This would have been set up as a custom audience within Facebook Ads Manager Audiences.
#2: Custom Audience - Retargeting
In this instance, the retargeting campaign is using a custom audience based on people who have already watched a video from their Facebook Page and narrows by language and age range.
#3: Lookalike Audiences
This ad is trying to reach people who are similar to their current audiences. AKA a lookalike audience.
#4: Website Retargeting + Detailed Interest Targeting
This ActiveCampaign ad is using a custom audience based on their website traffic and narrowed down by Detailed Interest Targeting in order to attract a higher intent user.
Not only that, you can see the specific interests that they are targeting:
#5: Detailed Targeting Interests
Our fifth and final examples are two companies targetting purely by ‘Detailed Targeting’.
In this campaign by Healthy Meal Plans, they are targeting based on a single interest: Physical Fitness.
And in this campaign, by SEOleads360, they are using a mixture of different interest-based targeting options combining general marketing as well as marketing influencers.
No matter how you plan on spying on your competition, steer clear of blatant copying. Being inspired is one thing, copying is something entirely different.
Remember, no matter what you learn from your competition - nothing can ever replace originality, quality content and continual testing. Every brand is different and has its own unique voice and personality.
Here is a step-by-step guide:
Please comment below - what have you learned from your competition’s Facebook marketing strategy and how has this inspired you?