Did you know you can “spy” on your competitor’s ads on Facebook, for free?
Only big budget agencies had access to their competitor’s ad information by paying for expensive third-party tools. But now, with changes to Facebook’s recent privacy problems, they’re letting you see active ads any Facebook page is running.
So what exactly can you see and what is good about it?
- Competitor Analysis: You can see all creative’s and copy your competitors are using and testing on Facebook.
- Targeting Insights: You can see what countries they are targeting
- Quality Control: You can begin to recognize their "fake urgency" and spammy tactics.
- Targeted Promotions: Specials and promo codes for specific groups of people can now be seen.
But what you can't see is:
- No Real Data: You can't see your competitor’s metrics or how their ads are performing. This includes likes, comments, shares, target groups, campaign strategies or ad costs.
- Copycats: You can't see how many copy cats are using the same copy or images. Over time ads can become stale if too many companies are using the same copy.
You have always been able to see your competitor’s ads in magazines, billboards, direct mail, tv commercials and so on. Facebook just made it easier to search and find your competitors activities.
If you’re well branded and established but want to evolve creatively, this is going to help you create better ads and engage better clients.
The one negative is many people and agencies are going to take the short cut and use competitor’s ads verbatim which could quickly ruin their brand. In addition, using the exact copy and images is no guarantee it will work.
Ad creative’s and copy are just a small piece of the much bigger Facebook advertising picture.
What about the metrics?
You have no idea what they are spending on an ad, budget, bid amount, scheduling, or conversions of the ad or the landing page. There is just not enough information to use this Facebook tool except for inspiration for your next ad campaign.
Here’s how spying on your competitor's ads works
STEP ONE: Go to one of your competitor’s business page and click on “Page Transparency”.
STEP TWO: Click on “View in Ad Library” under “Ads From This Page” section.
STEP THREE: See all your competitor’s active ads. Note that Facebook does not show past or scheduled ads, just active ones.
If you want to keep up with your competitors while keeping your ads fresh and creative, I would suggest you put together a “Swipe File”. Keeping a swipe file is a common practice used by advertising copywriters and creative directors as a reference of ideas for projects.
Include in your swipe file, not only the ads but the landing pages and funnels. This invaluable resource can help you quickly and intelligently get your product or service to market.
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