What are your competitors up to? A quick tip to help you find out.

Oct 05, 2018

While it’s not ideal to base your work on what your competitors are doing it’s nice to check in every once in a while and get a bit of insight into their activities.

Find out what your competitors are doing on Facebook.

Get insights into the competition’s Facebook activity

In my personal life I have a mantra. Well, I have two. One of them relates very much to the content of this post and that is:

“Stop comparing your insides with other peoples’ outsides.”

I read this first in Oliver Burkeman’s This Column will Change Your Life in The Guardian many years ago. Have held it close ever since!

The other mantra is “One of these days…” but that’s a story for another day, another blog.

Five steps to find out more about the competition

With the first mantra front of mind, I am going to share two quick tips with you to get an idea of how your competitors are doing.

  1. Log into your Facebook Business Manager on your desktop and navigate to the Page for your business.
  2. Click on the Insights tab.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom. If you have at least 100 fans on your page you will see a section called “Pages to Watch” with a big blue button encouraging you to “Add Pages”. Do it!
  4. A pop-up will appear in which you can search for your competitors’ Facebook pages. You can search by industry keywords plus location. For example, I searched Online Marketing Dublin Ireland to populate our “Pages to Watch” but I also searched for specific companies. I also added in some famous global agencies to encourage us to reach further :) 
  5. I have added more than 10 and there doesn’t seem to be a limit but I reckon five should keep you on your toes.
  6. See the gallery below for grabs of each step.

Another way to keep tabs

You might also be curious to know what other activity your competitors are up to on Facebook. Thanks to all the shenanigans in the political sphere Facebook have given us a way of seeing what our competitors (and all businesses) are advertising on Facebook. Because of its powerful (when used correctly) targeting algorithms you won’t see all of your competitors advertising. It may not be targeted at you. However because many governments felt that these very algorithms were allowing advertisers to manipulate the electorate, demands for more transparency were made and met by Facebook. I’m no political pundit so please feel to correct and clarify in the comments.

The bonus for those of us using Facebook as a tool in our marketing toolbox is that we can now access information about the ads that our competitors are currently running. Here’s how:

Find out what ads your competitor is running on Facebook

  1. Go to your competitor’s Facebook page on your desktop. You can click through from the Pages to Watch section that you set up previously (see above).
  2. On the left hand side you will see a range of options which can include options such as “Photos”, “Videos”, “Posts” etc. Clicking on these will show you just the photos the company has posted or Videos or Posts etc.
  3. Towards the bottom of this list you will see “Info and ads” Click on this.
  4. You will then see the ads that the company is running. If they are geo-targeted you can choose whether to view ads targeted at a particular geographic location. You might also see a message that reads that ads are being run by the company but not targeted at a specific location, in which case the ads are not displayed. Don’t even get me started on wondering why a company would run an ad campaign that is not, at the very least, targeted at a location. Enjoy all your new likes from Outer Mongolia… (BTW I have nothing against Outer Mongolia but I know is not currently targeting customers there.)

One last thing, say you do a search for a specific competitor and you cannot find them on Facebook? Happy Days! You have beaten them to it and should now be able to create content and campaigns that respond to your customers’ wants and needs no matter where they are on the awareness cycle.

But remember you can’t change anything about what your competitor is doing. You can only change your own habits, activities, strategies, objectives and knowledge. So stop comparing your insides with their outsides and just do the best you can. Many of them get help to do their work and you can too!  

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