How to see what ads your competitors are running

Whenever you log on to your content platform of choice, you’ll find somebody explaining at length how organic reach is declining rapidly, if it hasn’t already died. The key to winning engagement and reaching your all-important prospects is paid advertising.

Whether you’re just starting out with paid ads, or are trying to improve your performance, spying on your competitors is a sensible starting point. However, if your competitors are smart, they will have set their ads up so they don’t reach you! So we’ve gathered together quick methods for snooping on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. There’s also a way to peek at your competitors’ banner ads, although that does require one extra (free) tool.

 

Look at LinkedIn

When you’ve chosen which competitor you want to check out, head to their company page and click on “Posts”

Then, in the next menu block that appears, choose “Ads”

Ta da! Here you will find the last 6 months’ worth of ads published by this page.

You can then go a step further. At the top right of each ad are 3 dots. Click this and then select “Copy link to post”.

Paste the URL into a new window, and you will be able to see the Reactions and comments on the post. As well as a measure of which ads are performing well for your competitor, you can use this to build a list of target contacts. People who are engaged with your competitors on LinkedIn are a prime audience for your own social selling efforts.

The links behind the ads will also still be active, and it’s worth taking the time to view the landing pages behind ads while you’re here. Compare how the copy and design of the ads matches up (or doesn’t!) with the pages for more ideas that you can use.

 

Tricks for Twitter

Unlike LinkedIn, the starting point for Twitter is not the main site, but Twitter’s Ads Transparency Centre (https://ads.twitter.com/transparency).

 

 

Just like on the Twitter main page, you can search for accounts using the bar in the top right.

The Ads Transparency Center will show you a count of Likes, Comments and ReTweets, but not the names of the accounts. To see this data, click on the Timestamp at the top of the post. You will be taken to the ad itself, along with all the engagement.

 

The same as LinkedIn, you can follow through the links to the content behind the ads and judge the experience for yourself.

 

Ferret around on Facebook

Similar to Twitter, Facebook keeps an Ad Library (https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/) slightly separate from its main page. More user friendly than Twitters setup, you can filter by geography, keyword, and several other variables:

 

Beneath each search result is a “See Ad Details” button.

Clicking this gives you access to a segmentation goldmine! Facebook will show you when the ad was active, how many impressions it received and how much it cost the advertiser. You can also see audience breakdown by geography, age and gender.

The only downside with the Facebook library is that you cannot see engagement statistics. The best proxy to use is how long the ad is or was running for. Longer active times mean the ad generates the right kind of engagement.

 

What about the rest of the internet?

To spy on banner ads that appear across the rest of the web, we use Moat.com. Moat’s database is not exhaustive, but you can find most major brands on there. The gallery layout is great for helping you spot themes and trends.

Hovering over an individual ad will show you the dates it has been active, as well as what kind of device it appears on, and its dimensions. The dimensions are especially useful if you are just starting out, helping you to understand the parameters of a successful design.

 

 

What are you waiting for?

The best way to start is to start! Spend some time looking over your competitors, then act on what you find.

Set yourself calendar reminders to revisit these tools monthly, to make sure you are keeping up to date. Remember that your competitors will be actively steering these adverts away from you, so just keeping an eye on your browser or feed will not do the trick.

Once you have a content plan for your paid ads, Spotler’s platform is designed to help you reap the rewards with landing pages and IP lookup tools. By showing you who is clicking on your adverts, what company they are from, and their email address, Spotler allows you to follow up on that initial interest with retargeting campaigns and automated lead nurturing.

Sound good? Speak to our sales team about a demo today.


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