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Competitive analysis is an essential part of marketing strategy, and even more so in online activities. We do not operate in a vacuum – whether and how our competitors advertise is an important issue, thanks to which we can assess both the intensity of activities and current trends in communication. Therefore, it is worthwhile to verify the activities of our rivals from time to time. But how to do it?”
You probably already know the list of your competitors, especially if you’ve been in business for a while. With active search ads, however, you can go one step further – you can verify exactly which web domains are participating in your listings. This is done with the Google Ads Auction Analysis tool.
Using this tool, we will find out which competitors are advertising for the words in our structure, how much display share coverage they have (that is, on how many % of all possible queries, their ad actually shows up), how often they participate in the same auctions as us, and to what extent they perform better or worse than the ads we set up. If the results diverge sharply from the competition, it’s a good opportunity to analyze what the position of Google Ads depends on, and whether we can improve it.
At the same time, it is worth noting that the auction analysis is quite flexible. If we want to peek at which competitors are showing up for queries related to our brand, that is, using ads for competitive phrases, including ours, it is enough to do such an auction analysis only on selected words or campaigns in the structure. I would even say that it is worth analyzing brand campaigns and other segments separately, so that high statistics on our own brand do not distort our result.
Competition analysis in Google Ads
How to check your competitors’ Google ads? With a list of competitors, it’s a good idea to start by checking branded phrases directly in the search engine – if the competitor’s strategy includes actions in response to the competitor’s name, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see search ad content and extensions. Keep in mind, however, that extensions do not always display – let’s draw conclusions from their presence rather than absence, as the latter may be due to Google Ads’ individual decision for a given listing.
When it comes to generic phrases, or other segments, this is where things can get a bit complicated. For example – we are in a different geographic region than the campaign we want to preview. And here again – if we have a working Google Ads account, our analysis is made easier. This is where the “Ads Preview and Diagnostics” tool becomes useful, where we can enter the keyword of our choice, set the location and see the content that would show up in such a potential query – both ours and our competitors!
External tools can also come to the rescue, among which we can mention Semrush. Its free version allows us to analyze up to 10 queries per day (whether in terms of domains or other reports), where we will approach such information as keywords used, the distribution of positions in the listings, the most important words generating traffic, or the main competitors.
Semrush is a great tool for analyzing the content of your website.
A paid subscription will allow us to take a detailed look at, among other things, the texts of competitors’ ads registered by Semrush. Admittedly, they won’t look 1:1 like they show up to potential customers in the search engine, but it will already give a lot of information about what messages they use and what exactly they want to convince the target group with.
Semrush’s paid subscription will allow you to get a detailed look at your competitors’ ads.
Facebook Ads Competition Analysis
For competitor analysis in Facebook Ads, we have a very similar starting point – the domains we have previously acquired, or the names of individual competitors.
Each of our competitors must be individually checked. You can, of course, start by searching for the fanpage of a given company on Facebook, but if there are difficulties in tracking here (because, for example, the fanpage has a different name than the one referring directly to the brand), it is still worth checking the competitor’s website to see if it has a link to its social media in the footer.
The competitor’s website has a link to its social media.
The section we are looking for is Transparency of the fanpage on the fanpage. Currently, it can be found in two places:
- On the home page, at the very bottom in the column to the left of the posts
- If it is not on the home page, it can be found in the Information section
Objectively, we want to be in the Library of Ads. As we will display all the information about the site in the transparency of the site, such as any name changes or the regions of the people managing the profile, the last section will be whether the site is currently placing ads or not, and a link to the said Ads Library.
We will look here only at the currently promoted content, along with information as to the date when the ad in question began displaying. Therefore, the regularity of such analysis is important here – unless a competitor has been running some kind of communication for a longer period of time, we will not see older advertising messages here.
Another piece of information that can be drawn from here, for example, is on which platforms our competitor is displaying – is it only Facebook and Instagram, or maybe the ads in question are also displayed on Audience Network or Messenger? Here we can check it.
Similarly, from the ad library we will find out whether the competitor is using ads with strictly fixed content, or whether they are dynamic, i.e. several texts and graphics added to the rotation. In turn, the displayed domain under the image of the ad itself will tell us whether the ad is directed outside Facebook or, on the contrary, directly to the form.
The call to action used in the ad text itself can also indicate under which goals of the Facebook Ads campaign the competitors’ actions are optimized.
It is in the Meta Ads Library that we will also find out what call to action a competitor is using, and as we hover over the CTA button, a tooltip at the bottom of the screen should show us the address to which the ad directs us; we can go to it, by the way, and additionally see the landing page to which our competitor is directing.
The absence of such a button next to individual content may also suggest that, in addition to traditional goal-oriented campaigns, promoting posts from a competitor’s business page is also part of the strategy.
For individual ads, we will learn even more when we go into “View ad details.” And yes, for dynamic Facebook Ads we will preview what graphics are in rotation. However, the most interesting things happen for form ads – when we go to the ad details, we can also find out what competitors are asking in the form and the content of their data processing terms and conditions.
When we are already in the ad library, we can immediately go in the site search to the next competitor, and analyze their ads.
The fact that a competitor is using some form of advertising does not necessarily mean that it is not making mistakes. Therefore, what we manage to analyze and see should still be put through the knowledge of good practices when creating Facebook Ads
Google Ads Library
The information obtained in this way can be used, for example, to:
- change the direction of communication – analyzing how detailed the competition presents the offer already at the advertising level, or giving more emphasis to our own USP (unique selling point)
- add phrases related to a particular competitor to our structure – especially if he himself uses a similar treatment against our business
- take advantage of new opportunities – perhaps we will notice some new solutions or opportunities that we are not currently using
- changes in advertising budgets – such an analysis may indicate that our competitor is spending more advertising funds than we are, and we have the opportunity to react to this
Now that so much emphasis is being placed in Internet marketing on automation and the operation of algorithms to optimize campaigns – the role of an Internet marketing specialist is also that of an advisor. A proven digital marketing agency most often has the tools needed for such analysis, and it is worth taking advantage of this – a one-time analysis at fixed intervals, can also cost us much less than buying the necessary tools ourselves, not to mention the time spent on handling them.
How about you? Do you want to entrust your competition monitoring to an agency that takes care of your marketing comprehensively?
Contact us and present your needs – we will prepare a proposal tailored to your business!
Certified specialist with many years of experience, with Up&More since 2016. Her campaigns have been awarded many times in prestigious industry plebiscites. He has experience with clients from the development, automotive and mobile application industries.