To be an effective marketer, you need to know the best distribution channels for your content.
Your mailing list, paid ads, publications in your niche — there are so many opportunities out there to work with. But if you want the most results in the least amount of time, you need to prioritize the platforms with the biggest reach.
What are these platforms? Social media networks, of course!
Facebook, in particular, is the third most trafficked website on the web. The users are engaged, and they love to devour content. It is also one of the most reliable places to find qualified new users.
According to statistics, there are now over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook. That’s 500 million more than the number of users on YouTube, which is regarded as the second largest social media network in existence.
However, when you are just starting, Facebook can be rather difficult to build a quality audience or user base. This is especially true if your plan of attack is only to share content whenever they become available.
So, where do you begin? The easiest place to get started is to research your competitors and target their audience. If your potential customers have an interest in a competing or similar product/service, why wouldn’t those same users be interested in yours?
Here’s how you can start capturing your competitor’s Facebook traffic and build your own targeted audience:
Step 1. Find out What Your Competitor’s Fans Engage with
To get started, you will want to analyze your competition’s Facebook page content. This will enable you to see what type of content they engage with and when are the best days and times to connect with them.
Let’s say, for this blog post, Moz was a competitor of Buffer and I was attempting to steal their Facebook audience.
The initial thing you want to do is go to Fanpage Karma and run Moz’s Facebook fan page URL.
Shown in the image above, the first thing you will see from this free tool is the basic stats of Moz’s Facebook fan page. The information covers everything from the number of fans Moz has to their engagement ratio.
What you must do is begin investigating a bit deeper to get an understanding of the types of posts that are attracting these fans as well as generating their engagement. You can do this by first looking at the engagement per daytime graph.
As you can see from the image above, Moz’s most engaging days to post are on Mondays and Fridays. This means if you are going after Moz’s users and fans on Facebook, you would also want the majority of your posts to be on Mondays and Fridays. This will generate more views, likes, shares, comments, and new fans.
You should also look at the length and types of post that produces the most engagement. Moz uses images, videos, and links. However, their image posts seem to do the best.
This should be a pretty good indicator that you want to be posting pictures, considering you are attempting to attract Moz’s customers and fans.
The next thing you should do is look deeper into the similarities of the most engaging posts.
Understanding character length, post type, and time of the week to post are great, but there are more things to consider.
Something I noticed about Moz is that their best posts always offered to teach something. The images that they used for those posts almost always had a large photo of either Rand Fishkin or another gentleman in an unusual position.
If you are after Moz’s fans, you will want to do the same. Replicate the posts that experienced high engagement.
The final portion of the Facebook fan page analysis is to determine who the top influencers are.
Luckily, Fanpage Karma gives us this information with a single click. They provide the number of likes, shares, and comments each influencer performed. From there, you can see similar pages that influencer is connected to that has fans just like the ones Moz has. (Seen above)
Step 2. Find your Competitors Best Performing Ads and Landing Pages
Now it’s time to start looking for Moz’s ads and boosted posts. In the past, you would have to like Moz’s Fanpage and visit their site to get them to advertise to you.
This can be difficult because more likely than not multiple companies will be targeting you and you may end up not being served the ads you want, or you might miss Moz’s ads altogether.
If you do get Moz to advertise to you, then you would screen capture the ads and add them to your own repositories like Dropbox or Google Drive. Then Facebook released the Facebook adboard where you could go and view all of the ads that had been shown to you. The Facebook adboard didn’t last long before Facebook put it to death.
The good news is, you can still use a tool like AdEspresso to view millions of ad examples from publishers across all industries.
It’s similar to content research tools like BuzzSumo and EpicBeat, but instead of scraping the web for pieces of content, it pulls in Facebook ads you can borrow inspiration from.
To use AdEspresso, simply enter a URL, your competitor’s name, or any other relevant keyword in your niche.
You can also adjust a couple of settings that will refine your search, including the placement type, industry, and objective.
Since we want to look at ads that Moz is running, we simply need to insert the term “Moz” and click “Find Ads Now.” You can enclose your keyword between quotation marks to avoid partial-match results, like “Mozzarella” from your initial search. To cast a wider net, let’s search for ads on all placements, industries, objectives, and attributes.
Since Moz is such a popular brand, you should expect ads from other publishers that only mention the term “Moz.”
Fortunately, you can easily sift through the results and find the right ads by looking for the Moz label. In the example above, the first page alone yielded three ad examples from Moz right off the bat.
Since AdEspresso sorts ad results from newest to oldest, you won’t necessarily find the best ad examples at first.
What you want are ads with high engagement numbers in terms of likes, comments, and shares. You can find these by scrolling down the results page and inspecting the ad previews.
Once you’ve found the top-performing ads in Moz’s Facebook campaign, here are some of the elements you need to focus on:
You often hear the advice “less is more” when it comes to headline length, but it really depends on the type of audience you’re reaching. You can also use ad examples from AdEspresso as references when looking for words that pique their interest.
- Featured Image
In addition to the headline, an ad’s featured image is one of the elements that Facebook users would see first. As such, you need to make it relevant, original, informative, and visually impressive.
The description is a snippet of text that appears below the featured image. While lengthy descriptions are allowed, anything over 30 characters may be truncated and therefore become ineffective in grabbing the audience’s attention.
Above the featured image; you have 125 characters of text real estate for Facebook image ads. Observe your competitor’s ad copy for the tone and word choices that your target audience prefers.
On Facebook, advertisers can choose from a number of different CTAs, such as “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” and “Download.” Some brands also include CTAs within the ad’s description and copy to make it more visible.
The next order of business is developing at the landing pages that Moz uses for these ads. AdEspresso generously provides this by including the link URL in the ad example page.
For example, the ad below links to a landing page called “Your one-stop shop for SEO. Try free today.”
Upon clicking the link, you will be redirected to the landing page where users are brought. In this particular case, Moz brings them to a straightforward landing page with a featured video, headline, subheadline, and a CTA button.
Just like ad examples, there are specific elements you need to pay attention to when scouting out your competitor’s landing page.
Apart from core elements like the headline and CTA, there’s also the page description, unique selling points, and the “hero shot” of your offer, which could either be a product image or video that puts your product in the best possible light.
Another Great Feature is Facebook’s New “Info And Ads”
It’s also worth pointing out that Facebook recently launched its new ad transparency tools globally.
You can now go to your competitors’ Facebook page, click the new, “Info and Ads” button. Here you can see the Ads and the Landing pages associated with each ad.
After clicking the button, you can now start viewing the ads that your competitors are running.
This allows you to gain some insight on what actual products your competitors are spending their ads on, the copy they use, and even how their audiences are reacting to their ads.
If you’d like to find out what your audience is saying about your competitor’s products so you can benchmark accordingly and be able to create a product (and marketing strategy) that has a higher probability of succeeding, then you can even check out the comments made the products they promoted.
Reverse Engineering, Your Competitors, Landing Page
If you have a dedicated development team that can replicate aspects of your competitor’s landing page, then you should be good to go. However, you can also use a landing page tool that can make it easier to adopt a competitor’s design scheme and layout.
Instapage, use to offers a URL Importer that allowed me to copy the core structure of any landing page in minutes.
That feature has since been retired, but fortunately, Instapage has done such a great job creating a drag and drop Landing Page Builder that you can pretty much copy any landing page in moments.
3. Time to put it all together
Now that you have done your analysis and competitive ad intelligence, it is time to start replicating those successful posts, ads, and landing pages. Targeting your competitors is often pretty easy, especially if they are a popular brand like Moz.
Targeting both men and women with an interest in Moz who live in the U.S. and are from the ages of 18-40 gives me a potential reach of 110,000 people. That’s a nice size target, and they will probably convert pretty well with my campaign. The targeting doesn’t stop there, remember that Facebook Fanpage analysis we did earlier?
I targeted people who have an interest in Moz, but you can do much more than that. Looking back at my fanpage analysis we saw a few things that could make our targeting better. Some of Moz’s most active fans had similar Fanpages or work for SEO agencies.
Stealing your competitor’s Facebook traffic can be difficult if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t know about the tools that you need to make the process possible.
Facebook makes it hard to reach a competitors audience organically without spending a bit of money on Facebook ads.
To be successful on Facebook it doesn’t cost much, but paying a couple of hundred bucks goes a long way as it helps to build momentum and get targeted traffic.
Nonetheless, whether you have money to spend or not, you should be able to steal your competitor’s fans effectively if you follow these steps. Just don’t concentrate on a pure number of more fans as this isn’t necessarily better. Rather, you should try to get as many engaged fans as possible. Especially, since the higher engaging fans, tend to pay for products.