“If you want to make your Facebook Ads a better place… take a look at yourself and make a change”
- How to get into your buyer persona’s newsfeed without being creepy
- Discover how other businesses are targeting you on Facebook
- What does Facebook think your real “Interests” are?
- How to become your buyer persona in 2 – 3 minutes
- Create a swipe file of awesome ads and landing pages
- Conclusion and Bonus: The FB Pixel Implemenation Blueprint
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk a mile in your buyer persona’s Facebook newsfeed?
… to see the ads they are delivered on a daily basis, and how those ads are targeted?
… to BECOME them…
In this post, you’ll learn how to quickly change a few settings on your personal account in order to:
- Spy on your competition
- Understand the targeting / messaging / ad types / creative that other businesses are using to reach your potential customers on Facebook
- Start building a swipe file of ads and landing pages you can use for ad-inspiration.
If you’re just starting out and you don’t have a lot of website traffic or an email list from which you can build a “Look-A-Like” audience, this intelligence will be extra-helpful.
Without further ado, let’s get into the steps.
How to Check Other Advertisers’ Targeting
First, let’s take a look at the information Facebook gives us about the ads they’re serving you in your newsfeed.
Note: you’ll probably want to use your desktop / laptop for this exercise
As you scroll down your newsfeed, lookout for a “sponsored” news feed update, then click the dropdown arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the ad (the blue arrow in the screenshot below):
Next, we’re going to click “Why am I seeing this?” (the red rectangle in the screenshot above).
This will take us to the screen shown below.
Take special notice of the section called “Why Am I seeing this ad?”. In my example below, it looks like WalkMe has built a “look-a-like” audience from their existing customer list.
The really cool thing about this is, if an advertiser is targeting based on interests, Facebook will tell you the exact interest that you were “matched against”!
Check What Facebook Thinks Your Interests Are
So, if we can see which interests advertisers are using to reach us…. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a full list of the interests Facebook has stored for us?
Aside Re: Interests in Facebook
Have you ever tried to create a “Saved Audience” in your Facebook ad account using “Interests”?
The “Interests” area is very powerful, but its origins have remained somewhat of a mystery…
A common misconception is: “by targeting an interest of X, I am reaching people who follow or like X in their Facebook profile”.
This is not really the case. Interests are actually Facebook’s best guess as to topics you might be interested in based on all of the data they can gather about you (your likes, comments, the groups you belong to, etc.)
So, Facebook sets these interests “auto-magically”… (spoiler alert: you’ll learn how to override them in a moment 🙂 ).
From the screenshot above with the orange text and squares, see the second rectangle:
“Manage Your Ad Preferences”
You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like this:
As you scroll through the categories, you’ll find that some of the interests are highly accurate, while others might be “iffy” at best.
How to Get Your Competitors’ Ads In Your News Feed
Now, if you want to start using your Facebook newsfeed for ad recon, you can go through and edit / replace your interests with those of your target market.
You might be thinking “How do I know the interests of my target buyer persona(s)?”
Well, that is a whole topic in-and-of itself, but here’s a recent post from Jon Loomer that should help you get started. You can also use Buzzsumo to search your business’ keywords and find the top influential domains and people for your niche (although not all of them will be available as “Interest” targets).
After you’re finished adding and editing your interests, go back to your newsfeed.
Do a quick scroll-down and let’s give Facebook’s Machine Learning algorithms a little help on finding the ads you’re dying to see 🙂
For each ad you see, IF it’s an ad that you think aligns with your target market, click the dropdown in the upper right corner of the ad and choose “This Ad is Useful”
Over time, your newsfeed will become an excellent source of competitive intelligence.
Kind of like a Pandora for Facebook Ads….
(am I the only one who wishes that there was a feature to ONLY show ads in my newsfeed … )
Create a Swipe File Or Spreadsheet (Or Both)
When you have time, just scroll through your newsfeed and check out some ads. Click through some of the interesting ones and investigate the landing page.
I’ve found it helpful to keep a swipe file of ads and landing pages from my competitors and “parallel industries”.
I like to use a spreadsheet for this so I can track everything, including bullets and bits of copy they use.
Screenshot the ads using a tool like Skitch, save it in Drive or Dropbox (or whatever file hosting service you use) and then put the image URL or path in your spreadsheet.
You can do the same for landing pages using a handy Chrome Extension called Full Page Screen Capture, which takes a picture of the entire page which you can save as an image file.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Make that change today. Become your buyer.
When you do, you’ll start getting more awesome ads like this one from Jason Zook:
The landing page behind this ad is one of the most well-designed / creative ones I’ve ever seen:
(after perusing Jason’s projects and a few of his sites, I decided to interview him … look for that video interview in the next week or so).
…And you’ll get a healthy dose of marketing inspiration to go along with your baby and pet pictures every day in your newsfeed.
Ads & Cats. The newsfeed of the future.