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Why You Need to Monitor How Much Competitors Spend on Facebook Ads

Mar 15, 2018 1:21:58 PM

Your brand may be missing a key piece of information on your competitors:

Their Facebook advertising spend.

Facebook made more than $40 billion in 2017 serving ads to more than two billion users. The social network allows you to laser-target ads to specific demographics. This makes Facebook rich territory for brands trying to get their message out.

No wonder Facebook advertising is popular with both B2B and B2C brands. If you're not using it, you should be. And your competitors might be doing so already.

That's where Facebook advertising intelligence comes in.

You need to know how much the competition is spending. You need to know who they're targeting. And you need to know what they're promoting.

In fact, when you monitor Facebook advertising, you'll learn all three. This provides three major benefits to brands of any size.

1. You can see how competitors capture audience attention.

By monitoring Facebook ad spend data, you'll see how much brands spend over any period of time. You can also see the impressions they get for their spend, as well as what ad creative they're running.

Take Grammarly, for example. Grammarly is a smart grammar checking tool that automatically corrects your writing. The company was a top advertiser in the last month, according to Pathmatics. Grammarly spent a total of $37 million in that time frame. We can see, however, that the brand hasn't spent much of that budget on Facebook.

monitor competitor facebook spend 1

Pathmatics Facebook ads and Facebook advertising intelligence

From 1/21 to 2/19, Grammarly spent $52,900 on Facebook ads. They used creatives promoting the Grammarly iOS keyboard. And they got about 7.5 million impressions.

This information tells you exactly how a brand captures attention on Facebook. It may even give you creative ideas of your own.

2. You can learn more about who the competition is going after.

You can also use Facebook ad data to see the groups your competitors target. Here, we can see that Grammarly spends more to target males over females in this timeframe.

Pathmatics Facebook ads and Facebook advertising intelligence

We can also see which mobile platforms Grammarly hits with its ads. In this case, they favor Android, spending 61% of their money on that platform.

Pathmatics Facebook ads and Facebook advertising intelligence

With these insights, you can start to see how a brand builds its target audience. You can also get clues about the users or customers they're trying to acquire.

3. You can see what markets competitors are—and aren’t—advertising in.

Knowing what platform and demographics a brand targets on Facebook is good. But alone these do not form a complete competitive intelligence picture.

That picture becomes clearer when you combine these intel points with geographic location. Using Facebook ad data, you can see what areas a competitor is targeting with its ads.

Here we can see the states and metro areas targeted most by Grammarly’s advertising. We can also see what percentage of spend is going where.

Pathmatics Facebook ads and Facebook advertising intelligence

This kind of information surfaces market opportunities.

You might compare this information to your target markets. Determine which target markets your competitors are not spending money in. You may be able to get lots of impressions for cheaper than anticipated. You may also be able to capture mindshare that your competitors don't have.

Additionally, you may investigate ad formats that work for competitors in markets where they don't have an ad presence. You might even co-opt their messages in new markets before they even get there. Or, advertise in their top markets—and counter their messages directly.

There's a treasure trove of possibilities when you have rich Facebook ad data. And all of them can create headaches for the competition.

Where Do You Get Data on Competitor Facebook Ads?

Pathmatics is an ad intelligence tool that now offers Facebook ad spend data. See it in action now.

Ken Roberts

Written by Ken Roberts

Ken Roberts has been immersed in marketing and technology for over a decade, merging creative strategies with the latest technology, to bring products together with the people who need them. With degrees in Engineering, Computer Science and an MBA, Ken’s background in product management, marketing, sales, analytics and technology lends to his ability to attack product challenges on multiple levels. Ken began his career developing software solutions for medical records before transitioning to marketing. Ken focused on building marketing departments and operating in-house agencies. Ken’s experience with digital platforms, internet based marketing, lead scoring and business intelligence, and reporting, as well as a keen market understanding, are a welcome addition to Pathmatics, only matched by a leadership philosophy that encourages high creativity and ownership from his team.

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