Creating Facebook Ads - How To Spy On Your Competitors To Create Ads That Convert

February 16, 2020

To create effective and engaging ads, you need to solid research and consumer insights Thankfully though, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you can spy on your successful competitors

By Jawad Khan

Author Bio:

Jawad is a content marketer and writer for MagicAdz. You can follow connect with him on Twitter and his blog


Did you know how much money marketers around the globe spent on Facebook advertising last year?

Almost $70 billion!


But guess what?


Despite spending so much, 62% of marketers believe FB Ads are not as laser-targeted as people think.


That’s probably true to an extent.


But with so many sponsored posts in the Facebook timeline of an average user, ads based on gut feeling or surface-level research are bound to miss their mark.


To create effective and engaging ads, you need to solid research and consumer insights


Thankfully though, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you can spy on your successful competitors, find the exact ads that are driving traffic to their sites, and simply replicate their strategy.


That’s easier, isn’t it?


In this step by step guide, I’m going to show you exactly how to create an effective Facebook ad that’s based on competitor analysis and has a much better chance of engaging your target audience.


Sounds interesting?


Keep reading.

              1. Start With a Clear Objective

As obvious as it might sound, starting with a clear goal for your Facebook ad is crucial.

You’d be surprised how many marketers get this wrong because they fail to understand the nature of advertising.


Let me spell it out for you.


You run ads to make people take a very specific and well-defined action. It can be anything like driving sales for a product, persuading people to download a free eBook so that they can join your email list, signing them up for a workshop or webinar, or asking them to Like your Facebook Page.


Whatever it is you need to be clear about it.

Because your ad can only have one objective at a time. You can’t ask people to download an eBook and buy a product in the same ad because they have limited attention spans.


This is why when you access your Facebook Ads Manager…

And click on “Create” to start a new ad campaign…



Facebook asks you specifically about the objective of your campaign.


As you can see, the objectives are organized under the three main stages of the typical sales process - Awareness, Consideration, Conversion


You’ll choose an objective depending on the ultimate goal of your ad.

For example, if you’re trying to gather more Page Likes, you’ll choose Brand Awareness as your goal.

If you want to drive traffic to a landing page where people can sign up to your email list, you’ll choose Lead Generation as your goal.

And if you want to make direct sales, you’ll choose something like Conversion or Catalog Sales as your objective.


Why is this important?


Depending on the goal you choose, Facebook optimizes your advertising options and recommends the best route for you.

Plus, your choice of ad type will primarily depend on what you’re trying to achieve with the ad campaign.

Without getting this part right, you won't be able to create a laser-focused campaign that delivers the goods for you.


You can read this detailed article about choosing the right marketing objective in Facebook Ads to learn more.


      2. Define Audience Targeting Criteria

The next step is to identify your target audience.


There are billions of Facebook users and you obviously don’t want irrelevant people to view your ads or click on them because it costs money.


So how do you go about it?


Firstly, make sure your landing page (where you want to drive traffic from your ads) has Facebook Pixel installed (read this for detailed instructions).

Once it’s on your site, you can gradually improve your targeting and increase the overall ROI of your future campaigns.

But for your first ad, start with a reasonably broad audience. We’re going to refine it as we run the ad a few times and measure its performance.


Let’s do some basic competitor research using Facebook Audience Insights.

The goal here is to get basic information about the demographics, interests, likes/dislikes, etc. of your target audience.

In Audience Insights, you can enter the names of the popular brands, personalities, or companies in the “Interest” box to find information about the people who’re interested in them.

For example, if you want to target people who’re interested in social media marketing, you can add names like of well known social media brands like HootSuite, Buffer, Social Media Examiner, Neil Patel in the Interest section

This will allow you to display your ad to the people who're interested in these brands. And obviously, if they’re interested in competing brands, they’re potential customers for you as well.



As the screenshot shows, the majority of the people following these brands are aged between 25-44 years and 56% of them are women.

You can also see the other pages or brands they’ve Liked on Facebook


There are many other useful information nuggets in Audience Insights that you can use to create your initial audience targeting criteria.


Once you have examined the audience, come back to the Ad Manager and choose your target audience using the ad targeting options.

As you can see, I’ve added all the popular brand/Page names to the Interest section which I found during research in Audience Insights.

The Audience Meter on the right of the screen shows that our audience selection is fairly broad but still in the green zone, which is what we wanted.

This is the audience we’ll use for our initial ads and refine them after measuring the audience’s response.


The next step is to create the actual Ad Set and this is where we’ll use MagizAdz to find out what’s working for our competitors.

           3. Spy On Your Competitors With MagicAdz

This is the most important step in creating a high-performance Facebook Ad.


Your ad type, visuals, call to action, ad description, etc. will determine whether people click on it or not. But you can’t choose these things from the top of your head.

This is where both competitor analysis and MagicAdz come in.


MagicAdz lets you find the exact ads your competitors are running and gives you detailed information about their performance, audience engagement, and even the landing page where the ad is routing the traffic.

Why create an ad with guesswork when you can simply analyze what your competitors are doing, learn from them, and create a winning ad?


Here’s how to do it.


Sign In to your MagizAdz account (Sign Up for a free 1-Day trial here if you haven’t) and click on Ads to search for competing Facebook Ads)

This takes you to the ad search interface where you can use different filters to find ads from thousands of different brands in more than 50 geos


Using MagicAdz, you can search for ads in a particular time period by keywords, target country, age and gender of the target audience, ad type, and language.


If you’re running ads for an affiliate offer, you can exclusively search for affiliate ads (and even find the real money page) in different affiliate verticals.


And there’s more.

You can also search specifically for eCommerce ads that are routing traffic to stores made on Shopify, Magneto, WooCommerce, Prestashop and several other eCommerce platforms.

In short, no matter what industry you’re in, if your competitors are running Facebook Ads, you can find them with MagicAdz.


Suppose you’re trying to get sales for “running shoes” by routing traffic with Facebook Ads to your Shopify store.


Let’s see what kind of ads your competitors are running.


Since we’re in discovery mode right now, we’ll just search for the keyword “running shoes”, choose a custom date range for the last 3 months, and sort the results my “Most Liked” to get the ads with the highest engagement.


Kaboom! We have dozens of Facebook Ads for running shoes by different brands and stores.


Here’s one of the ads from the search results.


This ad got more than 300 Likes and a fair number of shares and comments.


Clearly, it resonated with the target audience.


Let’s click on it to see what other information MagicAdz can show us.


Once you click on the ad, you can see the link to its landing page along with its screenshot, the URL of the original FB post, and the FB Page of the brand.


And here’s the best part.

You can view all the other ads this advertiser is currently running or has run on Facebook.

This is priceless information for any competitor.


Let’s do a different search.


If you’re running ads for an affiliate offer instead of your own eCommerce store, find competing Facebook ads by choosing your industry (for example, self-improvement) in the affiliate search section.


Let’s see what we have here.


These are hundreds of Facebook Ads that are promoting different affiliate offers in the self-improvement industry.

You can sort them by “Most Liked” or “Most Comments” to see the ones with the highest engagement.


Here’s one of the ads.

More than 74K Likes on this ad, wow!


It’s a video ad that’s clearly getting a lot of engagement from the target audience. This marketer must be making some serious commissions promoting this offer.


Let’s see the landing page and the other important information so that we can learn more from the success of this ad.



This video ad is routing traffic to a landing page with a simple opt-in form.


Are they running any other ads? Let’s find out 


Can you believe it?


These are all the other ads this same advertiser is running to promote this offer.


But where does it take people once they visit the landing page?


MagicAdz shows you the complete redirect path of the ad.


So once the users visit the landing page and enter their email address, they’re added to a ClickFunnels funnel sequence that probably promotes different offers via email and landing pages.


Very smart.


But now that we have these insights, we can use them to tailor our own promotional strategy.


Again, this is all priceless information that can help you create winning Facebook Ads win pin-point accuracy.


No guesswork here.


How do you use these insights?


Let me explain


         4. Analyze Competing Ads and Make Notes

Now that you know exactly what type of ads your successful competitors are using to drive traffic to their sites, it’s time to use this knowledge to your advantage.


Here are the key things you need to evaluate in an ad.

  • Ad Type

What ad type are the other successful marketers using?

Are they mostly running video ads? If so, what type of video? A movie style trailer or a simple one on one talk?

Or are they using simple image posts or boosting their Page posts?

Many marketers run carousel ads for eCommerce stores. Are your competitors doing it?

Ad type selection is important and if most of your successful competitors are using a certain ad type, you need to follow the trend.

  • Visuals

Visuals play a key role in Facebook advertising.

A high quality and eye-catching image that clearly communicates your value proposition will skyrocket your ad CTR.

On the contrary, a random stock photo or an irrelevant image that doesn’t immediately make it clear what your ad is about, will result in wasted money and low ROI.

What images are working for your competitors?

Are they using product images only? Is there any text on the image as well?

Are most of the images focused on people, instead?

Note down these small details because if they’re working for your competitors, there's no reason they won’t work for you.

  • Call To Action (CTA)

A call to action (CTA) button or link invites users to take action once they’ve seen your advertisement.

It’s the push people need to click on your ad.

Even small changes to CTAs can bring different results.

For example, a CTA that simply says “Submit” is not as powerful as something like “Download Now!” or “Claim Your Discount”

Here’s a really high performing ad to a Shopify store with more than 50K Likes. 

It uses a couple of CTAs - the Shop Now button, and a soft CTA in the Ad description that encourages users to buy the product.


Again, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Just analyze what most of your competitors are doing and what’s working for them.

  • Ad Description

Ad description is the place where you have the opportunity to describe the benefits of your offer and make people dream about using it.

An engaging description can massively impact the engagement levels of an ad.

While analyzing successful competitor ads, pay special attention to the words they’ve used in the ad description and also notice the tone of voice they’ve used

Is it direct, conversational and casual or formal and salesy?

Every word counts, and every word makes a difference.

           5. Test Run Your Ads and Measure Performance

That’s it for the analysis part.

Remember that analyzing your competitors is a key step in developing a powerful Facebook Ad.


But don’t fall for analysis paralysis.

Take action.


Once you study the successful ads by your competitors, use the findings to create multiple ads with small budgets  and test them to see which one works the best.

Facebook gives you an option to A/B test or Split Test ads when you’re starting a campaign.

That’s a really useful feature that allows you to find the best combination that’s resonating with your audience.


Are You Ready To Create Engaging Facebook Ads?


Facebook marketing is a continuous learning process so if you can’t get your ad right the first time, keep learning from your competitors, and test different variations of your ad to find the winning combination.


The insights by MagicAdz will equip you with everything you need to create an engaging Facebook Ad.


All you need to do now is take action and keep improving.


If you’ve any questions about creating Facebook Ads or competitive research with MagicAdz, just shoot us a comment and we’d love to respond.


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