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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Nenni

Facebook Spying - A New Approach

One of the greatest elements of digital marketing is that keeping an eye on what competitors are doing is much easier compared to the days of traditional marketing. Whether a dealer would like to keep an eye on competitive SEO, reputation management, or paid search, there are tools out there that can keep smart dealers informed.

A wonderful benefit that came from the 2018 Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal was a new level of ad transparency offered by Facebook. Before this scandal, you could only see the “page posts” for a business page. It was much more difficult to find the “dark posts” that were published in newsfeeds of targeted audiences. Then, in late June of 2018, Facebook added an “Info and Ads” menu option to every business page that allowed anyone to view the paid ads running for that business. This new option would allow anyone to see the old “dark” paid Facebook posts (not dark anymore) for any given business page.

What a great feature for allowing dealerships to “spy” on each other’s paid Facebook ads! I regularly work with dealers, training them how to keep track of key competitors’ campaigns. Here is what the Info and Ads menu looked like:

You can see the Facebook page for Target above. When you clicked on the Info and Ads menu choice, all active ads from Target would display. While you would not know the audience targeting or results from the campaigns, you could easily get a feel for the strategy and execution around their Facebook ads.

During a dealer visit a few weeks ago, I was demonstrating this approach, when I could no longer find the Info and Ads menu. Some quick online searching confirmed that Facebook had removed this functionality from each business page and had moved it to a consolidated Facebook Ad Library website:

Here is a look at the new Facebook Ad Library page. You simply search for a business name, topic, or organization, and the search engine will show you all active ads that match your criteria.

Below is an example searching for CarMax paid Facebook ads:

For dealerships who compete with CarMax, this is a smart way to stay on top of the paid Facebook ads that are being run. The dealer may work to design competitive messaging or find ideas for new campaigns they wish to run. I recommend that dealerships run a quick scan at least monthly on their top competitors and make sure to keep what they see in mind when designing their paid Facebook strategy.

If you are an automotive retailer, let us help you find and eliminate the wasted spending in your digital marketing investments. We can help you greatly improve your return on ad spend and gain more transparency with your digital marketing investments. Learn more at our website

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