How To Target Your Competitor’s Customers With Facebook Ads

Have you ever wished you could target the customers of your competition with Facebook ads? Maybe you are able to:

  • Provide the customer with a lower price
  • Get them a more innovated product or service
  • Give them unique features that the competition doesn’t have

In those cases it would be smart to let the customers of your competition know that you have something better, less expensive, more unique, or innovative to offer.

You might even peel off some of those customers and make them YOUR customer.

Advertising like this isn’t impossible, but it’s also not the easiest thing in the world either.

There are two methods of targeting the customers of your competition and I’m going to show you both here.

A lot of this depends on WHO your competitor is. If they are a well-known brand then it’s a lot easier to target their customers then it is if they are a mom and pop shop.

How to Identify Your Competitors’ Customers

Before you target your competition’s customers you need to be able to identify who they are so that you can grab them for yourself.

I’m going to show you how to do that in my example Facebook ad account.

So, I have an example campaign set up here.

An example Facebook Ads campaign

We’re going to go into the ad set level and I’m going to demonstrate the first method.

Free Resource: If you need help setting up a Facebook campaign from scratch, make sure you check out my Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads here.

Method #1: Use Facebook Interests

This first method is the easy way. It works part of the time. I’m going to go in here and name the campaign and save it to draft.

Facebook interests - ad set level

The very first thing you do then at the ad set level is to see if your competitor has an interest targeting option.

For example, I produce a lot of content around Facebook advertising (like this post!) and if I was to think “who are some of the big content producers to do with Facebook ads online?” I would come up with names like Jon Loomer.

So, I go ahead and pop him in here. And I find him under Jon Loomer Digital.

Finding the Facebook interest

That’s great news! Now if you hover over the side, you’ll see that Facebook will show you a little bit more about this interest audience.

Detailed information about the Facebook audience

You can see here that this is people who have expressed an interest in or liked pages related to Jon Loomer. So that’s going to include people who:

  • Like Jon Loomer’s page
  • People who have interacted with his content

Now, this isn’t all going to be his customers. There will be plenty of people who like and interact with Jon Loomer, but haven’t bought anything from John Loomer.

But the majority of his customers are very likely to be in this group.

So, if I thought I had better quality content or content that can compete with Jon Loomer on a slightly different angle then I might want to go ahead and test this audience.

For the record, Jon Loomer is a guy who really knows his stuff and produces excellent content on Facebook.

Now, sometimes the business you want won’t be a targeting option in Facebook. If that’s the case then you will need to use the second method.

Method #2: Using Audience Insights

This is a workaround approach if the competition you want to target is not directly available in Facebook interests.

Go to the Audience Insights tool from your Facebook Business Manager.

Navigating to Facebook audience insights

Then select everyone on Facebook.

Select everyone on Facebook

The next thing that you are going to need to do is select the locations that you want to target. You can select the US or anywhere else in the world or even the whole world if you want to.

Just make sure you are selecting the location(s) that make sense for YOUR business.

select your location in Facebook audience insights

Leave age and gender just how it is by default.

Then you want to start searching. If your competitor wasn’t directly available in interests then you might have to get a bit creative and find interests SIMILAR to your direct competitor.

For this example I’m going to use Jon Loomer again.

You’ll find some really interesting information about the audience of the interests you put in here.

Audience insights details

For instance, here you’ll see that Jon Loomer’s audience skews slightly male and is almost 50% 25 to 44 years old.

Marriage and education demographics

The people that follow Jon are also far more likely to be married and college-educated than the average Facebook user.

This kind of data is interesting and it can be useful, but the part I really like is under the Page Likes section.

Page likes in audience insights

This section can open up a whole new world of competitors for you to target that you may not have thought of otherwise.

As you are looking at this list, make sure that it makes sense for you and your industry. You’ll have to put on your thinking cap and think through these options and understand if they work for you and are closely related to what you do.

I will usually grab a Google Sheet at this stage and start popping the relevant interests into that sheet.

You can also scroll to the bottom of this section and check out the affinity score.

affinity in audience insights

The affinity score tells you how much more likely they are to like another interest if they like the interest you are looking at.

You’ll see here that people who like Jon Loomer are 8354 times more likely to also like Rick Mulready.

Continue to note all of these targeting options and if you are in doubt go to the Facebook Page and see if they are closely related enough to your business.

Then you can go back to your ad set level and see which of these you can target.

So let’s just say that Jon Loomer wasn’t an option or you just wanted to test different audiences of your competitors.

You can start plugging in interests from your list and see what is available.

ad set level facebook interests

Since Mari Smith had such a high affinity score with Jon Loomer, there are likely to be some of Jon Loomer’s customers in this audience.

So there is the second, more roundabout way.

More Free Facebook Ads Training

There is nothing I like better than to see business owners increase their ROI with Facebook Ads. In order to help business owners succeed with Facebook ads I’ve created a FREE webinar training that you can register for here.

Free Facebook ads training

When you attend this webinar you’ll learn:

  • 3 different Facebook ad strategies that we use every day. These strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue and are tried and proven to work.
  • How to customize the Facebook ads strategy to your particular business. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to Facebook ads.
  • How Facebook and Instagram have changed and how to adjust your ad strategy to what works in 2021.

Video Tutorial: How to Target Your Competitors’ Customers with Facebook Ads!

In this video I go over the two methods of how to target your competitor’s customers with Facebook Ads.

The Bottom Line on Targeting Your Competitions Customers

The best time to target your competitor’s customers is if you have a product or service that is demonstrably better or different than theirs.

You’re going to have a very hard time convincing those people to just switch from the current business they are buying from if you don’t have some kind of significant competitive advantage.

I’ve used this approach quite effectively on a number of campaigns and it can work very well.

However, lookalike audiences are usually still your best bet when it comes to Facebook targeting.

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