How To Research Your Competitors

And Boost Your Own Ad Conversions

An often overlooked (or disregarded) step in finding success for your business is accurately identifying your competition through effective market research. Without this knowledge, it’s difficult to know what market opportunities you might have as well as what tactics your competitors are using that you can either emulate or improve upon.

We’ll be exploring this by using the AdClass framework called the “Three To Thousands Method” to quickly and efficiently gain insight into competition. This involves using well-established resources such as Google search and the Facebook Ad Library, but also more unknown methods, to uncover relevant information on the people, companies, brands, and offers that you’re competing with.

How Can You Find Who Your Competitors Are?

First off, start by doing a basic Google search of keywords related to what you’re selling. Make a list of all the websites ranking on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). Also make note of which sites are running paid search ads for those same keywords. Once done, click through each website to get an idea of who they are and what they offer.

Next up is the Facebook Ad Library. Search for ads related to your industry and take note of any competitors that surface with their own ads – typically these people/companies will be coaches/consultants that appear speaking directly to camera in their ad. From there make a list of pages/people/companies displaying ads with similar offerings or ideas as yours so you can get a better handle on who is currently operating in your area of business.

By following these simple steps, you should now have compiled a list of direct competitors ranging from three to thousands depending on how active your market is! Armed with this knowledge – digging into their funnel flow, messaging strategy, branding style – it will become easier for you to identify further market opportunities while simultaneously bettering the ones already being applied by your competition.

Competitor Research Tools to Help Your Search

Once you have a decent list of competitors from the manual research we discussed, there are a few incredible tools available that can help in your search for even more information.

  1. SimilarWeb – this browser extension and website provides great data and insights into the website you’re currently researching, including a list of new competitors if the original site has had decent traffic recently.
  2. SparkToro – this is an awesome tool for finding new audiences to target. It also provides a secret way to find potential competitors – you can do five searches for free, or opt for their paid version which provides a ton of extra features.
  3. SpyFu – this is an excellent tool for competitor research in Google Ads. You just need to enter some known competitor websites and it will show who else is competing with them, both organically and through paid ads.

By using these tools alongside manual search methods, you should be able to build up a comprehensive list of competitors quickly and easily. With this knowledge gained from thorough research, you’ll be able to spot market opportunities while at the same time being better informed on how your competition works so you can create offers that stand out from the crowd!

Understanding a Competitor’s Ad Traffic and Messaging

When researching competitors’ ads in the Facebook Ad Library, take note of what types of ads they are running: static photos, videos or a mix? Are there any graphics or text in the photos? Are their videos professionally produced or self-made?

For YouTube Ads, VidTao.com offers a great research tool. With their Chrome Extension Plugin, you can save and bookmark new YouTube Ads from your competitors as you watch videos. VidTao also provides full video creative which is highly useful when scripting your own YouTube Ads.

No matter what channel you choose for your marketing campaigns, understanding how your competitors’ ads look and which channels they are using is key to success in today’s competitive landscape.

As for messaging, it’s important to not underestimate the power of good copy. If your competitors are having success with their offers, it’s likely due to an effective message that resonates with their target audience.

Dissect what is working for them and see if you can apply some of the same elements to your own offer. However, plagiarizing someone else’s work is never a good idea – it’s important to create unique messages that reflect your brand values and resonate with your target audience.

By studying successful messaging used by your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into creating powerful messages that will draw in more leads and conversions.

How To “Funnel Hack” Your Competition

“Funnel Hacking” is a term used in the internet marketing world and made popular by Russel Brunson and the ClickFunnels crew. It’s the idea that you can take a peek behind the curtain of your competition’s funnel to understand their strategy, lead journey, and goals.

It’s a fancy term that basically just means: Click through your competition’s website and figure out what they are doing.

Typically it looks something like this:

Step 1 – Find your competitors ads using the ad libraries mentioned above.

Step 2 – Click the link on your competitors ads to be taken to their landing page.

Step 3 – Follow the actions they want you to take such as: opt-in with your contact info, click a call-to-action button, watch or read some content, fill out an application, schedule a call/demo, download a file, etc etc.

Step 4 – Document what is happening with each new step you are asked to complete. By the time you reach the end of the funnel, you should have a simple map of the journey they took you on. This is the same journey they are sending their leads and potential customers through.

Pro tip – Document the URL of each funnel page you visit for quick access if you find yourself needing to revisit a page later. Oftentimes, marketers and business owners will section off the pages of their funnel so you can only return to a specific page by restarting the journey. Snagging the URLs allows you to hop back where you want to in a pinch.

Document Your Competitor’s Copy and Tone

Analyzing your competitor’s copy may seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. With this great template, you can quickly and easily analyze the most important parts of their copy.

Start by noting the hook they are using to draw people in – this is usually the headline of their ads or on the landing page. Identify who they are talking to and what situation they are currently in (the avatar in the present). Then find out who the target avatar is and what the ultimate result for that person is. 

You will also need to understand the competitor’s style, look and feel. First, assess your competitor’s ads and funnel pages. When analyzing their style, consider using adjectives such as:

  • Professional
  • Creative
  • Trendy
  • Loud
  • Intelligent
  • Goofy
  • Elegant
  • Flashy
  • Straightforward

Next, pay special attention to where their avatar’s attention is directed, as well as any potential pain points or problems being highlighted.

Finally, note down how your product/service could become a solution for them as well as any claimed time frames. 

By doing all this you can take a minimalist approach and boil it down to just three things: Attention, Pain, and Solution – giving you a decent grasp on their messaging.

Final Tips to Leverage Your Competition’s Offer

Investigate what they are selling and how they are servicing customers by checking out their website, online forums, or forums related to your niche (e.g. BiggerPockets for real estate) for customer posts. You can also contact the sales team directly if necessary in order to gain accurate information on the structure of their offer and price range.

Next take a look at their follow-up process – opt into the funnel using an email address you can check as well as a phone number you can receive texts/calls from so you can document each stage in the process such as emails sent, SMS follow up messages, calls from the sales team, pre-call resources given out (such as freebies), and retargeting ads served once you have visited the funnel page.

Finally, always remember that competitor research should only ever be used to educate yourself and conduct an intelligent marketing plan. It should never be used to copy, mimic, or plagiarize your competitors. Doing so could not only land you in hot water with your competition, but also put your business future at risk.

If you’re stuck for ideas on executing a plan after competitor research, or have other questions about how to carry out an effective marketing campaign to progress your business efforts, let’s talk!

Schedule a personal one-on-one strategy session today and see how AdClass can take your marketing to the next level.

Ready to Become an Expert Media Buyer? Join Our Free Community