How to Understand the Facebook Marketplace
1. Evaluate competitor organic posts or ads.
2. Forums, message boards, groups, blog posts.
3. Distill down to themes around pain, aspiration, flaws of competitors, gaps in current known offering.
Before You Launch Your Facebook Ad Campaigns
Now you have a good foundation. Let's dive in. Before opening Business Manager and building your Facebook ad campaigns, you have to have a good starting place. That starting place should be deep competitor research across different platforms. Although you may want to skip this step and get started right away, this is an integral part of building successful Facebook ad campaigns. Logging on to Facebook and Instagram, you're probably used to seeing multiple sponsored posts and suggested sponsored posts from brand you're following and from those you're not.
Gone are the days of seeing ads in one or two places. Now you'll notice ads appearing on Instagram, as well as Facebook, on mobile and desktop, you'll see placement options such as Audience Network, Messenger, Marketplace, and so many others to utilize for your benefit.
Platforms and Placements
Not only do you have tons of choices within the platform and placement but you'll also notice the different ads formats that are showcased in the ads on your feed as well. Single images, multi-image carousels, and some advertisers who have even opted for a more stylized canvas layout. With all these options, the ad combinations are endless. Out of the dozes of ads you see while browsing your own social media it's hard not to notice the best ads. In a seemingly crowded space you have to stand out, especially against your competitors.
When beginning your competitor evaluation it's extremely important to pay attention to their organic social media posts as well as any current or past ads they've run. You want to have a complete picture of how your competitor uses social media for any kind of promotion. Odds are they'll be using similar tactics, either in format, messaging, or creatives in both the organic and paid content. But you won't know for sure without taking a look for yourself.
Take the time to comb through Facebook and Instagram posts as well as looking at their previous ad campaigns they've run. Using tools like AdEspresso University, Ad Sector or Power Ad Spy will give you a better idea of what they've run. Don't be afraid to take notes, screen shots, really whatever you need to have something to reference when building our your own campaigns.
Alternative Research Platforms
Once you've collected some good data from organic and paid social media, it's time to turn your focus to alternative platforms that you may not have initially thought to check. There's a wealth of knowledge in forums, message boards, groups, and even blog posts that can give you further insight into your competitor's strengths and weaknesses.
This is something that not many people do while working on their research, mostly because they don't even consider it in the first place. Put yourself in the mindset of your customer and start seeking out where you'd go first, second, and third for more information. Check Amazon for product reviews, questions and answers. Do a quick Google search for blog posts. unsponsored posts will probably give you a better picture. And feel free to search other online communities like Quora or Reddit. Pull any information you can from your competitor's current customers to see where their offerings are lacking or where you can better fulfill the needs of your prospective customers.
Now that you've finished collecting all these valuable insights and creative examples, you can start to distill down larger over-arching themes around the pains that your prospective customers are currently experiencing. The flaws of your competitors and the gaps in current known offerings. With the themes you've collected you can start to better understand your competitors. Having a better understanding of your competitors then allows you to create the right messaging. That messaging needs to pair seamlessly with your creative to stand out. As we mentioned earlier, it's a pretty crowded space. You want to insure that the creative choices you make are based on the research you've done, not your own personal preferences. Seeing examples of where your competitors have failed in the market provides you an opportunity to better serve that area. Understanding themes in your research will not only help you better evaluate the marketplace as a whole, but produce better Facebook campaigns.