How to see what your competitors are doing on Facebook

Do you keep an eye on what your competitors are up to in ‘real life’?

Do you monitor mentions of them on the internet using a tool like Google Alerts?

Are you employing the power of social listening to see what they are talking about to their customers?

If you’re not doing any of those things, you probably ought to be. Even the biggest brand needs to keep an eye on the competition.

But now Facebook has made it a little easier.

Info and Ads Tab

Facebook has introduced this new tab due to the scandals of the US Presidential election and the Brexit referendum, where it seems we were swayed by Fake News accounts. To stop that from happening again, we are now going to be able to look at details for the pages we see on our Facebook feed. You’ll be able to see when the Page was created, if they have ever changed the Page name, and all the ads they are running in different countries.

This should bring much greater transparency. But it also means your competitors are going to be able to see the Facebook ads you have running. If you have a system of funnels, this means your whole funnel will be visible.

What can we see?

So if we look at my business Facebook page, Cathy Wassell at Socially Contented, we’d see that I have changed that name – it used to be simply Socially Contented. At this moment I was not running any ads.

And if look at Hubspot’s Facebook page, we can see that they have never changed their page name. If we scroll down we can see all 9 Facebook ads they are currently running, and where they are running them.

What can’t we see?

Although at first it appears that we can see quite a lot about a Page’s ads, and you might feel uncomfortable that your own Page ads are visible in that way, there’s actually still a lot of information which is not available.

We can’t see the budget of the ads, or any analytics to know if they are successful or not.

We can’t see if they are successfully segmenting their audience so that the same top of funnel ad is not being shown to someone who has already bought from them.

You also won’t see the audience the ad is being targeted at, or how long it has been running.

And we can’t see any social proof on the ads – any likes, comments or shares which might give an indication of the ad’s popularity.

What can we make a guess about?

Although there’s a lot we can’t see, we can make a guess about the shape of their sales funnel, and we can surmise they may be split testing their ads if there are a few ads using the same image or copy.  More about split testing here (

You can also pick up information by paying close attention to the ads being served to you on your feed.

When you see a sponsored ad in your feed, click on the three dots to the right top side of the ad.

Then click on ‘Why am I seeing this?’ and Facebook will give you a good idea of why it’s appearing in your feed.

That’s all useful information to learn about one of your competitors, and likewise for them to learn about you! There you are at an advantage though. Most of your competitors won’t know about these hacks. And this targeting information is available only if the ad shows up in your feed, ie. You are in their targeting audience already.

Remember the reason behind these changes is not to step on your marketing toes but to stop election-rigging, and it may also stop some dubious marketing practices too.

What are your thoughts about the changes?

Will they affect you?

Are you off now for a quick peep at your competitor’s ads?

Let us know in the Facebook Group.