How To Steal Your Competitor’s Customers On Facebook

Have you been spending all of your Facebook Advertising dollars trying to reach people in your target demographic? Why don’t you strip out some of that effort and just go directly for your competitor’s fans? This technique will surely boost your fan base while simultaneously annoy the heck out of your competitor! Read on to learn more.

In traditional PPC, Quiznos can bid on Subway, and ReadyTalk can bid on WebEx – even mentioning the competitor’s name in the ad. If your firm is trying to beat Company X, the acceptable ad copy is “better than X”, “read reviews of X”, “before you try X…”, “compare X and Y”, and so forth.
But on Facebook, you can do MUCH better and it’s much cleaner. We’ll break down the techniques used, the strategies behind them, and how this differs than competitive targeting in search. You may even consider implementing these in your own Facebook campaigns today and see surprising ROI before you leave the office this evening. And it will be so effective that your competition will be hopping mad, but unable to respond because it’s completely within Facebook’s advertising guidelines and white hat in nature. This is especially effective in David and Goliath situations, where you are the underdog with a tiny budget and you’re going up against a big brand. We’ll explain why in a minute.
SMX and Search Engine Strategies are competitors in the search marketing conference space. Both are well-respected companies with events around the world and a portfolio of print and online publications. In full disclosure, I am a speaker for both – I don’t profess any loyalties to one over the other, and I am a fan of both organizations (figuratively and literally).
In one week, SES is having a conference in San Francisco – and they are promoting it via Facebook ads to their Facebook page:

Naturally, they are targeting people who list “search engine marketing” as an interest, “Chief Marketing Officer” as a job title, and “Advertising Age” as a magazine they read. They also happen to target fans of Search Engine Land, a publication of their rival, as well as fans of SMX. To get attention, they call out these users by interest:

SMX has only X fans compared to Y fans of SES, but this is still a highly relevant, highly profitable segment to target. Because Facebook traffic is so cheap, the cost of such laser- targeting is a few dollars a day. To make the math simple for this example, let’s round up to assume your rival has 2,000 users to target. For you to be able to hit these users 3 times per day with ads (6,000 impressions total) at an average price of 25 cents per thousand impressions, you’re spending $1.50 a day to do this. This is not possible via PPC except perhaps through remarketing/retargeting – and definitely not at this price with this level of control.

If you’re rotating ad copy to prevent burnout, bidding on a CPC vs on a CPM (Facebook changed their algorithm to favor CPC for getting clicks), and know how to create effective Facebook ads, you will be inundating the most loyal fans of your competitor with messaging. If you’re a little brand, these Facebook users will think that you’re flooding all of Facebook with ads, that it must be expensive, and that you must be a trustworthy brand because of how much this advertising must cost. Professional marketers may be incredulous here, as they “know better”, but consider that the average user has little understanding of how ads work.