This is the subhead for the blog post

One of the complaints about Facebook since its inception is how dangerously accessible it makes everything – photos, status, updates. On the flip side, of course, knowledge is power. Here’s how to make knowledge about a competing brand’s numbers work for your Facebook advertising campaign.

First, look up a competitor’s Facebook page and look for the “Likes” tab. It’s located on the upper portion of the page, below the cover photo. It looks like this:

“Like” how much data you’re about to get…

This tab will show how many lifetime likes your competition has, but there’s a lot more to it.

Click on the tab, and these five useful data points appear:

Tons of good data…what to make of it?

1. Facebook provides the “People Talking About This” metric, which was standard prior to the Timeline-for-brands rollout. What does it mean, exactly? It is the number of unique users who have engaged with the page (liked, shared, commented) in the last seven days. This number shows how you stack up against your competition – who had a bigger number of engaged fans over the last week? If you’re running a robust campaign, and your competition is beating you easily, study their page and their ads – why might theirs be more effective?

2. The “Most Popular Week” is the seven-day period when the most people were “talking about” the page. To take advantage of this information, you can look up this date range on the competitor’s Facebook timeline and see the content posted. You can tie the popularity to a particular post or promotion that worked for your competition and get some ideas from this to improve your own content and promotional strategies.

3. The “Most Popular City” is the area where most “people talking about this” are logged in when they engaged with the page. This might be a geographic region to consider for your brand to target with ads, since Facebook allows geo-targeting by country, state, city and zip code. There are some exceptions to this, though – if Coke’s most popular city is Atlanta (its headquarters), that’s not necessarily a cue for Pepsi to go all-in for the Atlanta market.

4. The “Most Popular Age Group” shows which age range included the highest number of engaged fans. Again, this information might be useful for your brand, since Facebook allows you to segment your ads by age.

5. The People Talking About This/New Likes Per Week metrics are rolled together here. To estimate how many users actually engaged (commented, shared, liked content) with your competitor’s page over the last seven days, simply subtract the number of “people talking about this” by “new likes per week.”

This graph is also useful to track unusual activity, such as sudden drops in engagement and fan acquisition. If your page has had any unusual activity, you can make certain conclusions about whether it’s isolated or Facebook-wide by checking the trend line of your competitor’s graph.

If that all seems like a lot of data about your competitors, well, yeah – it kind of is, right there for all to see. So how will you use it to benefit your brand?

– Clark Sioson, Facebook Account Manager