A bit of competition can bring out the best in people. On social, a Facebook competitor analysis can bring out the best in your brand.

According to the 2022 Sprout Social Index™, over 80% of marketers check their social data on a daily or weekly basis to inform everything from content strategy to market research. These decisions aren’t made with owned analytics alone. Competitor data is essential to getting the full picture.

Using Facebook data to bolster your competitive intelligence can provide you with the insights needed to zig where others zag. It’s no wonder Facebook is the most-used platform by marketers worldwide.

If you’re ready to engage in some old-fashioned competitive sleuthing, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know to start monitoring your competition on Facebook.

What is a Facebook competitor analysis?

A Facebook competitive analysis is the process of evaluating your competitor’s Facebook activity for benchmarking data. These reports also provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s social media strategy overall.

Conducting a Facebook competitor analysis involves reporting on key brand growth and engagement metrics for your brand and its rivals. Your team can use this social data to set a baseline for audience growth, publishing and engagement goals.

These findings can help you define what it means to offer superior content and service on social media, increasing the business impact of your presence on the network.

Why should you do a Facebook competitive analysis?

If you plan on conducting a social media competitive analysis, make Facebook your top priority. Over two-thirds of consumers anticipate spending more time on Facebook over the next year, making it a goldmine of strategic insights. If that’s not enough, here are some other reasons to consider:

Establish more relevant KPIs

Competitive benchmarking on Facebook can take the guesswork out of goal setting.

For example, say you’re trying to set a new engagement goal. Looking at your historical data can help you set an achievable target, but without competitive insights, you risk setting goals that aren’t in line with industry standards.

Your Facebook competitor analysis can motivate you to aim higher with your social content while keeping your strategy attainable and actionable.

Identify content gaps

Competitive analyses can illuminate cracks in your content strategy while supplying the information needed to fill them.

For instance, an oral health care brand conducting a Facebook competitive analysis might notice that Quip incorporates month-long observances and hashtag holidays into their content strategy.

It’s National Dentist’s Day *and* Women’s History Month, and Leonie von Meusebach-Zesch is one of the most interesting…

Posted by quip on Saturday, March 6, 2021

Since these posts do well from an engagement standpoint, that brand may consider how they can put their own unique spin on similar events.

Create better content for your followers

Coming up with new content ideas is a top challenge for many social media marketers.

Rather than starting to brainstorm from a blank slate, use industry data to create some much-needed guardrails. That’s where your Facebook competitor analysis comes in.

The analysis will help you identify your rival’s content themes. As you notice them, ask yourself how your brand might approach something similar. What would you do differently? What opportunities are they not taking advantage of?

Eventually, you’ll come up with a unique piece of inspired content that stands independently from its source material.

Understand the strength of customer service efforts

More than half of US consumers turn to Facebook the most for customer service needs, making it the preferred network for customer care.

A quantitative and qualitative review of your competitor’s Facebook pages can help you clearly define what they are and aren’t getting in terms of customer service. This will show you exactly what it takes to gain a competitive edge on social.

Facebook competitive analysis tools will help you keep a pulse on what your audience expects from brands on the network. Eventually, you’ll find ways to one-up their service offerings, cementing your spot as the brand people turn to for a better customer experience.

Test new Facebook features

Facebook started as a social network for college students. Now, it’s a social network, a marketplace, a media platform and so much more.

This creates an ever-flowing river of new opportunities for marketers. The only downside is, it can feel overwhelming to keep up.

A Facebook competitor analysis can help you identify which Facebook features are worth embedding into your strategy. If a competitor seems to be gaining a lot of traction from using a specific tool, that’s a clear sign to get in on the action.

How to analyze competitors on Facebook with Sprout

You could do some of this research manually, but Sprout will make the process much more efficient. Sprout’s Facebook Competitors Report lets you track metrics for any Facebook page to compare them against your own. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Set your filters

Use the Filter Menu to customize the data you want to see in your report.

Sprout's Facebook Competitor Report with the 'Your Pages' filter drop down selected.

You’ll find three different filters within the menu: Pages, Competitor Pages and Date Range.

  • Use Pages to select which owned Facebook pages you’d like to include in the report.
  • Use Competitor Pages to manage and select competitor Facebook pages
  • Use the Date Range date picker to select a time period for your report.

Step 2: Check the summary

The top widget in the Facebook Competitor Report is a summary table. This features averages of key metrics including Fans, Public Engagements and Public Engagements per Post.

A screenshot of the Sprout Facebook Competitor Report summary table.

Use the trends highlighted in the summary as starting points for your competitive investigation. For example, if you notice that your fan average is lagging behind, that may be the first item to review and cover in your report.

Step 3: Dig into the numbers

You’ll find three different chart widgets in the Facebook Competitor Report:

  • The Audience Growth chart shows how your audience grew compared to your competitors’ during the selected time period.
  • The Publishing Behavior chart shows the different types of posts you and your competitors published during the selected time period.
  • The Engagement chart evaluates how people are engaging with posts based on publish date.

Each of these charts goes deeper into the high-level metrics available in the Summary table. They also provide averages of each metric for both owned and competitor Facebook pages. Use this information to benchmark your performance against your competitors’ averages.

Step 4: Review post-level data

Use the Top Posts widget to review the most popular posts published during your selected time period.

A screenshot of the Top Posts widget in Sprout's Facebook Competitor Report.

The Top Posts widget will help you analyze published content across all competitors to understand what’s resonating within your shared audience. As you review the data, stay on the lookout for qualitative trends as well. What type of visuals and messaging drive the most engagement? Are there any topics people seem particularly excited about?

Understanding these trends will come in handy during your next brainstorm.

Step 5: Share findings

There are a few different ways you can distribute your report from Sprout.

A screenshot of the sharing options available in Sprout's Facebook Competitor Report

If you’d like to limit the number of disparate files floating around people’s inbox, try the link sharing option. This will allow you to share reports with multiple stakeholders regardless of whether they have a Sprout account or not.

Understanding your Facebook competitor analysis

Numbers are nothing without the right context.

For example, what if one of your competitors ran an enticing social media contest during your reporting period? That would definitely have an impact on either their engagement or audience growth. If your report lacks that context, it can result in an unfair assessment of your team’s performance.

Use storytelling to give your data meaning. Include the “why” behind your most interesting numbers so that your teammates understand the full story behind the report as well.

May the best brand win

A Facebook competitor analysis can be exactly what you need to level up on the network. Understanding where their strengths and weaknesses lie is the first step to understanding how to outperform them on social.

Compiling that data takes a lot of work, especially when analyzing multiple competitors. Sprout Social can eliminate all the data collection work so you can focus on planning your next steps. Sign up for a trial today to test out the Facebook Competitor Report free for 30 days.