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Spying On Competitor Targeting To Determine Their Facebook Marketing Strategy

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

HostGator Facebook Ad Help

If you’re advertising on Facebook, you’ve probably hit a road block at least once when it comes to targeting. You can play with audience insights all day long, but sometimes you just can’t locate that exact sweet spot that would be best for your specific business. So, why not use what your competitors are using?

Whatever niche you’re in, you’ve probably done your research. You’ve visited some of the top sites in the game, Liked some of the highest performing Facebook pages, and maybe even bought an array of products. Doing all of this online has most likely made Facebook think you’re interested in the industry. Therefore, if your competitors are targeting properly, you’ll start seeing their ads appear. For example, I’m in the Internet marketing game and I see a lot of ads for Internet marketing products, ebooks, and webinars. But I also help my girlfriend with her makeup blog. So I also see a lot of ads for makeup and beauty products even though I don’t actually use these products and certainly am not their target demographic. This can apply to almost any niche provided that you’ve done your research into the given industry.


Spying On Your Competitor’s Facebook Marketing Strategy

Of course, you can’t get gain access into your competitor’s business / ad manager. Therefore, we will have to use a little reverse engineering to make this strategy work. This is something that I love to do when trying to kill time, and to see what my own competitors are doing as well. We’re going to do that here with some real-life facebook ad examples from my own news feed.

There are 3 main placements for Facebook advertising. You have your native ads on desktop and mobile, and you have your right rail ads. Each of them will show you information about the ad you are seeing. We’ll begin with the right rail:


Right Side Ad Targeting

How To Spy On Your Facebook Ad Competitors
As mentioned, the ads currently targeted at me include both makeup/beauty ads, as well as some for Internet marketing.

Given the above 3 ads, how do I find out what they’re doing? The answer is easy enough. Hover on the image to see a little X.

How To Find Your Competitors Facebook Strategy

Click on the X and you’ll be presented with several options. Click the option “Why am I seeing this?

Why Am I Seeing This Facebook Ad?

From here, you’ll be given a lightbox popup with information about the ad. Sometimes this is very vague, as we’ll see momentarily, but sometimes it will give you some interesting ideas. Let’s see how Mr. Brown targeted me.

How To Reverse Engineer A Facebook Ad

For the Liberty Mutual ad, it’s one of the vague descriptions since they’re using an agency called TheTradeDesk.

Ad using An Facebook Advertising Company

The Nordstrom ad? They’re using TellApart to target people. So unfortunately it doesn’t reveal exactly how they targeted me. It’s possibly a retargeting ad.


Newsfeed Ad Targeting

Let’s take a look at a few Newsfeed ads. This first ad I saw was from a competitor. Which is funny because this is exactly what I would look for when doing my research. To find what they’re doing, let’s click on the chevron that points down on the top right.

Digital Ocean Facebook Ad

You’ll receive a similar box of options as the right rail. Click the same “Why am I seeing this” to see more information. You’ll see that our competitor is using a dark post that’s targeting me based on my interest in Linux. Interesting, because I was briefly targeting this not too long ago. Maybe they did a little reverse engineering as well?

How To Target A Niche On Facebook

Here’s another example of a Newsfeed ad. They’re selling SEO services and the targeting they are using is interesting.
Facebook ad for SEO Facebook Ad Targeting Moz Marketing Software

They’re targeting Moz Marketing Software, something that Glen at Viperchill wrote about a few months ago. This is interesting to me because they’ve been targeting this for awhile and so did Glen before he wrote his article. I am only aware of this due to a mutual friend of mine and Glen’s. As such, either this advertiser has a relation to Glen or they’ve been doing some reverse engineering themselves. Although we’re only scratching the surface, you are beginning to see how deep the rabbit hole can go.

In a matter of coincidence, Viperchill showed up when I continued scrolling down my page. Let’s see how Glen is targeting these days.

Viperchill Facebook Ad

How Does Viperchill Target on Facebook

He’s targeting those interested in Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger. This is actually the 4th person that I’ve seen this month targeting Darren. I really like this targeting because it shows you that you don’t have to just target brands and hobbies, you can find some of the biggest names in the industry to target as well. Which, if you’re doing it, there’s a chance your ad costs might be slightly less expensive because most advertisers would go after recognizable brands rather than individuals.


Mobile Newsfeed Targeting Examples

My first example was the first ad to show in my feed, and it is actually our good friends Bluehost. How about we take a look at what they’re doing.

How To Spy On Your Facebook Competitor

Facebook Ads Help

I’m glad this one showed up because of the targeting they’re doing here. In this example, they’re targeting a lookalike audience from an existing audience. A lookalike audience is an audience that Facebook will generate for you based on an audience you’ve added into their system. So this could either be their customers, a retargeting list, or a couple of other options. They’re trying to find people that are similar to people who have bought their services previously, so there’s a good chance that they may be interested as well.

Our next ad is one of those ads that doesn’t give you much information. Why is that? Because they’ve incorporated several layers within their ad. Age, location, interest, and many other options can be used to target. Using multiple targeting options will make it more difficult to see exactly what is being done.

How to tell how your competition is targeting on facebook

This is basically how you can tell what your competitors are doing on Facebook in order to give you some ideas for targeting. These were just a few examples, certainly not all-inclusive. One particular ad message to be aware of will say something similar to “ABC advertiser is trying to reach people based on their current customers” which means they uploaded your information as a custom audience. When I see this from an advertiser that I know that I haven’t given them my information, I block and report them since it probably means they bought my email from somewhere or scraped it somehow. Neither of which should be done.


How Can You Edit Your Facebook Interests?

This can be a little complicated as Facebook takes a lot of factors into consideration when matching you with interests. Some of these can be what pages you like, what websites you visit, and what products you buy. To remove specific interests, you just need to manage your ad preferences.  From the “why am I see this” popup, you can remove the exact interest (for example, the Moz Marketing Software) or you can click to go to all of your preferences. There, you can pick and choose what to remove or add.

Hopefully this has shed some light on how to use your competitors’ Facebook ads to find new targeting options. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!

How To Sell A Website

Written by Luke McCormack

Thursday, May 21st, 2015


Do you own a website with stable traffic and revenue, but have grown tired of maintaining it, don’t know how to take it to the next level, or you could simply use some extra cash? If you answered yes, you might want to consider selling your website.

Website flipping, as it is affectionately termed, is a quickly growing industry that allows owners of websites and web businesses to easily liquidate their online assets. With over 600,000 users and upwards of $140,000,000 in transactions processed to date, Flippa is universally regarded as the premiere destination for selling websites. Sellers on Flippa list their websites up for sale in eBay style auctions where buyers looking to make acquisitions have the opportunity to place a bid.

Sites sold on Flippa include the massively popular sold for $85,000 in January 2015, the viral news publisher The Inquisitr for $330,000 in May 2011, and even FaceMash, which was originally launched by Mark Zuckerberg and sold on Flippa for $30,000 in 2010.

So, it’s clear that Flippa is the premiere destination for web entrepreneurs, but how does one actually go about selling a website on the platform? Check out the following tips and tricks that can help you successfully sell your website.



Preparing your site for sale is a key step in the process of selling a website. The reason being that when it comes time to list your site for sale, the more information you provide the more confidence buyer will have in the listing. In order to provide the right information, it is crucial that you have several things in place before you. Of course, the two most important things you will want to keep track of are traffic and revenue. Keeping detailed records of both of these metrics is essential to a successful sale.



When it comes to monitoring and analyzing your traffic, Google Analytics is the industry standard. One of the great things about Google Analytics is that the platform easily allows for website owners to provide access to traffic data to interested buyers. Quite frankly, you should have Google Analytics installed on all of your websites from the moment you launch them. Before selling a website you should aim to have at least 12 months of Google Analytics data.



As far as revenue goes, it is vital that you keep accurate records of all revenue and expenses month by month. By far, the number one thing buyers consider when valuing a website is profit, and without accurate financial records you are simply not going to be able to accurately convey the value of the site. In addition to keeping accurate records, make sure that your records are provable. To do this keep separate accounts for your web businesses, take advantage of backend sales reports, and avoid migrating platforms without saving all financial data beforehand.



Before selling your site, you will want to get a general idea of what it can potentially sell for at auction. Typically, websites sell at a multiple of between 1x to 3x yearly profit. Of course, there are countless websites that sell below this range, there are wild fluctuations within the range, and there are even websites that sell for above this range. The more stable, sustainable, and unique the business the higher it should sell for. All of that said, the only way to get a true valuation is to list your site for sale and let the market decide.


Setting Up Your Auction

Flippa makes it easy to set up an auction for your website. You’ll be prompted to provide historical information about your site as well as detailed traffic and financial information. The more transparent and open you can be the better, as buyers are unlikely to place a bid on an auction in which the seller is withholding pertinent information about the site.


Listing Description

This is your opportunity to sell. Remember the person who will read this listing description is evaluating this as a business, so instead of attempting to sell them with superfluous and unnecessary language, try to sell them on the facts. Make sure to discuss factors about your website such as the business model, monetization method(s), marketing efforts, challenges, future opportunities, and the reason why you are selling.


Auction Management

Regardless of how the auction starts out, avoid jumping the gun and getting discouraged. Most bids typically come in the final 24 hours of an auction. If you list your site for sale, be prepared to stick it out to the end. The most important thing to remember is to stay active. Sellers that fail to respond in a timely manner to questions, or sellers that are clearly evasive almost always get called out on it and this leaves a bad taste in the mouth of potential buyers. Remember, you want to leave a good impression, because buyers are not only evaluating the business, they’re evaluating whether or not they would be comfortable doing business with you. In short, always put your best foot forward.


Post Sale

So, your site just sold to the high bidder, what comes next? You’re not quite done yet. It’s just as crucial that you remain involved and active in the post-sale process, as this will significantly reduce the chances of your sale falling through. The first thing you will want to determine is how the buyer will pay for the asset. It is ALWAYS recommended that you accept payment via escrow, as this is the safest option for both parties. Flippa offers a free escrow service, so it’s really the only option you should be using.

Once the money has been placed securely into escrow, you should be notified via email. At that point you can begin transferring the assets of the business over to the buyer. After the transfer of assets is complete, escrow should release the funds to you, and it may take 3 to 5 business days for the funds to clear into your account.


Closing Thoughts

An auction for an online business is a bit like a marathon. It’s a long and arduous process that will require significant involvement on your end. You should make sure that you have enough time to participate fully or you risk selling your site for less than it is worth. However, if you have legitimate money making web business, and you follow some of the tips and tricks above, you should have no issues in achieving a successful sale and putting cash in your pocket.


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Are You Creating Deep Connections With Your Customers?

Written by Kevin Wood

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Are You Creating Deep Connections With Your Customers_

Are there any brands you love so deeply you wouldn’t know what to do if they suddenly vanished? This could be your favorite brand of coffee, the type of computer your use, or even something as simple as the style of pen you love to write with. The examples are endless and I bet there are lot of companies you maintain a nonsensical love for.

The reason this connection exists is because you feel supported and loved, you feel like this company speaks for you and gets you in some deeper way. As humans we crave this connection and need to be seen. If you can create this level of bond with your customers and clients you’ll find yourself with an army that’s willing to stand behind everything you do.

The good news is it all starts with developing and nurturing a deep connection with your audience — all of us are capable of doing this.


Know Yourself First

Without knowing your company on a deep level you won’t have a backbone on which to base this relationship. You may know exactly what you’re selling, or the service you’re offering, but you still need to uncover your deeper operating principles. Once you know the deeper values you stand for you can bring these to light for your customer to see.

For example, you may simply sell exercise equipment for women. But, really you’re selling the feeling of having the beautiful body that you adore. Connecting with this desire will give you a lot of momentum moving forward. Find your deep why and don’t be afraid to communicate it.


Understand To Whom You’re Speaking

Every company has an ideal customer they’re going to be speaking to. It’s your job to know this person inside and out. What are their core desires? How do they want to feel when they’re done interacting with you? Does your company give them any social boost?

You’ll need to go beyond demographics and truly get into their head and emotional states.


Create Memorable Experiences

When you think back to an astonishing experience you had with a company, I bet it stands out because it’s extremely memorable. They did something that was above and beyond the norm.

You’ll want to create these experiences for your customers. Especially early on in your relationship. A good rule of thumb is delight early and often.


Take A Stand For Your Loyal Customers

Do you have any customers that have been with you a long time? A great way to deepen this relationship is by rewarding them for standing by your side so long. This can be something as simple as a customer loyalty program. Or, you can go above and beyond the norm and create a totally unique reward. It’s entirely up to you.


Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. This can be a marketing campaign gone awry, a product that you don’t feel good about, or a simple email exchange that was misinterpreted.

Recognizing that you’ve failed and moving forward in a powerful manner is how you’ll strengthen these bonds with your customers. Admit where you were wrong, learn from your mistakes and start to move in a powerful direction.

The bond you form with your customers is one of the most important parts of your business. Take the time to nourish this relationship and your business will thank you.

Rebootless Venom Vulnerability Patch

Written by Sean Valant

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Unfortunately, it seems like new exploits are appearing more and more often these days.

The most recent exploit to make headlines is known as CVE-2015-3456, aka “Venom.” Ultimately this exploit, much like many before it, can allow a malicious individual to gain root privileges on a server.

However, we are not posting this blog to expound on this latest exploit, rather our security experts have developed a procedure to effectively patch this vulnerability without necessitating a reboot. We felt it would be in the best interest of the community at large to release this information as quickly as possible, therefore we have launched in order to provide this resource and information to the public at large.

We are providing this resource simply as a counter-measure against this exploit; this patch carries no guarantee, implied or otherwise.

For full information, please visit