How to Peek At Your Competitor’s Ads (Auto Repair Marketing)

By examining your competitor's ads for auto repair services, you can glean countless insights.

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Conceptual Minds | September 27, 2023

How to Peak At Your Competitor’s Ads (Auto Repair Marketing)

As author and businessman Anthony D’Angelo’s take on the famous phrase goes, “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.”
 
All across the US and the globe, auto service providers are advertising many of the same services for every conceivable car problem.  What have they tried, and how well did it work?
 
Competitor research helps you answer that question. By examining digital ads from any of your local, regional, or national competition, you can glean countless insights capable of transforming your auto shop’s marketing and advertising strategy. 

What Research Can and Can’t Tell You About Your Competitor’s Ads for Auto Services

Competitive ad data was once very easily available, allowing marketers, or just about anyone, to clue in on ad spend, keywords, and more. 
 
Now that we live in a more privacy-conscious world, competitor research involves more interpretation.
 
Thankfully, the information we can gather is more than enough to gain valuable insights about how other business go about solving roughly the same marketing challenges. 
 
What We Can Learn
  • All currently running ads, including ad copy and imagery
  • The last date any given ad was shown
  • URLs of landing pages associated with ads
 
What We Can’t Learn
  • How much your competitors are spending
  • Keywords your competitors are bidding on
  • Anything about ads placed longer than one month prior

How to Examine Your Competitor's Google Ads for Auto Services

Google’s verified advertisers transparency page will lead us to competing ads. 

1. Perform a Google Search That Will Return Auto Repair Ads in Results

Google a search term that will return results for auto repair shops; think “auto repair near me” or “cheap oil changes.”

2. Click the Three Vertical Dots Next to a Relevant Ad

If the above terms aren’t giving you any local results, try alternative keywords.
 
Next, click the three stacked vertical dots next the ad you’d like to explore, click the link titled “See more ads this advertiser has shown using Google.” If you don’t see an ad library, that means this competitor has not been officially verified by Google. 

3. Examine at the Advertiser's Google Ads Page

You’ll land on a page that looks like this.
 
On the page, you should see the company’s legal name as well as a module that displays their ads, which are sorted by most recently published. 

4. Click Any Auto Service Ad to View More Details

After clicking any ad, and you’ll arrive at a page like this. You’ll learn the last time the ad was shown and the ad format, but that’s about it (We’re here for the ads and not much else). The arrows on either side of the ad let you view any available variations.
 
You’ll see arrows on either side of the ad, which let you view any variations.
 
In the next section, we’ll explore how to analyze competitor ads: what you can learn from them, and how that should inform your advertising strategy. 

How to Check Out Your Competitor's Facebook Ads

Facebook maintains an ad library that grants you access to all currently running advertisements from verified Facebook advertisers. The information contained within is roughly the same as Google’s.
USAG- Humphreys
Viewing Facebook ads is fairly simple. Visit the Facebook Ad Library, and search; either by keyword or by the competitor in question.

Scour Your Advertiser’s Library for Relevent Ads

You’ll next be taken to a page that looks like this. Here, we see Firestone Tires’ account, 
 
You’ll be able to scroll through any and all ongoing ads. If you’re looking for ads on particlar services, or for certain promotions, you can use the search bar. Otherwise, you’ll be scanning through them yourself. 
Once you find an ad you’d like to examine, simply click on the “See more details” button to get a full view. 
 
Once there, you’ll see a list of the platforms the ad runs on, the URL of the landing page the ad leads to. Then you’re done. 

What You Can Learn From Your Competitor's Ads for Auto Service

Knowing your competitor’s approach to auto repair advertising and customer generation gives you a leg up. 
 
Not only can you gather bits and pieces of their strategy, you can get a general feel for how well it’s working for them. This, in turn, will help you better understand what does and does not work in the auto repair industry, as well as guide you towards informed strategic decisions.
 
This particularly important in low cost service fields like auto repair where marketing agencies often lack industry experience.

1. Confirm That Your Competitors Are Running Auto Repair Service Ads

It may be a basic detail, but it pays to know that your competitors are running digital ads through Google or Facebook. While we can’t glean performance insights from our research, we can get a feel for how important this channel is to their overall strategy by examining the number of ads produced.
 
At the very least, you know which ads yours will go up against. 

2. Learn Their Approach to Writing and Targeting Auto Repair Ads

This is some of the most valuable stuff you’ll get how are they constructing ad copy.
 
Did they lead with benefits and features? Are they repeating the keywords and the headline description? How are they writing their calls to action?
 
From these we can gather about the above ad:
  • The first letter of each word are capitalized 
  • The language used is plain and direct
  • Focus is on the service’s benefits (We’re here to keep your car running newer)
  • Information about the offer takes priority

3. Learn About Potentially Valuable Keywords for Future Google Ads Campaigns

Even if you don’t know for sure which keywords triggered this ad, it’s possible to piece it together. Often, there’s a correlation between the headline and the targeted keyword phrase (Though responsive search ads changed the game a little bit).
 
We can gather through the above ad that they’re probably targeting “affordable alignment” or “alignment check.” We can gather there’s likely enough demand for these keywords for such an ad to be created; though knowing whether it “worked” is beyond our reach.
 
If I’m advertising for wheel alignment in my area, I’d know that I’m competing with an auto shop chain that gives away free alignment checks and something called “lifetime wheel alignment.”

4. Jumpstart the Creative Process for Creating Your Next Ads

There’s no more inspiring way to fix a problem than examining others attempt at a solution. 
 
To be clear, we’re not recommending wholesale copying competitors ads. 
 
For one we can’t say for sure whether the copy in question is effective. Secondly, even if it is at least relatively effective, we have no way of knowing if writing the same message in smoother, more attractive language wouldn’t give us better results.
 
As such, it’s not about finding the right combination of words to make a sale, it’s more piecing together the perceived effectiveness of various approaches (language, grammar, style, punctuation, messages).
 
Seeing their messaging might give you a few ideas for improving the copy with more colloquial language, or attaching a time-tested offer. 

5. Learn Which Offers They're Tempting Prospects With

It takes some time to figure out the types of deals, promotions and other offers that reliably move your customer base to purchase.
 
By peeking on the competition’s ads—both locally and nationally—you get a view of a wide range of offers and promotions. 
 
It’s more difficult to tell whether any given promotion will work, but if you happen to see the same offer in multiple ads—or in numerous ad versions—it’s far more likely to resonate.

Benefit From Decades of Combined Advertising Experience

 

In an ideal world, ads would just work. In our world, however, advertising is a distinct field with its own intricacies and detractors. By staying aware of your limitations and strategically choosing channels, you can advertise better than the vast majority of your competitors.

Learn About Conceptual Minds

As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.

Need help implementing winning auto repair promotions?

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