February 7, 2021

How to Scrape and Target Competitors IG Followers With Ads


Remember the times when you thought your competitors are your enemy?

Of course, you still compete with them to win your audience’s attention, and some of them are winning faster than you, but saying they’re your enemy? Now, when we have the technology and social media on our side?

You’re better than that.

There’s a silver lining in there, and that’s targeting (and stealing) competitors’ followers on Instagram and Facebook. If you want to grow hack your email list there’s no better way than going after competitors’ followers. And, to be honest there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t reach out and try to convert them into your leads and customers.

In today’s blog, I’m going to spill the beans on how you can leverage your competitor’s social media profile and target their fans on Instagram and Facebook through 3 different methods.

And while there’s no option on the platform that allows you to target Facebook Ads to fans of a competitor’s page, there are a couple of great workarounds.

The methods to target competitor’s followers on Instagram and Facebook I will cover are:

  • Targeting 35% of competitors’ followers with ads (custom audiences with emails from competitors followers).
  • Using Facebook interests
  • Using Lookalike Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences With Emails From Competitors Followers 

Read how to extract emails from competitors’ Instagram followers, import them as custom audiences, and run ads only to them.

Creating a competitive advantage on Instagram and Facebook by creating custom audiences is the only direct and foolproof method to steal competitors’ fans.

Let’s start from the beginning.

1. What are Facebook’s custom audiences?

Custom Audiences is an option that lets you target people based on sources like website or app traffic, engagement on Facebook, and most importantly by importing your customer email list.

We’ll stick with the last one.

The process is straightforward. Import your customer list in Facebook Ads Manager, Facebook checks their records and identifies which customers are active on Facebook or Instagram, and lets you run ads only on those people.

Custom Audiences and are the most ROI-positive ads due to the high targeting control. Most often advertisers use them to:

  • Put offers in front of existing customers & subscribers. After all, the most likely person to buy from you now is someone that bought from you in the past.
  • To suppress their audience from seeing competitor ads.
  • For Lookalike Audiences. Lookalike Audiences leverage thousands of different data points Facebook has on its users to help you find similar prospects.

But, the great thing about Custom Audiences is that Facebook never asks whether the customer list you have is really from your customers.

Meaning, if you can get your hands on your competitors’ email list you’ll be able to target them – no questions asked.

And here’s how we can do that.


2. How to find emails from competitors’ Instagram followers?

Did you know that 30 to 40% of all Instagram users have their personal contact information right in their profile?

  • 10% of all Instagram users have their contact information included in their bio.
  • 30% of all Instagram users have their email as a button on their profile

You might wonder how come these 30% percent have an email address button? Well, these users have opted in for a so-called Instagram business profile just to get access to follower stats that are not available to regular users. But in the process they allowed Instagram to share their contact information on their profile.

Just note the button is only available if you visit the profile with your Instagram application, NOT desktop. And if you click on it you’ll be able to see the email address. Here’s an article that will explain further how to find an email address of an Instagram account.

Ok, so where am I getting at?

Let’s say you want to target people that follow Nike on Instagram.


You can visit Nike’s Instagram page and click on “followers”. You’ll be given a list with all their followers.


3. How to get emails from competitors’ Instagram followers?

Technically, you can go over each of their followers and copy-paste any emails and phone numbers you can find in a spreadsheet.

Go ahead and check the number of followers your competitors have. If they have less than 500 followers you can manually do the data collecting.

But if your competitors have a large number of followers you can use an Instagram email tool to get clean data, fast. We are working with a research team that does this all day, every day.

Let me briefly explain what we do.

After you share with us your competitors, we research all their Instagram fans and collect any publicly available information (emails, phone numbers, biography, number of followers, etc)

Then we use our internal AI to analyze the accounts and filter out any accounts that do not belong in your niche (location, gender, age, interest, etc.)

Before we deliver the email addresses (along with 28 other data points) we use external APIs to validate all of the data. Meaning no spam traps, bots, fake accounts, or other types of invalid emails.

Having clean data is crucial if you plan on using emails from competitors’ followers in your Facebook Ads. If the data isn’t validated when you import the emails as custom audiences (customer list), Facebook can notice the high number of non-existent emails and ban your account.

To get in touch with our team, schedule a free 15-minute call or use the form below to share your competitors’ Instagram accounts.


4. How to create custom audiences with competitors’ email lists?

First, to create a Custom Audience, visit your Facebook Ad Manager and click on Create Audience field:

You’ll be asked about the different ways of creating the audience.

Here’s how that looks like:

Image Source: SocialMediaExaminer 

You can choose between uploading a file, using your website traffic, a list of users who have interacted with your application, or users who have engaged with your Facebook content.

Go with uploading a Customer file.

Simply upload the CSV we provided and wait a couple of minutes until Facebook matches your contacts with theirs.

Since in this strategy we use emails from Instagram followers i.e. publicly available data from Instagram, the match rate is very high 70-90%.

Facebook Interests for Targeting Competitors’ Followers 

Targeting based on interests is the next best thing to the previous strategy for running ads on competitors’ audiences.

Let me explain.

Here are the steps to check the list of your (personal) Facebook ad interests:

  1. Settings
  2. Ads
  3. Ad Settings
  4. Categories used to reach you
  5. Interest Categories

Here, you can find all the advertisers who’re targeting you based on your interest.

If you want to find out your ads interest on Instagram, the process is pretty much the same:  Settings→Security→Access Data→Ads Interests. 

Guess what?

Your competitors’ followers have these interest categories as well.

All you have to do is to target a closely related subject to your brand and find an untapped audience. This will require you to do detailed research on your competitor’s followers’ Facebook ads interests, meaning you’ll have to manually check out all the profiles so you can get a better picture of your competitors’ followers.

Notice how I focus more on Facebook rather than Instagram?

That’s because with Facebook Ad Manager you can run campaigns on both social media platforms – meaning you can target fans of a page on both Instagram and Facebook. 

However, there’s no easy way around getting to know your competitors’ followers – the process will take a lot of time, and resources, but it can be worth it.

After you do the research, you can set it up in your Facebook Ad Manager, in the Interest field. As SocialMediaExaminer said in their example, you can type literally anything in the field and some interests will pop up.

Image Source: SocialMediaExaminer

By doing this, you’ll start targeting customers from competitors who are not familiar with your service, but they’re more than familiar with the benefits of such a product or service, as they follow your competitors.

Don’t be afraid to select precise interests in your Facebook ads: if you’re too generic you’re not going to get closer to your audience.

It’s worth a shot, although marketers still fight over how to do proper interest-based targeting.

Moving on.

Lookalike Audience for Targeting Competitors Followers

For those of you who don’t know what a lookalike Facebook audience is, here’s a little explanation:

A Facebook lookalike audience is similar to your existing customers, but you’re using a more advanced type of interest-based targeting.

Note that in order to create a lookalike audience, you need to be a Page admin or pixel admin.

To start, visit your Facebook Ad Manager dashboard and click on the Create Audience field.

Next, you’ll see this window on your screen:

As you can see, creating a lookalike audience is determined by three factors: source, location, and audience size. You and your competitors have similar audiences and by setting up these criteria, you’re tapping into their pool of followers and you have a chance of converting some of them into your followers.

The most important part about creating a lookalike audience?

Facebook lets you set up the source of the audience – it could be a custom audience, a page, or a pixel. With this feature, you’re able to create an audience on Facebook that’s carefully picked by you, using outside data to increase the success rate.

Ads that work best with competitors audience

Now that you’ve set-up the ads it’s time to approach this audience that likes the types of products you sell, but (probably) never heard of your brand.

Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you nail the copy and design of your ads.

  • Articulate why your products are better than your competitors 

This isn’t a regular top-of-the-funnel audience. You don’t need to explain the benefits of your products because they already bought them from your competitor. What you need to do is explain why they should switch over to your side.

So before creating your ads do thorough research on your competitors. Read online customer testimonials and reviews to find why people like and dislike their products.

Make a small list of things people complained about and see how your brand stands against them.

After you choose the weak-points of your competitors, that you on the other hand do very well, create different text and designs for each of them.

The goal is to test which one is most important to them (i.e. the one with the most engagement).

  • Offer discounts based on competitors prices 

Quality and price are most often the two deciding factors when it comes to consumer behavior.

When you create your ads make sure the prices displayed are 25-30% lower than your competitors. Meanwhile, communicate how your product/service is better (higher quality) than the competition.

  • Always optimize, but never pause those ads

If these ads don’t work for you then Facebook Ads are probably not the best channel for your brand. You’re never going to find a more targeted audience than the fans of your competitors on social media.

My suggestion is to continuously test and optimize your copy and design until you convert all of them into your customers.

If you’re not sure about this strategy, continue reading the next example of an eCommerce store using custom audiences to reach their competitors’ followers.

13x ROaS from advertising to competitors’ fans  

Here’s the short version of our success story with this client.

Jack Black Beard Oil is an eCommerce store for beard care products that used Facebook as their only growth channel. But, even though they ran Facebook ads based on audience interests, they experienced a significant loss in the ad budget.

They decided to go with a more secure approach and create a custom audience with email addresses from the followers of their biggest competitors.

As a test, they ordered 10,000 verified emails and the results they got in less than a week were stunning!

In the first campaign, they’ve reached 13:1 RoAS on Facebook ads – that’s $13 for every $1 spent, which is incredible.

That’s for the short version of this story – you can read the full version here.

We can do the same for your business as well. We hold the number one spot for a company with the largest database of consumer email addresses (over 50 million contacts).

We’ve worked with clients in dozens of niches, and you bet that we have countless emails of your competitors’ followers already in our base. If not, then we can go over every one of their followers and deliver them to you in less than 72 hours.

The best thing?

You can use the same emails to target competitors’ followers both on Facebook and Instagram! And you can win their followers over on both platforms.

Or if you’re into email marketing create a cold email campaign and popup right in their inbox.

So, the only thing you need to do is to write down your competitors using the form below.

How do you target your competitors’ customers?

These strategies will definitely help you run successful PPC campaigns on Instagram and Facebook.

After all, the most relevant audience (after your current customers) is the one that follows your competitors on social media.

If you like to get emails from competitors’ followers and then use them as custom audiences, book a free call with our team.


If you are interested in learning more about how you can get validated Instagram data, make sure to schedule a quick call with our team, where you can discuss the details related to your targeting.