Spy on your Competitors’ Facebook and Instagram Ads with Facebook Ad Library

5 min read
spy-on-your-competitions-facebook-ads

Whether you like the way your competition are advertising themselves or not, there’s valuable insights to be gained from understanding how your competition are positioning and targeting their products/services.

If you’re already running your own Facebook or Instagram ads, or are thinking about doing so, this brief guide will show you how to use Facebook Ad Library to identify what ads your competition are running, where they’re running them and what targeting they’re using to spread their message.

First Things First, What is Facebook Ad Library?

Facebook Ad Library was set up in March 2019 to provide advertising transparency by offering a comprehensive, searchable collection of all ads currently live across Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook promised to increase transparency after its ads were used to try and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections – Ad Library is Facebook’s answer to this promise.

Leveraging Facebook Ad Library to Spy on your Competitors’ Live Facebook and Instagram Campaigns

Using Facebook Ad Library is pretty straight forward:

  1. Visit the website
  2. Enter your competition’s name
  3. Browse their live ads
  4. Filter the ads by country, date range, and platform (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network).

I’ve recently been targeted with a few ads by Third Garden, a local Melbourne property investment company, so we’ll use them as an example.

Once you search for your competition, you will see some basic profile info as well as a list of all their live ads.

spy on competitors facebook and instagram ads

This will allow you to gain a broad understanding on the ads they’re running, the creative type (in this case an image with text graphics), and call-to-actions/value propositions they’re using to generate engagement.

I can see they’re running ads with calls-to-actions to either download a guide or schedule a free consultation.

Looking at a specific ad more closely, we can see the types of additional info provided by Facebook Ad Library:

competitor ad in facebook library

In the top left you can see the ad is active and started running on 15 Nov 2019.

The top right corner shows this ad is being delivered across Facebook and Instagram. This is important because you can quickly scan your competitors ads and see which platforms they deem valuable to target customers. You might be surprised.

If you click “See ad details”, you’ll be able to view additional data including the links to the pdf on offer, as well as the data fields they’re looking to capture for the transaction.

In this case, we can see that Third Garden are looking to capture the full name, email, phone and qualify the lead by questioning the date the user is looking to invest.

facebook ad library gives detailed ad info of your competitors

Facebook Ad Library is a great way to gain some specific insights at the expense of your competition.

Identifying Some of the Targeting Parameters your Competitors are Using

Below is a screenshot of an ad served to me in the Facebook news feed.

ad served in FB feed

One often unknown feature of sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram is that you can view the targeting that’s been used to serve you ads.

why am I seeing this ad

By clicking “Why am I seeing this ad?” you’ll be able to view the specific parameters for targeting that your competition has used to target you.

why am I seeing this ad explained

From here, we can see I’m being targeted because I meet Third Garden’s ‘advertising requests’:

  • People interested in investments and alike
  • English speakers
  • Males aged 28-55
  • People whose primary location is Melbourne

The “Why am I seeing this ad?” section can be useful in helping you identify some of the targeting your competition are using to get their message to your audience so you can follow suit if you find any gold nuggets.

The best thing you can do to see your competitors ads is to engage with some of their content on their Facebook/Instagram profiles or visit their website.

Key Takeaways

Facebook Ad Library is a highly useful tool that essentially allows you to spy on your competitors’ Facebook and Instagram ads.

But, there’s more to it than just that.

You can actually retrieve valuable insights from the ads your competitors are running to get their message across, and use it to improve your own social media strategy, grow your network and generate leads.

For example, we found that businesses like Third Garden are running creative graphic and textual ads along with call-to-actions/value propositions on both Facebook and Instagram to target high-quality leads and generate engagement.

We were also able to view the specific parameters they’re using to advertise to their target audience.

Using Facebook Ad Library, we are able to leverage our competitors’ top performing ads to identify the ideal target audience, effective targeting parameters, traffic-generating content and call to actions which we can use to optimise our Facebook and Instagram campaign strategies and generate the best results.

Daniel Sandoval

Owner of Digital Assembly. Lecturer at the Institute of Digital Marketing Australia. I write about online marketing, business, and all things digital.

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