Nozak Consulting

How To Find Your Competitor’s Ads With the Facebook Ad Library


Facebook Ad Library, originally launched as Ad Archive in the United States in May 2018, is a transparency tool introduced by Facebook. This came in the wake of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election controversies and the broader discussions about the role of digital platforms in political advertising.

The issues surrounding undisclosed political advertising and the spread of misinformation pushed Facebook to take steps to increase transparency on its platform. As a result, the Ad Library was designed to bring more visibility into advertising.

In 2019, Facebook expanded the tool’s reach beyond the U.S. This made it available to users worldwide. This move aimed to provide a global insight into political campaigning and to give users a deeper understanding of who pays for the ads they see.  This also had implications for marketers and brands interested in understanding what Facebook ads were working. 

What Is the Facebook Ad Library?

The Facebook Ad Library is a tool provided by Facebook that allows users to search and view ads that are currently running or have been run on Facebook’s platforms. This also includes Instagram. Introduced as a measure to boost transparency, the Ad Library offers insights into ads even if the viewer is not the intended target audience for that particular ad. 

Components and Features of the Facebook Ad Library

Now that we know why it exists and what it does, what are the features of the Facebook Ad Library?

1. Searchable Database

Users can search for ads based on different criteria, including the advertisers, keywords, or the associated page. This allows marketers to find ads relevant to the brands and products they represent. 

2. Ad Details

There are a variety of details available about the ads used on Facebook. For each ad, you can see:

  • The ad’s creative information (images, text, videos).
  • Date when the ad started running.
  • If available, the range of money spent on the ad.
  • The estimated number of people reached.

3. Demographic Insights

Users can see a demographic breakdown of the audience that saw the ad, including information on age, gender, and location. Information like this can help streamline ad targeting and make it clear whether or not an ad is reaching the desired audience. 

4. Ad Archive 

Ads are stored in the library for seven years after their last run date, providing a long-term view of advertising on the platform. Access to the archive makes it possible to see how ads changed and what ads were popular at various times in the past. 

5. Transparency Reports

Beyond individual ads, the library also provides broader reports and insights on ad spending. For example, it might show aggregated spending on particular types of ads in a particular country over a specified period.

6. Information on Advertisers

For Pages that run or issue ads, additional details might be available. Details like who manages the Page, changes to the Page name, and the Page’s creation date.

The main goal of the Facebook Ad Library is to bring more transparency to advertising on the platform. People can use this tool to see what kind of ads are being run, by whom, and to what kind of audience. This is especially crucial in the realm of marketing, where understanding influence and spending can be crucial.


How Can Facebook Ad Library Be Used for Marketing?

The Facebook Ad Library provides a public view of advertisements running across Facebook and Instagram. It was primarily introduced to enhance ad transparency. Marketers can leverage the Facebook Ad Library in various ways to gain insights and enhance their campaigns. 

1. Competitive Analysis

See Competitor’s Ads: Check what ads your competitors run, their creative designs, and messages.

Frequency: Gauge how often they are posting new advertisements.

Ad Spend: For certain regions and ad types, Facebook provides details on how much was spent on the ad and the impressions range.

2. Inspiration for Creative Content

Explore Designs: Look at high-performing ads from brands across the globe to inspire your own creativity.

Ad Copy: See what type of ad copy resonates with audiences in your industry.

Call to Action: Observe the CTAs that competitors are using and see if there are any trends or patterns.

3. Identify Trends

Emerging Formats: Check if more brands are utilizing carousel ads, videos, stories, etc.

Seasonal Trends: Observe if certain types of ads or promotions become more prevalent during specific times of the year.

4. Ad Duration and Longevity

Track how long a particular ad has been running. If a competitor has been running an ad for an extended period, it might indicate that the ad is performing well for them.

5. Audience Targeting Insights

Demographic Data: For certain types of ads, Facebook Ad Library provides a breakdown of the audience by age and gender. This can give you insights into who your competitors are targeting and even who is interested in your product.

Geographic Distribution: Understand where these ads are being shown the most.

6. Landing Page Insights

By observing the CTAs and where competitor ads direct their users, you can gain insights into their funnel strategy. You can also learn about the type of landing pages they use.

7. Transparency and Trust

If you’re in a sensitive industry (e.g., politics, social issues), showing that you’re transparent about your ads can build trust with your audience.

8. Cross-Platform Strategy

The Ad Library shows if the ad is running on other platforms like Instagram, Audience Network, or Messenger. This can help you gauge where competitors are placing their emphasis.

9. Learning from Mistakes

By analyzing poorly designed ads or ads with unclear messaging, you can understand what not to do in your campaigns.

Tips to Remember

The Facebook Ad Library provides a lot of data but won’t give you specific metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, or detailed engagement metrics. You’ll have to make inferences based on the available data.

Continually check the library, as the ad landscape is always evolving. What worked a few months ago might not be as effective now.

Remember that while insights from the Ad Library can be valuable, always rely on your own data and analytics when making decisions about your campaigns.

The Facebook Ad Library Is a Tool for Your Business

Incorporating the insights from the Facebook Ad Library into your marketing strategy can give you a competitive edge and help you craft more effective, engaging advertisements. You can find the customers who want to engage with your product and find out where they are located. 

This will help you streamline your advertisement investments and get a higher return. While the Facebook Ad Library can’t do everything for you, it is a wealth of invaluable information. Don’t let your competitors get an advantage over you. Use their hard work to your benefit.