Finding Competitor Ads on Facebook: Tips and Techniques



Sep 18, 2023


min read

The world of Facebook advertising is a treasure trove of information that, when used effectively, can dramatically improve your digital marketing strategy. One of the most beneficial yet often overlooked aspects of Facebook advertising is the ability to monitor and analyze your competitors’ ads.

Why Is It Important To Keep Tabs on the Competition?

The answer is simple yet profound: knowledge. Knowledge about how your competitors are marketing themselves, who they're targeting, and how effective their ads are can offer you a strategic edge.

By understanding their advertising tactics, you can adapt, evolve, and craft a marketing strategy that not only competes, but outperforms.

The benefits of understanding your competitor's advertising strategy are multifold. It can help you spot trends, discover new and untapped audience segments, and avoid costly mistakes by learning from their missteps.

Now that we've underscored the importance of analyzing competitor ads let's move on to the tools that make this possible.

What Is the Facebook Ad Library?

The Facebook Ad Library is a public repository that provides advertising transparency by offering a comprehensive, searchable collection of all ads currently running from across Facebook products, including Instagram.

Whether they are active or inactive, you can see them. It's like having a secret window into the advertising strategies of any business, organization, or individual who has ever advertised on the platform.

In the realm of digital marketing, the Facebook Ad Library is a goldmine. It allows you to observe your competitors' ads and assess what's working for them and what isn't. This is crucial because an ad that garners a lot of attention and engagement can indicate that the message, format, or target audience is particularly effective.

Similarly, an ad that doesn't perform well can offer valuable insights. It could be that the message isn't resonating with the target audience, or the call-to-action isn't strong enough. By deep diving into these aspects, you can inform and enhance your advertising strategy, ensuring your resources are utilized most effectively.

How Can You Access the Facebook Ad Library?

Navigating to the Facebook Ad Library is straightforward.

First, ensure you're logged into your Facebook account. From the homepage, locate the search bar in the upper right corner of the screen. Type “Ad Library” into the search bar and press Enter. You'll be presented with a series of search results, including the “Go to Ad Library” option. Clicking on this option will redirect you to the main page of the Facebook Ad Library, where you can access the complete, unfiltered library.

Browsing ads directly on a Facebook page may only offer a snapshot of the active ads, while the full Ad Library provides a more comprehensive view of both active and inactive ads.

How Can You Find Specific Ads Using the Facebook Ad Library?

Once inside the Facebook Ad Library, finding specific ads is a simple process. To locate your competitor's ads, type the name of your competitor's Facebook page into the search bar at the top of the Ad Library page.

If the business has run ads, you'll be able to see the details of those ads, including copies of the ads themselves and details about who saw the ads, including demographics such as age, gender, and location.

On the left side of the screen, you'll see a dropdown menu that allows you to filter the ads by different criteria, such as active status, impressions, media type, and audience location. Utilizing this dropdown menu can help you find more specific ads, allowing you to pinpoint your investigation and glean more meaningful insights.

For example, you might be interested in your competitor's video ads, or you might want to see which of their ads have reached the largest audience. Using the filter options, you can quickly and easily find the ads most relevant to your research.

How Do You Analyze Your Competitors' Ads?

Analyzing your competitors' ads goes beyond merely viewing them. You need to dig deeper, examining the various metrics that come with each ad to fully understand their advertising strategy. Metrics are measurable values that marketers use to gauge the success of an ad campaign.

Some key metrics to pay attention to when examining ad performance include:

• Impressions: This refers to the number of times an ad has been shown. High impressions could mean the ad is effectively reaching its target audience.

• Engagement: This involves actions such as likes, shares, comments, and clicks. High engagement often signifies that the ad is resonating with viewers.

• Reach: This shows how many unique users have seen the ad. A wide reach could mean a broader target audience.

• Click-Through-Rate (CTR): This is the percentage of people who click on an ad after seeing it. A high CTR often signals an effective call to action (CTA).

Noticing which ads are successful can provide valuable insights for informing your own Facebook advertising strategy. If a competitor's ad is achieving high engagement and reach, it's worth noting the elements contributing to its success — perhaps it's the ad copy, the image used, the target audience, or the CTA. You can then experiment with incorporating these successful elements into your own ads.

What Should You Focus on When Reviewing Your Competitor's Ads?

Reviewing your competitor's ads is a strategic way to inform your own advertising efforts, but knowing what to focus on can make this process more effective.

Here are some key areas to pay attention to:

Ad Formats

Look at the different types of ads your competitors are using. Are they sticking with image ads, or have they ventured into video, carousel, or slideshow ads? Noting the ad formats your competitors use can offer insights into what might resonate with your shared target audience.


Analyze the ad copy. What tone of voice do they use? What key benefits or features do they highlight about their product or service? How do they engage with their audience? Understanding their messaging can help you craft compelling ad copies that engage your own audience.

Call to Action (CTA)

CTAs are a crucial part of an ad as they guide potential customers toward a desired action. Notice what kind of CTAs your competitors are using. Are they straightforward or more suggestive? This can help you create CTAs that prompt your audience to act.

Target Audience

Through the Facebook Ad Library, you can gain insights into who saw the ads, including demographics like age, gender, and location. Understanding who your competitors are targeting can help inform your own ad targeting strategy.

Ad Performance

Pay attention to ad metrics like impressions, reach, and engagement. These can give you an idea of what strategies are working for your competitors and may be worth trying in your own campaigns.

Landing Page

Click through your competitors' ads to explore their landing pages. How is the user experience? Is the branding consistent with the ad? Is the CTA clear and persuasive? A well-designed landing page can significantly boost conversions, so gather ideas from your competitors.


Notice how often new ads are posted. Frequent ad changes could mean your competitor is A/B testing different ad versions or that they are running a high-tempo campaign.

By focusing on these aspects, you can gather actionable insights to improve your own Facebook advertising strategy. Remember, the goal isn't to mimic your competitors but to learn from them.

What Should You Consider When Examining Ad Copy and CTAs?

Ad copy and CTAs are two crucial elements of any ad that can dramatically impact its effectiveness. When analyzing your competitors' ads, it's essential to study their messaging approach and how they're persuading their audience to take action.

Ad copy refers to the text of a clickable advertisement. It should be compelling and encourage the viewer to want to learn more. Examine your competitor's ad copy – how are they framing their products or services? What language are they using to engage their audience? Are they using any specific techniques, like fear of missing out (FOMO) or making an exclusive offer?

On the other hand, the call to action (CTA) is an instruction provided to the audience to provoke an immediate response. Examples include "Buy Now," "Learn More," or "Sign Up." When examining the CTA of your competitor's ads, consider what action they are trying to prompt. Is their CTA clear and compelling?

An effective CTA can significantly boost conversions, transforming a casual viewer into a potential customer. By learning from your competitors' CTAs, you can optimize your own to drive higher engagement and conversions.

How Do Different Types of Ads Perform on Facebook?

Facebook offers a variety of ad types and formats, each suited to different objectives and audience preferences. When you're studying your competitors' ads, pay close attention to the types of ads they're using and how they're leveraging the unique features of each.

Some of the common ad types and formats on Facebook include:

• Image Ads: These are the simplest ad type, consisting of a single image and an accompanying text.

• Video Ads: These use video content to capture attention and can be used in any campaign objective.

• Carousel Ads: These allow advertisers to showcase up to 10 images or videos in a single ad, each with its own link.

• Slideshow Ads: These are video-like ads made up of a series of static images.

• Collection Ads: These offer an immersive, mobile-optimized experience for users to discover, browse and purchase products or services directly from their News Feed.

Take note of the media type your competitors use. For instance, are they utilizing video ads or sticking with image ads? Are they using Instagram ads in addition to those on the main Facebook platform? How is their target audience responding to different ad types?

Observing these can help you decide which formats might work best for your audience and objectives.

How Does Facebook Ad Targeting Work?

Facebook Ad Targeting is a powerful tool that allows advertisers to precisely target their desired audience. Facebook offers various targeting options, such as location, demographics, interests, and behaviors, making it possible to reach the exact people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

To understand your competitors' ad targeting, look at the ad details available in the Facebook Ad Library. Here, you'll find information about who the ad reached, including age, gender, and location. This can give you an idea of who your competitors are targeting.

Pay attention to the Audience Network they're using. The Audience Network is a group of Facebook's partnered websites and apps where your ads can appear. By understanding which networks your competitors are targeting, you can gain insight into their advertising strategy.

Remember that Facebook Ad Targeting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It's crucial to continually experiment, test, and refine your targeting to find the most effective approach for your specific business goals.

How Do You Apply Your Insights to Your Own Ads?

Now that you have a wealth of information about your competitors' advertising strategies, the next step is to translate these insights into action. Analyzing your competitors' ads is not about copying what they're doing. Instead, it's about learning from their successes and mistakes to create a stronger advertising strategy for your own business page.

Take a close look at your own ads and compare them to what you've observed about your competitors' successful ads. Do you notice any common factors? Perhaps it's the style of ad copy, the type of CTA used, or the demographics targeted. These commonalities can guide you in refining your own ads.

Consider experimenting with new techniques or elements based on what you've learned. For instance, if you noticed your competitor is succeeding with video ads, consider developing a video ad campaign for your business. If their carousel ads are engaging a large audience, think about how your products or services could be showcased using this format.

It's important to remember that what works for your competitors might not necessarily work for you. Each business is unique, and it's crucial to test these techniques on your own ad campaigns to see what brings the best results for your specific audience and goals.

How Do Facebook Ads and Google Ads Compare?

While Facebook is a powerful platform for reaching potential customers, it's not the only player in the digital advertising space. Google Ads is another significant platform used by businesses to reach their target audience. So, how do direct competitors use Facebook marketing versus Google Ads?

Many businesses use both platforms, but the specific strategies can differ based on the nature of the platform. Google Ads primarily targets users based on their search behavior, while Facebook targets users based on their interests, behavior, and demographic data. This difference can result in varied advertising strategies across the two platforms.

By using tools like Facebook Ads Manager and Google's equivalent, Google Ads Manager, you can gain insights into how your competitors balance their efforts between the two platforms. For instance, a business might use Google Ads for more direct response objectives, such as driving traffic to a landing page, while using Facebook ads for broader brand awareness campaigns.

Both platforms are owned by large tech companies, Facebook by Meta and Google by Alphabet. Both Meta and Google provide businesses with extensive tools to manage and optimize their ads, but their functionalities can vary, influencing the way businesses utilize them.

Understanding these differences and how your competitors leverage both platforms can provide a more rounded view of their digital marketing strategy, providing further insights to inform your own strategy. In the next sections, we'll discuss how viewing competitor ads affects your overall marketing strategy.

How Does Viewing Competitor Ads Influence Your Overall Marketing Strategy?

Having a comprehensive understanding of your competitor's advertising tactics can significantly influence your overall marketing strategy. It offers a chance to learn from others' experiences and understand what resonates with your shared target audience, leading to more effective and efficient marketing efforts.

You may discover new target segments that your competitors are effectively reaching. This can inspire you to adjust your targeting strategies or develop new products or services to cater to these audiences more effectively. Similarly, understanding your competitors' messaging can provide insight into their unique selling propositions, which can help you better differentiate your own offering.

Analyzing competitor ads can also lead to more immediate and tactical changes to your advertising. You might choose to emulate successful ad formats or CTAs or avoid strategies that seem to perform poorly.

The insights you gain from examining competitor ads are a valuable supplement to your marketing strategy. They should be combined with your own data and insights, such as those from Facebook Ads Manager, to create a well-rounded, effective strategy.

Can You Use Competitor Ad Insights for Other Social Media Platforms?

Yes, you absolutely can use competitor ad insights for other social media platforms.

While the focus here is on Facebook, the principles and strategies discussed can also be applied to other social media platforms. Each platform will have its own unique tools and features for advertisers, but the core concepts of competitive analysis remain the same.

For instance, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all offer ad libraries or transparency reports that allow you to view the ads currently running on their platforms. Instagram, which is owned by Meta like Facebook, also provides similar ad transparency features.

When analyzing competitor ads on these platforms, consider the specific characteristics of each platform and its audience. The strategies and tactics that work on Facebook might not directly translate to other platforms. However, the overarching insights — such as understanding your competitors' messaging, target audience, and ad performance — can inform your broader digital marketing strategy.

The goal is not to copy your competitors but to understand them. This understanding will empower you to make strategic decisions and craft a unique, compelling marketing strategy that drives success for your business across various platforms. In the next sections, we'll discuss more about analyzing ad performance and how you can use this information to optimize your ads.

Research the Competition and Improve

Understanding your competitors' Facebook advertising strategies through the Facebook Ad Library provides a goldmine of information to refine your own approach.

By focusing on ad formats, messaging, CTAs, target audience, ad performance, and landing pages, you can learn from their successes and mistakes. However, it's important to remember that the goal isn't to copy them but to glean insights to enhance your marketing strategy and to continually test these insights to see what works best for your unique business and audience.

Harnessing the power of competitive analysis can lead you to more effective and successful ad campaigns.

If you find yourself wanting to take full advantage of marketing strategies and advertising techniques, consider a partnership at GR0, one of the fastest-growing online marketing companies in the modern day, where our goal is to turn potential consumers into customers.


What Is an Impression in Online Advertising, How to Count Them | Investopedia

What Is Facebook Audience Network and Why Does It Matter | Business Insider

Copyrights and Trademarks | Transparency Center


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