Are you using Facebook’s Ad Library? It’s such a great research tool to see what competitors are doing with their ads across Facebook and Instagram. I’m dubbing it your new secret weapon to win market share.

Facebook’s Ad Library is about to become your favourite weapon when researching your competition’s creative. Regardless of whether or not the competition is direct or not, it is the first place you should go. It can even be ued to look into industries you want to align your brand with! For example, a lot of mattress brands align themselves with the sleep industry, and it can help with that.

Prep Work For Competitor Research

1. Make a list of all your direct and indirect competitors. You want their brand name and Facebook Page URLs.

2. If you are like Allbirds, you want to make a list of big Facebook Pages that align with the industry you want to associate your brand with.

3. Make a Gsheet with each tab focused on a different competitor with a few rows for each ad format: Image, Video, Carousel, Collection, Stories, and Slideshow ads.

Be sure to add a column head for ad placements as you can now look at Facebook creative by placement in the ad library. It’s great if you want to see which brands are running Stories.

Lookup Competitor Ads

Follow the steps below if you wish to look up your competitions ads:

1. Copy the competitor name and Facebook Page URL and put either one in the search bar on the library homepage

2. If you get a blank return then the brand might not be running any ads or Facebook can not show them. Be sure to have the filters set to “All” when you look up each competitor. You may need to change the country from yours to the United States. I often have to change mine from Canada to the United Kingdom or the United States depending on where the brand is based

3. When you see an ad you want to keep track of, click on the three dots and “Copy Ad Link” to paste the ad URL into your Gsheet in the appropriate section to later reference by ad format and placement. 

4. Make a note about what you think makes the ad stand out. It can be anything at all, and don’t forget to use “See Ad Details” below to find out more information about the ad.

Rinse and repeat for your top 3 – 5 competitors. You don’t want to go overboard and just have all your ads look like your competitors. This process will help you come up with great ad examples to model ads off of and launch something for a brand new client.

Ad Library’s See Ad Details

Each ad has a button at the bottom called “See Ad Details.” This takes your research to the next level as it tells you the following:

Running: When the ad was launched and how long it has been running. Helps you try to figure out how often the brand is refreshing creative

Impressions & Spend: Not perfect but great to see how much the ad has been seen and the spend for the ad. To get the information below, I had to look at the UK ads for Allbirds.

Age and Gender: If you see a pattern on age and gender across a brand’s ads, you have a good place to start with who should be seeing your ads.

Location: Is the brand showing ads across the country or in certain markets. When I foun some examples for American ads, I got a map of the USA to show how different states were getting from an impression level point of view. Again, this is not perfect but some data is better then none.

If you are doing competitor research or trying to get a client to improve on their Facebook creative, one of your first stops should be Facebook’s Ad Library! Enjoy your new secret weapon.

That is it for this week. See you next time!