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

Facebook’s Ad Library should be your favourite new secret weapon when doing creative ad research. This research could be for competitors or indirect brands you compete with. You can even use this tool to look into industries you want to align your brand with. A lot of mattress brands align with the sleep industry or you see brands like Allbirds talking about sustainable living as an example.

Prep Work For Competitor Research

1. Make a list of all your direct competitors. You want their brand name and Facebook Page URL. Also make a list of all your indirect competitors too.

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 competitors with a few rows for each ad format: Image, Video, Carousel, Collection, Stories, and Slideshow ads.

Also add a column head for ad placements as you can now look at Facebook creative by placement in the ad library. Great if you want to see which brands are running Stories.

Lookup Competitor 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 all 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 mines from Canada to the United Kingdom or the United States if that is 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 for 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. Also, don’t forget to use See Ad Details below to find out more information about the ad

Rinse and repeat with 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 clients.

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 has the ad been seen and the spend tier the brand has spent on 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 found some examples for USA ads, I got a USA map to show how much 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 stop should be Facebook’s Ad Library. Enjoy your new secret weapon. That is it for this week. See you next time.