As a business owner, you should be asking yourself, “Who are your main competitors?” It’s a wonderful question to ask, and it’s even better when you know the answer. Knowing your competitors is an important component of starting and expanding a business. To truly succeed in business, you must understand not only who your competitors are, but also what they are doing and why. You can “hack the content” of your industry by researching how other companies in your field market to customers, where they place products on the market, and how they allocate their marketing budget. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are often spent on market analysis and research for businesses. Hiring consulting companies, running focus groups, launching surveys, and talking to loyal clients can all add up quickly. If you aren’t ready to make such a large financial commitment but are still interested in what the competition is up to, I have good news: spying on their Facebook ad library is a simple and cheap way to find out.
How to find the Facebook Ads of your competitors
Spying on your competition may appear devious at first, yet it is a highly popular practice among marketers worldwide. In reality, Facebook promotes and permits anybody to investigate the advertising that businesses and organizations post on the platform. In March of 2019, Facebook launched Ad Library, a tool designed to promote transparency on the platform and fulfill promises made following the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Anyone, regardless of whether they have a Facebook or Instagram profile, can search for and view any ads currently running on the website, including Instagram Ads. Ads related to politics, elections, and social issues that have run since May 2018 can also be uncovered using this tool. While there are other tools available, I’ve found that the Facebook Ad Library is the simplest and most reliable option for evaluating and analyzing competitor Facebook ads. It’s a straightforward and reasonably potent method of finding out what your rivals are up to.
Filter by impressions
Ad Library’s ability to sort advertisements by number of impressions is among its most useful functions. An impression is defined by Facebook as the number of times an ad appears for the first time on the screen. If you’re competing against well-known brands, chances are they’re running a variety of ads. Filtering by impressions is a simple way to see which ones are being shown and seen the most. To narrow your results by popularity, start by searching for the name of the desired organization or company and then clicking on its associated Facebook page. Then, choose Filter by Impressions and sort by High to Low. The active ads list will then be displayed based on the filters you enabled.
Examine the media type
To narrow your results by popularity, start by searching for the name of the desired organization or company and then clicking on its associated Facebook page. When creating Facebook ads, you can select from a variety of formats, such as photos, videos, stories, carousels, slideshows, collections, and payables. If you’re new to Facebook advertising or have only ever experimented with one type of format, the Facebook Ad Library can be a great resource for inspiration so you can finally launch that Instagram Stories Ad.
Make a list of your top five competitors, search for their ads in the library, and note which formats or types of media they’re using. Facebook will even notify you when an ad has multiple versions running and will show you what makes each one unique. In most cases, different types of media or messaging are a/b tested to see which performs best when offered to viewers.
Messaging is another important aspect of ads to consider, particularly when evaluating competitors. When watching your rivals’ Facebook ads, take note of the headlines they use, the value props they highlight, the pain points they address, and the call to action they use. You want to learn how your rivals present themselves and their products, as well as what, if any, promises they make to the customers they’re attempting to target.
Ad message analysis will help you build better ads for your own brand and audience. You’ll know how to distinguish yourself or how to sound similar, which may be useful in multiple ways when engaging with and creating trust with prospective consumers. Filtering by duration is another approach to get a better sense of which rivals’ ads are doing well on Facebook.
Ad Library allows you to filter and go back up to 90 days to discover which advertisements have been running the longest. If you find ads that are still live but were introduced more than 30 days ago, it’s likely that those ads have been performing well for your rivals. Switch from filtering by impressions to filtering by time to get a clearer idea of how long ads have been running. You can filter to view just ads that were published during the last day, 7 days, 30 days, or 90 days.
Look for major trends
If you notice trends and similar ads among your competitors, it’s usually worth creating and testing a similar ad for your own company. You’re not limited to Facebook, either. You can apply what you’ve learned to test Snapchat Ads, Pinterest Ads, and a variety of other channels. Pay attention to images, messaging, offers, and calls-to-action while looking for recurring themes or repeating trends across pages. You should also pay close attention to ads that appear around holidays, seasons, or certain days of the year that are important to your clients. Simply apply what you’ve learned to your own brand to evaluate how it resonates with your target audience.
Overall, the Facebook Ad Library is one of the most powerful tools in your advertising arsenal for spying on your competition and finding creative ideas. Learning how to use this tool to investigate and develop your own campaigns can put you ahead of the competition while also increasing your revenue.