Whether you’re just starting out or conducting routine competitive research, spying on your competitor’s Facebook and Instagram Ads is actually much easier than you think. Facebook has a full open library of advertiser's active ad sets that you can access completely for free. This gives you all the resources you need to spy on competitor ads, learn what's working, and get inspiration for your ad campaigns.
First, head over to the Facebook Ad Library. Then select your location and Ad Category preferences (we usually select “All Ads”). Then type in the competitor name you’d like to research. We’ll use MVMT in our example.
We can now see MVMT’s full active Facebook ad library!
You can filter by “Platform” if you want to view Instagram ads-only. Further, you can filter by “Media Type” if you want to view Image ads only or Video ads only. Pretty cool stuff.
Duration - look for active ads that have been running for a few months. The longer the ad has been running, the more successful it has likely been.
Ad Creative - you can view the exact creative that your competitors are using and you can gain critical insights into their strategy. For example, you may find your competitor runs a video-heavy advertising strategy. This likely means that video ads are resonating well with your prospective customers and that you should consider a more video-focused strategy.
If you’re looking for inspiration for a new video ad campaign, you can easily search the Ad Library for video-specific ads. Use this to understand what’s already working but also to find ways to differentiate your ads from your competitors. Other creative examples include Generated Content (UGC), comparisons, and reviews.
Branding and Messaging - understand the type of messaging your competitors are using. Is it playful? Serious? Again, find what works but also find ways to differentiate.
This method isn’t as straightforward because you can’t specifically search your competitors ads for demographic data. You can only see some of this information if you’re hit with an ad in-feed. So, you’ll want to start engaging with your competitors' Facebook page and website and then start scrolling through your Facebook news feed in hopes that they’ll serve you ads.
Once you spot an ad, all you have to do is click the three horizontal dots and then click on “Why am I seeing this ad?”. This will then show you some basic demographics the ad is targeting.
Log this data in a spreadsheet because you won’t be able to save the ad and reference the data again.
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