How To See Facebook Ads Of Competitors In 2024

Mohamed Fouad

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Have you ever wondered exactly what Facebook advertising campaigns your competitors are running and how they might be outsmarting you? As a business owner trying to cut through the noise, understanding your competitors' online marketing strategies can give you a leg up.

Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to legally view any active ads on their platform. You can use these competitor insights to analyze gaps in your own approach, spot emerging trends, craft better-targeted messaging, and even get design inspiration. Essentially, you can borrow what's working from other brands while avoiding what isn't.

In this post, I'll walk you through exactly how to find and assess competitors' Facebook ads to expand your market intelligence. You'll learn how to:

  • Step 1: Use Facebook’s Ad Library to uncover active competitor ads
  • Step 2: Analyze ad targeting and trends at a country and city level
  • Step 3: Check their Facebook page for visitor engagement clues
  • Step 4: Hone your own ads with actionable competitor insights

Let's dive in and demystify how you can tap into the exact Facebook ads your competitors don't want you to see!

Access Your Competitor’s Active Facebook Ads

The first step to competitive ad stalking is accessing their current campaigns. Luckily Facebook serves up this visibility through their free Ad Library tool.

Here’s how to use it:

1. Go to Facebook Ad Library

2. Select country and Ads category then Search a keyword related to your competitor's product or service niche. For example, if they sell snow shoes, search “snowshoes”.

Select country and Ads category then Search a keyword from Facebook Ads library

3. Browse through the results for ad screenshots or company names you recognize as competitors.

List of Competitors from Facebook Ads library

4. Click “See Ads Details” on an ad belonging to them. This shows start dates and headlines for different ads in their campaign.

Click “See Ads Details” from Facebook Ads library

The ad detail view provides additional useful information for analysis, such as:

  • Ad Status: Whether the ad is currently active or inactive
  • Start Date: Enables you to understand the frequency and longevity of your competitor's ad campaigns
  • Platforms: Shows which Facebook-owned platforms the ads are running on (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network)
  • Ad Category: Displays the product/service category the competitor and their ads belong to
  • Ad Creative and Copy: Shows the actual ad unit with headlines, body copy, visuals, call-to-action and destination link

The filters option allows you to fine-tune your search for more precise competitive insights based on locations, demographics, interests and other attributes. Checking these details gives greater visibility into a competitor's overall advertising approaches and strategies.

Filters option from the Facebook Ads library

In addition to the main ad details, you have the option to filter the results by more specific parameters such as platform, impressions data, or custom date ranges. Applying these filters enables even deeper analysis by narrowing down the ads displayed to match chosen criteria out of all the competitor's ads fetching initially. This grants precision in honing in on particular segments of their advertising activity.

Facebook Ad Library Ad Filter Options

Analyze elements like offer messaging, targeting, imagery, and campaign longevity to draw useful comparisons. Are they consistently running the same ads month over month? Do certain creative or copy themes perform better? What campaigns could inform your own strategy?

Facebook’s Ad Library equips you with all your competitors’ active ads in plain sight. Now let’s dig into location targeting data.

See Geographic Targeting at the Country and City Level

Target country plays a major role in relevance and ad costs. Verify if a competitor is investing in your locations, and others worth expanding into or avoiding.

Here’s how to analyze the geographic targeting for an advertiser from the Ad Library:

On the Ad Library, filter the results for a single advertiser rather than keywords.

Toggle through different countries and regions under “Location”. Observe if number of ads changes.

For example, search for “Nike” and try United States vs. Canada vs Europe. Where are more of their ads running? Fewer?

You can take this geographic intel even further...

Spy on Specific Ad Targeting with Engaged Facebook Page Followers

Not all regions perform the same, even within the same country. Getting down to the city level for your niche helps refine targeting and bid decisions.

Competitor page followers often fit their target audience. So check where engaged followers are located:

1. Visit your competitor's Facebook page

2. Click to open one of their popular posts with engagement

3. See user locations on profiles commenting and reacting

If multiple profiles list the same city/state, chances are that’s an area explicitly targeted in their Facebook ad buys too.

Turn Competitor Intel Into Ad Strategy Wins

Ruthlessly analyzing competitor Facebook advertising data arms you with actionable intel to:

  • Spot ad angles and offers to test for yourself
  • Identify new audiences and locations to target
  • Estimate their ad budget range
  • Track and counter their feature releases and promotions
  • Improve ad relevance with hard data on current buyer demand

Just following these 4 steps will unlock game-changing insights into any competitor’s Facebook ads. Use your findings as a blueprint for your next winning campaign.

So don’t waste another marketing dollar in the dark. Start monitoring your competitor’s every digital move with these essential Facebook marketing research tips.

Want to delve further into benchmarking your ad metrics to dominate competitors? Check out our in-depth guide: Facebook Ads Benchmarks 2024: Insights and Latest Data.

Unlocking the Power of Facebook Ad Competitive Analysis

Spying on your rivals' Facebook ads offers a trove of marketing gems to elevate your own strategy. Rather than reinventing the wheel, learn from what messaging and positioning is already resonating in your niche.

Here are 5 main benefits to scouring competitors' active and past Facebook ad campaigns with a fine-tooth comb:

1. Sets a Strategic Baseline

Every marketing decision should start with research - and your competitors provide the perfect case studies.  Reverse engineer why their top ads strike a chord while others fall flat. Establish an analytical baseline for your persona targeting, messaging frameworks, offer stacks, and more.

2. Surfaces Creative Inspiration

Great artists steal, and the same goes for marketers. Competitor ads burst with copywriting, visuals, and calls to action waiting to be adapted or improved upon. Catalog creative elements that stop your scroll to wire your own creative brain. Stockpile their slogan spice, character choices and color palette inspiration before crafting new ad creatives.

3. Highlights Campaign Gaps

Objectively assessing your current advertising next to competitors highlights glaring gaps. Are you missing out on video views and engagement they garner routinely? Does their broader audience targeting explain their market lead? Use observed weak spots in your strategy as a roadmap for important next moves.

4. Maps Out Winning Ad Placements

Pay attention to not just what works creatively in their ads, but where. Master competitors' social platforms, ad types, and placements for lesson-filled context before launching yours. For example, feed video ads or Instagram Stories may drive more conversions than right-column static image placements.

5. Informs Smarter Audience Targeting

Finally, peak at the demographic and interest psyche of groups actually engaging with competitor ads. The geographic and granular psychographic intel within helps you double down on lucrative yet underserved niches. Or, expand your reach by following their leads into fully untapped territories.

In short, probing competitor Facebook advertising supplies the entire blueprint to level up your marketing strategy. Turn these digital spying tips into your own advertising advantage!

Analyzing competitors' Facebook ads provides crucial intelligence to outmaneuver rival brands in your space. Master these techniques yourself or implement a secret weapon: partner with a Facebook ads agency. Renting an ad account from Rent Ads Agency handles the competitor spying and strategy for you.

Mohamed Fouad

Mohamed Fouad is a full-stack web developer and an entrepreneur who's really into advertising. He is the CEO of Rent Ads Agency, a company that helps businesses reach more customers through advertising. He graduated from Stanford University in 2018 and has over 4 years of experience in the tech industry.

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