Inside the Facebook Ads of your competitors

Don’t underestimate the potential of Facebook Advertising

2.5 billion people use Facebook every month to connect with friends and family and to discover things that matter. Facebook ad formats and Pages are designed to capture attention and prompt action. They offer creative flexibility, work across devices and are built to help you reach your goals.

You’ve probably heard public perception shifting a little bit in recent months in regards to Facebook, however even with this change the advertising potential of this channel is huge. With Facebook and it’s suite of apps – Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. Facebook is facing over 2 billion users on it’s platforms, that’s nearly 1 in 3 people over the age of 18. Facebook has a huge potential audience that still click-through ads and competition is strong for who gets those clicks.

So, if you aren’t leveraging Facebook Ads just yet, we suggest you start.

What is Facebook Page Transparency?

Page transparency was originally launched to combat misinformation in political advertising. It allowed users to view ads relating to political or social issues, including the ad content and advertising spend. Since then it has opened up to all Facebook pages.

Page transparency now allows you to see when a page was created, undergone a page merger, page name changes and the location and number of people who manage the page.

Page Name Changes

You can check if a company you’ve previously bought from, or perhaps was previously a competitor has changed their name on Facebook and are now trading under a different company name.

Merged pages

Wondering how a competitor has suddenly increased their stats such as following and engagement? It’s now possible to see how many pages merged to form one, and now operating and advertising from a single page.

Using Facebook’s official page as an example, you can access their Page Transparency by navigating to their page and clicking “see more” in the Page Transparency Box.

Page Transparency provides a wealth of information on the organisation, who manages it and whether they are currently running paid campaigns. You can imagine how useful this would be if you were considering merging country specific Facebook pages, but were curious if it’s something your competitors have implemented. You can find that information here, via Page Transparency.

Facebook Page Transparency Screenshot

Facebook transparency summary

What is Facebook Ad Library?

Having launched in March 2019, with several updates since, the Ad Library is a place where you can search for ads that are running across Facebook apps and services. It provides advertising transparency by offering a comprehensive, searchable collection of all ads currently running. The tool has a lot of information around political and government advertising and all other paid advertising which benefits marketers.

You can use it to get information about the ads that you see. Anyone can explore the ad library, with or without a Facebook account. But if you already advertise on Facebook, we have no doubt, this may already be a very familiar tool!

Marketers can find inspiration from the best and most creative facebook campaigns out there and gain insight into the brands that are doing great things across social media. It’s the perfect opportunity to get inside the Facebook Ads of your competitors.

How to use Facebook Ad Library for Ecommerce Marketing?

The Ad Library is a powerful tool that can be used with other datasets to understand your customer.

Couple it with other tools such as Facebook Audience Insights
You can use the Ad Library to look at your competitors. Elements of their campaigns could work for you. But how do you know if they are successful? The Ad Library will show you all elements of your competitors ads from the content to the landing page.

We recommend using Facebook’s Audience insights alongside the Ad Library to understand your potential audiences. Within Audience Insights you can discover what interests they have, the time of the day they are using Facebook, as well as key demographics. This will tell you who you should be serving ads to and who you shouldn’t be. You can even compare data within Audience Insights, which is particularly useful if you are just starting off on Facebook, for example you don’t have a large email base or lookalike audiences.

Built for Growth’s 5 Steps to using Ad Library

1. Collect a list of competitors

Pull together a broad list of competitors in your sphere, refining down until you have no more than 10 brand names.You need enough brands to give you a broad cross-section, but not too much to overwhelm your research.

2. Find competitor ads

Locate the list of each competitor brand via Facebook’s Ad Library. You may discover that some brands aren’t running paid advertisements, as present. If so, keep them on the list! It’s important to check back regularly to see what your list is up to.

3. Collect ad information

Using all of the options listed above, refine your competitor’s ad library to discover and take note. This is to ensure that you are creating targeting and competitive ads.

4. Deconstruct funnels

Deep dive into ads of you brand competitors. Click the links, review the CTAs and discover where the ads take you. This will help you piece together the sales funnel and strategy that your competitors are working on. Take note of this information, it could come in useful when building your own funnel.

5. Optimise your own ads

Now that you are armed with intelligence and research from steps 1 -4, you can now utilise this information to create stronger ads.

For example, you may wish to compare ad copy, use video as well as imagery or review your Call to Actions.

Elements of competitors ads within Ad Library

Below are some of the elements to review that will help you get a better understanding of your competitors ads.

Active & Inactive Ads

The Ad Library includes both active and inactive ads (past and present) with reference to the dates in which the ad began and finished serving. Sometimes looking back can provide additional insight. Compare dates and ad types with your own marketing activity. Perhaps a competitor has run a sale shortly after your own sale began? This could explain changes in performance when reviewed alongside other tools such as Google Analytics and your Ecommerce Platform.

Ad Copy

Facebook recommends Ad Copy that is relevant and inspires action, such as a link click or a sign up. The Ad Library allows you an opportunity to review the Ad Copy of your competitors. Consider what messaging they are pushing? What trust messages or pain points are they addressing? Take note of the tone of the ad copy, is it flattering? Does it create urgency?

You want to gain a good understanding of how your competitors are positioning themselves and their products and what, if any, promises they’re making to the people they’re trying to reach.


When setting up Facebook ads, you can choose from a number of different formats, including photos, videos, stories, carousels, slideshows, collections and playables. All you need to do is make a list of your top 5 competitors, search for their ads in the library and make note of which formats or types of media they’re using.


You can also filter ads by region. This is especially insightful to understand competitor targeting. It’s possible to identify advert intent by the Call to Actions, use of language – perhaps identifying which markets are primary markets and which are new, where they’re most likely to build Brand Awareness. Do your competitors have a strong presence in a territory? Or perhaps, where are they not advertising yet?

Length of Campaigns

Another way to get a better pulse on which ads from competitors are performing best on Facebook is to filter by duration. When you use the Ad Library, you can filter and go back as far as 90 days to see which ads have been running the longest. If you see ads that are still active but launched more than 30 days ago, it’s probably a pretty good indication that those ads have been performing well for your competitors.

To get a better picture of how long ads have been running, switch from filtering by impressions to filtering by time. You can filter to only see ads launched within the last day, the last 7 days, the last 30 days, or the last 90 days.

Dynamic Ad Types

When scrolling through the Ad library what you will likely notice is that some ads will state “ this ad has multiple versions”

In this instance, brands have used Dynamic Creative. This Facebook Ads feature will automatically optimise and deliver the highest performing combination of visuals and copy. You simply need to input multi variations of copy and visual in the ad and then Facebook will serve variations until it finds the best performing combination.

You can apply Dynamic Creative Ads to Conversion, Traffic, Video Views, Reach, Brand Awareness and App Install campaigns – amazing!

Filter by impressions

One of the best features of Ad Library is the ability to filter ads by impressions. Facebook defines an impression as the number of times an ad is on screen for the first time. If you’re competing against big-name competitors, chances are they are running a lot of different ads. Filtering by impressions is an easy way to determine which ones are being shown and seen by the most people.

Facebook ads library

And that’s the lowdown on Facebook Ad Library

Facebook’s Ad Library is a powerful tool that provides transparency for everyone and an opportunity for marketing, so why not use it? Go to Facebook Ad Library and search a keyword or advertiser name and give our 5 steps a go.

What about us? Get in touch.

Buying and selling online is no longer the future, it is the present. At Built for Growth, we have a demonstrable track record of helping bricks and mortar businesses realise their true potential online. With a wealth of experience in consultation, design, digital marketing and much more, we’re uniquely positioned to steer you to success your expectations.

We’d love to be a part of your journey.  If you’d like to find out more, get in touch for a free consultation.

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