The Facebook Ads Library (now Meta Ads Library) is the official place where you can browse every ad currently running on the Meta ‘Audience network’. That includes Facebook, and Instagram, but also a huge number of mobile apps that monetize via the network.
In a nutshell, you can look for a brand, place, or keyword, and see every running ad related to it.
For each ad, you’ll be able to see the creative designs, copy, whether it’s active or paused, the platforms it’s active on, the locations it was published on, potential variations, as well as the URLs the ads are redirecting to.
To say the least, this is an incredible source of information and data for marketers. And surprisingly, it’s very scarcely mentioned in marketing blogs and growth strategies.
Since TexAu tools are used by numerous marketing agency, we thought it would be interesting to share some practical tips that will immediately help you create better Facebook Ads and brands. Let’s dive in.
Study your competitors’ Facebook Ad Library Company page
As Sun Tzu put it: “Know your enemy”. Studying your competitors’ company pages in itself is useful. Let’s look at Webflow’s Facebook Ad Company page information:
First, they have a company page! Not all businesses do. That in itself is a clue that says they’re not 100% focused on SEO, or enterprise sales.
Next up, they are active on Facebook (80k followers) and Instagram (120k followers). Since the audience of a no-code tool such as Webflow is the designers, and the marketers, with perhaps a more visual approach to things than other audiences, it makes perfect sense.
The Facebook Ads Library also lets you see whether the page is managed by a 3rd-party agency, or in-house, where the people managing the page are from, and historical changes. All of which are useful to better understand the style of the company you’re against.
Ads are the outcome of a marketing campaign and pack loads of information
Depending on the stage you’re at, your strategy might not be the same. New brands will look for areas of opportunities and targets that the big dogs are ignoring, whereas existing brands will look for creative support, or copy ideas, such as keywords. If we go back to our Webflow example, let’s see how they advertise themselves:
At the moment of writing, we can notice a few things:
- Network. Ads are broadcasted on Facebook mostly
- Copy. “Marketing”, “no-code”, “designer”, “organizations”. Quite a B2B targeting.
- Target URL. White-book download, email collection.
- Languages. English-only.
- Creative displays. Serious books, emphasis on information, knowledge, and clean design.
Now let’s compare these to Webflow’s biggest competitor, Wix:
The difference in targeting and messaging is pretty obvious:
- Network. Instagram only.
- Copy. Influencers, brands, Wix-powered shops. In other words, Wix is targeting a larger audience of creators that might need a blog or a shop.
- Target URL. None! Those ads are purely for brand awareness.
- Languages. English only.
- Creative displays. Colorful, warm, summery.
But as we browse the Wix ads, we notice another target audience: Enterprises. That’s something clearly owns as these ads are subtitled “Wix Enterprise”.
What does comparing these Facebook ads teach us?
Wix’s second set of ads is seemingly more in competition with Webflow. But by looking closely, we can notice a few things:
- Wix’s targeting and keywords are vaguer than Webflow’s.
- The ads are broadcasted on both Facebook and Instagram.
- The URLs targets are the FB page, which implies Wix is more interested in gaining followers rather than doing immediate sales.
Both companies are not competing for the same audiences. Wix is more interested in a larger B2C audience. They’re building brand awareness to be top of mind when new Instagram influencers decide to get started. They’re also reassuring their current customers with “Enterprise” branded content that they’re not just a tool for kids but can handle larger audiences and volumes.
On the other hand, Webflow’s naming its targets (marketers, designers). Its value proposition is to free them from their organization’s process by giving them a tool they can have control over. Those ebooks contain tons of arguments to convince them, but also decision-makers regarding purchasing Webflow and adding it to the company’s stack. In exchange for this knowledge, Webflow’s asking straight up for emails and will most likely run an emailing campaign to push for a sale.
How can you use Facebook Ads Library’s information in your branding?
If you were a marketer in charge of selling a competing solution, the Facebook Ads Library could be extremely useful to help you build your brand. Since Wix is covering the mainstream, and Webflow the B2B, how could you place your pawns? Let’s take a look at other brands:
- Bubble (another website builder) is doing it by targeting a builders audience. People that want not only to have a website, but add advanced software features, databases, etc.
- Contentful does it by focusing more on the Content hosting side of things and targets a more developer-friendly, technical audience.
- Duda’s targeting agency that builds websites for clients. Putting the emphasis on agency features such as the ease of managing multiple websites with them.
As a marketer, your job is to find the niche towards which you can bend your product. And the bending is done with copy, targeting, and content, that is relevant to that niche.
Monitoring Facebook Ads also works for physical goods and local businesses
Facebook Ads Library is also very useful for physical goods. If you search for a location keyword (a city, for instance), you’ll find other running ads that are using this keyword. It might be a great way to look for opportunities.
In the example below, I ran a few searches in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I soon realized some businesses are taking advantage of the multicultural crowd of the area:
By translating their ads to Spanish, this car dealership is able to reach a whole new audience that their competitors are neglecting. They are facing less competition than they would in English, and can therefore get those slots for cheaper prices.
Take advantage of every filter in the Facebook Ads library search:
- Media types
Meta is even allowing you to check by types of media: Images, videos, even memes! If you were thinking of experimenting with memes in your communication, try learning from your competitors ahead.
Study what your competitors’ are A/B Testing
Last, but not least: A/B tests. As much as a canceled ad campaign is a sign of failure, intense AB testing on an image or product is a pretty good sign something has potential. Look for the “this ad has multiple versions” tag and see around which ideas your competitors are digging.
Monitor your competitors’ Facebook Ads over the long-term
Unless your competition is in the political or social space, you’ll only be able to see currently running ads. Also, dealing with the Facebook Ads Library can become a bit frustrating when datasets get bigger.
For these reasons, many marketers use a Facebook Ads Library Extractor to extract their competitors’ Facebook Ads data. By scheduling extractions every day, they are able to keep a copy of the state of things every day and use that data for competition monitoring.
Some use-cases could be (and are not limited to):
- Word clouds. Make word clouds with your competitor’s ads’ copy and monitor patterns and new targets.
- Estimate campaign success. Successful Facebook campaigns tend to be extended, whereas underwhelming ones will be stopped short. Monitor competitors’ ad presence over a longer period of time and learn from their mistakes. Avoid their bad ideas and double down on successful ideas!
- Long-term strategy changes. By keeping a look at the URL targets, partners mentioned, or brand visuals, you’ll be able to see the direction in which your competitors are going and act accordingly.
Try extracting your competitor’s Facebook ads here, it’s free.
How are you monitoring your competitors? We’d love to enrich this article with your use-cases!