How Can You Spy on Competitors Using Facebook Ad Library

  • Jatin 
Facebook Ad Library - Spy Competitors

How to spy on your competitors using the Facebook Ad Library?

Most importantly, why would one want to spy on competitors is a remarkable question!

Wouldn’t you agree?

The idea of spying on competitors is nothing more but to identify:

  • how they run their business
  • what makes their business profitable
  • find a gap to add value to your business

In business, you can spend millions of dollars on research and market study, chances are you will eventually lose money.

You may consider hiring expensive consultants, conduct focus groups, talk to long-term customers, etc.

It can all become pretty expensive quite soon.

What is Facebook Ad Library?

Facebook Ad Library

Facebook ad library has been there for past couple of years now.

The idea of it was to offer transparency.

Users can search tons of ads across various Facebook platforms including Instagram using ad library.

By using Facebook social networking, connecting with other people that may share similar interests isn’t a problem anymore.

All you need to do is crate an account and start monitoring what your competitors are up to!

You can do it without setting up an account as well.

How does it work?

It works quite similarly to Google search or most search engines out there.

The major difference though that it shows in-depth information about ad.

Something important I learnt today, it only shows the ads data that are inactive.

For the ads that are still active, you will not be able to see the stats i.e. how much money was spent, or targeted audience etc.

To start, simply type in your search term i.e. “Kevin David” and hit search

Search Term

You will be taken to Kevin’s Facebook ad transparency page

Kevin's Ad Transparency Page

Here is an example of one of the digital marketer Kevin David ran in 2019.

There are a few things we can learn from this ad copy:

  • Highest engaged audience were men
  • Between the age 25-44 and least engaged were over 65
  • Kevin spent less than $100 on this ad
  • Ad started running on 4th of May 2019
  • Definitely a sponsored or paid ad
  • Ad’s potential reach was <1k impressions
  • Had high quality well considered image
  • Clear call to action “Sell on Shopify”

How does Kevin do it?

Let’s be honest once you are at that level you would have team of people working with you.

It means it does not come cheap or easy.

To be out there winning those customers from the point they view your ad and then buy something from you, is a tough job.

You could be selling an idea, a course, a book, clothing, furniture absolutely anything.

One thing every successful entrepreneur would say, perhaps Kevin would agree as well that “You gotta keep at it”.

Including Kevin and every other successful business has faced the reality and that is “failure”, one too many times throughout their life.

You have to try and keep on trying until you succeed.

The very first ad you ran or expect to run, don’t expect much but experience. It’s all about what can be done differently next time.

As a matter fact you should run several ad copies with variations until you meet the one that drives visitor engagement.

All you need to do then is scale it up and let the sales flow in or whatever your end goal is!

So that you get the hang of it, here is another great example;

This ad was active on 05/08/2020, fairly recently!

It’s about workout and fitness

All you need to do then is select the ad from results and click at the option at the bottom of ad “ad details

Let’s do some analysis on this one

  • First of all we can tell it’s an fitness and workout app called Hitfit
  • Next thing you can see that it’s in Portuguese (I can tell because i speak 10 languages, Just kidding! Google translate)
  • It has a clear message “🤩 Download HitFit today and start your story in good shape!”
  • The ad ran on Facebook, Instagram and Facebook messenger
  • Ad’s potential reach was >1m impressions (Yuo can already see the difference in previous ad copy and this ad copy)
  • Ad quality is professional with video with thumbnail clearly showing what it is about
  • Ad spent was less $100 USD for such great potential
  • Women are the primary and only audience here
  • The language of the ad is Portuguese, therefore this ad may have been targeted specifically for audience who can understand Portuguese dialogs
  • The app itself either has English as an additional option, primary option or has multiple language options.
  • This is a hot topic. (Don’t believe me, check on Google!)
  • Lastly you can see geographic popularity, the region it was more effective than other areas

HitFit workout app history on Google Play store

After I wrote this article, I was curious to download the app and see it in action.

The first thing I noticed that app was first released on 19/11/2018 on Google Play.

It had 10K plus downloads and 4.6 star rating out of 5.

How well the app is doing in terms of download, I leave that up to you.

Some of the key features of the app includes:

  • Step Counter or Pedometer
  • Sleep tracker to analyse your sleeping patterns
  • Heart rate measure and keep log
  • Record GPS path, I guess when you are walking
  • Compete with friends on leader board

Quite impressive, right?

So what do you have to do after you know what your competitors are doing, let’s say you were in fitness industry.

To succeed you need to have the following:

Think about Success - Facebook Ad Library

A hot and well researched topic

You have to spend some valuable time doing your research on the topic. Get the taste from your competitors that are already advertising with the same idea. The question is what makes you better than them.

There are various tools to research the topic online. You can try SEMrush, Ahrefs and Google Trends. Google Trends is quite straight forward and you don’t even need to sign up to Google to use this tool. SEMrush has a free version available with limited access. If you are thinking of doing keyword analysis then you have to try SEMrush. Ahrefs has 7 day trial for $7USD (price may be subject to change at any time by Ahrefs). It can also generate reports about hot topics as well as top social media influencers.

Find the top influencers and you are in luck! Social media influencers can take your business from 0 to 100 in no time. Watch out for influencers with fake audience.

One of my favourites one is SEMrush. It’s an external tool and can really provide you in depth analysis about your competitors. The tool is useful if you are directing

To find a hot topic, simply hop on Google and type hot topics followed by your niche i.e. fitness

Good ad copy with call to action

After you have done the research on your topic, you should review your ad copy. Think about it as if you were the visitor looking at the ad copy. What would be your first impression? Find it hard to do that on a ad copy that you have created. Ask your friends, family and colleagues for first hand opinion. However you must not reply on their feedback alone as they want you to succeed. They will try to go easy on you to save you disappointment. Instead ask the community i.e. jump on places like Quora, be sure to protect your ad copy in every possible way you can. Because others might steal it before you even go live.

A call to action button is generally something that will entice your audience to look at your ad. It can be as simple as a free eBook, free competitor analysis report or reward for signing up. You may have noticed some advertiser use buttons that says download now, Learn more, Contact us etc. They are all good examples of call to action.

Better offer than competitor

Have you done research well enough to understand:

  • what you competitor is offering?
  • can you beat their offer?
  • are you still able to make profit?
  • is the ad scalable to increase profit?

If the answer is yes to above all questions, then you are in for good business!

High quality image or videos

image or video quality

One of the key things that tells the viewer a story about your brand or product.

Quality matters!

Have you ever come across a sloppy website that have very tiny product images and don’t even expand. You can barely see what the product is about. Perhaps the image quality is so poor that it is blur. Same thing!

Poor image or video quality can drive the visitors away from your website or product. It means more sales for your competitor.

You can design elegant images and videos in no time with online image editing tools.

They range between free and paid subscription, but definitely worth it.

Some are so simple to use, yet packed with features that anyone can get the hang of it in no time.

Specific target audience

Facebook ad library can help you learn about your competitors target audience.

Think about your audience like your children. Each one of them have got their own taste!

Therefore, the more specific your audience is the better the chance of your success.

Not only your success rate will be higher but also your expenditure will be much lower.

Simply because you are presenting your products to audience who have the same taste as yours and willing to buy!

make sense, right?

List the competitors in same niche with Facebook ad library

I know you are thinking that this should be the first step before you even do anything.

You are not wrong there!

The only reason I have put it in the last so that you can pay attention to other areas equally.

It has happened with me many times…….

Once I start browsing competitors social media pages or websites, i get lost in admiring their work.

I try to keep on building the list and not realise 10 hours later that I have got 100’s of competitors list but no ad copy.

You get my point!

You can choose the order in which you want to work.

I won’t hold a grudge against you, lol.

Some other things you can do as part of your research….

Visit their Facebook or Instagram Page

Kevins Page - Facebook Ad Library

How difficult is it, not really?

As a matter fact individuals and companies want you to visit their page, read their posts, like and share them.

So, you are already gaining a lot of exposure about your competitor.

A true competitor should engage with its own competition in order to succeed professionally.

You must be thinking that this guy is crazy, right?


What do I mean by that?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Contact your competitor directly via social media message
  • Ask questions about your products and services
  • Follow them, like their posts if you find anything interesting
  • Give your feedback
  • Share the interesting feeds with others that may have similar interests
  • Join their mailing list
  • Check out their website
  • Engage with them frequently to build professional relationship

This is what will happen next:

  • They will start to notice you
  • Take you seriously
  • Engage with through comments, email, discussions
  • May become your mentor
  • You could expect professional relationship
  • Share of referrals
  • Give you feedback on your products
  • Mention you on their website, social media posts or feed

This is considered “the best” practice for driving traffic & quality links for your website. Not only you will visitors who are keen on buying products from you but also refer you further. It become a chain process and you will start to see sales happening one after another. The profits will start to increase but of course over time.

Facebook ad template examples

Facebook ad library is so powerful that you can draw hundreds of template examples to see which is working.

We have done the hard work for you and put together below templates to get you started.

Disclaimer: The ad templates that we are about you share with you have worked for others. However does not necessarily mean that it will work for you as well. You will need to do your own research and implement these with caution to get the most out of it.

#1 Fitness Template

If you are in fitness niche then this could be a template for you.

Let’s kick start with:

Idea: You are thinking about having young members of your local community to join your gym. To make it work, you will need to ask a teenage to volunteer or pay a member of your local community.

Either way what you are looking to achieve is a small video clip or pose for your image ad. The image or video must be of high quality as possible. In this image or video the candidate will do a series of workout or one workout in repetition.

When people can see through video or image, it resonates with them better than reading an article.

  • Audience: Age range between – 18-25, gender – women, education – high school grads or college students
  • Geographic: Chicago, the potential reach is >1m, expected impressions varies depending on your daily ad spend
  • Budget: $100 USD over 5 days ($20 USD spend daily)
  • Interests: Fitness classes, personal trainer, gym
  • Ad network: Facebook, Messenger, Feeds & Instagram
  • Special offer: Free trial for three days

#2 Foodie Template

Burger ad copy

For food lovers this could be a useful template

There are different types of food you can attract the audience for, choose yours wisely.

Idea: You are looking to sell burgers and would like your local community to visit your restaurant regularly. To set this idea off in your local community, you will need to get out there in your community.

You can set up a stall and do a cook off challenge on a Sunday market, if you have one. For those who don’t, the option to promote your burgers would be online.

Here’s what you will need; A video recording or image of someone from your community enjoying burger at your restaurant. The name of your restaurant and the possible variations of best burger along with special offer.

Let’s get right into building your ad copy

  • Audience: Age range between – 18-34, gender – men, women
  • Geographic: Chicago, the potential reach is between 25k -30k, expected impressions varies depending on your daily ad spend
  • Budget: $300 USD over 5 days ($60 USD spend daily)
  • Interests: Burgers, food, fast food
  • Ad network: Facebook, Messenger, Feeds & Instagram
  • Special offer: Free burger for kids or 25% off

#3 Real Estate Template

Real estate agents are always on the lookout for prospects and what could be a better place to promote than Facebook!

Wouldn’t you agree?

There are thousands if not millions of people looking for all kind of deals everyday on Facebook.

Finding the right prospect is not only is achievable but can also help sustain business.

Idea: You are an real estate agent, looking to sell a median range house for one family. The house has one bathroom, 2 bed rooms, a little backyard and a car garage.

To advertise you will need to create a ad copy that demonstrates: family video shoot covering the whole house, or a set of images of images showing different areas

mention a particular feature about house i.e. close to school

Chimney or polished floorboards etc.

  • Audience: Age range between – 25-34, gender – men, women
  • Geographic: Phoenix, the potential reach is between 600k -700k, expected impressions varies depending on your daily ad spend
  • Budget: $100 USD over 5 days ($20 USD spend daily)
  • Interests: Buy house, auction, rent
  • Ad network: Facebook, Messenger, Feeds
  • Special offer: Negotiable, POA

Final Words:

By following your competitors, engaging with them and their audience, you can keep tap on them.

This process will prove more and more success for your business.

Don’t expect the things to change overnight, especially if you are working with Facebook ad Library the first time.

Professionals spend hours and create multi ad copies to see which one works better. Once you reach that level, all you have to do is scale it up.

Tell us in a few words, which competitors are you following?

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