Today, millions of people create conversations, discover products, and connect online. The latest figures show that there are expected to be 3.96 billion social media users worldwide in 2022—a 4.8 percent increase from a year ago. With so many users online, advertisers are fighting for attention. The solution to improving your ad performance? Spying on competitors’ ad strategies. 

If you’re not already, monitoring your competitors is a strategic way to understand what content may best engage with your target audience. Brand and agencies are always looking for new ways to optimize and manage their content strategy to find and scale success.

One of the simplest, low-cost, and surprisingly effective ways to spy on competitors is to analyze their Facebook ads. This post will teach you how to find your competitor’s ad strategies and what metrics to pay attention to.

Why Spying on Competitors is Crucial for Advertising Success

Knowing your competitors means not just getting a list of names but also understanding what they are doing, why, and where it will lead.

When it comes to spying on competitors’ social media ads, here are a few reasons why it is crucial for advertising success:

  • Evaluate which ads work great and which are better to avoid. Analyzing how other companies position their product and attract customers can significantly help build your marketing strategy. Note those ads that do work and try to implement these insights into your Facebook ads.
  • Target your perfect audience. You will learn more about what people want by analyzing the competitors’ ads and the demand. You will better understand where their current pain is, what they are happy with, and what they would like to improve. Based on this data, you will note the parameters to target the audience by.
  • Save money and time. Instead of diving into the lengthy and expensive process of trial and error, analyzing the social media ads of your competitors will save you big time. You will get an accurate picture of how to position your product or service and tap into new audiences.

As you can see, spying on competitors will help optimize your advertising budget, increase engagement, and build your image on social networks.

How to Find Your Competitors’ Ad Strategies on Facebook

Here are a few easy and free methods to view ads on Facebook and Instagram, which the brand currently uses.

Let’s start from Facebook.

1. Run a Competitor Analysis Report on Their Facebook Page

Running a competitor analysis can allow you to gain more accurate benchmarking into their social media performance and help you discover key insights into your competitors’ social media strategies. 

Learn about how your posts perform compared to others and discover which hashtags, time of day, and type of content get the most engagement from your target audience.

Monitoring your competitor’s social media marketing is one of the best ways to uncover business-critical insights. And now, with automated competitor analysis reporting available on Vista Social, it’s a huge time-saver. 

2. Access Facebook’s Ad Library From the Brand’s Facebook Account

In March 2019, Facebook launched the Facebook Ad Library to make advertising more transparent. It allows anyone to search and view any advertisement currently posted on Facebook for free.

Initially, the project has serious social and political significance, but in addition, the tool can be used to learn a lot about the actions of business competitors.

How to find your competitor’s ads in the Facebook Ads Library:

  1. Navigate to the Facebook search bar and type the brand’s name. 
  2. Scroll down to the “Page Transparency” section on the left-hand side and click ‘See All.’
  3. Click “Go to Ad Library” to see active and inactive company ads on the page.
Spying on competitors |

Facebook’s Ad Library Insights Include:

  • The launch date;
  • status;
  • platforms to be used on;
  • the number of ads that use the same creative and text.

The “See Ad Details” button will pull up even more details of the ad – video/audio/link to the page it connects to and other creative assets.

3. Browse the Facebook Ad Library as a Separate Website

Type the name of the competitor’s page into the search field. Facebook’s Ad Library will provide you with useful filters to search and analyze the most relevant ads to you: language, platform, media type, and impressions by date.

Spying on competitors | Filters |

Facebook’s Advertising Library is a great resource to discover what solutions your competitors are currently promoting. This allows your brand to tailor your content strategy to position your product or service as the leader for this need.

4. Why Am I Seeing This Ad? 

When your competitor’s ad appears on your newsfeed, click on the three dots at the top right corner to access ‘More Options.’ After, choose the “Why am I seeing this ad?” option in the drop-down menu.

Spying on competitors |

‘Why am I seeing this ad? ‘tool allows a better understanding of why you were being shown a particular ad. When spying on competitors, you can discover the demographics the ad creator chose to target. As a result, you will get more information about your competitor’s target audience.

Ready to delegate your Facebook ads competitor analysis? Explore Top Facebook Advertising Agencies. Agency Vista offers verified profiles and reviews to find the right agency for your brand.

How to Find Your Competitors’ Ad Strategies on Instagram

1. Access Competitor’s Instagram Ads Through the Facebook Ad Library

When you are in the Facebook Ad Library, you can filter by platform and select Instagram from the list of available options. 

Filtering by a platform |

2. Check The Ads On Your Competitor’s Instagram Page

Pull up your competitor’s Instagram page, click the three dots at the top right corner to open the ‘More Options’ menu, and click the ‘About This Account’ button. 

The ‘Active Ads’ button displays all the ads the account runs. Filter them by clicking feed or stories ads. 

Instagram app
Instagram app

What to Look For When Spying on Your Competitors

Ok, now you have access to your competitors’ social media ads. But, what should you pay attention to? Here are a few metrics you may find valuable when analyzing competitors’ campaigns. 

1. Impressions 

This metric helps quantify the number of digital views or engagements of an ad’s content. You can filter the competitors’ ads by impressions to see which ads perform best.

As we all know, there is drop-off from impressions to link clicks and link clicks to landing page views, and so on. Finding an ad with a high number of impressions can help you estimate the number of link clicks and conversions that ad is generating.

2. Content Type

In other words, you should define which media type is more effective to find your balance between video and image ads. Filtering by impressions will show you whether video or images dominate.

Image ad |
Video ad |

3. Ad Copy

Quality messaging brings 7.8 times more website traffic, leading to higher engagement rates. Paying attention to a headline and main text is essential when spying on competitors. Analyze the value proposition, CTA, and the pain points addressed.

4. Ad Duration

Ad duration is another essential metric you can track when filtering the ads by duration. Well-performing ads will run for long periods. 

5. Deals

Identifying the offers and deals your competitors use can be a good starting point when creating your own promotions. For example, does the brand provide discount codes, free shipping, or other benefits? How do they announce them? If they provide discounts, what percentage do they offer?

Deals ad |

6. Targeting

Finally, by following your competitors’ ads, try to get an idea of their target audience. This can help determine the targeting of your ads.

Takeaways and Next Steps

With all that marketing data you get, it is essential to use it wisely to succeed. Here are a few tips to follow.

  • It is necessary to look at your competitors comprehensively — those who make a similar product and all those who solve a similar task for the buyer. Spot all the similarities and differences. Make ads that capitalize on your differences.
  • Avoid the headlines like ‘We can do the same but better/cheaper/so on.’ Try to represent your offer differently without focusing on your competitor’s weakness.
  • Always remember your business’s mission and how you want to achieve it. Otherwise, the analysis of competitors can lead to a loss of individuality.
  • Think two steps ahead. It is not so important what your competitors are doing now; think over what they will do next and how many resources they have for it. It is necessary to understand their strategy.
  • Respect your competitors. Remember that you are doing one thing. After all, these people invest their time and effort in solving the same problem as you.

No company works in a vacuum; it needs to monitor not only the quality of its product or service but also constantly monitor the actions of competitors, responding to innovations on time. 

When used effectively, social media advertising is a powerful tool for spying on competitors. With its help, you see the exact advertising campaigns that your competitors are running on Facebook or Instagram, even if you are not part of the target audience. When evaluating competitors’ ads, pay close attention to visual effects, headlines, text, offers, and the target audience.

If you are still searching for trusted and reliable Top Facebook Advertising Agencies, discover Agency Vista – a data-driven marketing agency ecosystem that fosters trusted partnerships.