If you’re setting up (or just planning to set up) a Facebook Ad campaign, the first thing to do is to research how your competitors are advertising online. Which ads they choose – carefully crafted videos or footage, photos, and animation? Which creatives did they come up with?

There’re many paid services for this out there – from Sensor Tower for $35K per year to some Chinese tools for several hundred dollars. But do you need to pay at all, if you can spy on your competitors’ ads for free?

Why Should You Spy on Your Competitors?

When performing a competitive analysis, you can evaluate the strategies followed by your colleagues. Discover their main strengths and weaknesses and use the information to enhance your product’s performance (or a Facebook Ad, in our case).

How to Spy Facebook Ads for Free?

In October 2018, Facebook launched the tool called Ad Library. Initially, it was used to provide political advertising transparency, as people could find all ads related to politics that were running on Facebook or Instagram.

ad library screenshot

But in May 2019, Facebook opened access to all currently running campaigns and gave the possibility to look through all the ads. That means you can watch ads for any business: mobile apps, SaaS services, restaurants, etc.

With this tool, you can insert the name of any FB page in the search tab and seconds later get hold of all the advertisements that the page is running. You will even have access to the inactive ads. Moreover, it’s possible to search the Library without even logging into your Facebook or Instagram account. Cool, isn’t it?

At the moment, FB Ad Library is the most effective tool that allows you to get insight on any ad running on the platform (and it’s completely free).

To make the research for competitors’ ads easy for you and help you get the most out of it, we prepared a short to-do list.

How to Use Facebook Ad Library: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Check the settings
    First, if you use AdBlock, turn it off before starting searching – otherwise, you won’t be able to find your competitors in the search bar. We also recommend you to choose “All” when you select a country, this way the number of impressions will be much more significant.
facebook ad library
  1. Find the Fan Page
    If you know the exact name (and the more accurate it is, the better), start your search with it.
spyder companies' search

Sometimes the search bar is not working, and you can’t type anything in there. In that case, it’s better to find the Fan Page on Facebook.com, copy the name and paste it into the search bar.

spyder serach
  1. Enjoy your access to all the ads!
    Please note that you can share the links to the ads with your colleagues, but in a couple of days, the link can be inactive because the ad campaign was paused or relaunched. So if you want to have access to the ad later, it’s better to save it on your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive.
spyder features

Lifehack: you can use a free tool for this too! Spyder (GetSpyder.com) helps create Ad collections, save them, and share with your colleagues whenever you like.

After you register in Spyder and put the link there, it’ll download the ad and keep it in your Ad collection.

Amazing how you can gain access to any FB ad in only a few simple steps! Have a great time spying on your competitors 😉

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