Sometimes when you’re a business, you want to be able to get a leg up on your competitors, or maybe you want to spy on them and find out exactly what they’re doing when it comes to running Facebook ads and find competitors Facebook ads.
Maybe you’ve been searching through your news feeds and you’ve seen your competitor’s ad pop up and you really want to know what is it that they’re advertising? Or maybe they haven’t popped up because you’re not in their target market, but you still want to find out exactly what ads they’re running.
How to find competitors Facebook ads
Well, this post is going to show you how to find competitors Facebook ads without using expensive tools. I’m going to dig in and I’m going to show you how to go and unearth the ads that your competitors are running.
So the first thing you want to do is type in the name of your competitor in your Facebook page search bar up the top.
So I’m just going to pick a company that I know is running some Facebook ads; Viddyoze.
So when you go to their page, so you need to go to their Facebook page and then you scroll down. On the left, there used to be a tab called Ads and Info but that’s not there anymore, Facebook has changed it.
In an effort to be transparent, Facebook has decided that they are going to show you which ads each page is running, but you have to do a little digging. So let me show you where it is. Look over on the right-hand side, and you scroll down and you look for the page transparency box… see below.
Click on the see more button. And you’ll see this window pop up right here.
Now this page here tells us a few things up at the top. It gives you a page history. It tells you who manages the page. It doesn’t exactly say who the person is, but it tells you where the locations of people who are managing the page are, and any organizations that are managing this page as well.
Now, going back to the summary, what we want to do is I want to look down, I’m not worried about page history, although you can look at this if that that interests you. But down the very bottom, you’ll see “ads from this page” (in the red box above).
And here it says, “This page is currently running ads.” If there are no ads, it’s going to say there were no ads from this page, so then you’re not going to find anything on that competitor. They are obviously NOT running ads.
So if it says this page is running ads, click on the “Go to Ad library”, and this is going to open up a page, just like the one below.
It’s got the Viddyoze logo there up the top and this page is going to give you a couple of things. It gives you some page transparency over on the right-hand side. If you click on the transparency “see more” button, it just opens up to the same thing that we’ve just come from. So there’s no need to go back there.
Now there’s a couple of things I want to show you. Fig 1 above is telling me there’s about 2,800 results from ads that this company is running. That’s a lot of ads.
You can also search by a number of filters too. You can filter by place or country (fig 2).
You can filter by the most recent ads. (Fig 3) So ads in the last day, over the last seven days, 30 days, 90 days, and then you can also filter by platform, (Fig 4). You can see which platforms they are running their ads on.
It can be the main Facebook platform, it could be Instagram, the Facebook audience network or the ads are running on the messenger platform. So you can really narrow that filter down.
Another quick way to see that is to, by looking at these icons at the top of the ad. You can hover over and you can see quickly that all four of them mean that they’re running on all four platforms. You can see here in the middle, this one is not running on the audience network. The first and last one is running on all four.
Now, as you scroll down, you can quickly look at all the different ads that they’re running. If I keep scrolling, you’re going to see that there are lots of ads going on for this company.
Now, it looks like they’re running the same ad over multiple different places. Now, why would they be doing that? They’ve probably got different target markets, different demographics, and running on different platforms. In fact, I’ll show you why there are so many of these ads that look the same.
Now, if I was to go down and look at this ad, I can see what the copy is on the ad. I can also see the ad details ( Fig 3 above). If I click on the shop now button first, it’s going to take me to the place that they’re sending their traffic, ie their landing page.
So if I click on shop now, it takes you to the landing page that all these ads are running to. So I’m not going to worry about that too much for now. But what I do want to show you is if you click on see ad details, in this case here, this ad doesn’t do much. It doesn’t really tell us a lot. It just gives us the same ad with a bit of info about the page, which is really not a lot.
If I want to copy the ad link, I can do that and paste it in a browser. It’s going to be the same image as what I’ve got right here. So I’m not really worried about that.
Later in this post, I will show you how to see some interesting info from this button for certain types of ads…
What I do want to show you, that’s not normally seen a lot is this little number three here (Fig 4 above). If I click on the 3 button, it comes up and it gives me multiple versions of this ad.
Now, in this case, if I click through this 1 of 3 tab, you’re going to see that not much changes. These words over here on the right are the same its telling me that these are the different demographics that this one specific ad is targeted. There might be sub ads or sub-versions of ads that they’re testing.
It’s probably demographics that they’re changing because the actual copy is no different and nor is the image of the video or the landing page. So it’s all very similar. So sometimes you would just see that they’re running multiple versions of the same ad on many, many aspects.
All right, so that’s how to find competitors Facebook ads. As I mentioned, you can go and change these filters, and you can see which ones are running, which ones are not running and see the dates that they’re running from as well.
Who is spending money on political ads on Facebook
Let me show you a couple of extra things that could be interesting for you.
So I’ll click back to the ad details, and then at the top here, you can see that it says Viddyoze. Now this is the Viddyoze page.
But if I was to go here and change this, and let’s say that I was going to put in the New York Times. Suddenly now, I can start to flick through the
This is called the Facebook ads library.
And as soon as you type a name in there, it will come up and give you all the details about those companies. So you don’t even have to search through Facebook search bar to get this place. You can start typing your competitor’s names in here real quick and it’s going to show you all the ads.
So in this case here, you can see the New York Times is running about 430 different ads you can flip through and see those like we did before.
But what’s different here is that Facebook is now telling us ( on the right above) how much money they’ve spent on political ads or housing ads or social issue ads.
So you can see here that in the past, they have spent a certain amount of money, $547,769 on political ads.
You can see more spend details by clicking on this button and it comes up and it says the New York Times was the company that funded this ad.
And of these ads, there was $48,000 worth of ads that ran without a disclaimer. So they shouldn’t have been running these ads.
How Disclaimers Work for Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Politics
This is what Facebook says about having a disclaimer on your ad…
All ads about social issues, elections or politics need to have a disclaimer. This disclaimer will appear at the top of any ads you run and include information on the entity that paid for the ad.
A disclaimer should:
- Accurately represent the name of the entity or person responsible for the ad.
- Not include profanity, objectionable language or unrecognizable words or phrases.
- Not include URLS or acronyms, unless URLs or acronyms make up the name of the organization, which must also be accurately reflected on the website provided.
- Not wrongfully imply that your ads are paid for by, with or on behalf of Facebook.
- Not wrongfully imply that a foreign leader has paid for the ad.
- Not include “Paid for by” language that duplicates the same language provided by Facebook.
Now Facebook collects and keeps this information for 7 years. In the case above, It may be that these $48,238 without a disclaimer were spent before this transparency came in.
So they haven’t done anything wrong, it’s just a fact that they haven’t had a disclaimer on those ads in a period of time.
The latest ads section below that, tells you how much money they’ve been spending on those ads in the last 7 days… NY Times did not spend any money in the last 7 days.
Let’s find a company or a page that’s been spending money on political ads recently…
So we pull up the GOP page, and you can see here, they’ve spent $1,418,512 over time.
In the last seven days, these guys have spent $2,508 on ads.
It’s going to tell you the Republican National Committee has been the person or the company spending this money.
Now, what is interesting here, and what’s a little bit different than what we saw with Viddyoze is that as you scroll down here, you start to see the amount spent and also the potential reach of this ad, right underneath the ad itself.
We never saw that before. You only see this with these political or these social, electoral ads that we’ve got here.
Let’s click on one of these ads here, see ad details.
What you’re also going to see now is over on the right-hand side, you’re going to start to get some information about who they’re targeting, where they’re targeting.
Now, this ad above is an ad about the University of Delaware, so they’re just targeting people in Delaware and you can see how much they’ve spent. Now, this ad’s been only running for, at the time of this video, it’s less than a day. Their potential reach is about 10 to 50,000 people. They have about a thousand impressions or less than a thousand impressions.
You can also see on the blue and green graphs that this is the age and gender that they’re targeting.
So you can start to see who they’re targeting. You can also see a map of the United States in this case where they’re targeting right here, it’s Delaware, a hundred percent. So all these ads are targeting people in Delaware only!
The ad is for some particular case at the University of Delaware so it makes sense to be only targeting people in Delaware. And as
You can also click on other information about what their disclaimer is (above), find out what the information from the advertiser is, where the website and who is responsible for the ad. So you can actually contact them. There’s lots of information about that. And then you can see the breakdown of the ad and the data as well.
So it’s very interesting to see that they’re doing that.
If I click back to ads, you can see that I can go and search by different filters here. This one here now is also giving me the active and inactive.
So this is an additional part. Maybe we want to filter it to see what are the active ads right now. And then we can go back and filter through and check out our active ads rather than the inactive ads. Okay, so it’s a little insight into some of the backend of the ads.
Why am I seeing this ad?
Now, what about if you are actually seeing an ad that your competitor has targeted you as a recipient?
So if I go to my personal profile, and I scroll down, I’m going to look for the first ad I see, here we go, HubSpot.
Now what you can also do, if you’re lucky enough to be targeted by your competitors, as their target market, you can click on these three dots right on the top right. And these three dots always have the option down the very bottom to say, why am I seeing this ad? And when you click on that, you’re going to see a number of things, a number of reasons why Facebook is going to tell you why you’re seeing this ad.
So it says you’re seeing this ad because your information matches HubSpot’s advertising requests. There could be also more factors not listed here.
- HubSpot wants to reach people who may be similar to their customers
- HubSpot is trying to reach people who speak English and English, meaning UK and US English.
- HubSpot is trying to reach people with a certain age and
- HubSpot is trying to reach people whose primary location is United States.
So you can see, if you click on the right arrow next to ‘reach people with a certain age’ it will tell you a little bit about that…,there’s your birthday, that’s why your age group is actually connected to that.
So if you wanted to go and really get targeted it may be worth you going visiting your competitor’s websites, because sometimes they’ll do retargeting and then you’ll be part of that ad, if that’s what you want to see, and then you can start to see how they are using their ads.
But usually what I like doing is seeing what the competitors’ ads are, seeing what their copy is, who they’re targeting, or what they’re marketing and where are they sending people?
What are they doing in order to attract people as well?
You’re not going to see stats and analytics from this sort of research, because it’s not part of your account, but it does give you some idea whether they are running ads or not.
Are they doing something different than you? And is it working? Does it look like it’s getting some good results?
So you can always click on the ad, see where it’s taking them, but more importantly, just seeing what they’re targeting and what their copy is.
Now, go out and start investigating your competitors!