How To See A Competitor's Facebook Ads

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

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What if you could gain insight on the top Facebook ads in your market? What if you had access to your competitor’s most profitable advertising strategy?

Well, guess what? You can. There is an entire suite of resources and insider techniques at your disposal, to keep you in the know so you can dominate your market with the latest Facebook ad insights and best practices.

Facebook has an entire ad library dedicated to ad transparency, allowing the public to view advertising data including targeting demographics, ad spend and even performance metrics on all ads that are running on Facebook and Instagram. You can also track your competitor’s Facebook ads using other applications and tools.

In this article, we will discover and explore strategies based on industry best practices and Facebook’s latest guidelines. Due to the ad transparency act, Facebook has provided several options to review and analyze the advertising practices of other businesses on Facebook. We have also explored and implemented advice from other marketing agencies who have found success by exploring competitor’s Facebook ads. So, let’s take a look here.


Table of contents

What are the Best Ways to Monitor a Competitor’s Facebook Ads?

Have you ever scrolled your Facebook timeline and came across an ad you loved? You may have wondered, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or perhaps you wondered how the Facebook ad was performing, checking out the number of likes and hearts. Well, this article is going to change the way you view Facebook ads in your newsfeed, because now you will be equipped with the tools to explore this data even further. So, let’s jump right in.

Spend time researching competitors in the Facebook Ad Library

The Facebook Ads Library is a searchable database where you can find currently active Facebook advertisements. This is a Facebook advertiser’s dream. You can simply search for a particular keyword within your industry, or you can search for a specific competitor who you want to study. You can filter ads by country, region, platform, potential reach and date.

You can use these search filters to try and determine which settings your competitor has selected. You will even be able to see the different versions of Facebook advertisements that your competitor may be running including the split test images, target demographics and ad copy.

Leverage Page Transparency on your competitors’ Facebook page

If you go to any Facebook business page, you will find a navigation panel labeled, “Page Transparency”. When you click the Page Transparency box, you will see the Organizations that manage the page, the page history and whether its name has changed, the people who manage the page and whether ads are currently running. If ads are running, you can go to the Ad Library and see the ads that are currently active.


Change your Ad Settings to Optimize your Facebook Experience

Every time you visit Facebook and scroll through your newsfeed, you can make sure that the ads that you see are the ones that you are interested in seeing, including your competitors. Here’s how:

  • Visit Facebook and go to your Settings panel.
  • Click on Ads to adjust your Ad Preferences.
  • On the main Ad Preferences page, you will see a list of Advertisers you’ve seen most recently, Advertisers you’ve hidden and Advertisers whose ads you’ve clicked.  On the panel on the left side, click on Ad Settings.
  • When you click on Ad Settings, you will see a list of categories and keywords that Facebook uses to signal advertisers that you fit within their target audience. You can remove any keywords or categories if you don’t want to see ads in that particular category.You can use this feature to narrow down and focus your ad experience by filtering out ads that aren’t relevant to you and only showing you ads that interest you.

Use the “Why am I seeing this ad?” feature


As you spend time on Facebook, Facebook will track your activity to determine which ads are relevant to you using their algorithm. When you come across an ad that interests you, it could be an ad from a competitor or it could just  be an ad with amazing copy, click on the three dots on the top right corner of the ad.

When you see the drop down menu, click “Why am I seeing this ad?” The ad will tell you the specific targeting options that were selected in association with this ad. This feature will tell you if you are seeing the ad because you interacted with their Facebook or Instagram page, or perhaps you met their target demographic, or if the ad is location-based.

What metrics should you use to track competitor’s Facebook ads?

As you track your competitors’ ads, be sure to keep a record of your discoveries using an application such as AirTable or even a simple spreadsheet. You can track ad specifics such as location, demographic, interests, the call to action or CTA, visuals and ad copy.

Track which locations your competitors are targeting

If you have a brick and mortar location or your business is based in a certain area, observe how competitors use country and regional settings to target their consumers. This setting is also effective for businesses who want to target certain demographics for cultural and social context such as urban dwellers or suburban residents. You can view this filter setting in the Facebook Ad Library or if you spot a local ad on your Facebook feed.


Observe the targeted demographic in which your competitors are interested

Using the Facebook Ad Library, you can view the demographic your competitors are targeting. Perhaps, this could help you explore a new market that you haven’t considered. The key is to review the inactive ads in order to determine how the ads performed with each audience segment. On inactive ads that have been completed, you will be able to view the summary results of how the ad performed. You can observe the gender, age, ad spend and performance of each ad.


Note how your competitors align with their consumers’ interests

Start by following your competitor’s Facebook pages. As you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, when you see an advertisement you have the option of learning “Why Am I Seeing this Ad?”. The advertisement will then disclose which category you fall under that allows you to see the ad, whether you’ve liked that business’ Facebook or Instagram page or you fall into a specific interest category.

Analyze the type of the call to action they are using

One other important observation to make is the Call to Action. Take note of which page link the advertisement sends consumers. Are they asking the consumers to download a checklist or to schedule a call? Tracking these nuances can provide critical insight into their overall marketing strategy.

Evaluate your competitors’ creative, visual elements whether they are using a video, an image or a graphic

In the Facebook Ad Library, you will observe several versions of the same ad. Facebook even alerts you to this data by letting you know how many ads use the same creative and text. Observe which types of creative are trending with your competitors. Make a list of the top trends that your competitors are using. This will help you save money and time in your advertising strategy.

Read your competitors’ ad copy and how it compares across versions

You should also observe the ad copy they use. Is it creative or simple and to the point? Do they use long ad copy with a bulleted list of benefits or a short invitation to engage? If there are several versions of the ad, try to explore which ad performed the best. While Facebook advertising trends may vary across industries, observing what is working for your competitors will help you hone in and optimize on your strategy.

How To See A Competitor's Facebook Ads


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost