How to Ethically Spy on your Competitor’s Ads using Facebook Ads Library
The first question anyone asks when I start talking about spying on your competitors is
Wait a second. Can I do that?
The answer is YES! Just be a good neighbor.
We all know it’s not okay to peek in our neighbor’s bedroom window. At the very least it’s creepy, and if you get caught, you will damage your reputation or worse, incur legal consequences for your shady behavior.
But there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at your neighbor’s flower garden in their front yard to see what they’ve planted, and which flowers are doing well in your particular climate.
In the same way, you can’t peek behind the curtain of your competitor’s business. Their sales process and proprietary information is theirs and trying to steal it will only win you a bad reputation, or worse, a lawsuit. But looking at their ads is like looking at the flowers – they’ve been purposely placed there for public consumption, and as a part of the public, you are welcome to the view.
But why would I want to do that? I’m creative, can’t I just do my own thing?
Of course! If you are doing your own thing, and that’s working for you, by all means, keep trucking! Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to start from scratch. Unless you’re working with someone like me, who has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build funnels, and optimize their ads, you might spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and months trying to figure out what works best in your particular niche before seeing a return on your investment.
Businesses are not built in a vacuum, and it can be helpful to see what is working for other successful people. Facebook Ad Library is an awesome FREE resource that will give you a ton of information. It’s a great place to start, and you can check it out here: www.facebook.com/ads/library
Before you get overwhelmed by all the data that Facebook is generously providing, here are my top three reasons why I recommend spying on your competitors:
1. You can draw inspiration for your own ads
Now, just like it’s illegal to steal proprietary information, it is ALSO illegal to plagiarize copyrighted content. You can’t just copy paste the exact words, images, or videos that your competitor is using, but you CAN use their ideas to see what is working for them and create something similar that will work for your brand.
Maybe your competitor is running a bunch of video ads, or you notice that their content is in story form. You may notice particular pop-culture references in several of their ads, or their active ads all seem to have smiling people in the photos.
The helpful thing to look for here are ideas that are showing up over and over – if it’s been used for a long time and they’re still paying for it to run, it’s probably working.
2. You can see how much they are spending on ads about political or social issues
I like to keep an eye on my competitors’ ad spend in political ads. Facebook only shares ad spend when it comes to politics and social issues, so while you can’t get the exact numbers on what they’re spending on their other ads, you can get a feel for what matters to them, and how much they’re probably spending overall.
Political and Social Issues also tend to be pretty divisive, so you can catch a glimpse of the audience they’re trying to reach, by seeing what they’re choosing to spend money promoting.
3. You can see other important ad metrics
As I said above, Facebook won’t tell you exactly how much your competitors are spending, or what their audience looks like, but they WILL let you see other helpful information like:
• What countries the ad is running in,
• The placement of the ad (newsfeed, messenger, Instagram, etc.)
• Which ads are currently active
• Which ads are inactive (and it will even tell you if it was taken down by Facebook)
• When the ads started.
If you look at the data closely, it can give you a springboard to start experimenting with for your own ads. Maybe you hadn’t considered also running your ad to Instagram, or they’re advertising to a country that you didn’t think would be interested. Seeing what others in your niche are doing can open your eyes to ideas you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise!
So if you’re struggling to figure out where to start with your ads, look up a few of the people in your niche that you admire. Check out their flowers, and see what’s working, then add your own special twist to make it totally unique to you.
And if you hate “gardening”? Click here to schedule a call with me, your favorite funnel strategist, and let’s talk about how I can help you grow your empire!