Monitor Facebook ads from your competitors
1. Identify 3-5 key competitors to your brand that typically target the same audience and are active on Facebook.
If you don’t know your top competitors, you can: Google your products to check which brands rank on the first results page. Check directory listings and ranking sites like Angi, Tripadvisor, or Yelp. Talk to your customers to learn if they’ve used other businesses for similar needs. Use competitor analysis tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, SpyFu, or BuzzSumo.
2. Create a spreadsheet that will list all of your competitors’ Facebook ads.
Column headers should include: Competitor Name. Competitor Facebook Page URL. Ad Screenshot. Ad Format, like video, image, carousel, or collection. Ad Purpose, like advertising a promotion, highlighting a feature, or announcing a new product. Ad Headline. Body Copy. Call to Action. Notes. A platform like Airtable allows for easier sorting and toggling between different views. Other platforms to help you stay organized include Google Sheets or Evernote.
3. Search the Facebook Ads Library for any competitive ads by selecting your country and the Any Ads section, then enter the name of your competitors’ Facebook business pages.
Alternatively, open a competitor’s Facebook page and click the Page Transparency box. In the Ads From This Page box, tap on View in the Ad Library to see ads from this competitor.
4. Use the Filters button on the top right to limit your results to the platform or platforms you want to analyze.
Options include: Facebook. Instagram. Audience Network. Messenger.
5. Take a screenshot of each active competitor ad.
Lightshot is a free screenshot extension you can add to your browser to avoid the native Mac and Windows screenshot applications. Store the screenshots in the cloud for easy access. Google Drive is a good free option, while Dropbox Business offers more robust team management and general file sharing options.
6. Fill in the columns and rows of your tracking spreadsheet with your competitor’s information.
Include a link to the ad screenshot. This prevents any issues caused by broken links when referencing the research in the future. For video ads, screen recording tools like Screen Recorder or Loom can capture the full visual experience.
7. Evaluate the ad in 1-2 sentences, including information like a unique aspect of the ad that stands out positively or negatively, or a common theme that spreads across the competitive environment.
If possible, consider requesting evaluations from multiple marketing and sales team members. This helps to avoid personal biases and adds different perspectives.
8. Fill any holes in your Ads Library research with paid ad monitoring tools.
Platforms like Poweradspy, Social Ad Scout, BigSpy, and AdPlexity all provide access to comprehensive, searchable libraries featuring millions of Facebook ads against a monthly fee. They also add metrics like impressions and engagements to each competitive ad.
9. Set a regular schedule to check back in on your competitors ads every 1-3 months.
Over time, you can monitor trends and changes in how your competitors try to reach your audience.