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Facebook has launched a searchable Ad Library to offer transparency

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Now you can see all the ads your competitors are running on Facebook


Facebook has updated his Ad Library in order to provide advertising transparency. To be exact, the Facebook Ad Library is now a searchable collection of all ads that are currently running. The best example of transparency in this case is the fact that anyone can search for ads here, regardless if they have or not a Facebook account. Also, you can access all active ads, even if you were not targeted by it. If you are logged in when searching for ads, the platform will save your search.

A similar attempt to provide transparency was made in May 2018, when the Ad Library included political ads and ads related to policy issues. Now, (active or inactive) ads related to politics or issues of importance in the EU will be displayed for seven years. For these ads, you will also be able to find the budget allocated.

Aside from this, you should know that the platform made efforts to increase transparency starting last year, when it included a Page Transparency Page tab to all Pages. Here you can see the following:

       where a particular page was created,

       if and when it changed its name,

       if and when the page merged with other pages,

       where is it managed from (for this one, Facebook uses the location of all people with Page Roles – it shows different countries & also how many people have roles on that page)

       a shortcut to the Ad Library where you can check all the ads ran by that page


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You can see your competitor’s ads

Working in Social Media, I find this tool very useful when putting together competitive reports. To be honest, I used to go weekly on the Info & Ads tab of my competitors ‘pages, to “spy” on them, taking screenshots for the monthly report I was preparing.

But now, everything is easier! (this almost sounds like an ad, doesn’t it?)


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You can tell a lot only seeing some ads, you just have to read behind the ad. Here’s what you can learn from your competitors ‘ads on Facebook!


What’s their strategy

Seeing your competitors’ ads means knowing if they use certain types of visuals for ads, different from their regular content. If they promote all the content or only the news. This can help you understand


How they target new audiences

Organic reach is a myth, we all know that. But most brands on Facebook don’t only target their fans when creating ads. They also want to increase their fan base. You won’t know which ad is targeted to their audience and which is not. But seeing these creatives is a great way to understand the tactics behind.


What’s their focus

If your competitors only promote offers, well, it might be time for you to do the same. Ads can show you if they are in a brand positioning phase, if they use Facebook to sell, to entertain, to recruit or inform. Do they have more offers than you? Do they (looking at the content) target a certain time of the day?


What’s their creative approach

Competitors can teach you a lot, even when you’re your category’s leader. Go check what languages do they use, what’s their tone of voice, if they use the same visual with different types of copy or vice versa.


What’s the budget

You cannot tell how much of their marketing budget is spent on Facebook Ads. But you can tell how much attention they are paying to those. Do they have multiple campaigns, do they have many ads, do they have the same ad with different targeting etc.

To sum it up, we can all appreciate Facebook’s work to provide transparency. After all, it’s all in our favor!

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