Facebook is nowadays one of the most popular, powerful, and comprehensive platforms used in marketing and branding. Facebook ads allow you to create a well-organized advertising campaign taking into account your audience, its preferred devices, the apps that it uses, the format that is most suitable for you, as well as to evaluate ad performance and manage it.
But how to create a marketing campaign that works? Start with researching your competitors’ advertising, analyze it, and find out what works well for them. What goals do they pursue, what tools do they apply, what format do they choose? This will surely help to create a campaign that is going not only to work, but even to stand out among competitors. That’s when you need Facebook ad spy tools.
Facebook ad spy tools are applications that give you the opportunity to see the competitors’ ads from their perspective, all the important insights on their ad campaign: what ads they are running now, on which platforms, which of them are more effective, the impressions that they get, their techniques and means of audience interaction, the practices that your competitors exercise. These spy tools are used not to just copy what others are doing, but to learn from their mistakes and triumphs and improve your marketing campaign. What works for the competitors might not work for you, but it’s good to know the possibilities that Facebook ads have.
There are several reasons why ad spying can be beneficial.
• Finding opportunities. You can discover some new ideas that your competitors use and develop them into something that suits your marketing campaign.
• Expanding audience. Sometimes your target audience can consist of people that you didn’t even think about, but that your competitors already reach out to.
• Learning. Your competitors’ success stories and background can serve as a good opportunity to master the art of advertising.
• Minimizing risks. Learn from the mistakes that have already been made by your competitors and that you don’t need to repeat.
• Saving time. Analyzing your competitors’ advertising can help you plan your campaign more thoroughly.
Using Facebook ad spy tools can open your eyes on some aspects of advertising and help you create your perfect ad campaign.
Searching for competitors’ Facebook ads may seem like a lot of work but it’s easier than you think. Facebook Ad Library isa collection of advertisements across all the Meta technologies, it allowsadvertisers to search and view the currently running ads. There’s also an option to view inactive ads concerning issues, elections or politics as well. Ad Library is a reliable source of information allowing deeper insights into the ads. There are some metrics that may be useful to pay attention to.
Filtering competitors’ ads by impressions shows ads starting with those that have better performance. Impressions measure how many times an ad was on screen for the audience for the first time. This may be helpful to determine how other companies build their strategy and the suitable frequency that you should set for your ads.
• Media type
Facebook ads come in many formats: photo, video, stories, messenger, carousel, slideshow, collection, and playables. All these formats engage the audience in different ways. Evaluating the media types that your competitors use may help to choose the types that are beneficial for you, especially if you are new to the field.
The main purpose of the message that you communicate is to attract and engage the audience. That’s why effective research includes the analysis of the messages that your competitors convey. Pay attention to the headlines, the main points and values that they broadcast, how they position themselves and their products and services. You can apply the acquired information to learn from other companies and even to see what distinguishes you and what you can offer that they can’t.
• Ad duration
Ad running duration indicates the performance of a particular ad. Setting Ad Library filters by time shows the ads that have been running for a certain period. The longer an ad runs, the better it performs.
While studying your competitors’ ads, a practical choice is to look for tendencies among all the companies in question. Prevailing themes and trends are a sign of popularity with the audience. They usually occur during a specific season or a holiday, around some special days. Applying these trends may increase the popularity of your brand as well.
• Offers and Deals
Special offers, deals, and coupons attract new audiences and improve customer loyalty. Pay attention to the tactics and offers that your competitors have to learn from them and to do better.
• Engaging people who follow your competitor’s Facebook Page
This is a popular practice among marketers and advertisers. You can expand your audience by targeting people who already know your competitors and use their products or services. This may be beneficial for you, as well as for the audience, as it’s always better to have alternatives.
There are three main options if you want to spy Facebook ads for free:
1. Facebook Info and Ads. You can see this option on the navigation panel when you enter a Facebook page of a brand which ads you want to see. Just click the link to view all the current ads.
2. Ad Library. You can find a collection of ads across the Meta Products, including Facebook. Find the ads by inserting the brand name in the search tab.
3. Facebook Ad Spy Tools. There are ad spy tools available free of charge.
Facebook Ad Library is a user-friendly tool, it’s quite simple and doesn’t require technical skills. Here is a guide on how to effectively use it to find your competitors’ ads.
1. Browser and search settings.
Adjust your browser settings, check if you use an AdBlock, disable it to be able to see all the search results. In the search settings you can choose the country and the ad category. It may be useful to select all countries and all ads to make the search broader and the number of impressions much more demonstrative.
2. Competitor’s ad library.
Type the name of a competitor company in the search bar and choose the necessary link. There’s another option, you can go to competitor’s Facebook page and scroll down to the Page transparency section on the left side of the page, click on “See all” and then on the “Go to Ad Library” link. Here are all the running ads of your competitor.
Now, when you can view your competitor’s ad library, begin your research. Here you have different filters that you can use to find different ads based on language, platform, media type, etc. Each ad has information on its activity status, platforms that it appears on, ID. Some ads have an indicator that they have multiple versions, each of them is generated automatically for the right audience with the right combination of images and texts.
When you find something important and useful for your research, it’s better to save the ad on your computer or on a storage service to have access to it even after the ad run is over and to be able to share it with your team.
Ad spy tools are software that gives the opportunity to see the inside of a competitor’s advertising campaign. These tools give you the access to the information that you need to research, learn, and gain competitive advantage.
Ad spy tools can be divided into four main categories depending on the ad layout and the type of traffic:
1. Social Media Spy Tools: tracking the activity of social media accounts and analyzing the content that is shared the most.
2. Native Spy Tools: finding competitors’ native advertisements and analyzing them.
3. Search Spy Tools: discovering competitors’ core keywords, finding the most profitable keywords for your niche, etc.
4. Display Ad Spy Tools: tracking competitors’ display ads, learning which platforms they use, analyzing the ads.
All the ad spy tools, no matter the type of the advertisements they specialize in, have similar features and a spying model.
• Keywords: the first thing any tool does is collecting keywords that are relevant for the niche and the product or a service that you and your competitors provide. Usually, there is a monitoring program involved.
• Research: the next feature that is available among practically all the ads spy tools is analysis and research. All the competitors’ ads from a search engine or socialmedia that match the keywords, and all the specifications are collected for a detailed analysis and research. This is an important part of ads spying as it can help you see the advantages and drawbacks of a particular ad or an ad campaign so that you can apply this knowledge for the benefit of your company, saving time and money.
• Reporting: when the analysis and research is over, ads spy tools deliver a review with the insights and the success of each ad they analyzed, which elements of this ad were effective and which not. You can build your ad campaign based on the effective elements of your competitors’ ads.
• Additional features: some ad spy tools provide additional features that may be useful for the future advertising and marketing of your brand. You can store the analyzed ads of your competitors on a cloud provided by a spy tool which makes it more convenient to find and share files. Audience engagement, advanced search filters, ads collections, ads comparisons, data visualization, browser extensions – all these additional features are presented in different spy tool applications. All you need is to decide which of them are important for your research and ad campaign development.
These are the basics of ad spy tools that are important to know before you dive into the world of advertising research.
Ad spying is not about repeating competitors' ad campaigns, because it’s probably not going to work for you in the same way. Ad spying is research to base your campaign on. There are some undoubted advantages of using Facebook ads spy tools:
• Awareness. Facebook ads spy tools give you the outlook on the market, how your competitors use advertising and its instruments, and what's new in the advertising field.
• Analysis. As it was mentioned previously, ad spying tools give access to the information important for analysis. These tools provide the details on the quality of your competitors’ products or services, their landing pages, CTA’s, evaluate their traffic, review their ideas, their success, and failures. Based on other companies’ weaknesses and strengths, it’s easier to create something that is going to make your brand stand out, lowering the risk that something goes wrong.
• Niche trends. Using Facebook ad spy tools is helpful when you want to know what works for a particular field. This includes the tactics and the creatives your competitors use, targeting settings, messages wording, and even color schemes. You can build your campaign applying the trends that the big companies set.
Facebook ad spy tools are essential if you want to learn from the best and make something unique to engage your audience with your advertising campaign.
• Data.ai Ascend (formerly AppAnnie)
This data.ai product is focused on data aggregation across ad platforms. It collects information on the advertisers, publishers, ads impressions, etc., but most of this data is available only for paid users.
Pros: practical visualization, customization, data analytics, adestimates for Premium users.
Cons: limited and ineffective analytics for Free users, not suitable for web browsers, not transparent pricing.
Suitable for: mobile advertising and monetization.
• Sensor Tower
Ad Intelligence tool by Sensor Tower provides insights on advertisers, ad costs, publishers, ad creatives, and ad networks in mobile advertising. The focus is visual content, creative assets that advertisers use. Ad Intelligence also helps to find out which ad networks your competitors use apart from Facebook and their ad impressions.
Pros: data on costs, creatives, and ad performance, aid in finding suitable network for ad campaign, app downloads estimate.
Cons: limited analytics, limited number of networks, not suitable for web browsers, requires subscription to other products, no free features.
Suitable for: mobile advertising.
BigSpy is an ad spying tool for social media platforms. It gives access to competitors’ ad campaigns allowing you to track them, see the creatives that they use, and the performance of the ads. Big Spy may be good for beginners as its interface is simple and intuitive.
Pros: option of creating collections of favorite ads, offers different pricing plans with different additional features including free use, online support for VIP users.
Cons: limited features and analytics, requires additional research.
Suitable for: startups, small companies in e-commerce, gaming, etc.
MobileAction Ad Intelligence is another product for mobile apps and games. It provides information on advertisers, their creatives, number of impressions, networks that they use. Such filters as categories and countries are also available.
Pros: ad publisher analysis, app developer analysis, access to the information on top developers, advertisers, and the creatives that they use.
Cons: access to extended Ad Intelligence features including keyword intelligence and reports requires subscription to other products, limited features for free users.
Suitable for: mobile apps and games.
Spyder is a Facebook ad spy tool created by Perfomante to make the use of Facebook Ad Library easier and more practical. Spyder is a user-friendly product aimed at advertisers and marketers that value research and creativity.
Pros: options of sharing the generated links for Facebook ads with the team, downloading competitors’ ads, storing them in Spyder’s cloud, creating ad collections, access to Spyder Chrome extension.
Cons: limited analytics.
Suitable for: advertisers and publishers conducting research.
To summarize, some of these tools may not be suitable if your main advertising platforms are social media. With a good marketing team such simple and important features as downloading competitors’ ads and making your ad collection may be enough for comprehensive research and a successful ad campaign.
Facebook ads spy tools are a necessity when it comes to marketing and building and advertising strategy. Facebook Ad Library covers more than just the named social networking, it gives access to ads from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and even Audience Network (ads in advertisers’ apps and on their websites). To succeed in your field, it’s important to get a hold of what is happening in the world of advertising and all the ways your competitors engage the target audience. Using ad spy tools will make it much easier.
Follow your competitors’ campaigns, thoroughly research what is effective and what is not, and apply the best working ideas to your strategy. That is the way to the audience's heart.
Want to collect creatives faster and more efficiently? Check out Spyder and find references for your high-performing ads today!
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