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How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Ads

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individual spying on competitor's ads

The advertising world is fiercely competitive, and you must stay ahead of the curve to be successful. One of the powerful marketing strategies that you can employ to outsmart your fierce rivals is to learn from them. How do you do that? By spying on them.

I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t the espionage type that involves using unethical methods to steal ideas. This is about knowing what your competitors run, the message they convey, and their target audience.

The whole idea of spying is to gain a competitive edge and have a head start on how you go about your campaigns, which saves time and money along the way. 

How can you successfully spy on your competitor’s ads and use the knowledge to your advantage? This guide unlocks the secrets, helping you to understand the importance of spying on your competitor’s ads to enhance your advertising game.

Why Spy on Your Competitor’s Ads?

The hyper-competitive nature of the advertising environment would force you to consistently produce ads that would convert happy viewers into loyal and returning customers. From Facebook ads to Instagram ads, there are seemingly enough platforms that could help you develop your ad strategy. But if you aren’t an industry giant, you may have difficulty creating a compelling ad campaign that will capture the audience.

In an industry like advertising, knowledge is power. Understanding this landscape is essential to making informed decisions and staying ahead of the curve. Therefore, spying on your rival’s ads can be fundamental to your success. Mind you, you won’t be the first nor the last one to make use of this strategy. Most, if not all, big brands spy on their competitors to access what’s working and what isn’t. 

By spying, you gain invaluable knowledge about the company and the marketing tactics and strategies they use to attract customers. You also learn about their products and services positioning, messaging, and the platforms they leverage to make the most impact. This invaluable insight can help you spot their weaknesses and use them to refine your advertising strategy to adapt to your target audience.

Benefits of Spying on Your Competitor’s Ads

Analyzing the competition’s ads goes beyond keeping tabs on what they do – it’s about learning and getting some inspiration from competitors’ ad strategies that you may not have considered before for your advertising campaigns. Studying your competitors isn’t about copying their creative approaches – it’s about understanding the marketing landscape and finding your footing. Whether it’s the visuals, tagline, or just how the message was curated, competitor’s ads can help you to create compelling ad tactics that will keep you relevant in a crowded industry.

In summary, spying on your competitor’s ads will;

  • Save your time on research. You’ll know which ads will capture your target audience’s heart, allowing you to save time on creating unsuccessful ads.
  • It helps you to stay ahead of the pack, allowing you to spot weaknesses in other industry players.
  • Allow for more creativity and innovativeness with your ads, thereby inspiring confidence.
  • Help you understand your target audience and curate the best type of ad for the appropriate demographic, whether text-based ads or visuals. 
  • Save you significant costs in hiring researchers and copywriters. 

The first step to seeing competitors’ ads is to find which platform to use. You can find competitor ads on social media platforms and search engines. These are troves of competitor ads that provide valuable insights into competitors’ data and strategy. Below are the 10 tools to spy on competitor’s ads.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a web analytics tool for monitoring web traffic and performance. In addition, it provides a comprehensive analysis of the website’s metrics, including an estimate of the number of visits the website gets, bounce rate, and ad traffic source. 

This tool will also provide data on the social media platform with the most traffic and the ad networks they use and help you identify patterns to help you make informed decisions. You’ll also know the keywords your competitors use for SEO purposes.  

Go to similarweb.com and type in the competitor’s URL to get started.

Facebook Ad Library

Facebook is an evergreen spot for advertisements, where you can create and view competitor’s ads. This social media platform offers valuable insights into competitors’ social ads, creativity, messaging, and targeting. One tool that can help you analyze competitor’s ads is the Facebook Ad Library.

Facebook Ad Library is home to millions of various ads from different competitors. Users and non-users can view and analyze competitor’s advertisements and see the strategy behind the formation of those ads. If your competition runs a successful Facebook ad, the AdLibrary is a perfect place to see how they perform. You can refine their strategy in your advertising efforts.

To access your competitor’s ads through the AdLibrary;

  • Log into your Facebook account and search for your competitor’s Facebook page.
  • Navigate to the ‘Page Transparency’ section and select ‘See All.’
  • Scroll down to the Ad Library and click.
  • You’ll see all the ads published by your competitor and their details, including areas they targeted, impressions, amount spent, etc.
  • You can use filters to view specific Facebook ads. You can filter the ad category, ads by region, or ad type like video ads.

The data polled from the ad library can help to shape your ad strategy. However, you must mirror your competition if they run a similar business to yours. Remember, dissecting your competitor’s ads isn’t about copying or imitating them; it’s about getting more creative insights to launch a better ad. 

Some crucial elements you may want to check out are;

  • The kind of copy they are using
  • The type of call to action
  • The visuals
  • Font size and color
  • Design themes

SwipeBuilder

Like Facebook Ad Library, SwipeBuilder can help you view competitor’s ads and add filters. This third-party tool is better than the Facebook Ad Library because you can save and share the ads with your team. With this, you can view the ads multiple times offline, even when the ad is taken down from the Ad Library.

Besides, you can also analyze ad details and the strategy successful advertisers use to see top performing ads and stay one step ahead. To use this tool, check out this blog on saving ads from the Facebook Ad library using SwipeBuilder.

Instagram

Similar to Facebook, Instagram is another place to analyze competitor’s ads. There are two ways you can go about this. You can proceed to the Facebook Ad Library to see IG and Facebook ads. You can filter the ads based on your preference, i.e., select FB or IG ads.

The second option is to view ads directly from your campaign on Instagram. Go to your competitor’s profile and view the ads they are running and Instagram stories. This option wouldn’t let you see the ad details per se like on the Ad Library, but at least you can see the type of ad they run.

Twitter

Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t have a built-in feature for viewing competitor’s ads. Besides, it doesn’t have a filtering option for active ads. So, you must manually search for sponsored tweets from your competitors and view them individually. You can see the ad’s engagement level, including the number of views, comments, likes, and retweets.

Follow the steps below to know which ads your competitors are running;

  • Log into your Twitter account and type in your competitor’s username.
  • Click on their profile and then select ‘Media.’
  • You’ll see their posts, including their advertising campaigns.
  • You can also watch for the competitor’s Twitter ads to appear in your feed.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t a conventional place to view ads, but you can see thousands of ads on the platform. If you have a more professional target market or audience. In that case, you can leverage LinkedIn ads for your inspiration over other social platforms like TikTok that cater to the younger generation.

Log into your account and visit your competitor’s LinkedIn Page. You can view all the sponsored content and ads running on the platform. 

Google Ads

Search engine advertising platforms like Google Ads help dissect competitor’s search ads and make comparisons. These ads appear at the top of Google’s search engine results page. So, while you go about researching, these search ads appear directly as top ads on the result page.

Features like Google’s Auction Insights can provide insights into the competitor’s impression, average position, and overlap rate. It aids in comparing your ad performance against the competition, allowing you to analyze their ad strategies.

While Google Ads are viewable upon entering the search bar or engine, you can’t see your competitor’s bids for keywords. The good news is some platforms can help you gain insights into this. They are Google Keyword Planner (GKP) and Ahrefs.

Google Keyword Planner provides accurate insights into the keyword volume, average CPC, and many more. The best of it all is it’s so straightforward to use. Log into your Google Ads account and type in the keyword your competitor is using. You’ll get all the details you need regarding the keyword.

Ahrefs isn’t as accurate as GKP but provides enough details about your competitors’ keyword use. More essentially, you can see all the keywords they pay for. Kindly go to the Ahrefs site, type in the competitor’s URL, go to ‘Paid Keywords,’ and type in the keyword your competitor is bidding on.

Adbeat

Adbeat compiles data from every major Ad network. It’s an incredible tool for spying on the competition’s ads. The site offers free and paid features.

To start using this tool, go to Adbeat.com and create an account, type in your competitor’s name, and wait for the tool to deliver all the essential data, from the date and number of ads published to sizes and the nature of the ads.

What to Pay Attention to in Your Competition’s Ads

an individual using a spy glass on a computer screen showing ads

Spying on your competitor’s ads isn’t the main objective; the real value lies in leveraging the data polled and applying them to your marketing strategy. Here are some pointers to take note of when analyzing the competition’s ads;

  • Visual elements: Visual elements must be noted when analyzing your competition. Examine the images and videos, and identify the common themes used in the ad. It will aid in understanding the ad’s visual appeal.
  • Message: The message behind the ad is also important. Identify the primary selling point, language, tone, and value propositions. It will help you uncover messaging strategies that work and don’t.
  • Branding: Identify the branding elements of your competitor’s products, including the logo, slogan, and color, to stay abreast of their positioning strategy.
  • Audience: Identify the demographics and interests targeted by your competitors in their ads. Use the information to refine your strategy.
  • Ad Placements: Know the ad placement of your competitor’s ads and how they use it to reach their target audience. Be attentive to the platforms and ad formats and apply them to your marketing strategy.

Start Monitoring Competitor Ads Today!

Originality is essential in today’s advertising world. But sometimes, developing something authentic can be hectic. Spying on your competitor’s ads can motivate you to create ads that resonate with your target audience. 

Find out what works by doing competitor research and tailor it to suit your strategy. Analyze about 3 – 5 competitors in your field, use tools like Facebook Ad Library and SwipeBuilder to monitor competitor ads, analyze their ad details, and have a grasp of their content, including the style and message. Finally, apply the information to yours. 

We hope this article has given you insight into how to spy on your competitor’s ads.

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