How To Spy On Your Competitor's Ads Using Facebook And Google

November 14, 2022
2 min read

It's free and totally legal.

It never hurts to snoop on the competition. Especially when ad costs are out the wazoo and you're heading into the most cutthroat shopping season of the year. AKA, now. 

Luckily, there are 2 totally legal ways to reverse engineer other brands' growth strategies, thanks to Meta and Google. Here's how to use this to your advantage: 

Spying with Meta

Maybe you've already heard about Meta's Ad Library. (It's the worst-kept secret in business.)

With the search tool, see any ads your competitors are currently running on Facebook or Instagram. 

Pay special attention to: 

  • What creatives and text they're using. Repeated assets tend to indicate what tests are working.
  • How long they've been running each ad. The longer they throw money at something, the better it's probably performing (these are the ones you'll want to pay attention to). 
  • Which platforms they're running ads on. In other words, where they think your target audience hangs out. 
  • What keywords they're buying. That way, you can make smart, strategic decisions that'll give 'em a run for their money (or keep your ad costs down by choosing alternatives). 
  • How many impressions they've garnered. Remember to cross-check impressions with engagement (namely, likes and comments) to validate if the strategy works or if they're bleeding cash.

Spying with Google

Did you know you can do the same for your competitors' Google Ads? (We didn't.)

Simply: 

  1. Find a competitor's ad by searching any keyword you might bid on. (Stuck? 10 out of 10 recommend starting with your brand name.)
  2. Click the 3 dots on the far-right side of the ad's headline.
  3. Click "See More Ads From This Advertiser" to browse all active ads from the last 30 days. 

Disclaimer: Google provides way less information than Meta on your competitors' ad activity (basically, just where they're running what creatives). But hey – some data is better than no data, right?

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