How to Look Up Ads on Facebook Using the Meta Ad Library

22 Sep, 2023

Unlock the power of competitive insight with DriftLead's comprehensive guide to using Meta Ad Library for Facebook ads. Learn how to navigate the library, what key elements to focus on, and how to leverage this information to craft perfect ad creatives.

Jump to:


Hop on our weekly newsletter train! We're sharing tips so stellar, we're practically job-threatening ourselves!

Ready for some more insider secrets from us at DriftLead? If you're in the ad game, you know the drill: the hunt for that elusive perfect Facebook ad is like chasing a unicorn. 🦄

But what if we told you there's a way to lift the fog and find some real nuggets of inspiration? Drumroll, please... 🥁 Enter the Facebook Ad Library—err, uh Meta Ads Library—a literal treasure chest of insights just waiting to be unearthed. In this blog post, we'll walk you through why it's a game-changer, how to navigate it like a pro, and how to turn those insights into pure ad gold. 🌟


Why Peeping Into Other Ads is a Smart Move

Snooping around in other ads isn't just a guilty pleasure; it's a bona fide strategy! 🕵️‍♂️ Here's why it's a good idea move for any marketer:

Be the Sherlock Holmes of Marketing 🕵️‍♀️

Ever wish you had that magical crystal ball 🔮 to see what your competitors are up to? Forget magic; the Meta Ad Library lets you do just that. Take a dive into what your competitors are investing in and get a leg up. After all, knowledge is power, right?

A Swipe File on Steroids 💪

Creative block? Say no more. The Meta Ad Library is like having an endlessly updated swipe file you can refer to whenever you're in need of a creative jolt. 🎨 Get inspired by the best (and learn what to avoid from the worst).

Validate Your Ideas 🎯

So you've got this killer ad concept, but you're unsure if it's too 'out there'? Scour the library to see if someone else has tread that path and, most importantly, is still investing in it. If so, chances are that it worked pretty well—or they need to hire a new marketing team. Anyway, it's like having a focus group at your fingertips—without the awkwardness. 🙃

Stay Ahead of the Curve 📈

Trends come and go, but with access to real-time data, you can be that savvy marketer who's always a step ahead. From creative formats to popular messaging, you're getting a free education in modern advertising. 🎓

Alright, now that you're convinced (we hope!), let's talk about how to actually use this powerhouse of a tool. 🛠️

Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating the Meta Ad Library

Great, you're pumped to be the James Bond of advertising, but what's the game plan? 🤔 Here's a simple, straightforward guide to navigating the treasure trove that is the Meta Ad Library:

Step 1: Accessing the Library 📚

First things first, head over to the Meta Ad Library page. No special access or secret handshake needed—just click on this link, or type "Meta Ad Library" into your search engine, and you're off to the races.

Step 2: Search Like a Pro 🔍

You'll find a search bar where you must select the type of ad category and enter a search query. Here, you can enter the name of an organization, brand, or even keywords related to the industry you're interested in.


Step 3: Use Filters Like a Sommelier 🍷

Just like a fine wine needs the right settings, your search can be enhanced with the right filters. You can narrow down results by country, by the platform where the ad is running, and even by the time frame during which the ad ran. Talk about getting specific!


Step 4: Deep Dive into the Creatives 🐠

Click on any ad, and you'll see the creative, the ad copy, and additional details like when the ad started running. Take notes, snap screenshots, and start thinking about how these elements can apply to your campaigns.

Step 5: Check Their Spend and Reach 💵📏

Some ads will even show you estimates of the ad's reach and the budget behind it. While not a crystal ball, it's a darn good insight into what you're up against—or what you could potentially do better.

Step 6: Analyze and Adapt 📊

Don't just be a passive observer; be an analyst. What do these ads tell you about market trends? What messaging is resonating with people? Use these insights to inform your own campaigns.

Step 7: Rinse and Repeat 🔄

Make it a habit to periodically revisit the Meta Ad Library for fresh insights. Trust us, it's like a soap opera; there's always some new drama to catch up on. 🍿

So there you have it—a 007-level guide to becoming an ad-spying genius. Go ahead and give it a spin; let the power of competitive insight propel you to new heights of ad awesomeness! 🚀

Key Elements to Observe

So, you've gone full Sherlock Holmes and are now knee-deep in ads from the Meta Ad Library. But what are you looking for exactly? What are the nuggets of wisdom buried in these advertising gold mines? Here's your cheat sheet:


Headlines That Pop 🎉

Pay attention to the headlines. Are they catchy? Do they make you want to click? If yes, note down what about them grabs your attention. Is it humor? Urgency? A compelling offer? This will give you clues about what might work in your industry or niche.

Imagery and Video Content 🎨🎬

Visuals are the name of the game on Facebook. Take note of the kinds of images or videos being used. Are they professional shots, user-generated content, or maybe animated graphics? What kind of visual content could make your ad stand out in a crowded newsfeed?

Call-to-Action (CTA) 🗣️

A good ad isn't just visually appealing; it tells you what to do next. Is the CTA clear and compelling? Is it 'Shop Now', 'Learn More', or something more creative? The right CTA can make a world of difference in your click-through rates.

Ad Copy ✒️

It's not just what you say but how you say it. Are the ads using emotive language? Humor? Facts and figures? How can you apply this to your own ad copy to make it as engaging as possible?

Engagement Metrics 👍💬

While not always visible, if you can see how many likes, comments, or shares an ad has, that's valuable data. It shows what is resonating with people and what's sparking conversations.

Target Audience 🎯

Sometimes, the ad will give you hints about the target audience. Are they focusing on a particular age group, location, or interest? This can be useful info for your own targeting strategies.

Timing ⏳

When was the ad published? Is it a seasonal campaign, or does it align with specific events or trends? Timing can be everything, so consider how this could play into your own ad schedule.

Putting Your Observations to Work

You've observed, you've analyzed, you've... well, let's just say you've done some high-level ad-stalking. 😎 But what's next? Let's dig in:

Craft Your Unique Value Proposition 🌟

Now that you know what's working for your competitors, ask yourself: "What sets us apart?" Use your unique attributes to craft a compelling message. You want to stand out, not blend in. Aim to address a gap or need that others aren't covering.

A/B Testing to the Rescue 🧪

Use the observations you've made as a basis for A/B testing. Test different headlines, images, CTAs, or even entire concepts. Start by mimicking strategies that have worked for others, then put your own twist on it to see what truly resonates with your audience.

Adjust Your Targeting Strategy 🎯

If you noticed that your competitors are targeting a particular demographic or interest group, consider whether you should do the same. Or maybe go against the grain and target an underserved segment of the market. Your call!

Optimize Your Budget 💰

Use competitive insights to inform your budget allocation. If a particular type of ad seems to be a big hit in your industry, it might be worth investing more in that area.

Continuous Monitoring 📊

Keep going back to the Meta Ad Library to stay updated on what your competitors are doing. And yeah, feel free to steal—err, we mean 'be inspired by'—their great ideas. 😉

Build a Swipe File 🗂️

Create a digital "swipe file" where you save ads that catch your eye. This can serve as a quick reference and inspiration for future campaigns.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Alright, you're well on your way to becoming a Facebook Ads Jedi, but even Jedi Masters can stumble. Let's go over some things to avoid:

Copycat Syndrome 🐱‍👤

While it's tempting to copy a successful ad verbatim, resist the urge. Not only is it ethically questionable, but your audience will also probably catch on, and nobody likes a copycat. Take inspiration, not replication.


Analysis Paralysis 🤯

It's easy to get caught up in the details of each ad—color schemes, button placement, etc.—but don't lose sight of the overall strategy. Are your competitors running a series of related ads? What’s the broader message?

Assuming What Works for Others Will Work for You 🤷‍♀️

Just because a particular approach is successful for a competitor doesn’t mean it will be for DriftLead. Different audiences have different preferences, and what sings to one may scream to another.

Overestimating Your Competition 👑

We often assume that if a business is bigger or has been around longer, they must be doing everything right. Not true! Even industry leaders make mistakes. Take your observations with a grain of salt and trust your own data and instincts.


You've got questions, we've got answers.

Is It Ethical to Look at Competitors' Ads? 👀

Absolutely, as long as you're using the information as inspiration and not straight-up copying their content. The Meta Ad Library is a public resource meant for transparency, so don't feel bad about using it to your advantage.

Do I Need Special Software? 🖥️

Nope, you just need an internet connection and a device to browse on. The Meta Ad Library is freely accessible, and you don’t even need a Facebook account to use it.

How Often Should I Check Competitor Ads? 📆

That really depends on your industry and how volatile it is. Some may benefit from weekly checks, while others might do a deep dive once a month. The key is to find a balance that offers you timely insights without overwhelming you.

Can I Only Look Up Ads That Are Currently Running? 🏃‍♀️

No, you can also view ads that have run in the past. This can provide valuable insights into how your competitors' strategies have evolved over time.

How Reliable Is the Data? 📊

While the Meta Ad Library provides a treasure trove of info, it's not infallible. Ads can be taken down, or new ones can be launched after your last check. Always use your own data and insights as your primary guide.

Can I Look Up Any Business? 🏢

Pretty much! As long as they've run ads on Facebook or Instagram, they should appear in the Meta Ad Library. However, smaller businesses or those new to social advertising may not have much data to explore.

Does This Replace the Need for My Own Testing? 🧪

Absolutely not! Consider this method supplementary to your own A/B tests and data analysis. You might pick up some excellent pointers, but there's no one-size-fits-all approach in advertising. You do you!


And there you have it, folks! The low-down on why you should absolutely be stalking—sorry, we mean, studying—your competitors' Facebook ads using the Meta Ad Library. We've given you the step-by-step guide, the key elements to focus on, and the common pitfalls to dodge. We've even debunked a few myths and answered those burning FAQs. 🎯

But remember, while looking at others' ads can provide valuable insights, it's not a substitute for crafting your unique ad strategy. Use what you learn as a springboard, not a crutch. Your business is one-of-a-kind, and your ads should reflect that. 💎 So go ahead, start your detective work. We promise, it's much easier than assembling a bookshelf from IKEA. 🛠️

If you found this guide helpful, don't forget to share it with your marketing pals or anyone else who might benefit from a little insider knowledge. And if you've got questions or need help optimizing your ad campaigns, DriftLead is always here to help you navigate through the ever-changing seas of digital advertising. 🚀 In fact, we are offering a free marketing plan to help you get started.

Until next time, keep crushing those campaigns! 🥳💪

More from DriftLead

See what we can do for you

no commitment!