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What is Competitive Facebook Ads Analysis?

How to Get Started Now to Optimize Your Ad Campaigns

Competitive Facebook Ads analysis is one of the most important steps to generate better creative for your Facebook campaign ads.

Creating a high-performing ad is not an easy task. Creating a winning ad is very hard – and only one in twenty new ads will usually beat a control. With a 5% success rate, you have a tremendous amount of work to uncover a fresh winning concept.

Ad creative is critical to the success of your campaigns. The reality is, most ads fail. Usually, that means you’ll have to A|B test a lot of ads, but you’ll also have to start off with some strong new concept ads, too.

High-performance ads are so challenging to create, so one of the most important tactics to use is Competitive Facebook Ads analysis.

Your competitors have already poured a ton of resources and ad spend and testing time into creating their own high-performance ads and they are failing at 95% too. Competitive analysis is especially good for developing these types of bold new concepts – completely new approaches that haven’t been tried before.

Once you know how to find and identify your competitor’s high-performing ads, you’ll have an endless supply of tested concepts ready to either make new ads from or to use in your ad tests.

Use Facebook’s Ads Library Tool and Other Competitive Ads Analysis Tools


Facebook’s ads library tool launched in 2019, and it’s an aggressive move towards transparency for the ad platform, sparked by ongoing calls for more transparency.

The tool will reveal:

  • Every ad that’s active now or that has even been active since May of 2018
  • How much a page has spent on Facebook ads
  • Which pages’ ads reference a particular keyword

You can also run daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reports for different searches, and you don’t even need a Facebook account to access the information.

Review competitor ads for trends like:

  • Messaging
  • Offers
  • Use of motion
  • Call to actions
  • Colors and backgrounds
  • Text placement
  • Characters
  • Logos and/or stickers
  • Anything that looks like a new element in an ad, or an old element used in a new way

The Facebook ads library tool may become even more useful soon. That’s because Facebook developer accounts can now have access to the ads library API. This, of course, means developers can build tools to sift through ads and data, and means we might be able to spot trends faster, and build better ads and better tests.

How to Get Performance Data

For this, you’ll need third-party tools. We recommend all of these Facebook ad spying tools, and we used them ourselves:

  • Social Ad Scout
  • PowerAdSpy
  • Connect Explore
  • SocialPeta
  • AdSpy

As you review competitor Facebook ads, make a log of what you find. It’s best to organize your research first by a competitor, then by the ads they’re running, and then by what you notice, and then by what you specifically want to create or test. Create a table for each competitor so you can add rows for dates.

Keeping a log like this takes time, but you don’t have to have a table for every competitor. And if you set aside even one hour a week to do a review like this, you’ll have all the new ideas you can handle.

If you’ve got the time, consider following the ads of a few non-competitive advertisers whose work you admire. Sometimes, really great ideas can come from outside your niche, though don’t expect miracles…outside the box ad concepts can work really well, but often they flop pretty hard, too. Use your testing methodology to minimize how much exposure you give any ad until it has proven itself.


Competitive Facebook ads analysis – just as creative development, testing, and strategy – are critical for campaign performance. The algorithms at Facebook may be able to test creative elements, but they still can’t create those elements or develop a creative strategy. They can’t do competitive analysis alone, either.

Focus on expanding your skills in those areas, specifically, being able to distill and interpret Facebook split testing data from creative so your team can deliver better creative.

Facebook will transform UA advertising through 2020. They’re working hard on a new feature that will optimize creative, creative placements, audiences, bids, and budgets for social marketers. We expect this new capability to be out sometime in Q1 2020, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out Facebook’s Power5 best practices for running campaigns, and feel free to contact us with any questions.

competitive facebook ads



Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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