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What is the Facebook Advertising Library?

How to Get Started Now to Optimize Your Ad Campaigns

What is the Facebook Advertising Library? Facebook’s Advertising Library launched in 2019, and it’s an aggressive move towards visibility and clarity of data for the ad platform, sparked by ongoing calls for more transparency. It offers a comprehensive, searchable collection of ads currently running from across Facebook Products, including Instagram.


The Facebook Advertising Library Tool

  • 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 or Instagram account to access the information. You can access all active ads, even ones that may not have been shown to you because you weren’t part of an advertiser’s intended audience.

For instance, you could see data for all ads about social issues, elections, or politics today. Facebook will even keep each of these ads in the Advertising Library for seven years. Use Facebook Advertising Library Reports to see overall spending totals, spending by specific advertisers, and spend data by geographic location.

This publicly accessible report is part of Facebook’s efforts to increase transparency in advertising.


How this Improves Your Creatives

Competitive analysis should be a core skill within every creative team. Competitive analysis has two key benefits:

  • It lets you peer into an almost endless library of tested concepts (tested with your competitors’ ad budgets, not yours).
  • It increases your success rate for your new concepts, so your entire testing program involves a lot less risk.

Think of all this shared knowledge as the “wisdom of creative crowds.” Fortunately, we have ample resources to make competitive analysis efficient.

In addition to Facebook’s Advertising Library, there are other creative research tools like our AdRules + SensorTower, and SocialPeta, AppAnnie, and many others.

If that’s not enough, you can also check out our resource of over 500,000 competitive video ads from Facebook and Google AC advertisers. Just remember to check competitive benchmarks data so you can recognize what’s breakout performance and what’s just average for that genre.

Leveraging the Facebook Advertising Library

Leverage the Facebook Advertising Library to 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

In April 2020, Facebook started rolling out new features into its Advertising Library to make ads more transparent and easier to search. Facebook added “potential reach”. This represents an estimate of the size of the audience that is eligible to see an ad. They’re also now grouping similar ads together so you won’t have to scroll through as many, and they’re offering more filters (ie. search by IG handle).

The Facebook Advertising Library tool may become even more useful soon. That’s because Facebook developer accounts can now have access to the Facebook Advertising 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 creative 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 creative 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. Leverage the best-in-class tools as well, like Facebook’s Advertising Library.

Facebook will transform UA advertising throughout 2020. They’re working hard on a new feature that will optimize creative, creative placements, audiences, bids, and budgets for social marketers

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

Facebook Advertising Library


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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