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Introduction

Why would you want to find competitor ads instead of just focusing on yours? Your competitors most likely target the same audience as you. Hence, knowing their paid ads strategy can help inform yours.

Since 2020, brands have spent over $165 billion on digital ads in the US. There are many benefits to paid ads as a startup. You can reach your precise audience, increase brand awareness, and boost your measurable ROI. 

In this post, we’ll share about:

  1. Top tools you can use to find your competitors’ ads
  2. Step-by-step guide to finding their Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok ads
  3. Advanced techniques to analyse their ads and strategies
  4. Practical tips and best practices to improve your own ad campaigns

Top tools for finding competitor ads

Kaya's Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool: The Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool eliminates the manual work to find, compile and analyze your competitors’ ads. It aggregates their ads across different platforms, like Google ads, Meta ads, LinkedIn ads and more in one place. 

You'll be able to get data that's hardly accessible by public research, such as competitor’s ad activities by channel, ad spend, format and effort. The best part? It also gives you channel recommendations and tailors suggestions to your audience. 

Kaya's competitor ad intelligence tool compiles your competitor ads across platforms like Google, Meta, LinkedIn, TikTok and moreo
Kaya's Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool shows you where your competitors are running ads; how much they're spending; which ad formats are working for them.

Curious what your competitors are up to with their paid ads strategy? Get a FREE report here 👈

Top paid tools

AdEspresso: Hootsuite’s AdEspresso offers an Ad Gallery that allows you to search for competitor ads. The tool offers many filters to help narrow your search. It also sees all your competitors’ ads and user engagement, showing which are most effective.  

SEMrush: With SEMrush, you can generate a detailed list of all the keywords your competitors have in common. You can find where your competitors are advertising and information on their search and display ad campaigns. You can also use it to see keywords your competitors bid on. 

Spyfu: Spyfu provides insight and recommendations on effective and ineffective ads based on your competitors’ experiences. With Spyfu, you’ll learn every keyword your competitors used, the evolution of their ad copy, and their advertising expenditures. 

AdBeat: With Adbeat, you can learn your competitor’s entire ad strategy. This tool shows what your competition is doing– their ad formats, such as display, video, and native ads and how they use them. Adbeat also shows how your competitors buy ad space and traffic from ad networks. 

Top free tools 

As a startup, your tight budget may limit you from using paid tools. Here are free tools for finding competitor ads.

Facebook Ad Library: You only need a Facebook account to use this Meta ad library, and you can search by keywords or advertisers. It works for ads advertised across Meta’s platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network etc. You can also learn the age of the ad and how many versions are running on the platform. However, you can only see business ads that are still running—Meta removes old ads from the library. 

Google Ad Transparency Center: Google’s ad transparency center will help you find competitor display ads used in the past year. You can search ads using the website or advertiser name as keywords and filter the search to make them more specific. It is quite popular for advertising creative analysis.

LinkedIn Ad Library: The LinkedIn Ad Library is a free tool for finding competing ads on LinkedIn. It allows you to search competitor ads using ad keywords or the advertisers' names. The tools filter can also help you narrow your search to find and analyze only the ads you want. 

TikTok Creative Center: The Creative Center is an alternative to TikTok’s Ad Library. It reveals important ad metrics like clicks, CTV, conversions, and CTR. You can use this free tool without a TikTok account, but you’ll only see ads approved by advertisers to appear on the creative center.

Step-by-step guide to finding competitor ads

You may wonder how to use these tools. We created a practical guide to help you do that.

Finding competitor ads on Google

Find competitor ads at Google's ad transparency center
Google Ad Transparency Center: Identify which keywords/USPs your competitors have been focusing on.

Google Ads' competitor analysis reveals all ads that are currently running on Google properties and those that were delivered about 30 days ago.

Here is how to spy on competitor ads on Google: 

  • Search for competitors in the transparency center
  • Count their total ads
  • Read their ad copies 
  • View their image ads
  • Analyze the CTAs used
  • Watch their video ads

After finding your competitors’ ads, use the above steps to analyze their PPC strategies. Your analysis should seek to answer questions like: 

  • How many ads are they running?
  • What kind of messaging did they use in the ads? 
  • Where are they running the most ads?
  • What do they offer the audience?
  • What keywords are they using? 

Following these steps and answering these questions give you insights that you can incorporate into your ads strategy. 

How to find competitor ads on Facebook

Find competitor ads on Meta/Facebook ad library for Meta, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp
Meta Ad Library: Look at the ad start date. Learn which ad has stood through time.

Follow the below six steps to find competitor ads on Facebook using the Meta Ad Library

  1. Open the Facebook Ad Library from your profile. You will find it with a simple Facebook search. 
  2. Type your competitor's name in the field provided and search. You can also use the filters to specify your search. 
  3. Select your target competitor from the result page. 
  4. A page will open with more details of the competitors and their meta ads. 
  5. Navigate through the ads menu to see all their ads. 
  6. Click on specific ad units to reveal more information about them. 

While spying on your competitors' Meta ads, try to identify ad creatives and targeting strategies employed in their campaigns. Your competitors could be exploring any of these targeting strategies: 

  • Targeting based on purchasing behaviors
  • Layered targeting
  • Targeting a custom audience
  • Creative life event targeting

Competitor ad analysis on Instagram

You can use the Meta Ads library to analyze Instagram ads. Follow the steps in the previous section and use the right filters to find competing ads on Instagram. 

Instagram insights is another efficient tool that you can use for ad analysis along with the Meta ads library. However, it does not show your competitor’s ads, and it is only available for business accounts via mobile app. Using both, you can measure your ad performance against your competitors. 

To open Instagram Insights on your account, tap the Insights action button on your Instagram profile page. Hubspot has a great article on Instagram Insights, read more here.

Instagram Insights shows your ad performance and key metrics like reach and engagement
Instagram Insights shows the key engagement metrics of your ads. Image from Hubspot

LinkedIn Ad Library and competitor analysis

Find LinkedIn competitor ads at LinkedIn Ads Library
LinkedIn Ad Library: Check out your competitors' different ad variants, messagings and lead magnets.

The LinkedIn Ad Library reveals all your competitors’ ads and their performance metrics. Open the Ads Library directly on LinkedIn and search a keyword to find competitor ads from this library.

You can also find a competitor’s ads on LinkedIn from their profile. Here are the steps to do it. 

  1. Search and open their profile page on LinkedIn.
  2. Navigate to the Post timeline. 
  3. Choose Ads on the filter to see only ads on the post timeline. 

Here, you will see all your competitor’s ads but not all the metrics as you would in the Library. 

TikTok creative center for ad analysis

Find competitor ads at TikTok's Creative Center
Get inspiration from the creative angles your competitors have taken.

You’ll find detailed insights for analyzing your competitors’ ads from the TikTok Creative Center. You can access the Creative Center without a TikTok Account like the Ad Library. Simply open this center on a browser and start searching for ads. 

You’ll find performance and keyword insights, as well as other ad information, for a comparative analysis. The TikTok Creative Center has several tabs, including top, trending, and hot ads. This helps you understand the current ad trends and popular ad formats in your niche. 

Advanced techniques in competitor ad analysis

By now, you should be familiar with the basics of finding competitor ads online, but you can take things further to extract even more insights. Here are some practical tips to help you do that.

Ad copy analysis

Analyzing your competitors' ad copy is a basic task in competitor ad analysis. Your analysis aims to find what makes the ad copy compelling. 

Here are some key elements to analyze in a competitor’s ad copy: 

  • Headline: Analyze its clarity and appeal. 
  • Messaging: See how compelling and persuasive it is. 
  • Call to action (CTA): Observe the strength of the CTA and its strategic placement. 
  • Tone: Discern your competitors' tone and how it appeals to the audience. 
  • Unique selling proposition (USP): Learn how they present the brand’s USP. 

There are several tools to help you analyze these elements in ad copies, such as:

  • AdSpy: AdSpy is a database that allows you to search for Facebook and Instagram ads, giving you the option to deepen your ad copy analysis.
  • AdBeat: The Adbeat tool offers insights into your competitors' digital ad strategies. However, it has a limited database for ads outside the US.

Ad tracking and monitoring

While single-ad analysis is excellent, ad tracking and monitoring are even better. Tracking and monitoring is a comprehensive and ongoing approach to ad analysis. It allows you to analyze the different ad creatives your competitors employ. 

This analysis can help you discern your competitors’ entire ad strategy. However, tracking and monitoring analysis require online tools for effective implementation. 

Below are some recommended tools for this comprehensive ad analysis: 

  • AdEspresso: AdEspresso offers real-time Facebook campaign metrics and recommends improvements. 
  • Pathmatics: Pathmatics enables you to see insights about your customers, competitors, and market. You can view ad spend, impressions, creatives, and more, but it only offers quotation-based pricing and no free trials.

Evaluating competitor advertising strategies

A competitor ad analysis aims to find competitor ads and learn their strengths and weaknesses. It also lets you find opportunities to leverage. 

This section covers two ways to evaluate your competitor’s advertising strategies. 

Using PPC competitor analysis

The pay-per-click or PPC competitor analysis helps assess your search engine marketing approaches against your rivals. 

Here are the steps in PPC competitor analysis when planning your ad campaigns:

  1. Identify your competitors
  2. Analyze competitor keywords
  3. Find competing PPC ads or competitor PPC campaigns
  4. Study your competitor's ad copies 
  5. Look at competitor landing pages 
  6. Set new goals from the insights 

Using social media ad intelligence

Ad Intelligence, a social media ad monitoring tool, provides insights into your advertising and content strategy. With this, you can keep an eye on social channels and the conversations that take place on them. It interprets ad information beyond basic engagement. 

Practical tips for competitor ad analysis

Competitor ad analysis is continuous. For this reason, you must constantly keep up to avoid lagging and falling short in your campaigns. So, there are multiple practical tips to keep you going. 

Evaluate competitor ad performance

Here are a few options for evaluating ad performance:

  • Always get a broader and more encompassing view. 
  • Analyze competitor ad campaigns with a top-down model.
  • Keep an eye out for the longest active ads.
  • Find the most popular twists among competitor ads.

Here is an extra resource we created to help you analyze competitor ads on social media.

Include creative trends and innovations

You must also keep up with the latest trends and innovations. Here are the most important to consider:

  • Use AI tools in your campaigns when you can.
  • Go for shorter ads since they are more effective.
  • Video ads are better without the disrupting sounds.
  • Create more personalized ads.
  • Always keep the ads authentic.

Create alerts for competitor ads

Create alerts to track competitors and monitor their campaigns. Here are the tips on how to set these competitor ad alerts:

  • Go for ad spying tools like PowerAdSpy, AdEspresso, and BigSpy.
  • Browse the Facebook ad library.
  • Google Alerts is more useful than you think.
  • Follow your competitors on their social media profiles.
  • Monitor specific keywords and hashtags.
  • Backlink analysis is critical.

Best practices for competitor ad analysis

Combining the information you gather with your campaign strategy can get you results. Here are multiple practices to consider.

Leverage insights from competitor ads

Leveraging the information from competitor ads analysis is as important as the analysis itself. Here are tips on how to use these insights adequately:

  • Study the market positioning to figure out which gaps to fill.
  • Analyze their customer feedback to adjust your provisions.
  • Educate yourself on their market campaigns to get inspiration.
  • Use the insights to remain on top of the trends.

Improve your own ad campaigns based on competitor data

You can use the data from competitor ad analysis to tweak and enhance your strategy. Here is how to do it.

  • Use competitor data to identify trends.
  • Get inspiration for your own ads.
  • Copy from winning campaigns.
  • Fill the gaps that may be present in competitor ads.

Case studies

Kaya’s Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool makes the difference for struggling startups. Here are some cases.

Safely Finance

The team's expertise, combined with their extensive competitive research, Kaya delivered the right insights that led to ad success for Bristle Finance. Their Google ads conversion grew by 651%, offer costs dropped by 80%, and key conversion points increased by 3 times.

The co-founder, Roland Mansilla, spoke about the transformation.

“By trusting Kaya and delegating, we regained time to spend understanding our users.”

Stateel

Kaya's proprietary AI tool delivered the analytics and insights that enabled Stateel to scale its business. The team also delivered regular updates via Slack and email, helping Stateel save time and keep up with the numbers that matter.

Hear from the founder, Shaun Low:

“The analytics and insights I get from Kaya have been such a time saver, and helped cut through the chaff and show us the numbers that mattered and what they meant. It was very helpful in guiding us on what to focus on while scaling up our business.”

Read more from startup founders to see how Kaya is making a difference for them.

FAQ

How do I find competitor ads on Instagram?

To see competitor ads on Instagram, use the Meta ads library for Facebook and Instagram to search for the competitor’s name. Then, view a list of their active ads. You can view each ad unit to see more details.

What is the best tool for PPC competitor analysis?

Based on user reviews, SpyFu is among the best tools for PPC competitor ad analysis. It provides insights into the competitor’s keywords, bidding, and ad choices.

For a more comprehensive overview, Kaya’s Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool also covers your competitors' PPC ad budget and ad copies, along with other paid social ads like Meta, LinkedIn, TikTok and more. Get a free report today.

How can I find competitor ads on LinkedIn for free?

To find competitor ads on LinkedIn for free, search for the competitor’s name on LinkedIn and open their profile page. View their post timeline. Use the Ads filter to view only Ads on the post timeline. View ads competitor has been running within the last six months.

What is the Facebook Ad Library, and how do I use it?

A Facebook ad library is a free tool for finding active ads running on Facebook. To use the Facebook Ad Library, search for the advertiser’s name. Then, view a list of all their active ads.

Final thoughts

Evaluating your competitor’s ad strategy allows you to know their strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can follow what works and avoid the ones that do not.

You can automate that process using Kaya’s Competitor Ad Intelligence Tool. It reveals where your competitors are running ads and what they are spending. It also offers you insights on what channels to target, the ideal customers, and tailored suggestions for your marketing. Here's a free report to get started - No string attached.

Remember that ads are an investment, and you want to get the maximum ROI possible. You need the help of experts to get you the required results.

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