How to know if your competition is advertising on social networks
Your online competitors’ advertising activity can be a determining factor in their success and by extension, can affect your results in social media and beyond. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to find out if your competitors are investing in social media advertising. By examining their social ads, you can get the idea of the image they want to convey, the offers and USPs they highlight, what communication objectives they have and even the markets they are most interested in.
Facebook and Instagram
The easiest social networks to consult social media ads in are Facebook and Instagram. By visiting https://www.facebook.com/ads/library, you can search by the name of your competitor, the periodicity of ads and even the country they appeared in.
Careful: Facebook and Instagram give details of estimated advertising spend in many cases, but do not trust these estimates too much. We’ve checked these numbers against real numbers of clients, and they generally do not match up exactly.
The Ads Library tool offered by Facebook allows you to segment and see competitors’ ads by network, format and some other criteria in the “filters” section.
By examining the results in the country selector, you can also get the idea of where they advertise the most or which markets are currently highest priority for a given competitor.
Although LinkedIn does not give us the same filters or details as Facebook does regarding our competitors’ social ads, you can also see what they are promoting on this business social platform.
Once you’ve logged into LinkedIn, visit the profile of the competitor you want to examine. Here the ads are a little more hidden. If you add “ads” to their profile URL, you’ll see the posts they’re promoting. For example: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thyssenkrupp/ads. This URL automatically redirects us to: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thyssenkrupp/posts/?feedView=ads
You can also go to the posts section of their profile: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thyssenkrupp/posts/ and select the “ads” button.
Here we can see what content the company has been promoting:
In this feed, you’ll see all the recent ads that have been promoted on LinkedIn, but without any filter options. That is, the content is mixed by market, language, etc. Still, it will give you a notion of what any given competitor is promoting on LinkedIn.
Bad news: Although Twitter previously offered access to competitor social media ads with the URL https://ads.twitter.com/transparency, since January 2021, this feature has been disabled. Now there is simply an archive of political ads from 2018 to 2019. Not very helpful.
If you want to know more about your competition’s social media advertising on Twitter, you’ll need to make a list of competitors on Twitter, and manually check it from time to time to see if they’re advertising. You can also use a paid tool to monitor the competition, and this will provide you with some notions about competitor ads.
TikTok is another social network that does not stand out for transparency when it comes to competitor ad analysis, but compared to Twitter, at least it gives us an idea of the most relevant advertising competitors per sector. If we enter our Business account, the URL https://ads.tiktok.com/business/creativecenter/inspiration/topads/ redirects us to a page where we can examine TikTok ads by country, sector, reach or engagement, or video view ratio in the last 7 or 30 days:
Unfortunately, you cannot search by advertiser, but it does give us an important clue about the advertisers who are promoting social ads in TikTok, or rather, those who are doing it well enough to appear in this section.
It’s wise to conduct a review of your competitors’ ads every quarter. Stay up to date with your social media ads to better understand their goals and online strategy. If the competition has you very worried, consider contracting a social media monitoring tool, which will allow you to track the publications of your competitors without having to search for them manually.
If you need help analysing your competitors’ ads online, contact All Around.