Creating strong Facebook ads that perform well for your goals isn’t a simple process. You can’t even start building an ad without selecting what type of Facebook ad you’re going to run. Then there’s image selection. Then writing effective copy. And then the behemoth task of defining your audience. 

Should you go short or long form with your copy? Which type of image will people react to more? What call to action button message is best?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see other Facebook ads to help you craft yours? Here are 2 ways to do exactly that.

How to See Competitor Facebook Ads

How to View Competitor Facebook Ads on Facebook

Your Facebook Profile comes in handy here. That’s because ads are shown to individual users vs business pages. You can either visit this link: https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/ to view your ad preferences, or you can access this same screen by following the below instructions on an ad that may have caught your eye in the news feed.

To start, locate an ad in your personal Facebook news feed. It should be relatively easy because we are all shown multiple ads each time we log in. Look for a post in your news feed that says “sponsored” under the Page name.

Click on the X in the top right corner of the ad.

Find Facebook Ad in News Feed

Select Why Am I Seeing This?

Why am i seeing this Facebook ad

Click on the Manage Ad Preferences link.

Manage Facebook ad preferences

From this screen, you can see the Interests Facebook has you pegged for, ads you’ve interacted with, your information, ad settings, and can read up on how Facebook ads work.

Facebook ad preferences

If you hover over any of the individual Interest boxes, you’ll see text that reads, “See sample ads”. Click on any of these to see Facebook ads that target that Interest. In this same view, you can click to remove any of these Interests, or hide future ads from these advertisers by clicking on the X in the light grey square in the top right corner.

Click to view sample Facebook ads by Interest

The sample ads that target Mari Smith as an Interest relate to social media, entrepreneurs, and female business owners.

Sample Mari Smith Facebook ads

The sample ads you can view within your Facebook Ads Preferences are going to be based on your personal Facebook use. Oftentimes this is effective since you likely interact with ads in your industry or those of your competitors’ (to stay on top of what they’re doing).

If you’d like another way to search for ads, check out AdEspresso.

How to See Facebook Ads Using AdEspresso

AdEspresso offers a Facebook ads database that you can search based on things like advertiser, text, placements, industries and objectives. 

As of late July 2017, Adicted.io shut down. Adicted.io was many marketers’ preferred site for searching Facebook ads. 

Do you try to view competitors’ ads when preparing to run your next campaign? What do you use to see them?

About LizJostes (476 Posts)

Liz is a marketer, social media & online marketing consultant, speaker and mom. Originally from Chicago and currently living in the land of Dixie, she relishes in the flavor of fried pickles and BBQ, but longs for deep dish and a proper Chicago dog.


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