How to use Facebook Ad Library like a Pro - 2024 Complete Guide

How to use Facebook Ad Library like a Pro - 2024 Complete Guide

Are you wondering how to use the Facebook Ads Library? This guid breaks down the 6 critical steps for leveraging this platform and introduces the new tools and tactics you can use to maximize competitor ad spying and marketing success.

facebook ad library guide book being held
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30 Second Summary
  • The Facebook Ad Library was initially created in 2019 as a transparency tool for political ads but has evolved into a valuable ad creative research tool.
  • In 2024 marketers leverage the FB Ad Library to see every ad their competitors are running across all Meta ad platforms.
  • Users can access the Ad Library by visiting and logging into Facebook for the best experience.
  • The Ad Library allows users to search for ads by country, category, brand, or keyword.
  • Refine your Ad Library search based on factors such as active status, impressions by date, media type, advertiser, platform, and language.
  • You can save ads from Facebook Ad Library using Foreplay.
  • FB Ad Library is 100% Free to use.
  • The Facebook Ad Library is a valuable resource for finding inspiration, creating a swipe file, and identifying advertising trends.

The Facebook Ad Library is a must-have resource for competitor research and creative inspiration. As advertisers and marketers, we can use the Facebook Ad Library as a legal trojan horse to see behind the scenes of the advertising strategies that our competitors are using. Luckily for us, as of 2024 Facebook as included some juicy new details and we can use this data to reverse engineer our competitors advertising success.

What is the Facebook Ad Library?  (Also Known As Fb Ad Library)?

Before getting our hands too dirty, it is good to understand the history of where the Facebook Ad Library came from. Initially, Facebook (Now Meta) created the Ad Library in 2019 as a transparency tool in response to the Facebook political ad scandal.

With transparency as the main concern, the Facebook Ad Library allows users to see every ad that is currently running across Facebook’s Advertising Network. Since its launch, it has allowed everyone from researchers to journalist and governments to see what information is being spread with political ads having a 7-year archive.

Although built for the purpose of political transparency, the Facebook Ad Library has evolved and is now one of the most useful tools to keep track of your competitors while staying on-top of market trends.

This complete 2024 guide to Facebook Ad Library is the most comprehensive guide to using the Ad Library to dominate your competition.

How to Find the Facebook Ad Library?

On the surface using the Ad Library is quite simple, but most people do not use the Ad Library to its full potential. This tutorial will touch on not only how to use Ad Library as a utility, but how to use the data to gain valuable insights into what is working for your competitors Facebook Ads.

The Facebook Ad Library is a public resource that can be accessed by clicking this link or typing in your search bar.

Pro Tip: We recommend that you are logged in to Facebook. Although ad library can be accessed without logging in, you will not be able to see ads targeted to audiences 18+ and can also run into some search limitations. Also, if you are using an Ad Blocker, you need to disable your ad blocker prior to making a search.

How do I use the Facebook Ad Library?

1. Select Country and Category

Before searching for ads, you need to pre-define your search. First, you can choose to search for ads in a specific, singular country. This can be helpful if you have a product or service that changes based on location. Then you can limit your search based on ad category. If your search is limited to the USA your options are All Ads, Issues Elections or Politics, Housing, Employment or Credit. Any other country filter will only display the first two listed.

Pro Tip: In order to get the most ad results, choose Country: All, Ad Category: All Ads

2. Search a Brand or Keyword

You can search the Facebook Ad Library to reveal your competitors ads using 2 different strategies. The first option is more focused on competitor research by searching a specific brand/company name.

This will load a dropdown list where you can select the exact brand.

After clicking on the brand, this will show you every ad that company is running under that account. The main limitation to this approach is larger brands will sometimes have different ad accounts for each geographical market - for example, if I search Pepsi, there are separate pages for Pepsi US, PepsiArabia, PepsiBrasil etc.

If you are using the Facebook Ad Library to find new ad inspiration more broadly, you can simply type in a keyword that aligns with the product or service you are trying to market. For example, if we were creating a new campaign for Vessi Shoes, we could search “waterproof shoes” to discover how all the brands that are selling this product are approaching this market.

Pro Tip: As of January 19, 2019, Ad Library introduced a new feature called “Exact Phrase Search”. To use it, place quotes around search terms to see results containing the same group of words in the same order.

3. Filtering your Ad Library Search

As of 2024, Facebook has added some extensive filtering features to the Facebook Ad Library. The benefit to using filters is to properly segment the data you are viewing. With filters you can clearly see when your competitors are choosing to run ads, the platforms they are using, and the styles of creatives they are producing.

Available Facebook Ad Library Filters:

Access the pop-up window by clicking the "Filter" button.

Filtering your search results is how you can really find the gems of Facebook Ad Inspiration. I have listed the available filters starting with what should provide the highest value.

Active Status: Active status will show you ads that are currently being displayed to users. It is important to note that Facebook Ad Library does not show all Inactive Ads forever, if you would like to save an ad forever, consider using a tool like to Save Ads from Facebook Ad Library.

Impressions by Date: Using impressions you can see when an ad was running and use that information to infer how successful the ad was. For example, if today’s date is Feb 1, 2024 and I created a filter for On or before: Nov 1, 2021 the search results will only display ads that started running 3 months ago. If I pair this filter with the Active Status: Active, I will be seeing ads that have been running actively for 3 months, meaning the ad is working or the brand is okay with burning money.

Media Type: Media type allows you to display ads by the ad creative style. Luckily this year Facebook has added some exciting new media types for us to filter by.

  • Images - images with little or no text
  • Memes - images with text: "waterproof...”
  • Images and Memes - this combines the first 2 filter options together.
  • Videos - display videos where your keyword is contained within video transcript or ad copy: "waterproof...”
  • No image or video - ads that are only text posts. This style of ad is very un-common.

Advertiser: The advertiser dropdown will only show when you are running a keyword search. Use this multi-select filter to display ads from only a few specific advertisers.

Platform: Facebook has multiple different platforms to display ads. This multi-select filter allows you to narrow down your search by All platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger.

Language: Simply filter by language - ads that contain more than one language will not appear in results when this filter is applied.

5. Analyzing Ad Creatives

Once you have narrowed your search to find some impactful Facebook advertising inspiration it is important to draw some insights and conclusions from your findings. Here is a little cheat sheet we have created to properly answer your questions as a marketer using Facebook Ad Library data.

Q: Is this ad performing?

A: Look at the “Started Running” date. If the ad has been actively running for a decent amount of time, you can assume it is profitable or at least hitting the metrics that brand requires.

Q: Where are they running this ad?

A: By looking at the “Platforms” list you can see where they are running the ad. This can give you insights into not only the format of the ad but the potential audience that the advertiser is trying to target.

Q: Did they selecting Manual or Automatic Placements?

A: If you see a note about 'Multiple versions' it means that the ad is using Dynamic features. Multiple formats, visuals, copy, or dynamic ads are being used. If it’s missing, it’s not dynamic.

Q: Who is the ad targeting?

A: Most brands use UTM parameters to better track their advertising performance. Although not required, if you find a UTM parameter at the end of a link, it can tell you some additional information about the ad set or audience being targeted. For example, if you see something like utm_campaign=mof-retargeting you could assume this a retargeting ad that is MOF or “Middle of Funnel”. Some other keywords to look for would be TOF (Top of Funnel), BOF (Bottom of Funnel) etc.

6. Save Ads from Facebook Ad Library as Inspiration

One of the main limitations to the Facebook Ad Library is that ads are not available to view forever. If you are using Ad Library as an inspiration tool, it is important to save, organize and share ad inspiration forever without links expiring.

Using a tool like will allow you to not only use the ad library to fulfill your curiosities but allow you to build these insights into your workflow as a marketer.

How to use Foreplay to save & download Facebook Ads

save ads from fb ad library
"Save to Foreplay" Button injected onto the Facebook Ad Library
  • Download the Foreplay Chrome Extension - This will add a “Save to Foreplay” button directly inside Facebook Ad Library.
  • Create a Foreplay Account
  • Create a Board - Boards are used to organize ads by client, or ad style.
  • Save Ads - Simply choose a board and save the ad forever.
  • Share a Board - Click “Share” and get a public URL copied to your clip board to share with anyone.

Read the Full Guide on How to Save Ads from Facebook Ad Library.

EU Transparency Information (New in 2024)

The Facebook Ad Library is continuously evolving, albeit slowly - that being said for those who are studying competitors that run ads in the EU, you can indulge in a lot more data to inform your competitor research with everything from audience breakdowns to demographic information, targeting and even reach. Here's how you can access this new Ad Library data;

Access Additional Transparency Data

To see the additional advertising data click "See Ad Details" on an asset.

This will launch a pop-up modal with a whole new section called "European Union Transparency" where Meta themselves specify "We provide additional information for ads that were shown on Meta technologies anywhere in the EU."

EU Ad Audience

The first new data table you will see is called "EU Ad Audience" this will show you specifically which countries or regions in the EU this ad targeted. Within this section you can see not only which counties they "Included" in their ad targeting but also identify which markets they are avoiding with the "Excluded" filter.

Age Targeting Information

The second section displays the age range that your competitor advertiser is targeting. Meta Advertisers can choose a minimum and maximum age of who will be shown an ad. As you can see in this example, Gymshark chose to target users 18-45 years old.

Gender Targeting Information

In this section you can reveal what Gender your competitor is targeting this specific ad to. In the example shown, Gymshark is targeting Women which makes sense since they are promoting Women's pants and sports bras.

EU Ad Delivery

This golden nugget include in the Facebook Ad Library update might be the most surprising and invasive for advertisers that have a majority of their paid marketing efforts in the EU - reach and ad delivery. In this example they are not only showing us that this ad was seen by 95 Accounts, but bellow you can see how the reach was distributed across region, age range and gender.

It is important to not that these metrics are calculated and estimated using Account Center Accounts and Meta specifies that "Estimates or metrics using Accounts Center accounts may be affected by whether a person has created more than one account and whether the accounts have been added to the same Accounts Center"

None the less, the new additions to the EU Meta Transparency centre gives us marketers a lot more data to use in our competitor research.

FB Ad Library Use Cases

Now that we have learned what the Facebook ads library offers, it is important to understand how you can use this platform to improve your upcoming campaigns. For many, the Facebook Ad Library is where they start their journey of competitor research, however as you progress as a marketer, it is important to know the tools that can transform the Facebook Ad Library into your main competitive advantage.

Top-Tier Facebook Ad Inspiration

The moment you are feeling stuck, looking at unsightly ad performance or trying to brainstorm content production, tab over to the Facebook Ad Library for a quick jolt of creative inspiration. We should all feel lucky to have access to the ability to see how the top brands in the world are using Facebook Ads to attract customers and clients.

Create a Swipe-File

In simple terms, a Swipe File is a digital or physical folder where you keep all the fantastic marketing ideas you've encountered over the years. If you are spending time researching ads, make sure you can recall your findings in the future. You can use tools like google drive or dropbox to create this or a purpose build tool like to save your genius findings easily.

Ride the Advertising Trend Waves

If you see a specific ad style, format, or creative popping up across multiple brands or industries it is likely you have spotted a trend. Although we should avoid chasing trends, it is can be tremendously valuable to act fast and strike while the iron is hot. Trends come and go, but that is only a negative if you are waiting too long to act on them.


Simply put, if you are using Facebook ads and not using the Facebook Ad Library you are leaving inspiration, insight and most importantly money on the table. On its own, Facebook Ad Library is like having your finger on the pulse of today’s advertising trends. Paired with a tool like will enable you quickly turn your insights into action for your internal marketing team or agency.

Topics & Categories: 
Zachary Murray

Founder of

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