New Google Ad Library - How to Spy on Google & YouTube Ads

When accounting for YouTube, Google is the largest digital ad platform in the world, but until today it was impossible to do creative research without sketchy 3rd party tools. On September 22nd 2022, Google finally answered the prayers of digital marketers and advertisers by launching an Ads Transparency platform, similar to the Facebook Ad Library.

Google launches a Ad Library

Finally you can spy on your competitors Google and YouTube ad creatives. This article will guide you on how to can use this tool to run better Google and Youtube advertising campaigns by learning from your competition and using this new Google Ad Library.

It is important to note that Google launching this feature is focused on providing more transparency to customers and is not primarily a tool for digital marketing which is clear when reading the official press release.

The Google Ads Library is Here!

Unlike the Facebook Ad Library, Google's Ad Transparency website does not currently have a page where you can search for your competitors. Instead, the best way to find this page is through a ad the are currently running, this is method is very similar to how you see a brands LinkedIn Ads.

For demonstration, we will be spying on our friends over at Triple Whale- a eCommerce analytics and attribution solution currently spending on both Google Ads and YouTube ads.

Search your competitor in google
Search your competitor in google

1. Search your Competitors Name

Most brands run branded search terms on their own name and we have found this as the most reliable way to find a currently active Google ad. Keep trying different search terms until you see a result that says "ad" beside it.

View google ad details pop-up
How to view Google Ads details

2. Click the grey arrow beside the url

This will trigger a pop-up window. If you do not see an arrow or the prefix "Ad" before the SERP then it is probably an organic search result and not an ad.

See more ads by this advertiser pop-up
See more ads by this advertiser pop-up

Click "See more ads by this advertiser"

Once the "About this Ad" modal pops up, Click on "See more ads by this advertiser". This will redirect you to their Google Ads Transparency page where you can see all the Google and YouTube ads they are running. If you do not see this, skip to step 5.

Google Advertiser Page
Google Ad Library View

View all Ads Currently Running

Just like that you can now see all of the ads that your competitor is currently running. The best part about this page is you are able to view all the different styles of Google and YouTube ad creative including;

  • Text Ads
  • Image Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • Video Ads

Right now the Google Ads Transparency feature is only available for brands who have verified their identity with Google. If you do not see the text that says "See more ads by this advertiser, that means they are a advertiser that has not verified their identity with Google. You can learn more about the current limitations of the platform here.

What can you learn from the Google Ad Library?

Now that you can see all the ads that a brand is currently running on Google, you might be asking yourself how you can learn to improve your own ad performance? Here is how you can filter the Google Advertiser Page and 4 key insights you can learn while spying on your competitors Google Ads and YouTube ads.

How to view google ads by country
How to view google ads by country

1. What countries are my competitors running YouTube and Google Ads?

In the top section you will see a location icon with a dropdown. You can filter this library to see what ads they are running in each country (if any at all). For example, Triple Whale is running 95 different Google & YouTube ads in the United States, but only 28 variations in Canada. Unfortunately, there is no way to currently select "Worldwide".

How to see google ads by format
How to see google ads by format

2. what style Ad Creatives Are competitor's are running  on AdWords?

In a similar style dropdown, you can then filter by ad format. By doing this we can see that Triple Whale is running 10 image ads, 29 text ads and 56 video ads. If we were formulating out own campaign, we could assume that video ads are working best and should do the same and potentially focus more on YouTube advertising and video campaigns. Unfortunately there is minimal information on the placement, for example there is no way to see if a video ad is a "skippable in stream ads" or "non skippable"

How to see google ads by date
How to see google ads by date

3. What ads are working vs Not

Google also offers a date range filter allowing you to look back at a maximum 30 day window. An interesting test you can run to learn about what ads might NOT be working is to see which ones were running at the start of the month but were turned off by the end. Although this might not be 100% the truth it is definitely a signal that you could draw assumptions from about what types of ad creatives are working for them on Google search, display network or YouTube.

Google ads last shown date
Google ads last shown date

4. What ads are currently Running on Google?

When you click on a specific advert on the page, you can see more details including a "Last Shown" date. For example, this text ad was last shown on todays date, meaning it is most likely still active inside Triple Whale's google ads account.

FAQ about Google Ad Library

How far back in history can I view Ads?

Currently, there is a 30 day history to see what ads your competitor's were running in their google ads account.

Does the Google Advertiser Page include YouTube ads?

Yes, because YouTube is owned under the Google as platform, you will be able to see Youtube Ads currently running.

Can I spy on Google Display Ads?

Yes, Google display ads are included in the advertising transparency page.

When was this tool released?  

The expanded Advertiser page displaying all the ads currently running was launched on September 22, 2022

Does google have an Ad Library?

Although it is not named the Ad Library, this new Ad Transparency page is very similar to the Facebook Ad Library and offers similar functionality.

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