News | Tools to Monitor Competitors’ Ads
Ad transparency tools make it easy to monitor ads from any company, including a competitor. The tools provide valuable creative insight, from photography style to video formats, ad copy to call-to-action messaging.
Paid tools, such as Similarweb and Semrush, collate activity across platforms and provide performance detail.
Free tools are helpful, too. Native features on TikTok, Meta, Google, and LinkedIn reveal any company’s past and present campaigns.
Free Ad Transparency Tools
TikTok ad library
The TikTok library includes all ads — active or paused — published after October 1, 2022. Search by keyword or the name linked to the advertiser’s TikTok account. The shared data includes views and audience targeting.
Campaign metrics on the search results page provide an upper and lower range, but clicking a specific number reveals a detailed breakdown. TikTok takes up to 24 hours for new ads to show in the tool, and it won’t show any ad removed for breaching the terms of service.
Meta Ad Library
The Meta Ad Library allows searching across Meta platforms by brand, keyword, and region. The tool launched in 2018 for, initially, Facebook alone.
The ads link to an advertiser’s Facebook page. (Always check the page’s follower count to ensure you’re on the right company.) Info on inactive campaigns is available only for ads addressing social or political issues. That includes many companies, such as the outdoor brand Finisterre, which promotes social causes.
Google Ads Transparency Center
The Google Ads Transparency Center includes ads active in the previous 30 days across search, display, YouTube, and Gmail. Search by advertiser or website — with filters for text, image, and video campaigns.
The example below shows ads for the haircare brand JVN, which I found by searching the Transparency Center for that company’s site. Note Google identifies the company running (purchasing) the ads. In this case, it’s JVN’s parent Ameris Clean Beauty Inc.
Google discloses additional details for political advertising — providing for seven years the spend, reach, and targeting criteria.
Note that new campaigns can take up to 72 hours to appear, and ads won’t show if the advertiser removed them or they violated Google’s policy, resulting in a takedown.
LinkedIn company pages
LinkedIn has no searchable ad library, but there is a workaround. First, find a company’s LinkedIn page, then navigate to the “Posts” tab and click “Ads” to see those published in the last six months. Paused and completed campaigns show here, too.