Using Ad Libraries to Understand Nonprofit Competition

Digital AdvertisingDigital Media

Leveraging ad libraries can provide valuable insights into competitors’ strategies, industry trends, and best practices, helping nonprofits refine their own ad campaigns and messaging. By identifying potential partners, ensuring compliance, and measuring impact, nonprofits can maximize the effectiveness of their digital advertising efforts. Ultimately, investing time in exploring ad libraries can lead to more successful campaigns, increased engagement, and greater impact for the nonprofit’s cause.

List of Transparent Ad Platforms that let you analyze competitors:

Meta (Facebook/Instagram) Ad Library: 

  • Allows filtering ads by country, region, disclaimer type, and spend.
  • Shows ad performance data like impressions, spend, and demographic reach.
  • Provides information on the ad buyer and funding entities behind political/issue ads.

TikTok Ads Library:

  • Shows ads from brands, creators, influencers across different ad formats like in-feed, brand takeovers, etc.
  • Allows filtering ads by country/region and categories like politics, social issues, etc.
  • May not allow visibility into US ads.

Google Ads Transparency Report: 

  • Provides ad spend data across different advertiser industries and political entities.
  • Allows viewing ad creatives and analyzing spend patterns over time.

Snapchat Political Ads Library: 

  • Displays the ad creative, spend estimate, and demographic targeting used for each political ad.
  • These are given as CSV downloads with no way to filter or analyze.

X | Twitter Ads Transparency Center: 

  • Requires generating a static report that takes time and doesn’t allow US targeting for region.
  • Shows ad creatives, spend estimates, and targeting criteria for issue/political ads.
  • Provides total ad spend by advertiser and billing details.

Microsoft Advertising Transparency Reports: 

  • Provides spend data and ad creatives for ads across Microsoft platforms.

LinkedIn Ad Library

  • Provides a way to filter and browse creative by region, company and keyword. Doesn’t seem to share info about cost or impressions.

How Should Nonprofits Use Ad Libraries?

Competitive Analysis

By exploring ads from similar organizations or causes, nonprofits can gain insights into their competitors’ messaging, targeting, and creative strategies. This information can help inform their own ad campaigns and identify opportunities for differentiation.

Inspiration and best practices

Nonprofits can study successful ads across various platforms to draw inspiration for their own campaigns. They can analyze the ad copy, visuals, calls-to-action, and other elements to identify best practices and adapt them to their own context.

Identifying potential partners or collaborators

Nonprofits can search for organizations or influencers who are running ads related to their cause. This can help them identify potential partners for joint campaigns, cross-promotions, or influencer outreach.

Monitoring industry trends

By regularly reviewing ads across different platforms, nonprofits can stay up-to-date on emerging trends, popular topics, and evolving messaging strategies within their sector. This can help them adapt their own campaigns to stay relevant and effective.

Ensuring compliance

For nonprofits engaged in political or issue-based advertising, these ad libraries provide a way to ensure their ads comply with platform policies and disclosure requirements. They can also monitor the ads of other organizations to identify any potential violations or misinformation.

Measuring impact

Some ad libraries provide performance data, such as impressions or engagement metrics. Nonprofits can use this information to benchmark their own ad performance and identify areas for improvement. This can also help for measuring how much your large issue is being supported by other advertisers you may influence, partner with, or fund (looking at you foundations).

Identifying opportunities

By analyzing the ads across different platforms, nonprofits may discover gaps in their own messaging or identify underserved audiences or topics. This can help them refine their ad strategy and target new opportunities for impact.

Remember, while ad libraries offer valuable insights, it’s essential to respect user privacy and comply with each platform’s policies when using this information for your nonprofit’s digital strategy.