Following on from the initial launch of its political ad archive last October, Facebook has this week announced that it will now catalog all ads run by all Pages, not just those with political affiliations.
The new listings will be housed in its renamed 'Ads Library' - as explained by Facebook:
"We launched the Ad Library - previously called the Ad Archive in the US - to help people learn more about ads related to politics or issues that have run on Facebook or Instagram. The Ad Library offers information about who saw the ad, as well as its spend and impressions, and houses ads for seven years. Today, we’re updating the Ad Library to make it easier to learn about all ads and the Pages that run them."
As you can see, the updated Ad Library provides a searchable collection of all of the ads which are running, or have been run, on Facebook and/or Instagram. Enter a name, topic of organization into the search bar and Facebook will provide a list of relevant matches which it can show data for - you then select from the matches and go through to that brand/individual/topic listing. You can also choose a region filter from the top right, and Facebook will use this to highlight regional variants.
In the top line of the company/organization listings, you're also shown an information panel, which outlines:
- Page creation date, previous Page merges, and name changes
- Primary country location of people who manage the Page
- Advertiser spend information for ads related to politics or issues (where the Ad Library Report is currently available)
In addition, Facebook's also rolling out some updates to its Ad Library Reports, which provide regular overviews of ad activity:
"Starting in mid-May, we’ll update the Ad Library Report for ads related to politics or issues daily, rather than weekly. We’ll also offer weekly, monthly and quarterly reports that are downloadable for anyone."
And as an additional transparency measure, Facebook's also adding a 'Page Transparency' section to every Page, which will include the same insight available within the Ad Library.
The primary focus of this initiative is political transparency, and ensuring that Facebook is doing all it can to keep its platform free of misuse by politically motivated groups, but the broader applications will also be of significant value for digital marketers. Now, you can get a heap more insight into how your competitors are conducting their Facebook marketing efforts, and learn from their campaigns and strategic direction, in order to better inform your own approach.
You might, for example, see that competitor is making a big push in a new region, that their ads are all video, or all very short text. There's a heap of insight you can glean from this - the tool will be a valuable research accompaniment for serious Facebook ads users.
But again, the primary focus is political transparency, and ridding the platform of manipulation. One key benefit of this, for everyday users, is that you can check the source of highly shared memes or posts which share misinformation. If, for example, your uncle is sharing questionable content, you can look up the Page info and share that with him, which could make him re-think using that Page as a resource in future. Or maybe not - but either way, it's another tool to use to improve digital literacy and dispell false reportage.
Definitely worth checking it out - you can access the updated Facebook Ad Library here.