One of the most interesting tools that Facebook offers for advertising is the Facebook Ads Library. This tool gives us the opportunity to observe what the competition is doing, but by definition, it serves for greater transparency of advertising with political and social content. Interestingly, at the beginning of its existence, Facebook Ads Library allowed to see the ads of almost every advertiser in the Facebook Ads system, now it applies to entities with the highest expenses as well as those for which it was established – politicians and social organizations.

How does the Facebook Ads Library work?

The Ads Library is a place where you can easily search for ads displayed on Facebook products by other advertisers. You can use it to obtain information about the advertisements broadcast – especially those concerning so-called sensitive issues such as politics or social issues. On the advertisers’ side, this requires verification by sending an identity document, and the advertisement displays information about the person or organization that pays for the advertisement.

Political and social issues

In the case of ads relating to social issues, elections, or politics, you can also search for inactive ads (which are no longer aired on Facebook products). This is a separate category for a reason, as in recent years there have been many doubts about the reliability of political advertising, especially in the context of elections. Facebook itself, when introducing the Facebook Ads Library, emphasizes: “Transparency is extremely important to us. To prevent interference with the election results, the Ads Library shows additional information about those ads, including who paid for the ad, what expenses were paid, and about the reach of the ad across different demographic groups. Ads are stored in the library for 7 years.”

By the way, have you ever heard of Cambridge Analytica? There’s a reason this scandal has become notorious around the world, and it’s all due to… Facebook ads that allegedly polarized the public and contributed to Donald Trump’s victory for US President or led to Brexit in the UK. Is this true? This all remains in the realm of mystery, but it is not without reason that Facebook has decided to closely monitor posts with political content.

Where do I look for the Ads Library?

The Ads Library can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ads/library.

Interestingly, the product was introduced in 2019 in the face of multiple cases of abuse involving Facebook, including the most serious accusations of using Facebook advertising in 2015 in Donald Trump’s campaign for political gain. Thus, officially in the history of social networks, they have become one of the tools used in a political campaign. For those of you wanting to know more about it, I highly recommend the Netflix documentary Hacking the World.

Reports in the Ads Library

The Ads Library reports contain information such as:

  • an estimate of the total amount each advertiser spent
  • the total number of ads from this advertiser
  • the most popular phrases searched in a given week
  • the largest advertisers in a given country

Summary

The world requires us marketers to be even more transparent than ever. We live in a time when advertising has a direct impact on the decisions of consumers, voters and society on a global scale. Tools such as the Facebook Ads Library described in the article are designed to support the authenticity of advertising efforts. I hope you found this post interesting and inspired you to think about the future of advertising. Would the world we know be the same if people made decisions entirely on their own? I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic, feel free to ask in the comments section!

And if this article was thought-provoking for you, be sure to share it on your Linkedin and tag me in your post. To be read!

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