Google has finally – and discreetly – released a Google Search Ad library in the UK, following years of discussion surrounding its release date after earlier models were initially introduced in the US. This ad library allows you to explore and review a wealth of Google Search ads previously promoted by any advertiser on the platform. This mimics what digital marketing experts have been able to do across Facebook for the last three years, after their ad library was published in 2019 as a direct response to the Facebook political ad controversies of 2016.
The launch of Google’s ads library is great news for digital advertisers and brands within the UK, who now have the ability to access a portfolio of ads across not only Google’s search platform but also ads across display and video placements.
This new information resource is a game changer for brands advertising across Google’s ad ecosystem. It’s an incredible tool for those who wish to investigate competitor messaging, creative and placements to understand industry-leading advertising strategy across the platform – and enhance their own ad activity.
So what is it, where is it, and how do you make it work for you?
How to find Google Search Ads Library
You need to know it’s there. Google haven’t exactly been shouting about it. But once you know, you know:
- Search for a competitive term that you know a competitor is bidding on.
- Next to their ad and the ad url, there is a small drop-down button. Click it!
- Then scroll down to ‘See more ads by this advertiser’.
- This will open up a library of ads this advertiser has run in the past.
The ad library will show numerous ad variations, not only just across search but also across display and other google channels and partners.
It’s as simple as that. But there are a couple of things to know about Google Search Ad library at this stage…
The ads library may not be available for all advertisers, as only verified advertisers currently display this information. This will likely soon extend to all advertisers as Google continue to push verification across accounts.
Unfortunately, the libraries can’t be shared for longevity just yet via a good old fashioned copy-and-paste to your team. The links expire.
Instead you will need to select a live ad each time you perform this research. This does mean however, that ads shown are real-time and can show ad variations from that same day, therefore ensuring research is up to date and reliable.
So now you’re in. This is how you use it…
Once you’re inside Google Search Ad library you have three main filtering options to refine your search through the advertiser’s archive: Date, Location & Format.
This filter is super useful. It shows you not only the most recent as well as historical data, which can highlight how any tone of voice or USPs have adapted over a time period. But if you operate in a seasonal industry with specific dates of interest or importance, it is a good opportunity to understand the messaging and ad placements during that period. (E.g. Clearing, Black Friday, Christmas.)
Thinking about establishing your brand in a new location? Use the location function to understand if and how competitors are targeting these locations, and how the messaging varies from your current geo-targeting.
Lastly, and what I think is cool about the new ad library is the choice of formats. Not only can you see search ads, but you can also access Image and Video ads. This is great as it gives you backstage access to a competitors creative direction as well as the placement tactics they are using within their marketing strategy.
What this means for your Google ads strategy
Competitor research is a key process when strategising paid media advertisement, and being able to see real-time as well as historic data on competitor ads gives you the ability to find opportunities to both capitalise on growing sentiments but also to find areas to differentiate yourself from competitors and what they are offering.
At Anything is Possible we will be using this function to better understand our partners’ competitive landscape, allowing us to provide crucial insight for their ad strategies. We will use this information to provide stronger messaging, highlight more key areas of differentiation across ad copy and ad creative, and guide partners to a more seamless journey in finding growth opportunities in new territories.
Want an expert to do this for you? You’ve already found us.