Although competitors’ Instagram ads aren’t shown to you directly unless you follow the competitor and engage with their content, it’s still open-source data that you can impose upon.

This article will reveal multiple ways of how you can spy on your competitors' Instagram ads.

Find Your Competitors with Combin Growth

First, let's find your competitors on the platform.

To perform a proper competitor analysis on Instagram, use Combin Growth, a desktop solution that fuels Instagram marketing.

Here’s how Combin Growth helps you find your competitors:

  • It can search for relevant accounts and posts by hashtags and location or by combining these search criteria.
  • It uses machine-learning algorithms to detect genuine profiles, not bots or irrelevant users.
  • It allows you to enable narrow targeting in your search, such as language, gender, followers and followings counts, number of likes and comments on specific posts of a user, combining it with the search by hashtags and location.
  • It allows you to search for commenters, likers, followers, and followings of a specific Instagram account.
  • It allows you to search by keywords in Instagram bio.

To sum it up, Combin Growth is a powerful search engine for Instagram.

Here's how you can find it out with Combin Growth when searching for competitors by hashtags or locations:

  1. Launch Combin Growth and open the Search tab.
  2. Type in a tag of interest into the Hashtag or Location field. Click the plus icon to add fields for more hashtags to target.

2. Select the time period at the Posted form to specify when the tagged posts should have been published.

3. Set the range of Likes and Comments count that the found posts should fit in. You can specifically target the hottest content, mildly popular publications or overlooked posts.

4. Enable the Advanced Filters and Analysis functionality to automatically sift irrelevant users out and specify Language, Gender and audience size (Followers and Followings count) of the accounts that published the tagged posts.

5. Click the Find button. Once the search results are loaded, you can select some or all and attract attention to your account by liking and commenting on the posts, following the publication’s authors, or mass viewing their stories.

Here's how you set up a new search in Combin Growth

Alternatively, you can search for your competitors using keywords in bio. Here's what we found by the DIY cakes keyphrase:

Why Spy on Competitors' Instagram Ads and How to Use This Knowledge

When you analyse your competitors’ advertising on Instagram, you’ll learn the audience they target their ads at, what exactly they market, which creatives and CTAs they use. You can even assume their approximate ads spendings.

This knowledge enables you to make edits to your own ads and come up with creative ideas. If you sell similar products, you can benefit from competitors’ ads, tout your product with an enhanced offer, thus attracting traffic off them to your page. If you notice your competitor runs an ad with a creative, and see no peaks in followers, then choosing similar creatives wouldn’t be a good idea.

Let’s see how you can spy on your competitors’ Instagram ads.

How to Spy on Competitors’ Ads on Instagram

Meta Ads Library

Meta Ads Library is a free Facebook tool that allows you to search and view ads that are run across all Meta ecosystem channels – Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Here’s how you can use this tool to sneak on your competitors’ ads:

Option 1: Go to Meta Ads Library from an Instagram account:

  1. Open an Instagram profile of your competitor.
  2. Click on the three dots at the upper right corner.
  3. Choose About This Account.
  4. Tap See ads in Meta Ads Library.
  5. Browse ads.

Option 2: Go to Meta Ads Library directly.

On Meta Ads Library, you can filter the ads by language, platform, date, activity status, and media type.

About This Account on Instagram

To use this medium, head over to your competitor’s Instagram account, find the three dots at the upper right corner and click on the About This Account button.

Yes, just like from the section above 👆

But this time, we won’t open the Meta Ads Library but choose Active Ads → choose Feed or Story.

You’ll see active ads that are run on Instagram. Click on any of them to see a caption, target link, and a creative.

💡Note that only business accounts have the About this account button.

Instagram Tagged Tab & Hashtags

Marketers often forget about straightforward and obvious things such as the Instagram Tagged tab or hashtags. Opening the Tagged tab or searching by a brand hashtag, you'll find influencers who have advertised your competitor and tagged them in their posts.

If you notice that one influencer tags your competitor several times, it means it’s a long-term collaboration, and the results of this partnership are satisfactory.

💡Suggested read: 5 Reasons Why Your Instagram Influencer Marketing Campaigns Don’t Work

This method surely has more drawbacks than the two above because you have no data except the plain fact of the collaboration with an influencer and influencer’s posts.

For the same purpose – to find competitor’s ads made by an influencer – you can use old but gold Google search. Don't forget you can sort the results of Google search by date.

Catch Competitor’s Ads Organically

Follow your competitor on Instagram and engage with their content; thus you’ll allow the platform to show your competitor’s ads.

But this is not all.

When you see their ad in your feed, click on the Why you're seeing this ad button. You’ll get insights on the competitor’s targeting parameters when they create their paid social creatives.

Target demographic criteria of the advertiser

Things to Pay Attention to When Spying on Competitors’ Instagram Ads

Check these:

  • If your competitors choose videos, images, memes, or carousels.
  • Which visual solutions they choose in their creatives.
  • If they have an overlay text on the creatives.
  • Which CTAs they use.
  • How they talk to their audience and format the ad copy.
  • If they use emojis or hashtags.
  • Their messaging and pain points they appeal to.

When you analyse these things, you’ll come with a better solution, a well-thought-out offer for your customers, and find unique selling points for the ads.

Engage with Your Competitors’ Audience Found with Combin Growth

With Combin Growth, you can find and attract your competitors' or any other Instagram account’s audience.

Combin Growth lets you target everyone — followings, followers, likers, and commenters of any public or accessible Instagram account.

Here's how:

  1. Launch Combin Growth and open the Search tab.
  2. Select the Users search type at the top of the application window.
  3. Click the Search by field and specify whether you want to find Followings, Followers, Likers or Commenters.
Let's find commenters of the Tiffany's Insta account

4. Enter the account handle into the User field.

5. Enable the Advanced Filters and Analysis functionality to automatically sift irrelevant users out and specify the preferable Language, Gender and Followers/Followings count of the accounts that engaged with Instagram user you selected.

6. Press Search.

Here they are!

When you find these users who have engaged with your competitor, you can start engaging with them: select and like, comment, follow, and mass view stories.