How to use Facebook’s Ad Library to find ideas for your charity's adverts.

Turtle with white on Barbie pink text This is Turtle, their job is beach. Image with This is Not A Home written.

Need ideas for your charity’s Facebook advertising campaigns? Meta’s Ad Library is a treasure trove of inspiration. It shows you all the adverts a Page has run on Facebook or Instagram over the last seven years, allowing you to see how a charity has approached its advertising strategy and find inspiration for your own ads.

How do I use Meta's Ad Library to find ad content ideas to test?
A key thing to note is do not simply copy what other charities have done. What works for one charity will not necessarily work for another, as you’ll have different audiences which will engage with different things.

Use the Ad Library tool to spark ideas for elements to test as part of your own strategy, adapting them in your own brand and voice. By testing lots of different ideas, you can find out which creative options (like images, body copy and headlines) best resonate with your target audience and drive them to act.

Here’s some ideas on how to use Facebook’s Ad Library to generate ideas to test for your own charity’s adverts. Go to Ads Library to access Meta’s ad database.

The search bar on Facebook's Ad Library. You can search ads within your country, and by keyword or advertiser.
The search bar on Facebook's Ad Library.

To find ads you can either type in the name of a charity working on the same or a similar cause, or type in the name of your cause as a keyword - e.g. ‘homeless’, ‘poverty’ or ‘ocean’. If using keywords, a good way to find charity ads is to filter for political ads by selecting ‘issues, elections or politics’ from the ‘ad category’ drop down options.

Once you’ve found an ad or set of ads you’re interested in, you’ll be able to find out more about the ad/s by clicking ‘see ad details’ if it’s a single ad, or ‘see summary details’ if there’s multiple versions of the ad.

Finding ideas for visuals
A strong, powerful visual is key for grabbing the audience’s attention with your advert. You can use Facebook’s Ad Library to check how other charities using imagery to get noticed in busy news feeds.

When starting to run ads, we’d recommend using images (rather than video) for your first tests. Here’s some questions to ask yourself when using Ad Library to explore how other charities are using images:

- Are they using stock photography?
-Do the images look slick, or do they look more rough and ready?
- Are the photos of people or things?
- If showing people, are they showing the people affected or the people who could create change? (e.g. politicians).
- Are the images obvious choices? Or are they telling the story in an innovative way?
- Are the images positive or negative? What emotions do they evoke in you?
- How much (or any) text is on the image?
- If there's text on the image, how does it help grab attention or tell the story?
- How many photos are used in the image, e.g. is it a split graphic or montage?

Shelter uses a variety of images to tell the story of homes that are unfit for renters, and to call for political change, including photos of unfit homes, photos of renters, and political imagery (e.g. Parliament). Some images have bold text on them, other don't.

Facebook adverts from shelter. An image shows a cramped home with caption this is not a home. A parent and child sit on a bed in a temporary home. Photo of parliament with headline renters deserve better. Photo of a tower block. Photo of a moldy wall next to a bed.
Some of Shelter's advert images to raise awareness of unfit homes for renters.

It’s important to test a variety of image approaches in your testing to find which images really engage your supporters best, and Facebook’s Ads Library is great for finding image approaches you had not thought of. How could you tell your cause's story in innovative ways with images?

When testing, we suggest starting with a minimum of five images that each tell your cause’s story in a different way. Get more ideas on testing images and other creative elements for your Facebook adverts with our 15 minute YouTube talk.

Find ideas for messaging
Pay attention to how the charity communicates about its cause in the body copy (text that sits above the image). Here’s five angles or hooks we frequently test in Facebook ads lead generation ads for charities:
- What is the problem? (Explain the issue).
- Who is responsible for the problem? (Who or what can change it?)
- Make a bold values statement, e.g. No-one should sleep rough.
- Solutions - take a positive angle. E.g. how your support makes a difference.
- Individual stories: use case studies to tell a personal story.

What different frames or hooks can you find charities similar to yours using? Try thinking of five different ways to frame your advert’s body copy and test these with various image and headline combinations to find which best engage your target audience.

Pay close attention to headlines when researching other charities' ads. Headlines are a really important part of your messaging. Look at how other charities create a strong call to action that grabs the supporter’s attention and drives them onto the next step (sign, donate, etc). Can you think of five variations different from one another to test?

What trends could you tap into?
If you look at recent ads, you’ll be able to see what trends charities are tapping into. People engage with content that feels relevant to them, and trendjacking (tapping into a recent news story, cultural phenomenon or event) is one way to do this.

WWF-UK created ad content trendjacking the Barbie film, highlighting how Ken isn’t the only one with the important job of beach - urging people to adopt a turtle, and with other ads drawing attention to Barbie-pink items in their shop.

Turtle on a sandy beach with caption in white letters on Barbie pink background: this is turtle. their job is beach. Advert text above reads WWF UK This is turtle with turtle emoji. His actual job is beach.
WWF-UK highlights how Ken isn't the only one whose job is beach, tapping into the huge Summer 2023 Barbie movie trend – urging supporters to adopt a turtle. 
WWF-UK promotes its shop by drawing attention to pink items that fit the Barbie movie trend, as well as using then iconic Barbie font in the headline.

Getting ideas for seasonal campaigns
Not sure what to test as part of your Christmas or other seasonal advertising campaigns like Valentine's Day, New Year or Black Friday? You can use the search filter to look for ads run over previous seasonal times. You can get ideas on how similar charities have approached their season ads, what kind of asks or products they promote at this time, and how early they start running them.

To find past seasons’ ads, you’ll need to either use the ‘filters’ option to choose ‘inactive ads’ (ads that are no longer running) from the ‘ads status’ drop down.

Orbis UK used Valentine's Day as a hook to talk about their work and call for donations to give someone the gift of sight.

Orbis UK used Valentine's Day as a hook to talk about their work on blindness to drive donations.

What else can I learn?
It’s worth spending some time looking around the Ads Library interface to find what other information there is to inform your testing, like what platforms other charities are using, where they are placing their ads, how much they are spending on certain types of ads, etc.

Think beyond your cause
It can be really helpful to look beyond your own cause for inspiration for ideas on how to tell your story in new and engaging ways. Why not look at the ads for a charity that seemingly does not have much in common with yours and look at how they approach their images and messaging?

Need help with your Facebook advertising campaigns to bring in donors or new people to your email list? Our mobilisation experts can help. Get in touch today.