Using the Facebook Ads Library to Examine Election Campaign Ads

by Jatzari Abonce, SMACC Analyst

The 2020 Election resulted in record turnout as Americans cast more than 150 million votes for President. Social media certainly played a major role by creating a space for people to share their political views. Platforms like Facebook also play a role in the elections by providing a space for political candidates to use advertising to try to influence potential voters.

The Facebook Ad Library is a searchable transparency library that helps users search for political and issue ads. The ad library shows information on the Page creation, who is paying for the ads and how much is being paid for those ads to show up on your Facebook newsfeed.  

Follow these steps to help you get started using the Facebook Ad Library to examine the advertisements created by political candidates, the amount they spent, and basic age, gender, and location demographics about the audiences they reached:

  1. Go to  
  2. In the search bar, type in the name of the person or page that you are interested in  (example: Donald J. Trump)  
  3. Once the page pops up, you will be able to see some quick info about the page like the date the page was created and the amount of money the Page spent on ads about elections, politics and social issues. 

  4. Next, click on the “all ads” tab on the right hand corner  
  5. Using the filter tool, narrow down your search by selecting the region, the kind of ad (active or inactive), the platform where the ads are shown, and the date range. 

  6. Once you find an ad you would like to know more about, click on “see ad details”  
  7. Now, you will be able to see more information on the ad such as the sponsor of the ad, the date the ad became active, potential audience reach, impressions, the estimated amount of money spent on the ad, who saw the ad and where the ad was shown. 

    Facebook Ads Information

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