Ever joked about the “nosey neighbor”? Or found it odd how some people seem to know way too much “information” about others? Knowing too many details of what’s happening with other people isn’t usually a personality strength. But when it comes to business, information can change the life of your business. Specifically knowing what your competition is selling, for how much and how the product is being marketed.

It’s not about copying or lacking the creativity to build your own marketing campaign, social media experts say it’s about being able to join in the conversation that’s already happening in a way that helps your business.

It’s marketing that’s not old school, but on social media platforms that are fueled by conversations that can build community and go viral.

In a recent article in Social Media Examiner, the experts outline how marketers and business owners can see what ads a Facebook page or Twitter account is running.  There are four key ways that marketers can leverage the information from the ad transparency tools to their advantage. The first step is to find the tools. Keep in mind both Facebook and Twitter have all kinds of built in tools. It doesn’t cost anything to look and it’s not “spying,” it’s learning to leverage marketing opportunities.

Open the Facebook Ad Transparency Tool

Facebook’s Info and Ads tab allows any user to see all of the ads currently being run by any given page, regardless of whether that user is in the campaign’s target audience.

To see what ads a business is running, go to the Facebook page of that business. Then click the Info and Ads tab on the page’s left navigation bar. Alternatively, on mobile, look for the Info and Ads button at the bottom-right corner of the header images.

Select a region from the drop-down menu and you’ll see all of the ads the page is currently running, either globally or in a specific country.

If you’re wanting to check out Twitter Ads, the same transparency tools exist.

Open the Twitter Ad Transparency Tool and see  all of the ads run by a specific username/account in the past 7 days, the Twitter Ads Transparency Center (ATC) also shows the current engagement in the form of favorites and retweets.

If an ad was suspended, you can still see it in the Ad Transparency Tool, along with an explanation of why it was suspended.

To view ads for a business, head over to the Twitter Ads Transparency Center. In the search box in the top-right corner, enter a business name or username, and select the profile you want to view from the list of accounts that populates the information.

Once you’ve taken a look at what ads your competition is running, it can be easier to adjust your owns ads to fill in your direct messaging on subjects your customers care about. And if your competition has a large ad campaign going, your money might be best spent waiting until their push finishes. But one of the greatest take aways according to the experts is the information you can glean on how people are responding to your competitors ads. Something that’s generating a lot of likes, comments or re-tweets could be a conversation you can use to help better understand your target audience. (Yes even those who don’t consider themselves a “faith based shopper.”)

Transparency tools might be one of the best ways to help you see what’s happening in the businesses around you so that you can improve your brand and become the store or product that’s going viral.