Facebook Ads are a great way to build a following, introduce a new product, or promote an upcoming sale. Facebook affords advertisers a wealth of targeting, scheduling and other options to ensure advertisers get the most bang for their buck. While targeting, scheduling, and daily campaign management are pretty straightforward for most advertisers, the actual ad creation and approval process can be a different story. Very often, ads will get disapproved for a number of reasons, usually because they do not match Facebook’s guidelines. Facebook will usually let advertisers know why their ad was disapproved – but not always. Sometimes advertisers need to do some additional research to find out why they got flagged. Here are some of the more common disapproval reasons:
Per Facebook, the following content is prohibited from ads:
- Illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs;
- Tobacco products and related paraphernalia;
- Unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion;
- Weapons, ammunition, or explosives; or
- Adult products or services (except for ads for family planning and contraception).
Prohibited content also includes illegally using copyrighted and trademarked material, along with adult content, deceptive or false advertising and “Content that asserts or implies personal attributes” (direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition).
Shocking, sensational, disrespectful, or excessively violent content also falls into the “Prohibited” category. Even Ads with bad grammar could get flagged. The list goes on and on. Make sure you know what you can and cannot use before making your ad.
As if Facebook’s Prohibited Content section isn’t long enough, its “Restricted” section offers additional content that advertisers are not allowed to use. This section includes worldwide age and geographical targeting restrictions, alcohol-based ads, ads about online gambling and state lotteries and ads promoting online pharmacies. Subscription services have their own guidelines as well.
While most of Facebook’s ad guidelines and policies are fairly straightforward, this one can be tricky. Facebook prohibits ads containing more than 20% text, however, what constitutes text and what does not is somewhat of a gray area. When in doubt, advertisers can use the text overlay tool to determine if their ad will likely get flagged or approved.
Targeting and Positioning
Facebook has specific rules regarding targeting, including: using ads to “discriminate against, harass, provoke, or disparage users or to engage in predatory advertising practices.” With regards to positioning advertisers must be sure their ads “include relevant and appropriate to the product or service being offered and the audience viewing the ad.”
The lesson here, especially for first-time advertisers, is that if your ad gets disapproved, don’t fret – there is a laundry list of possible reasons why.