If you’ve ever advertised on Facebook, you may have had some of your ads rejected. This can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you believe your ads are not violating Facebook’s policies. In this post, we’re going to review how the Facebook approvals process works, and what advertisers can do to ensure their ads are not rejected.
Before ads go live on the platform, Facebook reviews them to ensure they are compliant with their advertising policies. Most of these reviews are done using automated technology, but there are also humans working at Facebook reviewing ads. Within 24 hours (although it may take longer in some cases), Facebook will either accept the advertisement and push it live or reject it and send the advertiser an alert. Ad reviews aren’t only performed before a campaign begins; they can be re-evaluated after going live, which sometimes leads to ads that were previously approved being rejected mid-campaign.
Facebook reviews every ad to ensure it adheres to their Advertising Policies. Violating any of their policies is a sure-fire way to get advertisement rejected.
Most of these reviews are done using automated technology, but there are also humans working at Facebook reviewing ads.
To help ensure your campaigns pass the review process, we have compiled a list of five things to keep in mind when creating ads. Even just one rejected advertisement can put a dent in your campaign’s entire timeline, and trying to fix the issue or appealing Facebook’s decision can take time and effort.
1. Avoid Prohibited Content
Not including prohibited content in your ads may sound obvious, but Facebook’s Advertising Policies contain quite a comprehensive list of items (31 to be exact) that are not allowed to be advertised on their platform, including items like tobacco, vapes, supplements, prescription drugs, and before & after weight loss results. Any mention of prohibited content will lead to an automatic rejection during the review process. You can find the full list of prohibited content in section 4 of the policies, but here are some to look out for:
- Community Standards – Facebook has a set of standards to ensure a positive user experience that reflects their commitment to voice and expression, including: authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity. Similarly, if you are advertising on Instagram, there is another set of Community Guidelines to follow.
- Nonexistent Functionality – Any type of imagery within an advertisement that resembles a play button, notification, or checkboxes are considered nonexistent functionality and are prohibited. The same goes for any feature that does not work within the advertisement (such as a faulty hyperlink), and advertisements that mimic the features you would find on Facebook.
- Automatic Animation – Audio and flash are two elements of animation that cannot play automatically in an advertisement unless the user intentionally engages with it. No surprises!
2. Categorize Your Campaign Correctly
Are your campaigns about housing, credit, or employment? If so, Facebook requires you to indicate it with their Special Ad Category.
Based on a history of discrimination in these categories, any campaign that covers these categories will not be able to target specific audiences, such as by age, gender, or postal code. According to Facebook, advertisers will have a “smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall.” Due to the importance of finding housing, jobs, and maintaining good credit, restricting certain groups of people from seeing this content is discriminatory and goes against Facebook’s Advertising Policies.
Although advertisements in a Special Ad Category do not necessarily impact the results of Facebook’s review process, if you do not remember to select “Special Ad Category” when creating the campaign, the advertisement will not go live. Though your targeting will be limited, you will still be able to run campaigns that refer to these topics if they’re categorized correctly.
3. Don’t Alter the Spelling of Facebook and Instagram
If you mention Facebook or Instagram within your ad copy, there are some rules that you must follow:
- Always use a capital “F” when writing “Facebook”
- Keep “Facebook” consistent with the other font style that exists within the copy
- Don’t use the logo to replace the word “Facebook”
- Don’t use a version of the Facebook logo that is altered
- Never use an abbreviated “FB” as a replacement to “Facebook”
In Facebook’s Advertising Policies, it states that Facebook brand assets should not be modified in any way, which includes making changes to the Facebook trademark.
4. Restricted Content
While prohibited content is not allowed whatsoever, restricted content has certain limitations that advertisers must watch out for. If your campaigns are about one or more of the following, be sure to double-check that you adhere to Facebook’s criteria, otherwise you risk your ads being immediately rejected.
- Alcohol: Any alcohol that is promoted or referenced in an advertisement must comply with several of Facebook’s specific criteria, such as local laws and industry codes.
- Dating: Dating services must receive written permission and adhere to Facebook’s dating advertisement guidelines.
- Online Gambling and Gaming: Prior written permission is required to advertise any type of gambling, gaming, raffles, sweepstakes, or anything of monetary value. Similar to alcohol, advertisers must comply with applicable laws, such as age, when targeting.
- Online Pharmacies: The sale of prescription pharmaceuticals cannot be advertised, while written permission is required for online and offline pharmacies to advertise.
- Promotion of Over-The-Counter Drugs: Factors such as applicable laws, industry codes, and guidelines must be followed to advertise over-the-counter medicine.
- Subscription Services: Any type of subscription service or an advertisement that promotes products or services must adhere to Facebook’s subscription services requirements.
- Financial and Insurance Products and Services: Credit card applications or financial services must have clear communication and adhere to laws surrounding age. Find out more here.
- Branded Content: When promoting branded content, it is required to tag any third-party product, brand or business partner.
- Ads About Social Issues, Election or Policies / Disclaimers for Ads About Social Issues, Elections or Policies: There are a number of policies in place for campaigns that touch on these issues, such as adhering to all applicable laws and regulations, location specifications, and more. Including disclaimers with ads that discuss those specific topics is also a requirement.
- Cryptocurrency Products and Services: Prior written permission is required for campaigns about cryptocurrency trading or anything related.
- Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment: Facebook only allows pre-certified treatment centres to advertise, and there are a number of policies in place to do so.
- Cosmetic Procedures and Weight Loss: Any advertisements within this area must be targeted to those over 18 years old.
- Social Casino Games: Similar to online gambling restrictions, social casino games where users cannot win money can only be targeted to those over 18 years old.
5. Ensure Advertisements Link to a Relevant Landing Page
Facebook not only judges your ads, but the landing page it links to as well. Your ads need to link to a landing page that is functional and that matches what your advertisement is promoting. Some examples that would be considered going against Facebook’s Advertising Policies include: faulty links, sending users to an error page, a low Web of Trust rating, directing users to the Facebook homepage or a closed Facebook group, and landing pages that automatically download files.
Having a strong “ad scent”, which occurs when you have similar copy, images, and/or style between your advertisement and your landing page, is important. There are a number of ways to ensure you maintain a good ad scent, but paying special attention to the ad’s destination is just as important creating the ad itself.
What if Your Ad Was Rejected Incorrectly?
Sometimes Facebook’s automated technology incorrectly rejects an ad when it doesn’t violate their policies. When an ad is rejected, there will be an explanation as to why above the ad preview in Ads Manager. If you feel the rejection is unwarranted, you can hit the “request review” button and Facebook will put the ad back under review.
Creating a campaign with Facebook may require some extra steps, but the ad review process is there to ensure the entire platform promotes quality advertisements to create a better experience for users and advertisers alike. Be sure to avoid violating any of Facebook’s advertising policies to ensure your ads are not rejected. Too many rejected ads affect your account quality, so it is best to avoid them whenever possible.