Facebook’s the gold standard in advertising. It has the largest volume of quality traffic in the world and the most advanced targeting.
But running traffic on Facebook can sometimes feel like you’re in a horrible one-sided, relationship.
Run FB for a few years and it starts feeling like Stockholm syndrome.
First, they’re always getting mad at you and won’t tell you why. Come on, tell me why my ads got rejected! I’ll change, I swear!
You think your relationship is going great with Facebook, but then you come home to see that they threw all your shit on the curb. They changed their phone number and don’t wanna see you anymore :-(.
Really? You’re going to ban my account and not give me a second chance? What about all the good times we had? I spent so much money on you!
I’ve experienced this back and forth with Facebook over the years.
What they approve or disapprove can feel inconsistent. A big part of it is they tweak their policies often. And if it goes through a manual review, then that depends on the person’s interpretation of the policies (and their mood that day).
Why did your ad, which you spent hours crafting Don Draper style, get axed? How can you make sure this doesn’t happen again?
Here are 9 reasons Facebook might kill your ad and even ban your account.
1. Way Too Much Text in Your Image
This hands down is one of the top reasons most ads are rejected. Facebook isn’t happy when ads contain more than 20% text. That killer headline you put on the image of your ad? Not gonna happen if it takes up more than 20% of the image.
When the platform was new, you absolutely could NOT get an ad approved with more than 20% of text.
It’s now possible to be approved with an ad image of over 20% text, but your reach will be significantly reduced.
Four tiers exist on rating your reach (or approval) based on this rule:
- Image text: OK – Your advert will run normally
- Image text: Low – Your advert’s reach may be slightly lower
- Image text: Medium – Your advert’s reach may be much lower
- Image text: High – Your advert may not run
If you want your ad to get the green light, it’s better to be well behind “the line” rather than walking on it.
You can decrease your font size or even reduce the spacing between your letters to make yourself more compliant, but do you really want to be cramming tiny letters onto your ad? If you find yourself doing that, you probably just need to write a better headline.
If you’re advertising physical goods, your product labels can contribute to the overall text percentage detected, so you may need to get creative with how you show them.
2. Bad Targeting on Age Restricted Topics
Be careful in your use of targeting when creating ads for product types which fall into restricted categories.
Basically, if you’re a creep and try to target young people with certain ads, you’re playing a risky game.
For example, alcohol-related advertising has its own set of restrictions:
“Ads that promote or reference alcohol must comply with all applicable local laws, required or established industry codes, guidelines, licenses and approvals, and include age and country targeting criteria consistent with Facebook’s targeting guidelines and applicable local laws.”
Basically, don’t be a moron. Err on the side of caution and be compliant with local laws.
Targeting underage users with age-restricted ads can be a quick ticket to getting your ad (and possibly your account) banned. This includes showing minors weight loss products, alcohol-related items or services, gambling, and dating services among others.
This shouldn’t be a problem since anyone 18 is a bad lead anyways.
3. Advertising Banned Topics
Certain topics are banned, period, under Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines for Prohibited Content.
If you’re trying to sell…
- Weapons, munitions, and explosives
- Counterfeit documents
- Spyware or malware and included surveillance equipment (like spy cams and gps trackers.)
- Adult friend finder services
- Pharmaceuticals (both legal and banned substances)
- Unsafe supplements (at Facebook’s discretion)
- Tobacco products
- Adult products for sexual enhancement, enjoyment or otherwise
- Cash loan services
- Penny auctions
- Controversial content which exploits political or social issues for commercial purposes
- Multi-level marketing businesses
- Prohibited financial products or services (such as those related to cryptocurrency)
- Discriminatory ads against people based on any personal attributes
- Third party copyright infringement
- Violence and shocking imagery (such as dead bodies)
- Vulgar language or profanity
…you’re going to find yourself on a one-way train to Facebook ban land. Again, this goes back to not being a moron and using common sense when creating ads. If your campaign is pushing supplements, you probably should be advertising somewhere other than Facebook.
If your ad could potentially cause a lawsuit against Facebook, they’ll drop you faster than Taylor Swift dropping boyfriends.
Expect fast ad rejections if not outright bans on your ad account for trying to get ads approved on these topics.
And remember things are changing all the time. A few weeks ago Facebook decided to ban all Cryptocurrency and ICO related ads.
4. Using an Incorrect Destination URL
Facebook isn’t stupid, and they don’t like it when people try to get tricky with their ad URLs.
If your takes users to a completely different landing page than what was initially suggested, you’ll probably be rejected.
Your landing page must be relevant to the ad copy and image. If you’re offering to take people to a fitness blog and instead they land on a dating app download, it’s like talking about Fight Club: you’re going to be rejected and possibly booted.
This can also get messed up by something as simple as a typo in your destination URL. If a person can’t load the page, it hurts a user’s experience.
5. Using a Non-Compliant Landing Page
What happens off-platform is just as important as what happens on Facebook itself.
Your landing page must be functional, without crazy amounts of pop up windows, malware, or scripts which prevent people from backing out of your site.
You should also list out your business’s address, e-mail, phone number, and relevant information to your industry such as FTC compliance disclaimers and so forth.
Instructions should be crystal clear and impossible to misunderstand. If it contains misleading information about your product, you’re asking for trouble.
Your landing page must also be in line with your actual ad. Offering anything other than what was mentioned in your ad is possible grounds for rejection and/or an account ban. In other words, don’t offer a fitness product and then try to sell people on a cryptocurrency.
Remember, Facebook wants people to have a good overall experience. If you’re landing page is shady, Facebook will drop the rejection hammer.
Here’s a pro tip: you want to make sure your page isn’t a RED score in MyWot ratings.
6. Suggesting Characteristics About Your Targeted Audience
If you’re suggesting characteristics or traits about the person reading your ad, you’re running the risk of getting rejected. Many affiliates get this one wrong. A rule of thumb is to avoid using the word “you” in your ad copy.
Here’s an example of doing things the wrong way: “You love chocolate don’t you?”
Here’s a better way: “Chocolate lovers have a hard time resisting our…”
Basically, Facebook doesn’t want people getting offended and pissed off. If you suggest that your audience is a particular way, you could offend them and your ad could get rejected.
People get triggered easily, man.
Essentially you don’t want to allude to any personal attributes your audience has.
Stay away from anything that could imply:
- Criminal history
- Disability and/or medical condition (mental health included)
- Financial status
- Membership to a union
- Race and/or ethnic origin
- Religion or beliefs
- Sexual orientation or practices, and gender identity
We’ll call this the “Don’t Be An Offensive Jerk” rule of advertising.
7. Bad Grammar Usage
Yes, Facebook actually cares about grammar. Sort of.
Using CAPS LOCK for the entirety of your ad is a bad look and Facebook doesn’t care for it either. You can expect your ad to be rejected if your copy features too many capitalized letters.
Plus, it makes it look like you’re shouting at people, which is pretty lame too.
Keep your ad copy readable, keep it succinct, and avoid loads of grammatical errors.
Avoid overly cutesy or clever stuff too. Substituting all of your “Os” for smiley emojis or similar practices could be cause for rejection. And it makes you look like your a high school girl.
8. Steer Clear of Big Promises (and Fraud)
No matter how much you love your offer, promising extreme outcomes like losing 10 pounds in 48 hours, or making $10,000 in your first week are begging Facebook for ad rejection.
The best ads rely on clarity and transparency, not outrageous claims or bogus promises. There are certain exceptions as the platform isn’t perfect, but you want to be well within the boundaries and “rulebook.”
Avoid sensationalist claims. Don’t commit fraud either. That’s kind of important, both for keeping your account active and for not going to jail.
Claiming to make someone’s debt disappear or making misleading promises about what results people can expect are a bad idea.
9. Logging in from Multiple Locations or IP Addresses
You may be all about that digital nomad life, but Facebook’s security measures will potentially disable your ad account if they see you logging in from multiple different IP locations.
If you travel often, using Facebook’s Ad Manager app on your phone can help you avoid this issue.
Although the functionality and user experience will feel compromised, it’s better that than to risk a temporary account ban.
Another solution is to keep separate business accounts for different users and offices (even for team members). Provide each of these individuals access via the Business Manager for their respective locations.
This is an extra hoop to jump through but it can make a big difference and save you the trouble of trying to reclaim a locked account.
10. (Bonus Reason) Your Account History
Every time one of your ads is rejected, your account earns a derogatory mark. It’s like you have a quality score at the account level. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook’s Algorithm would change pricing based on your account’s history. (Give cheap clicks to the poeple we like, increase CPC’s for the people we don’t like).
It’s hard to say how these are weighted but you can bet that your account history plays a role as to whether your future ads will be approved. If you’re racking up a history of rejected ads, you’re going to probably have an increasingly difficult time getting things approve.
Try to maintain a high ratio of approved to disapproved ads. Keep inside the lines, don’t press the boundaries of the rules.
Play By The Rules and Don’t Be Stupid
Navigating Facebook’s ad requirements can feel like walking through a minefield, but generally speaking, if you play by the rules you should be okay.
The media buying landscape is constantly changing. Always read up on Facebook’s ad policies as updates roll out. Facebook’s recent ban on cryptocurrency related ads (even for legitimate businesses) is evidence of that.
But maintaining a clean reputation isn’t that difficult. Really, just avoid doing obviously stupid or shady stuff. Facebook didn’t get over a billion users by being dumb. They can pick up on when people are trying to skirt the rules.
Just play by their rules, okay?
Featured Image by Mtkang