I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook.
* I love that it’s great for networking.
* I hate that it’s so distracting, so I deactivated my personal Facebook.
* I love that it’s the best advertising platform in the world.
* I hate that they can ban your account for any reason and not tell you why.
Let’s get this straight…Facebook’s a money machine.
Their 2016 quarterly revenue was $6.44 billion! Big companies are shifting their ad spend away from traditional mediums like televisions.
Companies are even shifting spend away from Google AdWords into Facebook.
What makes Facebook so great for marketing?
- A loyal audience
People are SO addicted to using Facebook that there hundreds of articles written about how to stop using it.
There are 7.4 billion people in the world, and 1.7 billion of them use Facebook. That’s about 23% of the entire world population… On a single traffic source.
I LOVE international traffic, and Facebook lets me target people in smaller GEO’s.
You can target to such a molecular level that it’s almost creepy. You can target by their demographic, interest, and pixels. You can even upload an email list (custom audience) and they’ll advertise to you. No platform in the world can offer this level of targeting.
It’s kinda obvious that Facebook is POWERFUL traffic source for marketers. I think it’s the best traffic source in the world.
There is a 900lb gorilla in the room:
Nothing will ruin your day more than seeing this
They’ll ban your account if they get even the slightest hint that you’re up to something suspicious.
Facebook’s all about the long term. If anyone is advertising in a way that hurts user experience, then they’ll get their account banned. Facebook has no friends.
They don’t need me or you. Facebook pulled in almost $6 billion in revenue in the last quarter of 2015, most of which comes from big companies, so they don’t care if they lose your advertising dollars as an affiliate. They are still growing, and their share price keeps going up, so the future on Facebook is looking good.
They’re also concerned about fraud (stolen credit cards, etc.)
This is a major problem for affiliates. What if you’re one of the good guys? You can advertise things that are 100% legit, but if you trigger the wrong metric at Facebook, then your account might get banned.
The worst part is they won’t even tell you why.
I’ve been advertising on Facebook for many, many years now and can give some advice on this. Keep in mind that some of these strategies are best practices, and a lot of it is theory.
Unless I get ahold of a risk management engineer then we don’t really know what their algorithm is.
Tips to Prevent Facebook From Banning Your Account
First of all, if Facebook bans your ads account, your personal Facebook is still safe. So don’t worry about that.
Facebook has several million advertisers. They don’t have the manpower yet to have a relationship with each of us.
What’s the next best thing to do? They’ve developed a complicated algorithm to detect advertisers they don’t want on their platform. They are doing some crazy things with machine learning.
If you trip up on too many of these, then it’ll trigger a review from their team.
1. Read The Facebook Ad Policy
Most people won’t do this, which is possibly why most people get their account banned eventually. The Facebook ToS will take you about 10 minutes to digest. It also gives you a good idea of what runs well on Facebook if you can read between the lines.
Facebook isn’t like PoF where you can push 50 borderline creatives every day and know that they’ll just accept the ones that they like.
You’re better off being cautious with verticals you choose to run and making some profit, than getting your account banned and making no profit.
Think long term. Get aggressive and make $3k per day for 4 days…or play it safer. Make $500 a day but keep the account for years?
2. Don’t Mention ANYTHING About The User
Don’t use “you” or “your”, or call out demographics. Don’t be creepy.
Think about the type of people you are advertising to. Some people don’t like getting called out, and some people are hardcore SJWs, and they hate anyone who’s trying to sell them stuff.
Some people will report your ads, so keep that in mind when writing them. The more people that your ads annoy, the more likely it is you’ll get barred.
3. Check The Reputation of Your Landing Page
If you were on Facebook’s approval team, what would you think about your landing page (or the offer landing page)?
You can’t look at things from an affiliate marketing point of view when you’re advertising on Facebook.
You’ve got to approach it from a politically correct, cautious, “would-my-mom-think-this-is-okay” viewpoint.
You are approaching a company worth $375 billion, asking them to advertise on their website… Think about it like that. It’s not like running on pop sources where the traffic source couldn’t care less how aggressive your landers are.
Pro tip: Run your landing page / offer page through MyWot.com. They have a rating system that’ll tell you what people think of your page (above). The are pretty harsh, so it’s a good test.
You’ve gotta be careful about direct linking to an offer. You can’t control the offer page and Facebook may not like it. That’s why I always use a landing page – I have complete control over it.
4. Know What You’re Allowed To Promote
What is allowed: E-commerce / shopify, lead generation like solar, insurance, edu, certain mobile apps, collecting emails into a funnel, gaming, etc.
What’s not allowed. And that isn’t an exhaustive list either. If you’re thinking of doing gambling, adult, biz opp etc, then you’re in for the Facebook banhammer.
Just because a vertical is “Facebook approved”, doesn’t mean that you are automatically in safe harbors. You’ll still get slapped up if you run super aggressive copy or link to shady material.
5. Be Careful Using Facebook While Travelling
This has been floating around on the internet for a while, and it’s true. Logging in from too many ip addresses / locations does trigger Facebook’s team to question your account.
Why does Facebook care? It’s like when you’re traveling and your credit card gets frozen. They’re worried about fraud and they want to make sure it’s really you who’s spending all that money.
What CAN you do? You can always use a tool such as TeamViewer. Have a computer at your house that uses your internet. Log into that computer with the TeamViewer software. Facebook will see that you’re using the account from an IP address and desktop that it’s familiar with. This is way better than them seeing an IP address from Bangkok.
6. Watch Your Level of Daily Ad Spend
When you first open an account, you are already deemed risky in Facebook’s eyes.
This is understandable, it’s like when you start a new relationship. For the first couple months you’re gonna be keeping her under a close eye to make sure that she is who she says she is. After a while, you’ll chill and stop worrying.
Treat your new Facebook account like a new relationship.
Facebook doesn’t want to get into sticky situations with stolen credit cards or marketers who are out for a quick buck. Trying to spend too much money and too fast makes you a risky advertiser.
You want to start slow and steady with your budget spend. This should be happening naturally if you are new to Facebook anyway.
They’re also looking into the history of the account in general. What’s more trustworthy: an account that was opened a few days ago or an account that’s 10 years old?
7. Certain Words Trigger Reviews
This is kinda common sense, but some words are “dangerous.” If you claim things like “weight loss”, or “reduce wrinkles” in your ads then they’ll keep a closer eye on you.
Why do some words trigger a ban?
It signals you’re an aggressive marketer, and Facebook doesn’t really want them on their platform.
Facebook recently cracked down on “clickbait” style content, so double check that you’re not misleading the user, or blatantly withholding information. There’s an interesting article about it on TechCrunch which explains how Facebook assigns your content a “clickbait score” on a continuum.
Instead of writing aggressively, you can use some image manipulation techniques, because images are the most important part.
8. Use a Business Manager Account
You can create different business manager accounts for different campaigns that you run. The reason for this is so that if Facebook doesn’t like one campaign, they can shut down that one business manager account, but it won’t disable your entire account.
9. Get Some Ads Approved and Running First
When your account is brand new, it’s just like when you buy something from an EBay member who’s new. You want to check their profile, see if they have other listings, see what their feedback is like etc.
If a Facebook team member goes to look at your creatives for approval and they see a whole lot of hardcore direct-response style ads have been declined earlier, they will be far more critical of your account.
It’s a good strategy to be super cautious for the first few batches of creatives you submit and verticals you run. You want to be 100% sure they’ll get approved as it sets the tone for your account.
There are many, many more things that can trigger a Facebook ban. I hope this list was helpful.
Stay clean, play by their rules, and pray to Mark Zuckerberg.
What Happens If I Get Banned?
There is not much you can do to reactivate your Ad Manager if you get that fatal error message from Facebook. The best strategy is to focus on prevention rather than cure by implementing the above tips.
You can appeal to their team by filling in their form and sending in your identification.
You might have a chance of getting your account reactivated if the ban was due to logging in from another location, or using a different payment method.
If the ban was because you’re uploading too much sideboob or pushing aggressive affiliate offers, then I wouldn’t even waste my time trying to reason with them.
If you’re spending enough on Facebook then there are ways to get an account manager. This manager can help you in so many ways.
My account was banned a few weeks ago.
My account manager looked into it to make sure I was running legit. My account was back up the next day. Beats submitting your ID and praying to the gods they’ll let you back in. This is an example of why networking and relationships are important.
Facebook is awesome but so much of their platform is rooted in mystery. I understand how frustrating it can be of wanting to run the traffic source, but worrying about your account being banned (and never being able to advertise again).
There are 100+ more things Facebook looks out for that I didn’t mention. Why do we put up with Facebook? Because the rewards are the worth it.
Just understand Facebook from their perspective, and play by the rules.
Featured Image by Alex Millos