My blood pressure was through the roof. I just got the same notification for the umpteenth time. “This ad doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies. You can edit the ad(s) or go Account Quality to request another review.” I just quit out of my business manager and went on a walk.
After hours of trying to edit my ads, I still couldn’t figure out what the issue was. Is it the creative? The copy? The heading? Could it even be the description… I had absolutely no clue what was causing this error, I just knew 66% of my Facebook ads didn’t pass quality standards.
Now, some industries are more prone than others for flagging Facebook policies. For example, my supplement company that I used to run, Excellent Cognition, which dealt with the health and wellness space, ran into more issues than something like a local masonry service.
However, the most frustrating thing, irrespective of your industry, is that Facebook simply says, “Our Advertising Policies provide guidance on what types of ad content are allowed. When advertisers place an order, each ad is reviewed against these policies.” Then they let you read the hundreds of different policies they have and make you guess which one is the one you’re violating.
Now for this past week, I’ve gone through hell and back trying to figure out what leads to a rejected ad. In this post, I won’t be able to cover everything that leads to a rejected ad but will point out some of the biggest culprits.
When your Facebook ads hit that “in review,” anything can happen. The algorithm isn’t perfect. Sometimes good ads are rejected, or bad ads are approved. And Facebook, of course, reserves the right to reject or approve an ad for any myriad of reasons. However, there are some tips we can follow to end up on Facebook’s good side.
What Does Facebook Prohibit?
Facebook has a laundry list of “prohibited content.” Some of the more obvious ones are no Adult Products (use your imagination), Weapons, Ammunition, or Explosives, Unsafe Supplements (like steroids), Dating Apps (sorry Hinge), or Discriminatory Practices (prohibiting people based on color, employment, and credit). Although some of these make sense, there are also others that you need to be aware of as well. One that I kept running into was Circumventing Systems.
Rejected Facebook Ads: Circumventing Systems
This means that Facebook ads must not use tactics intended to circumvent the Facebook ad review process. There are two main reasons why you’ll get this notification.
- If you create a new advertising account to run the same ads after they were restricted on a previous account
- If you use Unicode characters or symbols in ad text with the intent to mislead users.
Some people have had success in creating a new advertising account and successfully submitting an ad that was banned on a previous account. However, even if Facebook doesn’t catch it initially, they are continually auditing the ads on their platform, and it’ll just be a matter of time until they find you.
Also, if you have any emojis in your text, try taking them out and re-submitting it. Facebook will allow emojis, but the algorithm has a hard time reading them. So if you are listing out a bunch of benefits and have a checkmark emoji before each line item, the algorithm may see that as circumventing the system and can potentially reject the ad. The same goes for smiley faces, rocket ships, money bags, and other seemingly harmless emojis. Another common one is Third-Party Infringement.
Rejected Facebook Ads: Third-Party Infringement
Facebook checks to make sure that your Facebook ads don’t violate any copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other personal or proprietary rights.
So if you post a photo of your free e-book right next to a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Facebook will flag that. Even if the link does go back to your landing page, having a book that isn’t yours in which you don’t have consent to use their image will cause Facebook to reject the ad. I ran into this issue with my supplement company because I had my supplement next to a bunch of personal development and mindset books.
However, sometimes you may want to make a comparison of your product to another. Just make sure you use a generic product in your advertisement. You’ll notice that mobile communication companies like Verizon will say things like, “The best phone carrier,” not, “Better than Sprint.”
That’s because it is best practice to keep other company’s names out of your mouth. Also, you don’t want to give another product free advertising in your ad, do you?
Be Careful With Wording
Facebook ads are super powerful and segmented. You can get very narrow with who you’re targeting… but Facebook doesn’t want its users to know that. Facebook cares about one thing first and foremost: user experience. Facebook cares about the user experience so much because they know that the better the user experience, the longer the user will stay on the platform, and the more likely they are to return. The longer the user stays on the platform the more Facebook can place ads in front of them in return making them more money.
That’s why Facebook tends to favor ads that look like organic images. Facebook users didn’t come to the platform to get marketed to. So, one of the best tricks to making sure your Facebook ads don’t get rejected is creating an ad that doesn’t look like an ad. Facebook is a social platform that people come on to engage with friends and family. So a picture of a person smiling or a selfie will usually outperform a picture of a product with text on it as that’s not what people engage with.
Facebook Privacy Concerns
As you may be aware, Facebook doesn’t have the best PR. They have had a lot of data scandals over the years leading to them being sued for the misappropriation of customers’ personal data. Since Facebook is trying to be proactive and doesn’t want its users to have privacy concerns, they have gotten more strict on rejecting Facebook ads that are too targeted.
For example, it’s acceptable to say, “Meet Black People,” but not okay to say, “Meet other black people.” This shows that you know that the user is black. It’s fine to say, “Check out our financial services,” but you can’t say, “Are you Broke? Bankrupt? Check this out,” as this implies you know the user’s financial status. Some good things to remember is that your ads are subject to more scrutiny whenever you use the words: you, other, or specific names of people. Try to avoid them at all costs.
Don’t Make A Promise You Can’t Keep
Another core principle of Facebook is that they don’t want their users to feel tricked or mislead. If you say in your ad, “Just $40,” or “Buy Now for 70% Off,” Facebook will check to make sure that is indeed the case. Facebook checks not only the ad itself but also the landing page that you are driving traffic to. That is why it is best practice to make sure the landing page is consistent with the ad itself.
Also, the image you use in your photo needs to be consistent with the product you are selling. If you are selling a pair of glasses from Ali Express, you can’t use an image of Ray-Bans in your ad. If you are selling an affiliate marketing course, don’t have an ad that says, “How you can become a millionaire in 30 days.” You need to phrase it as “How I became…” or “How my clients became…”
The same message gets across, but you’re not promising the user the same results that you or your clients might have received. For more information on the best ways to target users on Facebook read, 4 Ways To Use Facebook Ads To Find High Performing Audiences.
As much as we hate getting our ads rejected, Facebook is looking out for us. Now, it is in their best interest to optimize user experience, but it is also in their best interest to optimize advertisers’ experience. If advertisers run ads that don’t convert well, they’ll leave and go to a different platform.
So I know after reading this you may think there are a million and one ways to get your Facebook ad rejected, but it really isn’t a common occurrence. Also, if you’re ad gets rejected, it isn’t the end of the world. Your account doesn’t get canceled, and you don’t get a punishment.
Usually, taking out a specific section or rephrasing a line can be the difference from a successful ad to a rejected one. So feel free to change everything from your image to header, to copy, and keep resubmitting it until you find the culprit. You got this!