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Facebook’s Ads Policies for Dummies

This is an article “Facebook’s Ads Policies for Dummies” by Marc Primo Warren


People from all walks of life join Facebook to connect with the whole world and learn about almost everything virtually. That’s why it’s not surprising how over 2.80 billion users are on the platform as of this year. As more marketers go to this essential marketing social media platform to display their ads and spread brand awareness, the good folks at Facebook have the noble task of filtering these ads so that no one gets offended, duped, or misinformed.



However, the mistake that most advertisers commit is not screening their ads thoroughly that some are flagged by Facebook for policy violations. What happens next can either be a simple warning or the suspension of advertising accounts which can span for weeks or even longer depending how much negative feedback your ads get.


To avoid these digital marketing pitfalls, here’s a much simpler guide on understanding Facebook’s Advertising Policies categorized in six clusters:


Ads that discriminate


Facebook frowns upon ads that seem to target specific groups while outcasting others based on their social and personal attributes. Some examples are those that call out users’ exact age range or those that have implications about a specific race, religion, belief, gender identity, disability or medical condition, financial status, membership, criminal record, or name.


Similarly, ads that bait specific demographics and appear to be suspicious, predatory, or don't comply with Facebook’s terms and conditions are considered red flags.


Avoid limiting your target market to a certain age group such as millennials or seniors, or via a group’s physical attributes like individuals who are obese or are suffering from hair loss. Facebook aims to give its users a positive experience and singling out an audience’s inferiority or age is a no-no.


Ads that promote health hazards


If you are planning to post an ad on Facebook that promotes a product with unfounded claims and no scientific evidence, or those that fall to the category of snake oil supplements, and tobacco-related products, then expect to get notified of certain violations.


Asking users to try out such supplements as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone pills, ephedra, and other such banned substances will be immediately flagged by both Facebook’s algorithms and its human reviewers.


Prescribed, recreational, illegal, or any other drug-related ads that show photos of paraphernalia, product, or service are also considered as community violations so choose your images wisely if you are promoting a new brand of diet pills and refrain from using clickbait headlines like ‘lose 3 kilos in a week’ which is very unrealistic and just too unbelievable.


Adult and sexual ads


Facebook is a wholesome social media platform where communities can exchange information so that ads that are sexualized are banned. No matter how much eye candy sells in traditional advertising, avoid using provocative and semi-nude images that border on the explicit. These include showing cleavage or body parts that are considered inappropriate or imply sexual pleasure.


A common example of ads that are called out by Facebook are those from dating sites that promise ‘you’ll meet hot singles in your area fast’ or how you can choose an on-call masseuse from a gallery of beautiful girls clad in skimpy outfits. These types of ads are just way too suggestive to be on Facebook.


Ads that promote violence


Though sex and violence sell in the movies, Facebook doesn’t want to do anything with either. Selling products that encourage violence such as guns, knives, and ammunition are usually flagged by reviewers.


Of course, the same goes for the use of language wherein expletives and slurs cannot be used in any type of content posted on the platform. Algorithms can now also detect Unicode or symbols that aim to conceal profanity and will be considered as circumventing violations.


Aside from avoiding offensive words, do not capitalize an entire sentence in your copy as this technique is most often tagged as a red flag.


Bad Business Practices and Dubious Financial Claims


These types of no-no ads are easy for Facebook reviewers to spot. Ads that tell users to join and earn a salary without any clear explanation or posts that encourage you to bid for a grand prize are not permitted on Facebook Ads.


If you are a financial or business marketer, avoid being vague about your product, campaign, or offers. Make sure the copy you put in your ads are consistent with what your business is all about and its corresponding landing page. Be clear especially these days when businesses that utilize the magic of blockchain or cryptocurrencies seem to confuse more users.


To be safe, you can seek a ‘confirmation of eligibility’ from Facebook so you can post your financial ads on the platform without sounding any alarm.


Malicious ads


Suspicious ads that might lead to hacking a user’s personal information are hot ads that Facebook’s algorithms can easily spot. These ads aim to deceive users with opportunities or unique services that can cause another user trouble.


Tech products like apps that fully charge your smartphone batteries in five minutes or those that have bad grammar or low-quality layouts are also not okay on the platform.


Make sure that your ads are professionally designed with copy that is clear, concise, and realistic. Once Facebook’s algorithms detect unwanted elements within your ads such as non-functional play buttons or inconsistent landing pages, it can suspend an ad account for violating its ad policies.


Ads that are permitted but usually get reviewed


Some ads are permitted on the platform but can raise red flags and be put on review which can set your campaign back by a few days or weeks.


These include:

  • Alcohol ads that do comply with Facebook’s ad policies but are for review to find out if they comply with national laws or industry codes and have the proper licenses;

  • Dating platforms as these require written permission;

  • Ads that promote gambling;

  • Online and offline pharmacies as these also require written permission;

  • Subscription services with clear terms and conditions that will be reviewed prior to posting;

  • Financial and insurance products;

  • Integration of brands for content;

  • Social, political, and election campaign ads;

  • Addiction treatment;

  • Cryptocurrency services; and

  • Cosmetic and weight loss/gain products

As long as you always keep in mind that Facebook’s developers want to ensure the safety and positive experience of its users, you can conceptualize and produce your ads more efficiently. Now that you are aware of these six ad clusters that usually get flagged on the platform, try to come up with more engaging ads that can drive users to check out your landing pages and create better engagement.


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