Facebook Advertising: What Not To Do!

When it comes to the creation of Facebook advertising, I used to tell new social media managers, “Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as Facebook jail.” But I was wrong! It is possible to get locked out of your Facebook advertiser account for a violation of their advertising policies. A lockout means no current Facebook ads will run, no new Facebook ads can be created, and there is no access to Facebook analytics. Don’t land your business or agency in Facebook jail, take Facebook advertising seriously and learn the ropes *before* you start to advertise.

Set Up For Success

If multiple company employees all use the same Facebook Page admin login, chances are Facebook will lock the account. Chances are even greater if employees login with different ISP addresses. It may not happen right away, but when it does, it is a pain to straighten out -- and takes precious time away from advertising. Use Facebook Business Manager to assign roles to anyone in your company who will have a hand in Facebook posting or advertising. This also makes signing up for Ads Manager that much easier. Take the time to set your account up right from the beginning.

The 20% Rule

This is the most widely known Facebook advertising policy no-no, but one that is easily forgotten by busy marketers. Basically, Facebook ads may not include pictures or graphics with text that covers more than 20% of the image area. This post by Grand Hyatt DFW about their award could not be boosted because there is too much text on the graphic. Facebook has a grid check tool that you can use on your photos and graphics here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay

BEWARE: A violation of the 20% rule can trigger an automated account freeze. It can also flag your account for further review. If this happens, contact a Facebook representative for help here: https://www.facebook.com/business/contact-us/

Restricted Content on Facebook

If your business advertises anything even remotely controversial, remember Facebook has a global audience. Their guidelines are intended to protect that global audience regardless of what is legal or illegal in your location. There are three categories of restricted content:

1. Age Restricted Content / This includes alcohol according to the laws of the locations you are targeting your ads to. You don’t have to be a brewery, if there is alcohol shown in the ad photo, you are advertising alcohol -- even if your call to action is to book a sunny vacation!

2. Restricted Content / Additional restrictions on alcohol ads are placed where certain countries prohibit promoting alcohol at all. Other restricted content includes: Dating, Gambling, Lotteries, Online Pharmacies, Supplements, Subscription Services and Lead Ads. This means there are additional compliance steps that must be followed.

3. Prohibited Content / The list is long and includes: “Illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs; Tobacco products and related paraphernalia; Unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion; Weapons, ammunition, or explosives; or Adult products or services (except for ads for family planning and contraception)” Find the full list here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/#prohibited_content

Because Thin Pig Media is located in a state that has legalized marijuana, we get asked about advertising it too. It is a recreational drug, so the Facebook advertising policy answer is clearly NO. However, if the audience is age restricted (over 21) and location restricted (Washington State), there are ways to promote certain aspects without making it obvious. This is a risk though, because it is clearly a Facebook advertising policy violation and it depends on your comfort level with the consequences that range from a frozen account, to a lockout, or at Facebook’s discretion -- deleting your advertiser account altogether.

Video Ads on Facebook

We work with entertainers and independent films on a regular basis. Instead of showing a trailer, we can promote content that highlights the hard work that goes into movie making with an interview like this one for Car Dogs.

Movie trailers, TV shows, video game trailers, and other similar content intended for mature audiences are only allowed with prior written permission from Facebook...
— Facebook Advertising Policy

Landing Pages

Landing Pages (the web page that a user arrives on after clicking the link in your ad) are a tricky topic. The Facebook advertising policy states “Products and services promoted in the ad copy must match those promoted on the landing page, and the destination site may not offer or link to any prohibited product or service.” This by itself makes perfect sense. Combined with Facebook’s community guidelines however, there are a lot of gray areas where Facebook will disapprove an ad based on the landing page.

If there is anything fishy about your landing page, Facebook will disapprove the ad. Here are some obvious and not-so-obvious landing page red flags: 

  • The landing page does not work reliably in all browsers.
  • It includes banned content.
  • It features an automatic download (users need to be able to opt-in for any downloads).
  • Prevents the user from leaving the landing page with pop ups.
  • No business identity or contact information is available. 

Learn Before You Advertise

Before you click “Boost Post” or spend the time it takes to create a “Clicks to Website” ad campaign, make sure you have read and understand Facebook advertising policies as they relate to your business and industry. Keep up to date on the latest policies and policy changes by following the Thin Pig Media blog.