Essential Facebook ad policies to know in 2022
There’s a constant confusion around what and how to advertise on Facebook. As a result, even experienced marketers sometimes have their ads rejected. Here’s what you should know about Facebook advertising policies so you can make ads that won’t get blocked.
“Ignorantia juris non excusat”
Any social platform is an essential advertising tool. And, like any tool, it has its performance standards and safety regulations. What is allowed on Google will never pass on Facebook.
To get the most out of your advertising on Facebook, it’s not enough that you keep the page with ads policies open every time you launch a new creative. The advertising process will run smoother once you’ll understand the logic of Facebook when it comes to users and advertisers.
The low costs of running ads have attracted smaller businesses and lower budgets at first, but also bigger players came through later. In 2021 digital advertising accounted for 64,4% of ad spend worldwide. And, despite occasional scandals and lawsuits, Facebook remains one of the leading platforms for advertisers worldwide.
Forbidden practices and goods
The list of forbidden practices represents a simple rule: you can’t do anything one might deem offensive. Whatever might avert even one user from spending time on the platform is unacceptable. There’s a list of general rules for advertising practices and it’s all about keeping ads polite and safe.
Even if your ads are gentle and woke beyond any measure, there are still some goods, services, and even industries banned from advertising on Facebook altogether.
Reasonably enough, you can’t advertise “dangerous goods'': firearms, explosives, drugs, and militaristic movements (take that, French Foreign Legion). Besides all the objectively dangerous stuff, things that can potentially harm the user are also forbidden. Vaping is equal to smoking, and together with anti-vaxxing, they have no place on Facebook. Prescription meds can’t be advertised by just about anyone, we will get into that later.
Facebook is persistently following the Your Money or Your Life content rule. Besides everything potentially harmful to the user, the platform is blocking all advertising of questionable financial services. So you can’t run ads on payday loans, Swedish auctions, or multi-level marketing companies.
Also, an honorable mention goes to body parts and bodily fluids. Not sure how often this comes up, but there you have it: you can’t advertise selling body parts on Facebook. Nothing about natural hair, though.
Restricted practices and goods
Some of the restrictions look god-given, others mainly came along with lawsuits and public scandals. Year after year Facebook's legal department was crafting those policies to make the world a better place.
Now, there are plenty of things totally ok to advertise. And some are almost ok. This means you have to get Facebook approval for your ads. This is how you can advertise alcohol, dating, gambling, online pharmacies, subscription services, food supplements, finance & insurance, crypto, rehabs, and cosmetic procedures.
Some of those are restricted by age groups (18+ for rehabs, gaming, financial services), and some just need permission from Facebook. Alcohol advertising is restricted by geography: you can’t run ads in Afghanistan, Brunei, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (list from the Facebook guide).
Prescription meds mentioned above are allowed to be advertised only by licensed pharmacies, and all the food supplements have to be considered harmless by Facebook itself. To become a licensed pharmacy, one has to apply at LegitScript, there’s also a form the advertiser has to fill in.
When it comes to sensitive topics such as reproductive health, it might be hard to navigate Facebook rules. How to talk about “IT” if no imitation of sexual activities is allowed? The official recommendation is that advertising “must be targeted to people 18 years or older and must not focus on sexual pleasure”. Vague, right?
Reviews and disputes
We are sometimes asked whether you can avoid being banned by using Revealbot or any other automation tool. No, you can’t: ads that are not compliant with the Facebook policy can’t be posted through any other program or extension suddenly making them ok.
There are some rumors that Facebook is more lenient towards advertisers with the huge spend, but there’s no solid proof to support these theories. Sometimes Facebook algorithm is blocking ads that have nothing outrageous about them. Like that story about onions being too sexy.
Here’s what Facebook has to say about this: “We reserve the right to reject, approve or remove any ad for any reason, in our sole discretion, including ads that negatively affect our relationship with our users or that promote content, services, or activities, contrary to our competitive position, interests, or advertising philosophy.”
If that’s your case and your ad got rejected for an unknown reason, there is a dispute procedure you should follow:
- Go to Account Quality
- Select your account or catalog with the rejected ads
- Select the ad, ad sets, or campaigns you want to dispute
- Click Request Review and select Submit
If things went far and your ad account got blocked for reasons unclear to you, the procedure is following:
- Go to Account Quality
- Go to Account Status Overview
- Choose the restricted account
- Look for a What You Can Do section
There is a way of making a Facebook advertiser’s life less stressful. When using Revealbot for your ad posting you are minimizing the chances of your ad being rejected. Revealbot being an official Facebook partner is making us partially responsible for any violation of ad policies.
This is why there is a review procedure we follow: your account is checked by our AI and, in case it struggles, is reviewed manually. It might take up to a few hours, but usually, the procedure runs much faster. If you think it’s been “In review” for too long, feel free to contact us.
As with any other area of your work, you can either use your best judgment while advertising, or trust other professionals to use theirs. In general, think about what will happen if someone you care about will see this ad you’re posting. If your ad is cringy, provocative, or just meh, try to work on your creative a bit more and present your best.
Do you have an experience with your ads or accounts being blocked despite following all the regulations? Tell us all about it by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org