It is frustrating when you’ve spent a long time crafting your copy, picking the perfect image or video, and finely tuning your audience targeting only for Facebook to say that your ad has not been approved.
Identifying which specific aspect of your ad is failing the approval process can be difficult. In most cases the notification from Facebook is pretty broad and non-specific – ‘Your ad isn’t approved because it doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies’. This information isn’t really going to help you make the right changes to get your ad approved and it can feel as though there is no rhyme or reason to Facebook’s approval or disapproval of ads.
We will take some of the frustration out of the Facebook ad approval process with our top tips and advice.
The ad review process
- Facebook’s advertising policy requires all ads to be reviewed and approved before the ads start being delivered to your audience.
- Ad review can take anything between five minutes and 48 hours.
- Most ads are reviewed within 24 hours, but some factors can increase the time taken to approve an ad, therefore, Facebook advises that you schedule your advert start time to be 24 hours after you submit an ad for approval.
- If your ad takes longer than 24 hours to be approved, you may want to consider reaching out to Facebook support to see if you can have it reviewed by their internal ad team.
Video content may take longer to be reviewed and approved than images, and ad approval can be longer during holidays when many companies are likely to increase their advertising efforts.
Once you have submitted your ad and it is ‘in review’ it will sit in a queue waiting to be reviewed by a member of the FB ad team. This team are based in the US, so if you are in the UK you need to allow for the fact that their work day starts later than yours.
Ads are reviewed by humans and so the process could be considered subjective or even open to error, however, bear in mind that this is their full-time job and they know the policies inside out. Do not assume that if you re-submit your ad a different person is going to pick it up and approve it.
Given the number of ads that get published each day, it is likely that the process uses a mix of algorithms and manual review.
Avoid ad disapproval
Adhering to the following guidance and list of dos and don’ts goes a long way towards getting an ad through the approval process quickly and trouble-free.
Remember the list is by no means exhaustive and for full and up to date information you can visit the Facebook Advertising Policies page.
- Domains and landing pages – Ads and landing pages need to visually look the same or very similar and contain the same information. If you offer a 50% discount in a FB ad you need to have the same on the landing page. Be consistent, or your ad will be regarded as misleading.
- Focus on the product or the service that you are selling, do not focus on the person you are targeting and don’t imply that you know anything about that person.
For example, you could advertise a product that helps prevent signs of ageing, provided that you don’t imply that the person seeing your advert is old or that they need your product to remain youthful.
The Dos and Don’ts
You cannot make any direct or indirect assertions about a person’s:
- Race and/or ethnic origin
- Religion or beliefs
- Sexual orientation or practices, and gender identity
- Disability and/or medical condition (including physical or mental health)
- Financial status
- Membership in a trade union
- Criminal record
Whilst you can target groups of people (your custom audience), you cannot refer directly to the personal attributes of that targeted set of people. If that sounds subjective, Facebook has added a very clear cut instruction: “don’t use the word ‘other’.”
e.g. You could say ‘meet singles’ but you can’t say ‘meet other singles’. Using ‘other’ implies that the person you are targeting is single.
You cannot advertise:
- Any ‘adult’ content including adult products or services
- Drugs, drug-related products or pharmaceuticals
- Gambling or lotteries
- Unsafe supplements
- Multi-level marketing businesses
- Payday or advance cash loan services
- Bidding fee or “penny” auctions
- Sensational, excessively violent content
- Counterfeit or fake documents, such as degrees, passports, or immigration papers
- Malware and spyware, surveillance equipment (spy cams and mobile phone trackers, for example)
- “Before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results.
- Advert content must not imply or attempt to generate a negative self-perception in order to promote dietary, weight loss or other health-related products.
- Steer clear of big promises – You couldn’t say ‘Take my course and become a millionaire in 6 months’.
- Adverts for health, fitness or weight loss products must be targeted to people aged 18 years or older.
Check your copy thoroughly. Profanities are not allowed, poor grammar and spelling fall under ‘prohibited content’ and will be rejected.
Look at your design; images and videos should have less than 20% text, ads with too much text will not be delivered to your audience. There is a Facebook tool to check whether an image with text will pass the approval process. This is only for images, not video. Facebook prefers images and videos without text, so you can save yourself some time by not adding text.
My ad was not approved, what can I do?
If you consistently have problems with Facebook approving your ads, your industry may be part of the problem. Some industries are more difficult to advertise on Facebook than others. If you think this might be the case, it’s worth reviewing your advert while looking at the policies carefully.
For example, a dentist may find it harder for their ad on cosmetic surgery to be approved than a flooring company advertising their new carpet. It is not impossible for a dentist to advertise their products or services on Facebook; but because a dentist’s product or service focuses on a person’s cosmetic appearance they must be particularly careful not to violate Facebook’s ad policies.
It can be worthwhile creating multiple ad sets, slightly adjusting one variable in each – this could be the image or video, the ad copy, the landing page or lead form itself. It could be as simple as one word that implies something about your audience.
Don’t change too much in any one advert or you won’t be able to identify the actual problem. If you really can’t see anything wrong with your advert it might be time to submit an appeal.
My ad was approved and has now been rejected, why?
It’s possible that your advert was accepted by Facebook’s algorithm, but then the team have reviewed your advert and identified a rule violation.
It’s also possible that multiple Facebook users reported your ad, leading to a human review of your advert and identifying your ad as breaking their advertising guidelines.
Appealing a Facebook ad disapproval
This is a simple but not always successful process. If your ad was disapproved within a few hours it’s likely the algorithm rejected your ad. Appealing the rejection will make sure it gets in front of a human and then the chances of your ad being approved after appeal are much higher than if your ad was previously rejected by a human in the original disapproval.
When appealing an ad, it’s important to be factual and base your comments on the evidence, not opinions.
“Can you help direct me to a specific policy violation or approve this ad. Although the ad mentions _____, it does not violate guideline ___ because it was written specifically to avoid ____.”
Facebook rules around advertising can seem overwhelming. With time and practice at crafting ads, and learning from your mistakes you will soon become familiar with the areas that are more tricky and will learn the art of getting your ads approved.
Would you like help with Facebook ads, social media, lead generation or any aspect of your digital marketing strategy? We love to chat, so please get in touch with us to find out we can help grow your business online.
📲 Alan 07968 185544