Most online advertising platforms don’t review every ad that marketers submit. But that’s not the case with Facebook. There are more than 2 billion users on the social media giant, so it’s no wonder that digital marketers want to make Facebook advertising work for their business. But disapproved ads are a failure to launch.
Facebook disapproves a lot of ads, and it’s not an uncommon experience among digital marketers, although it’s still a disappointing and frustrating experience. On top of that, it takes Facebook about 24 hours to review each ad. When your Facebook ads are disapproved, it can derail your marketing plans and even delay important advertising milestones for your business. Knowing the Facebook approval process in-and-out is the best way to prevent ad disapprovals or quickly fix them if they do occur. To get your ad approved on Facebook, here’s what you need to know.
What is the Facebook ad approval process?
The truth is, Facebook favours its users over advertisers. The purpose of Facebook when it was created more than a decade ago was to bring people together on social media, not to advertise to people. Facebook has strict community standards and puts its user experiences as one of their top priorities. If Facebook didn’t make the user experience a top priority, it’s unlikely that it would have grown to such an extent as it has. And Facebook’s advertising platform and the benefits it can bring to businesses might not have ever existed.
If you want to market your products on services on Facebook effectively, you’ll need to keep the social media giant’s priorities in mind when it comes to ad approval. Every ad, even those from fledgeling entrepreneurs, to the biggest brands in the world, must go through the same ads approval process. Because 3 million businesses are advertising on Facebook, the platform can’t allow for manual audits and approval of ads. Instead, a combination of algorithms and manual human support runs the Facebook ad approval process.
Facebook’s ad approval process is proprietary, but digital marketers believe that algorithms and computer programs scan the ad first for rejection or approval. Once a business submits an ad for approval, the program will crawl the ad copy and ad images within two to three hours. The crawl checks for the basic requirements such as 20 text percentage rule, and if the ad is using disapproved language in the ad copy. Prohibited ad content and images are also scanned for. Unfortunately, the machine-generated crawl is imperfect and many prohibited things can pass through the process and get approved. Also, many marketers have found that their ads that otherwise meet the requirements get mistakenly disapproved. It’s nothing personal and happens frequently. Below are the top reasons for ad rejection and what you can do about it.
1. The ad doesn’t comply with the 20% text rule.
Remember that Facebook makes the user experience a top priority. Users typically don’t like to see a “wall of text,” and the same preferences apply to ads. Facebook ads are required to meet the platforms 20% text rule, which states that text on ad photos can’t take up more than 20% of the image. More or less, rejection here is automatic, and the crawl uses a grid-like tool to determine if an ad meets the requirements. Sometimes, the crawl will count half-words and even half-letters as text. Even with just one out-of-place word Facebook will reject the ad automatically. So, the positioning of the text on the image is super important.
Facebook allows marketers to use a simulated version of the grid tool to check for text-to-image percentage. If you check six or more boxes with text in them, the ad is exceeding the 20% text rule. You’ll have to edit the image and reposition the text so that the ad copy is within five or fewer boxes on the grid, then resubmit the ad for review.
2. There are issues with the landing page.
When you create ads for Facebook, make sure that the landing pages for the ads are working and are relevant to the ad copy. You have to have a URL for a landing page, and Facebook won’t let you create the ad first. During the ad approval process, Facebook checks the destination of any URL links in your ad before approving the ad. Facebook also checks to ensure that the landing page is aligned with the messaging in the ad. Landing pages that don’t exist or have little or nothing in common with the ad copy will get rejected.
3. The ad is sexually suggestive or depicts violence.
Facebook has strict rules against using sexual and violent imagery and language in their ads. This can make advertising on Facebook for a dating service, or a lingerie or swimsuit business especially tricky. Even ads that depict adults in skimpy clothing can get rejected, and the platform has a few guidelines for these types of companies so they can get their ads approved. Also, using these types of images to sell a product or service that is not related to things like swimsuits, exercise equipment, or lingerie can get the ad rejected. Images and ad copy must all align with what the ad is ultimately trying to sell to meet approval.
4. The ad is promoting content prohibited on Facebook.
Unlike many of the other digital marketing platforms available, Facebook has a lot of rules regarding what is and isn’t allowed in Facebook ads. If your ad is promoting prohibited content, the ad won’t meet approval. What is considered prohibited content on Facebook?
- Advertisers can’t promote products, services, or activities that are illegal, such as illicit drugs or explosives.
- Tobacco products, adults services, and products, and weapons are prohibited from being advertised on Facebook.
- No sexual or violent imagery or ad copy is allowed.
- Using disturbing or shocking images is not allowed, like car or airplane crashes.
- Using before-and-after comparison images is prohibited on Facebook.
- Facebook requires express permission before advertisers promote a dating service on the platform.
- Promoting skill games or gambling requires permission from Facebook pending review for the ads.
- It’s not allowed for marketers to promote a state lottery unless they are an official representative of the state lottery.
- Pharmacies are prohibited from advertising on Facebook.
- Subscription services that promote automatic renewals, free trials that roll over, or negative opt-ins are prohibited from creating a Facebook ad.
Ads can also get rejected if they include personal attributes in the ad copy that are prohibited, either expressly or for what the ad is promoting. Personal attributes include things like a person’s medical status, religious beliefs, race, or age. For example, Facebook prohibits ads from targeting people below a certain age for some products and services.
What is the Facebook ad appeals process?
Facebook’s pending review process for ads isn’t perfect, and sometimes the machine-crawl will make mistakes and disapprove an otherwise perfectly good ad. In this case, Facebook advertisers can appeal the ad without editing any of the creative. There are many reasons why a business will want to appeal an ad. If you’ve edited the ad and it keeps getting rejected, or the ad meets all the Facebook requirements, you can get a human to review the ad and ultimately approve it.
The process for appealing an ad is pretty straightforward. Advertisers must fill out an appeal form and input information about the rejected ad. Appeals, however, are meant as a last resort, or for instances where you got an automatic rejection that you reasonably believe was in error. It usually takes about 24 hours for the appeals process to go through.
Advertising on Facebook presents a huge, invaluable opportunity for many marketers and businesses of all shapes and sizes. But when you spend a lot of time and effort on creating your Facebook ads, only to have them rejected for a reason you can’t explain, it’s frustrating. Here at Australian Internet Advertising, we’ve been creating and launching optimised Facebook ad campaigns for years. If your ads have been disapproved, contact us today to get your campaign rebooted and generating revenue for your business.