Getting your Facebook ads right and creating effective campaigns takes careful planning, copywriting, design work and targeting. However, after submitting your lovingly-crafted ads for review, you may find they don't get approved. And even after your ads get the green light, they can still get disapproved and paused at a later date.
In this blog, we outline the main reasons why Facebook ads get disapproved and offer our tips and recommendations for what you can do about it:
Factors that can impact ad approval time
Facebook's ad review and approval times vary, from a matter of minutes to as long as a day. Your ads go into queue, after which Facebook operatives review your pending ads to approve or reject them.
Here are some of the main factors that can influence your Facebook ad approval time:
- Facebook ad history – if you've been running Facebook ads for a while and haven't had your ads rejected very often, this will work in your favour
- Facebook ad spend – as cynical as it sounds, the more you spend the faster your ads are likely to get reviewed
- Keywords – certain keywords included within your ad copy can trigger more controls or red flags, such as anything related to sensitive subjects
- Image review – Facebook has facial recognition and similar technologies for recognising certain patterns, which if detected as suspect will slow down approval
- Domain analysis – Don't assume Facebook are only looking at your ad images and copy, as your links and landing pages come into consideration too, including how trusted the domains you're linking to are
Content and context
You can't control exactly how your ads will be perceived by different people and (Facebook ad reviewers), which is why context is important.
You can try to republish an ad which you don't feel warrants a rejection, but if you get multiple rejections it can impact your reputation. We've listed the type of subject matter and content that may cause your ads to be rejected and disapproved:
- Ads featuring anything drug-related (including tobacco and pharmaceuticals)
- Weapons and ammunition
- Violence and nudity
- Potentially unsafe dietary supplements and recommendations
- Manipulative or exaggerated product/service promises
- Malware, spyware and suspect surveillance equipment
- Grossly-enhanced money lending, payday loans, etc
- Multi-level marketing businesses
- Discrimation of any kind
There are obvious grey areas within many of these areas. So anything referencing, say alcohol or violence, doesn't mean an instant rejection or hold-up. It depends on context. For example, you can promote beer and other alcoholic drinks (especially if you are a retailer), so long as you're not glorifying the misuse of these products.
The same goes some anything related to discrimination or other sensitive subjects. If your ads relate to clamping down on discrimination or supporting those in need, you're more likely to get approved. You may just have to wait longer than usual in the reviewing stage.
Facebook does have an appeals process for ads that you can go through, see below:
However, it's best to initially review your ad and take it through the filter of reasons why it may have been rejected and look to amend it accordingly.
Facebook's ad disapproval reasons list was recently leaked – see image below:
We've summarised the key reasons and subject matter that have been flagged for potential disapproval in our dedicated blog: Facebook's Ad Disapproval Criteria Revealed.
Tricks and manipulation
As we mentioned earlier, the destination of the links featured in your ads should be relevant and consistent. If you're a retailer, say, the discounts and offers your ads promote should be reflected on your landing pages, otherwise this is misleading to users.
Also, although there are various persuasion tactics you can use to encourage viewers to click on your ads, they should be above board and consistent with what users are clicking through to. So, product images should be reflect the reality and be consistent with the products featured on landing pages.
Don't aim to mislead or manipulate, otherwise Facebook will disapprove your ads. Don't claim something that your content, products and services can't fulfil.
Errors and typos
Make sure your ad links are correct and don't direct people to non-existent pages and 404s. Plus, proof your ad copy thoroughly. Try to keep your copywriting clear, concise and compelling. But most importantly, accurate.
In the same way that errors and typos in website content can get you penalised by search engines, Facebook looks unfavorably on poor grammar and copy errors. So, edit your ads effectively and be careful about using too much slang or special characters.
Facebook wants the ads promoted on its social network to be visually engaging but not dictated by brash messaging, large text or even too much text. Essentially, so ads don't just look like ads.
There's been a lot of debate over Facebook's 20% text rule. This was an official part of Facebook's paid social ad guidelines, before recently being relaxed. However, although an ad may not be rejected outright for containing more than 20% text in the accompanying image, it may get subsequently disapproved. We recommend still looking to create ads with these image and text proportions in mind.
Facebook's Text Overlay Tool enables you to see whether your image may have restricted reach or even get disapproved, due to the text-to-image proportion of text on your image.
See the Image Text warning ratings from the tool below:
You may choose to use video rather images for your Facebook ads. Not only is video the most engaging format for paid social ads, videos tend to be more permissive and are less likely to be disapproved for text overlay.
Facebook ads can be rejected due to campaign targeting too. Be careful that your targeting matches the content of your ads and products. Using an alcohol example again, there are different age restrictions for alcohol consumption in different countries, so be such that your campaigns targeting specific locations are appropriate and target the right age range.
Use the same targeting considerations if your ads relate to "adult" products and services, such as gambling, dating or other subjects that may need to consider age restrictions.
Now, split testing should be an important role in your paid social ad strategy anyway, but testing Facebook ads will certainly help you with the approval process.
Creating several versions of the same ad provides you with backups if any of your ads get rejected or get caught up in a long review period, whilst multiple ad versions will help you establish which ads and tactics achieve the most engagement – and which cause issues with Facebook's restrictions.
Split testing your paid social ads is a no-brainer for social media marketers.
Check out our dedicated blog for optimising Facebook ads: 5 Essential Tips for Optimising Facebook Ad Campaigns.
Quick-win tips for getting ads reapproved
There are some quick wins that you can use to help prevent your Facebook ads from getting rejected and to get initially rejected ads reapproved. Here are a few tips:
- Use tools, such as Facebook Grid Image Checker, to define your text-to-image ratio for your chosen images, before you set up your Facebook ad campaigns.
- Boosting your organic posts and articles on your Facebook business page can help you reach the right audience without having to create specific ad campaigns, especially of you're having issues with ad rejections
- Copy-editing tools, like Grammarly, ease the proofing process and the plugin will flag up any typos and grammar issues in your ad copy
These are just a few ways to ease the approval process for your Facebook ads.
We hope this blog has made you more aware of the different factors involved in Facebook ad campaign approval and the criteria that's taken into account when your ads are being reviewed.
Facebook has come under a lot of pressure in recent times, not only for data security and misuse but also for enabling users to display inappropriate content. So, social media marketers must work harder to ensure their paid social ads meet Facebook's requirements and guidelines.