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Facebook Ads Rejected? Check If You’re Making These Mistakes.

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You’ve created the perfect campaign. The creatives are great, the audiences are just right, and you’ve set up the budget correctly. 

All’s well until you submit your ad for review — when Meta rejects it!

GIF of Dwight from the tv series 'The Office' breaking his office furniture

At this point, you’re not sure what you did wrong. Or whether your campaign will even go live in time to advertise your promotions.

Happens to the best of us. 

Before we discuss what you can do if your ads get rejected, let’s quickly take a quick look at what happens when you submit an ad for review.

How does Meta’s Ad Review Process Work?

Typically, the review process is automated. Facebook’s automated review system will check your ad against Meta’s Advertising Policies. It also looks at the text, images or video in your ad, your audience targeting, and the landing pages to which your ad is sending traffic. 

If Facebook finds these satisfactory, its system will schedule your ad for delivery on the date you’ve chosen. If not, your ad will be rejected. 

At times, the automated system can’t decide based on Facebook’s defined criteria, in which case your ad is sent for a manual review. Here, a member from Facebook's team follows all the steps detailed above to approve or reject your ad. 

Sometimes your ad may not be rejected, but approval time may vary. You may notice that while typically your campaigns get approved within hours, at times they are taking days. 

Here are some factors that may affect approval time for your ads on Meta: 

  1. Time of the year: When Meta is dealing with large volumes of ads (think Black Friday or other popular times for online sales), approval times may go up. If you’re planning promotions around popular sale days, it is a good idea to start ads in advance.
    TIP: Use Socioh’s Smart Switch feature to automatically schedule edits to your catalog creatives in live campaigns — all without losing your learnings. Did someone say GAME CHANGER?
  2. Manual review: If your ad does not go through the automated review, it may be sent for manual review. In this case, your ad may take over 24 hours to get approved. You can typically contact Facebook support to help you in this case. TIP: Have a Meta rep? One of the most useful things they can do for you is to ensure you have access to the correct Meta support links. 
  1. Account history: If your account has a history of rejections, you may notice increased approval times. Try to follow Facebook’s advertising policies and guidelines to ensure this does not happen. 

So far so good. But how do you ensure that your ads do not get rejected? And what should you do if they do? 

Let’s take a look at some of the frequent mistakes advertisers make that can get their Facebook ads rejected. 

By and large, Meta places certain restrictions on ads that can fall into two categories, Prohibited Content, and Restricted Content. Let’s take a look at what these are:

Prohibited Content on Meta 

This is content that is never allowed to be advertised on the platform. It includes:

  • Ads that violate Meta’s Community Standards
  • Illegal products or services
  • Discriminatory practices (ads that encourage discrimination against race, ethnicity, origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Tobacco and related products (this includes E-cigarettes and vaporizers)
  • Unsafe substances (illicit or recreational drugs, regardless of state or country legality)
  • Weapons, ammunition, or explosives
  • Adult content 
  • Third-party infringement 
  • Sensational content
  • Some financial services and products
  • Multi-level marketing

...and the list goes on, with new entries such as “Vaccine discouragement” added in keeping with Meta’s constantly updating guidelines. You can find the complete list here

All in all, if your ad seems scammy or is advertising one of the products above, you won't be able to run it on Facebook. There's nothing you can do to solve this one. 

However, there are a number of products that could fall under the ‘restricted’ category. While Meta discourages advertisers from using restricted content, you may be able to apply for permission to advertise products that fall into this category.

Restricted Content on Meta:

Restricted content on Meta includes the following: 

  • Alcohol
  • Dating
  • Online gambling and gaming
  • Promotion of online pharmacies
  • Promotion of over-the-counter drugs
  • Subscription services
  • Financial and insurance products or services
  • Branded content (if you’re a licensed reseller or franchise, learn more about promoting branded content here)
  • Ads about social issues, elections, or politics
  • Disclaimers for ads about social issues, elections, or politics
  • Cryptocurrency products and services 
  • Drug and alcohol addiction treatment 
  • Cosmetic procedures and wellness
  • Social casino games
  • Promotion of prescription drugs

It’s a good idea to check Meta’s own documentation from time to time for any updates to these lists. You can do it here.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Setting Up Ads on Meta

While Meta’s Advertising Policies are very clear, it may be easy to miss some of the less obvious reasons for which your ads may get rejected. 

  1. Non-existent functionality policy: Listed under Prohibited content, this policy is nonetheless a tricky one. What does it mean? Simply that your ad cannot look like it does one thing but either not do it, or do something else. For example, if you have a static image with a play button over it, your ad will confuse shoppers and Meta will ban it. Same for a static image that purports to be a poll, and so on.
  2. Personal attributes: Any ads that target a person's race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, physical or mental health, financial status, etc. can be rejected by Meta. For example, you cannot have an ad that uses copy to target 62-year-olds, Buddhists, amputees, etc.
  3. Personal health: Another common reason for ads being banned, this one covers any ad that is seen as generating “negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products”. Before-after ads often fall in this category.
  4. Low quality or disruptive content: A vague or blanked category, this check ensures that content that leads to unexpected landing pages or uses sensationalized headings, etc. cannot be promoted. TIP: Check not only your ad content but also your landing pages for grammar, coherence, and formatting. For example, if your landing page contains listings in all caps, your ad may get rejected. 

What To Do If Your Ad Was Rejected? 

If your ad is rejected, first try to identify why your ad was rejected. Usually, Facebook will give you a reason as to why your ad was rejected, which may show if you click on the rejected icon or when you ‘edit’ your ad. 

However, this reason may be too general to help you — if not wrong. If the reason is specific and wrong, you can quickly dispute that. For example, Facebook may say that your ad has something to do with alcohol (restricted content), and if that’s completely wrong, you can immediately dispute that.

In other cases, the reason Meta provides may be too vague — such as violating its advertising policies. In this case, your best bet is to review the policies to ensure you comply with them, and:

  1. Create a new ad or edit your ad: You may create a new ad or revise your ad. These ads will be treated as new ads and reviewed by our Meta’s review system. TIP: Sometimes, the exact same ad may be approved if you set it up from scratch again. We don’t claim to know everything, but we know it works! 🤷‍♀️

OR

  1. Request another review: If you believe that the ad was incorrectly rejected, you can request a review of the decision in Account Quality. You can review the status of your request by going to your support inbox at Meta support

If your ads are getting rejected frequently, go through Meta’s Advertising policies in detail or get in touch with their support. 

TIP: If you have some items that regularly get rejected, make sure you remove them from your catalog ads and keep your catalogs synced. 

Repeated ad rejections can cause something worse: Meta may ban your ad account. While you can typically appeal a ban, a rejected appeal can mean having to set up a new ad account or even start with a new Business Manager (and Facebook Pixel!) — which is surely every advertiser’s worst nightmare!

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