February 6, 2017
Nothing else can make your heart fill with dread and disappointment when receiving an email from Facebook saying your ad, which you whipped to perfection, was rejected. Nothing else can make you feel frustrated and confused.
If your ad was rejected, it was likely because you violated Facebook’s extensive ad policy. Some of the rules are obvious ones, like the prohibition of targeting alcohol ads to minors, while some are obscure, like the prohibition of having too much text in your ads.
Here are seven common reasons why Facebook rejected your ad.
1. Your Ad’s Image Has Too Much Text
Facebook has many prohibitions when it comes to your ad’s image, including the prohibition of violence and nudity. Although that prohibition may be obvious to you, what may not be obvious is the prohibition of too much text. Facebook’s ad policy states:
“Ads may not include images made up of more than 20% text, including logos and slogans.”
Facebook doesn’t explain why it prohibits images with too much text, but one can speculate on two reasons:
- Aesthetics: Because images attract the most attention, your ad’s image must be high quality and aesthetically pleasing. Images with too much text look cluttered and, therefore, not aesthetically pleasing.
- Bad performance: Perhaps Facebook has previously allowed text to clutter images, but ads with such images never performed well. To encourage the best results, Facebook banned images with too much text altogether.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule. According to Ad Espresso, a digital advertising agency, the following does not count against you:
- Book and album covers
- Product images (when the entire product can be seen)
- Posters for movies, music festivals, sporting events, and comedy shows
- Legal Text
- App screenshots
- Cartoon and comic strips
- Text-based business calligraphy
Whether or not you agree with this rule, it’s best to comply to deliver your ads.
2. Your Ad Mentions Facebook
If you create an ad that mentions Facebook (writing the word “Facebook” or “#Facebook” on any of your ad copies), your ad will likely be rejected. Facebook does this for several reasons:
- It doesn’t want any companies claiming partnership with its brand.
- It doesn’t want anyone asserting rights over the brand.
- It doesn’t want anyone associating the brand with pornography, illegal activities, among others that violate its policies.
To avoid this predicament, don’t write the word “Facebook” on any of your copies. Rather, refer to Facebook with alternative names such as “social media giant” or “social network.”
3. Your Ad Shows Before and After Photos
If your ad contains a before-and-after image, then you’ve violated one of Facebook’s ad policies. It states:
“Ads may not contain ‘before and after’ images or images of unexpected or unlikely results.”
Facebook prohibits before-and-after photos probably because those photos may inadvertently cause you to false advertise. If you promised surprising or difficult-to-obtain results such as extreme and rapid weight loss, your customers can take legal action should the product or service not deliver its promise.
4. Your Ad Emulates Facebook’s Features
If you mimic one Facebook feature, whether in the copy or on the image, your ad will be rejected. The policy states:
“Ads may not emulate Facebook’s site features or functionality by using language that contains false, misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive claims. This includes, but is not limited to, emulating Facebook Messages, Friend Requests, Wall Posts, etc.”
Examples of emulating Facebook features include claiming in your copy that someone sent you a Facebook message or using a photo that contains Facebook’s notification button. The sample ad below shows what this prohibited ad looks like.
If you don’t want Facebook to reject your ad, don’t emulate its features.
5. Your Ad’s Image Portrays Nonexistent Functionality
According to Facebook’s policy, your ads cannot contain nonexistent functionalities. It states:
“Images may not portray nonexistent functionality, including but not limited to play buttons that suggest video capability and close buttons that do not close.”
Here are examples of ads with nonexistent functionality:
While the left image does portray a button that you can’t click, the button still accurately describes the ad. Once you click the ad, you will be directed to a page that gives more details about the product. The left image, on the other hand, portrays a fake button that suggests video functionality. When clicked, the image won’t play like a video would.
6. Your Images Are Overly Sexual
When you read Facebook’s policy against overly sexual images, the policy seems straightforward:
“Images may not be overly sexual, imply nudity, show excessive amounts of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on body parts.”
However, lingerie brands have had problems with ads that some may argue are not sexual. These brands tried delivering ads that contain a woman wearing lingerie, drawings of a woman wearing lingerie, and an image of a bra—all ads were rejected.
If you’re a lingerie brand, choose your ad images carefully. If you’re not a lingerie brand but you plan to show images of excess skin, make sure the images don’t focus on specific body parts (like abs, cleavage, etc.) and don’t portray or imply sexual conduct.
7. Your Alcohol Ad Illegally Targets Minors
When you advertise alcoholic beverages, make sure your ad targets individuals who are 21 years of age or older in the U.S. If you sell alcohol to other countries, keep in mind that the legal drinking age varies by country. Here are the legal drinking ages for different countries:
- India and Sweden: 25+
- Cameroon, Micronesia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the US: 21+
- Japan, Iceland, Thailand, and Paraguay: 20+
- Canada, Korea, and Nicaragua: 19+
- Other countries not mentioned above: 18+
Ads for the following countries are prohibited regardless of age because alcohol ads are banned in these countries.
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
If you want to advertise alcohol to different countries with different legal drinking ages, create separate ads for separate countries. For example, create one ad for Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and the US, and create a separate ad for Canada, Korea, and Nicaragua.
There are many other ways you can unwittingly break Facebook’s ad policy, but the list above are the ones commonly broken. If you want to learn more about Facebook’s ad policies that aren’t mentioned here, visit Facebook’s policy page.
Have your ads been rejected because of one or several of the reasons listed above? Leave your comments below or share this story to friends.