Over 2.9 billion users log into their Facebook accounts at least once a month—and 2 billion users log in daily. It should come as no surprise that 87% of digital marketers use Facebook ads to connect with customers.
But before you jump on the bandwagon, it’s important to understand Facebook's Advertising Standards. These rules dictate what type of ads you can and cannot create, as well as how your ads need to be structured in order for them to be approved.
So, without further ado, let's dive into this Foreplay guide to Facebook's ad policies.
What Are Facebook Ads?
Facebook ads are a type of online advertisement that you can use to promote your business, product, or service on—you guessed it—Facebook. Facebook ads are managed using a Facebook ad account that can be linked to any Facebook business page.
The process isn't too difficult:
- Create a Facebook Business Page
- Create an Ads Manager ad account
- Design and write your ads
- Set your target audience demographics (e.g., age, location, etc.)
- Set your objective (e.g., brand awareness, traffic, etc.)
- Set a budget for your ad campaign
- Run your ads and track the performance
Facebook will automatically review your ads to ensure they follow their Advertising Standards. If your ad is approved, it will start running—but as we’ll see, the ad review process isn't always straightforward.
Related: How to Run Facebook Ads for an Ecommerce Businesses
Benefits of Facebook Ads
Get Cheap Clicks and Conversions
Facebook ads are one of the most cost-effective digital marketing options out there to advertise everything from heath related products, technology, subscription services, mobile apps and more. You can get clicks for as low as $0.01 per click, as well as high conversion rates when your ad is targeted to the right audience, but more importantly when you ad contains amazing creative (video or image).
Want to create ads that perform better and cheaper?
With Foreplay’s Swipe Builder, you can save top-performing ads and landing page from your competitors to discover new industry leading advertisers in your niche. Then, use the Ad Brief Generator to create 2x better ad briefs in half the time.
Reach a Wide Audience Quickly and Easily
Considering most of the work is on Facebook or another Meta product, Facebook’s ad network can help you reach a wide audience of any demographic quickly and easily. With Facebook's vast network, you'll be able to target your perfect customer—no matter where they live.
Plus, you're not just limited to Facebook (even though that's the focus of this article). Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger—these are all powerful platforms that you can reach with Facebook ads.
Gain Valuable Insights Into Your Audience
Once you start running your ads, Ads Manager will give you detailed information about your audience and how they interact with your ad. This valuable data from your ad accounts can help you refine your strategies and optimize for future campaigns.
Why Should You Bother Learning About Facebook Ads Policies?
Avoid Your Ads Getting Rejected
Facebook takes the safety and security of their users seriously which is why understanding Facebook advertising policies is chapter in any marketer’s journey. If your ad doesn't follow these rules, it won't be approved—pretty simple!
Make Sure Your Ad Complies
As we just mentioned, if you don't follow Facebook's Advertising Standards, your ad could be rejected.
But that isn't even the worst case scenario. Your ad account or even you ad an individual could also be restricted from running ads on Facebook, either temporarily or permanently. This is a fairly rare occurrence, but it definitely happens—so it's best to stay on the safe side and stick within the rules to ensure you can continue to run ads.
Run Successful Ads
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. If you understand the Facebook's policies and how they impact your ads, then you can create campaigns that will be more successful and get better results.
Understanding Facebook's Advertising Standards
Like we said earlier, Facebook has a strict set of rules for what can and cannot be advertised. The sixteen-chapter document covers a lot of ground—from political and religious content to prohibited business practices.
Other areas that face scruitenty by the facebook advertising policies are real online money gambling, health related products, online dating services and more.
Before we dive in, here's a quick breakdown of how the policies (and this guide) are structured:
- Product & Format-Specific Policies: These policies deal with topics and content that relates to certain ad formats (e.g., videos, lead ads, etc.).
- Prohibited Content Policies: These policies deal with topics and content that is never allowed in Facebook ads.
- Restricted Content Policies: These policies deal with topics and content that is allowed in Facebook ads if certain conditions are met.
If you want your ads to be approved on Facebook, you need to keep all the policies in each category in mind when creating them. Don't worry, though—as you'll soon see, a lot of them are common sense!
30+ Facebook Ads Policies You Need to Know
If you want to avoid the dreaded “ads rejected” notification, your ads must comply with the following facebook ad policies to avoid them being flaged by the automatic ad review process. Please keep in mind that your landing page can be subject to it’s own review process.
1. Facebook Product & Format-Specific Ad Policies
Everything about your ad—including the content and the creative—needs to be relevant and accurate to the business, product, or service you're advertising. While it might seem like this policy limits your creativity, you can still create incredibly unique and compelling Facebook ads with the right advertising philosophy and digital marketing knowledge.
Don’t believe us?
Give our Ad Discovery tool a try and browse through a library of 200,000+ Facebook ads saved by other Foreplay users, think of it as a free ad exchange. Believe it or not it is the largest curated ad library in the world! Filter by brand, niche, format, keyword—it’s up to you!
The facebook page from over 30,000 brands has along with their active ads have been loading into foreplay. You’ll see just how many creative ways there are to stand out while respecting Facebook’s ad policies.
Although facebook limited some of your targeting capabilities, it is important to understand targeting using your ad creative, which will enable the algorithm to target based on view time, clickthrough rate and more of a specific demographic. This is definitely some digital marketing magic but understanding these methods can be crucial to staying within advertising policies.
This one's pretty simple—you can't use Facebook's ad targeting features and tools to discriminate against people in any way. This includes areas like gender identity, marrial status, or other targeting options.
Non-Functional Landing Pages
Any ad that links to a landing page that doesn't function properly isn't allowed on Facebook. That means any page you link to should be functional, secure, and represent what was advertised.
The user also needs to be able to navigate back to Facebook easily, so no annoying intersitials or pop-ups!
Video ads need to comply with all the advertising policies we listed out above. There are also a few video-specific restrictions you'll need to follow, in hopes of eliminatingd deceptive promotional practices.
Disruptive content is a vague way of saying your video can't be super noisy or distracting. The specifics of what that means are up to Meta, but currently, it means no:
- Autoplay sound
- Fast-paced flashing or strobing animation
- Ads that are hard to skip
Trailers for films, TV shows, and games are allowed if you have Meta's written permission. But that doesn't mean you can show anything. Excessive portrayals of the following are restricted:
- Drugs and alcohol use
- Adult content
- Violence and gore
- Explicit or Suggestive Positions
- Adult Content Ads
Such ads are one of the most strict for the facebook ad review process to catch. On a more nuanced note, any video ads that may generate negative self perception for the targeted audience may also violate facebook’s advertising policies however this is not as black and white.
Lead ads are a special type of ad that lets users fill out a form with their contact information before they're taken to the landing page. Because of this, they have special requirements about what you can ask.
The following areas are off limits:
- Account numbers
- Criminal history
- Financial information
- Governmental issued identifiers
- Health information
- Insurance information
- Political affiliation
- Race or ethnicity
- Sexual orientation
- Trade union membership
- Usernames or passwords
- Social Casino Games
- Politically Exploitative Content
- Bingo or Sports Books
- Promote Online Dating Services
Ads promoting branded content need to be tagged with the “Branded Content” label. Any content you create for a third party that uses your brand in it needs to be labeled as “Paid Partnership with” followed by the third party's name to have compliant brand usage.
2. Facebook Prohibited Content Ad Policies
- Illegal Products & Services: Your ads can't feature illegal products and services, like drugs, counterfeit goods, and unregulated supplements.
- Misinformation: If something has been debunked or fact-checked by one of Meta's content moderation teams, it's a no-go.
- Vaccine Discouragement: Vaccine related content can’t be posted unless it is medically accurate information.
- Discriminatory Practices: Your ads can't discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against protected classes of people.
- Militarized Social Movements & Violence-Inducing Conspiracy Networks: This one's a mouthful—but it essentially means that your ads can't support any organizations or individuals who are advocating for harmful activities or the use of violence.
- Unacceptable Business Practices: Your ads can't promote businesses that engage in deceptive or unethical practices, like multi-level marketing.
- Cheating & Deceitful Practices: Your ads can't promote cheating or other deceptive practices, like essay writing services or fake reviews.
- Unrealistic Outcomes: You can't imply that your product or service can lead to unrealistic outcomes like overnight wealth or weight loss.
- Circumventing Systems: You can't use your ads to manipulate or game any of Facebook's systems.
- Prohibited Financial Products & Services: Certain financial products and services (e.g., payday loans, bail bonds, and initial coin offerings) aren’t allowed on Facebook.
- Spyware & Malware: This one should be obvious—don't give people viruses!
- Non-Existent Functionality: You can't imply that your product or service has capabilities it doesn't actually have.
- Unsafe Substances: Your ads can't feature the sale of unsafe substances or products, including weapons, ammunition, explosives, drugs, tobacco, nicotine, and unregulated supplements.
- Adult Content: No nudity is allowed on Facebook, period.
- Grammar & Profanity: Your ads should be free of typos, grammatical errors, and profanity. Also, symbols can't be used in non-standard ways (e.g., using “3” instead of “E”).
- Low-Quality & Disruptive Content: Basically, your ads can't detract from the experience of using Facebook. That means no excessively cropped images, clickbait headlines, and spammy landing pages.
- Personal Attributes: This can be a tricky one to understand. The main idea is that your ad can't assert or imply that you (the advertiser) are aware of someone's personal attributes—like gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, financial situation, etc. A simple example would be the headline, “Are you bankrupt? We can help”. It’s all about the wording, whether you actually are aware is irrelevant.
- Commercial Exploitation of Crises & Controversial Events: Your ads can't exploit a natural disaster, political or religious crisis, or other controversial event for commercial gain.
- Personal Health & Appearance: Your ads can't offer products or services that promise to improve personal health or appearance (e.g., weight loss, cosmetic surgery, etc.).
- Sale of Body Parts: This one is pretty self-explanatory.
3. Facebook Restricted Content Ad Policies
- Alcohol: Ads promoting and featuring alcohol are allowed, but you have to be careful about targeting. For example, they can't be shown to anyone under the age of 18 (at a minimum) with other requirements depending on local laws.
- Dating: You'll need to get written permission from Meta to run dating ads by filling in the form here. Once you have it, you'll need to make sure your ads don't emphasize sexual encounters, financial transactions, or non-monogamous connections.
- Cosmetic Procedures & Wellness: Ads marketing weight loss, cosmetic surgery, or dietary supplements are only allowed if they're targeted at users over the age of 18.
- Online Pharmacies: Running ads for an online pharmacy is a two-step process. First, you need to apply for certification from LegitScript here. Next, you need to ask Meta for permission by filling in the form here.
- Prescription Drugs: Only approved companies are allowed to run ads for prescription drugs. You can apply here.
- Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment: Ads for addiction treatment programs are allowed, but must be targeted to users over the age of 18.
- Gambling & Games: Ads for gambling services and games of chance (like lotteries) are only allowed in certain countries.
Create High-Performing Ads with Foreplay
Complying with Facebook's ad policies is only half the battle—unlocking positive performance from your ads means that you still need to create ad creative that captures the attention of your targeted audience and communicates your desired call-to-action.
Foreplay's winning ad creation workflow is the perfect solution for both Brands with internal marketing teams or advertising agencies.
Using our Chrome Extension will enable Swipe File Builder to save the best performing active ads directly from from Facebook Ad Library to mood boards in your Foreplay account. The best part is that when you save ads using our chrome extension, we also save ad copy, a version of the landing page, call-to-action type and other impactful metadata.
Once you have curated your ad inspiration, transform that into a actionable brief for UGC creators, video editors or graphic designers using our Brief Generator.
Ready to make better ads faster? Get started with Foreplay today.