My Facebook ad wasn’t approved. Now what?

3 min read

It’s an email every marketer hates receiving – your Facebook ad wasn’t approved. I’ve been there, and I know the questions that rush through your mind. Why did Facebook disapprove my ad? Can I contest the decision and get my campaign back on track? How long will it take?

If you aren’t familiar with their ad policy, Facebook’s disapproval explanations (and your next steps) could still leave lingering questions. If your Facebook ad wasn’t approved, here are the moves you should make to get back up and running.

What to do when Facebook Does Not Approve Your Ad

Step 1: Figure out what happened.

Seriously. Even if you’re okay with pulling the ad altogether, it is super important that you understand Facebook’s reasons for flagging your content.

Why? Simply, it will stop you from making the same mistake again. And that’s a big deal, because “making the same mistake again” can result in emails like this:

Oof. That’s not pretty. Facebook is pretty hardcore about enforcing their policy, so if you violate it one too many times, your entire ad account could be compromised. That means your ads manager won’t work for any of the pages you manage. While you can contest this decision, it’s better to steer clear of this altogether.

Common reasons Facebook may not approve your ad

Facebook’s advertising policies are serious business. Thanks to the nature of their business, most brands have little to worry about except the famous 20% text rule. However, other industries have a tough mountain to climb when it comes to compliance with Facebook’s ad policy. Here are a few common ones:

  • Health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, or weight loss clinics need to be super careful with wording. No claiming people are disabled or in distress. No before/after pictures. And be careful with that online pharmacy or supplements – prior written permission and age-appropriate targeting are a must.
  • Alcohol vendors will be shut down if they are target people who cannot legally drink with a booze-filled Facebook ad. Ditto with gambling.
  • Publishers need to be careful with branded content, politically charged posts, or images that could be construed as explicit. Tread carefully with that controversial story!

If your Facebook ad wasn’t approved and you want to understand the reasons, check out our simplified guide to Facebook’s advertising policy here.

Step 2: Fix the problem.

Okay, so you know what the issue was. Now you need to identify is which part(s) of the ad are against Facebook’s policy in order to revise them properly. That means you’ll need to take a look at these elements of your ad:

  • The image.. Is there too much text, explicit photos, or images that imply a partnership with Facebook?
  • The copy. Is your messaging misleading, does it make statements suggesting the reader is ailing, or is it overly controversial?
  • The landing page. Does the ad direct people to a page with explicit, fraudulent, or low-quality content?
  • The targeting. Are you targeting people too young to legally consume your product, or targeting people you know your ad will upset?

Make sure you consider all of these elements before submitting your ad to Facebook again.

I followed all the rules but my Facebook ad wasn’t approved

If you are unclear about why Facebook is rejecting your ad, just ask them! While they take the time to explain the violation in each case, the copy-and-paste description of the issue can sometimes seem wrong or unclear. Responding is always an option. It is definitely possible that your content was flagged incorrectly, but don’t email them with an accusation. Instead, mention that you are not sure what the issue is and are “wondering if an error may have been made.” 

If you’re in an industry or business where the policy is particularly tricky, you might want to get on the phone with a human who has experience with Facebook advertising to make sure your next ad is a-okay. Needls customers are always welcome to ask us questions if they have experienced any issues like this!

My Facebook advertising account was disabled for a “policy violation.” What now?

Here, too, it is best to investigate the reasons that your account was disabled before appealing to Facebook. If you are unaware of the reason it was disabled (when you’ve taken over a new account from a former employee, for example), an honest appeal is the best tactic. They will almost always reactivate your account unless the violations were egregious, though following their rules after a reactivation is a must.

The bottom line.

While Facebook doesn’t play around with its policy, it does what it can to encourage rule-abiding advertisers to join (or rejoin) its platform. Resolving the issue is almost always an option, provided you are willing to adjust your ads and communicate with them about any issues. That’s great news for advertisers – Facebook is #2 on my list of best ways to advertise a small business for a reason!

Shauna Vert

Shauna is a data-driven storyteller and content marketing guru. A longtime blogger turned digital strategist, she believes marketing greatness comes from creative ideas, real connections, and giving buzzwords the boot. She can usually be found hanging out at the family farm or tucked away in a local coffee shop, reading about the latest digital trends.

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