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Episode 16: Staying Compliant with the Facebook Advertising Guidelines

Staying on the right side of the Facebook advertising guidelines is an obvious, but important, part of running successful campaigns. Here's how to do it.

Episode Transcript — Staying Compliant with the Facebook Advertising Guidelines

00:01 Stewart Anderson: Welcome to this episode of the Spend 10K a Day podcast. I am Stewart Anderson. With me, Steve Weiss. We're talking about, probably not the most fun topic but an important one nonetheless. It's staying compliant with Facebook's policies. Making sure you don't get ads rejected, making sure you don't get one of those harsh sounding emails or notifications from Facebook that something is wrong with your ad account or one of your ads. Steve, obviously, there is a lot of obvious things out there that can get your ads nixed and potentially get you in a little bit of trouble. Having graphic sexual images in your ads, things of that nature. Let's talk about some of the more common problems that people might have that you might not think are issues.

00:49 Steve Weiss: It's really interesting. Facebook goes through spurts of things that they're really banning and up against. Right now, the big thing everyone is crying out for is fake news. Anything remotely close to copyright infringement right now on the ad level will not only get your ad disapproved, but if you try and resubmit that ad, you're gonna risk getting your account approved. Even if whatever you're writing is factually correct, Facebook has two forms of ways that they disapprove ads. They have the machine disapproval where they... Or three forms, should I say. They have automated disapproval of ads, where you automatically say a word and the system catches it and just disapproves it. Then they have, if someone on Facebook sees your ad and then they disapprove it, then they actually disapprove the ads based on community comments. Just the community in general, I think, commenting and saying that this is copyright infringement, etcetera, etcetera. So you really wanna stay on top of the images, the text, the stuff you promise. There's stuff that's automatically gonna get disapproved so number one, before and after shots. Those are always touchy 'cause they convert so well on Facebook.

02:05 SW: Before and after shots, you're not gonna get approved on Facebook. Anything with guns, even if it's sometimes a picture of a gun, they're very sensitive about anything violence related. They wanna keep the platform clean, which is totally understandable, but at the same time, as an advertiser, it's really important to understand their rules and guidelines. Then number three, anything sexual related, anything where you're showing stuff that you shouldn't be showing to the community. It's a community platform. I respect Facebook. They're really doing their best to keep the community clean, keep your newsfeed clean. And obviously, the aforementioned fake news, copyright infringement, that's the big one right now that everyone is just going crazy with because it's affecting all of us. If you log onto Facebook, you see a whole bunch of stuff. Is this real? Especially with all the political stuff going on with Donald Trump. So I would be very careful when I market content, news-type content right now.

03:14 SW: I would make sure that it's factually correct and just make sure that before you release it to Facebook on the ad level that it passes all your own due diligence. The question I get a lot is, "What if my ad gets rejected? What do I do?" Initially, in the past, I used to say, "All right, well, if there's obviously there's nothing wrong with it, just re-upload it again." But if you keep uploading the same ad that gets rejected, then they're gonna ban your account. There's just no going back. Unless your spending a significant amount of money, Facebook would just... They wanna keep the platform clean, they're doing their best. So I'd be very careful if an ad that you upload gets disapproved, go back and change it, be very thoughtful about it. Don't keep uploading the same ad because you're gonna risk hurting your business and getting your account disapproved.

04:10 SA: Yeah. It's kind of like a tough thing 'cause it's always fluid. Obviously, the fake news one being a really good example. As things come into the fore as potential issues in society or elsewhere, Facebook's policies can change. And especially when you look at some of the other policies, not necessarily content related but just features of ads related, the 20% text rule, that has even become fungible in the last six months or something like that. We always say, especially when it comes to things where it deals with sexuality, specific claims that you're making about a product that haven't been verified, you always wanna err on the side of caution. The benefit that you might get from an effective ad, is not as much as the downside that you're gonna face to get your ad account banned or something like that.

05:10 SW: Also, the Facebook ad policy changes from country to country.

05:14 SA: Very true.

05:15 SW: From day-to-day. They make changes to policy without telling us marketers, and it's just something we gotta accept as marketers that they're figuring it out just as much as we're figuring out how to police their platform. If you do have an ad that gets disapproved or you're fighting an account ban, don't get mad at them. They're trying to keep the platform clean. The people on Facebook are great people. Reach out to their support, they've been a lot better at responding to support related account issues. Or if you're working with an agency of some sorts or a group of people who are connected to Facebook, reach out to them. There's usually a way to... They're very open helping you solve the problem. But if you're doing something against their terms of service, their goal is to keep the platform clean. And even though it might not seem right from your vantage point, they're gonna do their best. It's their platform, they set the rules.

06:15 SA: Yeah. So what can somebody do if they feel that they have had ads that are, maybe they're just borderline, maybe they have questions about why they got disapproved or if they wanna appeal, if they wanna talk to somebody at Facebook, or let's say they've even had their account banned, and they feel that might not be for worthy reasons? What are the best recourses people can pursue to rectify those situations?

06:38 SW: Number one, when you have your account banned, you can actually reach out to them through live chat or support and you could actually ask them specifically questions of why my accounts are banned. Sometimes, they'll get back to you pretty quickly and tell you this is the reason why. Other times, they won't even respond quickly and you just gotta keep hitting them up, keep hitting them up. And if you can't get anyone directly through Facebook support, then I'd recommend going through another agency or reaching out to someone to help remediate the problem, someone who has a relationship in there, who has a partner manager that they work with. Remember, they're getting a lot of inquires on a daily basis. Sometimes, there's small sequences where your account might have been banned or your ads might have been banned by accident. If that's the case, then you could probably get your account put back on. But in most cases, you really just have to go through the process of trying to work with Facebook to get everything back to normal.

07:40 SA: Yeah. Anything else we wanna add in terms of compliance? I mean, I think this is... It's straightforward and a little bit complex at the same time, but I think overall, sometimes it's pretty intuitive to know, "Hey, these are the things you shouldn't have in your ads."

07:56 SW: Yeah. I mean, it's just change. It's just understanding that Facebook is changing a lot. Their ad policy team is continuously evolving and they're really just trying to please the community, I think. They're coming out with that new publishing widget where they're going to be able to approve articles that get posted on Facebook. I forgot exactly what it's called, but they're gonna continuously build products to help keep the community clean. I think as long as you fit within the cleanest of the community, you're gonna be fine. But there's no... A lot of it's a gray area.

08:36 SA: Absolutely. Well, yeah, this has been another episode of the Spend 10K a Day podcast. Today, we talked about staying compliant on Facebook. Soon, we're gonna be returning back to some more positive conversations about how to actually grow your ad spend profitably and spend, make more money on Facebook. There's a lot of money being made out there. We will see you next time.

08:58 SW: Yup. Take care, guys.

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