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10 Ways Ads End Up in Facebook Jail & How to Avoid It

Want to stay in Facebook's good graces and keep your ad campaigns on track? Here are 10 things to work through before launching your next campaign.

How to Stay Out of Facebook Ads Jail

While Facebook is seeing mounting pressure to better monitor its content and accommodate news outlets in how articles are shared, that has not deterred businesses from relying on Facebook as a key part of their digital strategy.

In fact, eMarketer and Business Insider expect Facebook’s ad revenue to continue growing throughout 2021.

Facebook Ad Revenue GrowthDespite the COVID pandemic and challenges with content monitoring, Facebook’s YOY ad revenue is expected to grow.

That’s why it’s critical to avoid your ads landing in the infamous Facebook Jail.

This is especially vital for small businesses who don’t have as many resources and would not have a rep at Facebook supporting them who can more easily escalate any appeals.

While many guidelines are generally known, it’s the nuances that can make or break a campaign going live.

Read on below to proof your launch and avoid these 10 common pitfalls that could land your ads in Facebook Jail.

1. Facebook Page Quality

Having a low page quality is a growing reason for ad disapproval.

Many advertisers will painstakingly check their ad setting and ad assets but neglect the organic side.

As the ad campaign is tied to your Facebook profile, it’s key for your Facebook page to maintain above-board standing.

Your social advertising team must be proficient not just in advertising-related policies (more on those below), but also in keeping with overall Facebook community guidelines.

Solution: Make sure to check your Facebook Page Quality periodically. If it’s low, you may be at risk of being unable to run ads or them taking longer to get approved.

Also, avoid frequent posting on your Facebook page and use original content.

You don’t want Facebook – and users – to feel that you are spamming and merely repurposing what others have done.

After all, that doesn’t set you apart or add value.

Unfortunately, once a low rating is set, it takes some time to recover from it and for Facebook to see you are trending to a better standing.

To avoid having a low rating, to begin with, avoid posting content that can be misinterpreted. If your business takes a stand on social issues, consider hosting most of that content on your site and using your Facebook page in a more concise fashion; directing people to learn more on your official site.

Ultimately, your site will also give you the most flexibility to elaborate.

2. Facebook Ad Quality

Low ad quality is perhaps the most common issue for campaign disapproval.

Facebook and Instagram consider a range of factors when approving your ad.

These include relevance to the target audience, information accuracy, image quality, and text-to-image ratio, among others.

The system’s QA tools are getting more sophisticated by the day and are quite good at assessing if the ad is baiting people to do something that is not clear upfront, or if an advertiser is trying to force users to do something they may not be that interested in.

If you have a niche service, picking distantly related audiences in the hope they may convert is not wise.

It’s best to home in on a small audience rather than target potentially irrelevant users, risking your campaign getting disapproved.

For Facebook image guidelines, be sure to follow them as closely as possible. Here, Facebook is not that forgiving.

In particular, leave at least 80% of the ad to non-text elements.

Aside from merely complying with Facebook’s image ad requirements, this is also good practice from a usability point: a smaller amount of text will pop more.

And besides, there are other fields besides the image to include text.

Solution: If your ad is declined, review Facebook Ad Quality Score guidelines. Chances are, with a couple of tweaks, you can get back in the game.

3. Incorrect Ad Format and/or Goal

Facebook offers a wide range of ad types and campaign goal options.

Mismatching them will create a poor user experience and lead to disappointing campaign results.

Worst case, Facebook will misinterpret your effort as trying to game the system suspending your ads and possibility your account.

Solution: Take care at the early planning stage to think through what ad format will be best for your goal.

Too often, one is asked to put that video on Facebook, boost that post, or share a story without due process of thinking about the desired goal.

It’s always better to plan the goals first and then choose the best possible asset to support that user experience.

4. Landing Page Quality

The third factor of the quality trio, the landing page, is key for two reasons.

First, from a technical viewpoint, Facebook will assess its relevance to the ad, your Facebook profile page, and general UX pitfalls (excessive downloads, limited text content, pop-ups or pop-unders, broken links, etc.).

Second, landing pages play a critical role in retaining the user on your site to avoid high bounce rates.

A high bounce rate will not only result in wasted advertising budget but also risk impacting the Facebook algorithm’s targeting.

In determining what ads to show to what users, Facebook’s algorithm incorporates learnings from past users.

However, if they are bouncing, that does not bode well.

Solution: Use Facebook’s Sharing Debugger to see how Facebook will perceive your content and fix any issues which the tool flags.

While your landing page may seemingly comply with Facebook’s landing page policies, for various technical issues, Facebook may struggle to see that.

5. Billing

Are all your past payments up to date?

Are any credit cards on file outdated?

With lots to remember when running a business – and with digital marketing to boot – it’s easy to forget billing hygiene.

Declined and past-due charges count towards being in good standing with Facebook.

If you’re unable to launch a campaign or it stops unexpectedly, check your billing and pay off anything outstanding as quickly as possible.

6. Restricted or Prohibited Topics

You may say that there is minimal chance of your business knowingly advertising products or services Facebook prohibits or restricts.

Indeed, most violations occur due to coincidental circumstances or unforeseen nuances.

For example, if a restaurant has a cigar lounge, while its ad campaign is solely for a cooking class it may be offering, the cigar lounge mentioned on the site can complicate the campaign approval process.

Solution: Be sure to consult Facebook’s list of Prohibited topics and Facebook’s Restricted categories.

For the latter, there is some flexibility.

However, it is important to build in extra planning time for launch to ensure sufficient time for added review steps and submitting permission requests to Facebook.

7. Copyright & Trademark

It’s key that you have documented permission to use any material that isn’t yours.

Rest assured, any popular imagery, audio, or video content will be identified (even not-so-popular content will too, with time).

And if you are a trademark owner yourself, you will still be required to prove that your advertiser profile has been allowed to use it.

Solution: Consult Facebook’s Intellectual Property FAQs on how to use any copyrighted or trademarked materials.

Don’t shy away from doing this, as there is indeed a process for it.

It’s only a matter of following it and setting expectations for your teams on what’s required.

8. Using Facebook’s Brand

This is allowed for both the Facebook name and logo.

However, be careful how you do that and do not overuse it in your text.

Solution: Follow these steps to avoid upsetting your Facebook Ads overlords:

  • Do not use the corporate Facebook logo.
  • In the text, spell out the full name with proper capitalization with the same size and font as the rest of your text.
  • If you are advertising a Facebook page or group, ensure that the Facebook-related mention does not dominate the ad. Otherwise, it may be construed as promoting Facebook rather than your business.

9. Being Reported for Spam

Through accidental means or malicious intent, once in a while, this happens to the best of us.

Facebook allows users to report others.

While your intent may be entirely good-willed, there’s a chance someone may not feel that way and report you for spam.

There are also saboteurs, perhaps an upset competitor or someone feeling strongly against a cause your business supports, who will deliberately and unfairly report you for spam hoping to harm your business.

Solution: Use the links at the bottom of the page to appeal this to Facebook.

Filling out the details of the About section for your profile page is also a great preventative measure.

If you are not well known and someone is debating whether to report you, they may change their mind if they see ample information on your business.

If there you anticipate the potential for malicious play prior to launch by specific users, block them from following you before your efforts begin.

If they can’t follow you, they won’t be able to report you.

10. Keep a Single Account

Once upon a time, your sister’s friend set up an account for your company.

You used a bit, until other priorities took over.

Later on, you hired an agency that implemented industry Facebook best practices and grew your following.

After budgets dried up, those efforts ended.

Now, you urgently need to get more leads and you are looking for a fresh start.

Does that mean setting up a new, clean account?


Multiple accounts are an indication of misleading behavior and Facebook does everything it can to encourage users to have one per person or business.

Solution: Do your utmost to regain access to the old Facebook accounts, contacting Facebook if all else fails.

Once successful, go through the proper process to close the Facebook account that is no longer needed.

However, do think twice as a Facebook account has past users and activity associated with it which.

They are useful for Facebook’s algorithm to target your ads and will give you a base audience rather than needing to start from scratch.

As you can see, these are relatively straightforward guidelines.

But to ensure you don’t trip up, build in sufficient time for troubleshooting and checking guideline compliance.

Some steps may seem time-consuming but are ultimately also beneficial to your audience from usability and good communication standpoints.

Aside from staying out of Facebook’s proverbial jail, playing by the rules will ensure your Facebook ad campaigns perform the best they can.

More Resources:

Image Credit

Screenshot taken by author, February 2021

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Ilya Cherepakhin Enterprise Consulting Manager at MightyHive

Ilya Cherepakhin is a digital strategy expert with over 15 years of experience in client-side and agency roles. His work ...

10 Ways Ads End Up in Facebook Jail & How to Avoid It

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