Staying Aware Of Advertising Guidelines

You’ve likely heard of brand best practices, as well as advertising best practices for using social media.

However, it’s also important to be aware of Facebook ad content guidelines that could relate to your product or service, as well as any content guidelines in your industry.

Facebook Advertising Rules

Prohibited Content

This type of content is strictly not allowed in Facebook ads.

To keep things clear and brief, we’re focusing on prohibited content that could affect average businesses, so our list is not an exhaustive list of all of Facebook’s prohibited content policies.

Prohibited Content Includes

  • Certain images about personal health (unrealistic before-and-afters)
  • Unsafe supplements
  • Adult products and services
    • Advertisements are permitted if they focus on contraceptive services and family planning.
    • Sometimes, products such as contraceptives or surgical procedures to treat incontinence are flagged under this rule. However, if you make sure that the copy, image, ad, and landing page focus only on the health aspects of these products and procedures, they may be approved to be advertised to adults.
  • Surveillance equipment
    • This includes the sale of “spy cams”, phone trackers, and other hidden camera equipment.
  • Multi-level marketing
    • Accurately describing a company’s business model can help keep it from being mistakenly flagged.
  • Penny auctions
  • Payday loans
  • Tobacco or tobacco related products
    • Non-smoking campaigns are not prohibited, but there can be no actual depiction of a person smoking.
  • Content promoting the sale of drugs, whether legal or illegal
  • Advertisements that promote unauthorized streaming
  • Ads that promote anything illegal (this goes without saying!)

Facebook has additional prohibitions on certain types of content, in the vein of controversial, misleading, sensational, and sensational ads. They also have animation, copyright, and grammar requirements. Finally, there are policies about advertising for things such as malware or counterfeit documents. You can always have a look at Facebook’s policies to learn more.

Restricted Content

In addition to prohibited content, Facebook has a category of restricted content. On Facebook, restricted content has rules about who it can be advertised to, as well as what information businesses can include in ads.

If your company’s work relates to any of the areas below, we recommend you read the full list of Facebook’s advertising is listed here for guidelines.

Restricted Content

  • Alcohol
  • Online dating
  • Gambling
  • Lotteries
  • Online Pharmacies
  • Promotion of over-the-counter drugs
  • Subscription services
  • Financial and student loan services
  • Branded content
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Drug and alcohol addictions treatment
  • Weight loss products and plans

What Happens When These Rules Are Broken?

If you attempt to create an ad that violates one of these rules, it’s likely that your ad won’t run. If it occurs once or twice, don’t panic. If your ad does break the rules, you can re-do it by changing the offending copy or images.

If you’re not sure why your post was not approved, or if you feel that there was a mistake, you can always request more information or a review.

If you’re confident that you aren’t breaking any of the rules concerning restricted or prohibited content, it might be another issue, such as your ad’s grammar or your landing page (we’ll cover these issues in further posts, but if you have questions in the meantime, feel free to comment or send us a message!).

Having your posts break the rules once or twice might not hamper your online advertising efforts, but if your posts aren’t approved consistently, it is a sign that you may need to revisit Facebook’s ad policies to ensure that you understand them.

Industry Best Practices And Rules

Many industry bodies have codes of ethics and conduct, which can also affect what members can post on social media. Sometimes, these guidelines can be more or less strict than Facebook’s or may have different rules and restrictions. For example, Facebook does not have any specific policies on dental advertising, but a dental association may have rules about how its members can promote their services, pricing, or specialties.

Examples of  industries which may have codes of conduct include (please note, however, that this list is not exclusive):

  • medical professionals
  • those in the cosmetics industry (such as beauty spas, botox injectors)
  • dental care providers
  • alcohol retailers
  • educational organizations
  • organizations which advertise to minors or children

What Happens When These Rules Are Broken?


When it comes to advertising rules set out by professional bodies, the consequences depend on the case. Some professional organizations fine members who break the rules, set out warnings, or request that the member change the advertisement.

What You Should Do

While the idea of adhering to ad policies from both Facebook and any relevant professional bodies might seem daunting, it is very straightforward. While you don’t need to be an expert on advertising guidelines, we do advise looking over any Facebook advertising policies that might apply to your business before you start creating your copy. Additionally, you should check the code of your professional body to see if they have any rules or requirements for social media advertising.

For most people, this research can be done in under an hour, and you’ll be able to move forward and create your content while enjoying total peace of mind.


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