What Everybody Who Runs Facebook Ads Ought To Know About Staying Compliant.

WARNING: If you do not pay attention, you could lose your Facebook ad account.

Of course, you could have other ad accounts or open another one.

But Facebook is smart, and if you stay non-compliant, they will shut your new ad account down too.

Especially if you use direct response marketing. Most ad account terminations happen in this area.

But most "real" brick and mortar businesses do not experience ad account shutdowns.

Facebook advertising policies change regularly. I make it a habit to review the policies on a weekly basis. We like to keep our clients, and we want to keep them happy.

Before we get into the details on how to stay compliant, keep in mind the following.

Facebook is tracking pages, individual profiles, and ad accounts, and their associations with one another.

Having 1 or more persons on your ad account or business manager with a "bad standing" (Facebook Ads Wise at least) could affect the performance of your ads too, even if everything else you do is compliant.

The Facebook community experience is vital for Facebook. That's why they track, for example, whether users request to hide an advertisement. We can see this back in our reports with "relevance score" and "negative/positive feedback."

It's a great idea to keep track of these metrics and change out your ads and/or targeting when the relevance score is going down.

Facebook policy takes a 3-tier approach to how it views advertising:

  1. The Ad On Facebook
  2. Post Click Experience
  3. Post Conversion Experience

Let's dive into this.

First "The AD ON FACEBOOK."

  • Does the ad make any unsubstantial or sensational claims?
  • Does the ad accurately reflect the product or service being sold on the landing page?
  • You can’t use images that portray a product’s nonexistent functionality.
  • Your ad images can include text, but only if it takes less than 20% of the image (exceptions apply). If it's more than 20%, the reach will be limited, so you want to stay below 20% text.
  • You also can’t feature “before and after” images or those showing unexpected or unlikely results.
  • If you sell something, the ad MUST reference the fact that a product or service is for sale. You cannot promise that someone will be presented with an info presentation when in reality they are being sold something.
  • No clickbait style language in the ad copy.

Second the "POST CLICK EXPERIENCE."

  • Does the landing page convey clear info about the product or service?
  • ​Is the landing page an advertorial? The best advice is: AVOID IT! 

    It cannot look like an objective third party wrote the article or like it's a newsletter.

    Advertorials are simply PROHIBITED in the health industry and are a discouraged tactic in all other industries.

    No byline with a date, author name, or city name. 

    You cannot have "Dear Reader..."

    You cannot make it look like a blog.
  • Do you sell a subscription?

    The first time you ask a user for a piece of personal information (email, name, phone number, address, etc.), you must say the price, billing interval, how to cancel, and have an opt-in checkbox for the terms and conditions.

    The checkbox cannot be opted-in by default. This information cannot be intentionally hidden. Click here to see an example of an implementation of such a checkbox.
  • Is the landing page misleading?
  • Is the landing page "complete"?

    Does it include links to the Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages for the product or service you are selling?

    Do you have a "contact us" or "about us" tab on your landing page?

    Do you link to a privacy policy?
  • Is your identity  clear? (logo, business name, email, phone, address)
  • Facebook encourages security verifications. 

    If the site actually has security verifications from McAfee, Norton, VeriSign, etc., linking to these security certificates may lead to an increase in user trust. 

    Provide links to security certificates on your landing / checkout page. These should be functional links, not just pictures of the security certificate.
  • Does the landing page have unsubstantiated or sensational claims?

    Ads and landing pages must not contain fraudulent, false, or misleading content, including deceptive claims, offers, or business practices.
  • Do you have a VSL on the landing page?

    You cannot have ONLY the VSL on it. 

    The page must contain info about the product or service.

    The user must be able to determine what is being sold without having to watch the video.

    There must be controls (play, pause, fast forward, rewind).

    They must be able to see how long the video is.

    And you cannot make unsubstantiated claims.

    No clickbait language. No "X result in Y time frame."
  • ​No exit pop-ups on the landing page.
  • The discount you might offer should NOT be more than 50% off.
  • Limited-time offers.

    Limited-time offers should not use fake countdown clocks. Those are clocks that start counting down when a user first visits a page and then returns to the full-time when the page is refreshed.

    Falsely alarming language intended to instill a sense of urgency in the user.

    For example:
    - "if you act now..”,
    - “this offer may not be available in the near future..”,
    - “we're opening this up to a select number of users for a limited time on January 1”

    should not be used, as this sort of language tends to create a misleading experience for the user.
  • Subscription services

    As on any landing page a link to terms and conditions and a privacy policy. This must explain how to cancel the subscription service.

    Display an empty check box that people must check in order to accept the terms and conditions. You may not display a check box that is checked by default.

    Clearly represent the price of your promoted service, including any details of recurring charges.

    Even if the price is displayed in the terms and conditions, it should also appear somewhere else on the landing page.

    Example: beside the box the person needs to check to accept the terms and conditions.
  • Avoid click-bait language.

    Advertisers should not use click-bait language such as: “Discover this new method”, “learn about our revolutionary breakthrough fix”, or “World-renown doctor reveals his secret trick to...”.

    This guideline applies both to the ad body and title, as well as the Facebook and offsite landing pages.

    Facebook shares some best practices on click-bait.
  • Provide ample product information.

    Sufficient product information should be provided on the initial landing page.

    One image of the product without any context is not compliant. This information should describe the product and its features, and set realistic expectations around product functionality

Third the "POST CONVERSION EXPERIENCE."

Does the product or service the user receives match what they were promised in the ad and on the landing page?

For ad copy and landing page copy it's compulsory to use proper grammar.

And copy doesn't imply users' personal characteristics; race or ethnic origin, religion or philosophical belief, age, sexual orientation or sexual life, gender identity, disability or physical/mental health, financial status or information, membership in a trade union, criminal​ record, name.

I'll do my best to keep this article up to date with the latest changes and interpretations and experiences of high-spenders on Facebook Ads.

You can check the Facebook ad policies yourself here too (highly recommended to visit this weekly): https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/​

The link to the "subscription services" policy on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/128776380545106

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