As the owner of a small digital marketing agency and school, Facebook ads are a great fit for my business, my clients and my students. But, one of the biggest problems I see frequently is people dive into ads without understanding ad policy, and they end up with disapproved ads and disabled accounts.
When things go wrong with your Facebook ads, it typically falls into two categories: disapproved ads or disabled account. If you’ve received an ad disapproval, it’s likely due to a violation, whereas a disabled account is due to repeated ad violations or highly negative feedback on your account.
There’s a difference between an ad that gets disapproved immediately versus one that is flagged after running for a period of time. Common causes of ad disapproval are:
- Use of flagged words, such as “this” because that word is often used as click bait. Excessive use of “you” or “your” may also cause disapproval.
- Incessant amounts of markings, characters or using all capital letters.
- An issue with your landing page. Redirects to another type of page, obtrusive pop-ups or income claims will get flagged.
- Violating the personal attributes section of the ad policy.
- Using Facebook’s trademark, logo, images or even just not capitalizing the word “Facebook.”
If your ads are disapproved after running for a period of time, it could be due to:
- Frequency, or how long the ad has been running. If people see the same ad too often, they might report or hide it, which could encourage Facebook to shut it down.
- Negative user feedback plus reporting makes Facebook look more closely at an ad, so don’t just set the ad and forget about it.
- A Facebook ads rep is assigned to review your account and finds your ads in violation of a policy that “slipped through the cracks” when you first set it up.
- Any changes or updates to Facebook’s software can also trigger a sweep of disapproved ads, and in this case, it might be a mistake.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Dig around and try a few things to remove the flag that caused the disapproval. Try the same ad from a different ad account and the same page, or a different ad with the same ad account and a different page. The reasoning behind this is to isolate the offending variable. It’s important to know if it’s the ad account, the Facebook business page hosting the ad, or the ad itself. If nothing seems to work, get in contact with a person at Facebook:
- At 9 a.m. EST on business days, go to Facebook Business Resources.
- Under the “Top Questions” heading you’ll see either the chat or email icon (available only during business hours).
- Chat with a support technician to see what the problem is. Be gracious to this person and show them that you’re willing (and trying) to comply with the rules.
- There is also an option to appeal via email, but I’ve always found the chat to be more efficient.
Be persistent. If you’ve tried to fix the ad and it is still being flagged, or if you have chatted with a support technician and didn’t like the answer, continue appealing. This process could take several days or even a couple of weeks, but keep trying.
If this was your first time running an ad, once you’ve cleared the flags, I suggest running a few easy ads, such as “Like” and awareness ads, or boosting a Facebook Live video, just to get them approved and to familiarize yourself with the process. Typically, ads that don’t require the user to leave Facebook are approved more easily than those that send the user off Facebook. After the ads run for a few hours, you can turn them off. This is a way to “reset” the ad account so approvals start happening automatically.
If your personal ad account is disabled, it can be dramatic both professionally and personally. The first and best option is to use the chat appeal process I mentioned above. And don’t forget to keep trying, even if you get a no the first time. I had one student that had to try five times over the course of three weeks to get her account re-instated.
If none of that works, set up a new ad account using the following process:
- Finding a trusted friend, colleague or family member.
- Go to the person’s house (so you’re on a different IP address).
- Have the person open up a brand new business manager account.
- Set up a new ad account in the business manager.
- Set up a new Facebook business page.
- Get a new type of payment, such as a new credit or debit card.
- Have them make you an admin on the new page and account so you have full administrative privileges.
- You might even need to run ads to landing pages that are on a different domain than you were previously.
Please note that you will no longer have a personal ad account, but a business manager account that’s “technically” owned by your trusted friend. There’s no way to recover a personal ad account unless you can get support to reinstate it, or set up a whole new personal Facebook profile, but this is against the terms of service agreement.
If it wasn’t a personal ad account that got shut down, but a Business Manager ad account, ignore the steps above. You’ll simply need to create a new ad account in your business manager, a new Facebook page, and set up a new payment method. In some cases, you may not have to create a new Facebook page. That’s why the testing method I mentioned above is so handy.
This is a great time to note that it’s infinitely easier to get a new account set up when you start by using the business manager, rather than running ads from a personal ad account. If you’re a business owner, set up your business manager as soon as possible and stop using a personal ad account.
If you’re certain you didn’t break any rules, be kind and persistent. Very persistent, as it could take several days to get someone from the Facebook policy team to review your account. When you do get in touch with someone, if you’ve invested a good amount of money in Facebook ads, you like the platform and play by the rules, let that person you’re speaking with know that.
Finally — and it goes without saying — if you had your account disabled because you legitimately broke the rules, it’s time to review Facebook ad policy or find another way to advertise!
How to protect yourself
Whether you’ve had your hand slapped or not, here are some tips to keep you from having to deal with losing your account:
1. Test ads before making a million of them. Set one up and get it approved before you duplicate the ad sets and start running multiple ads at once.
2. Be very familiar with the policies:
3. Have multiple administrators on each account for back-up.
4. Don’t set up ad accounts with payment information until you’re ready to use them.
5. Only have payment information on the account you’re actively using.
6. Use the Business Manager and stop using your personal ad account.
7. Watch the comments on the ads carefully and if you see negative feedback, address it promptly.
8. Don’t let the frequency get too high on the ad (meaning users are seeing the ad multiple times). This increases the risk of negative feedback.
9. Do a final sweep of the ad copy, ad creative and the landing page it goes to before you try to get it approved in the first place.
Spend time nurturing your page and your ad account. Don’t go for crazy and try to post risky ads. Ultimately, if your account is shut down, don’t dismay; it’s happened to many of us. Be persistent in finding a solution to be back up and running as quickly as possible.