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So you made a decision to advertise on social media and you spent hours creating perfect ads for your business – only to get your ad disapproved? Those situations can be a real bummer. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid those exact situations in the future – an advertising policy.

First things first, how does the ad review process work?


Ad review process can take anytime from 5 minutes to 48 hours. Once you create your ad, it ends up in a review queue where a team of highly trained employees will review it and approve it or reject it.

There are no official statements on how the ads are reviewed, but it’s very unlikely that the entire process is fully manual. Many marketers guess that it’s a mix of algorithmic and manual analysis. It is suggested that these factors will affect your ad approval greatly:


Facebook Ad Account History

If you had your Ad Account for a long time and if you created many ads, out of which not many were rejected, chances are that your ads will be approved faster;


If you use keywords that refer to religion, age, substance use and similar, that would trigger more control and you will wait longer for your ads to be approved;

Domain Analysis

If you’re advertising a link that has been advertised many times before, then your ads would be approved shortly. If you’re using a link for the first time, review process might be slower;

Image Analysis

If the algorithm suspects that your image may be inappropriate, your approval process might take longer.

Having in mind that the human factor is included, be prepared to accept the subjective component of the entire process. One person might think that your ad is not appropriate, but another person might think that the same ad is okay. Therefore, if your ad is rejected and you followed all the guidelines below, contact Facebook and ask them to review your rejection here.


Social Media channels have a detailed lists of prohibited and restricted content. Those are all the illegal and questionable things that you wouldn’t be able to advertise through traditional channels, too. Mind that there are specific limitations in some countries based on local laws. Also note that all the ads must not violate community standards of the social channel that you choose.

Prohibited Content

1. Illegal products or services

The adverts you create should not promote illegal products, services or activities. First thing that comes to your mind are tobacco, drugs and drug-related products. Less obvious is that you cannot promote fake documents, such as fake passports, degrees or immigration papers.

2. Tobacco products

You cannot promote tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, tobacco pipes, hookahs, hookah lounges, rolling papers, vaporiser devices and electronic cigarettes. For example, these ads would be rejected immediately:

Although you cannot promote the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products, you are allowed to share blogs or groups that are connecting people with tobacco-related interests.

Promotion of anti-smoking campaigns and e-books, counseling services for smoking addiction and smoking rehabilitation programs or facilities is allowed. For example, this ad would be approved: 

3. Drugs and drug related products

Adverts cannot promote drugs and drug-related products, such as bongs, rolling papers and vaporiser devices. Even if you do not promote the products directly, posts like this one below will be rejected:

Drug rehabilitation programs and support groups are allowed on social media.

4. Unsafe supplements

If you’re selling anabolic steroids, chitosan, comfrey, dehydroepiandrosterone, ephedra, human growth hormones or melatonin, advertising on social media is not allowed.

Although, if you are, for example, a company that’s selling melatonin, you could create a page called Sleep Tight Every Night. On that page, you could promote some general well-being tips or how-to-sleep-tight tips that do not include the product. Then, you could start writing blog posts on your website about those topics and you can share those articles on social media. If you decide to use this strategy, be aware not to ever mention your product.

5. Adult products and services 

Regarding adult products and services, you can and you cannot create ads for those. What does that even mean?

You can promote contraception and you can promote family planning products and services. Everything other than that is forbidden. If you do promote those types of products, make sure that your audience is aged 18 years or older.

For example, posts such as this one would be approved, as long as they are targeting people aged 18 years of older: 

Other examples (such as this one below) would be rejected:

6. Adult content

Advertisements must not contain adult content. You think that this one is easy? Not really. Many skin-care and cosmetic brands will have an issue with this policy. For example, an ad such as this one:

Any kind of nudity or implied nudity, even if artistic or educational in nature, cannot be promoted (well, except for statues, you can promote as many naked statues as you want!). Showing lots of skin, cleavage and individual body parts, even if not sexual in nature, is not allowed.

7. Sensational Content 

Content that may shock or scare viewers or that shows violence or threats of violence is not allowed on social media. For example, if you’re an insurance company, make sure not to create an ad like this:

Besides this obvious example, you should not create posts that might evoke seizures –  the ads can be rejected because bright colors (yellow, red and blue) switch way too fast.  

8. Personal attributes

Your adverts should not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes, such as:


Ethnic origin,




Sexual orientation,

Gender identity,


Medical condition,

Financial status,

Membership in a trade union,

Criminal record or


If you didn’t guess it by now, the way you say things is really important. For example, if you’re promoting a website where Buddhists can meet other Buddhists, this post will be rejected:

But if you say it like this, it will be approved:

9. Misleading or false content

This is a mistake many businesses make. Adverts should not contain deceptive, false or misleading content, such as deceptive claims, offers and business practices. What does this mean?

You can create a post like this one:

But this one would be rejected:

10. Surveillance equipment 

This one is really simple – do not promote the sale of spy cams, mobile phone trackers or other hidden surveillance equipment. That’s all, just don’t do it.


11. Personal health

This is also a very common mistake for many businesses. You should not create ads that contain “before-and-after” images and ads that might generate a negative self-perception.

For example, this ad would not be approved:

But this one would be approved:

12. Prohibited financial products and services 

If you’re a financial company, stay away from ads that can be associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary option, initial coin offerings or cryptocurrency.

For example, this ad will do you no good:

Restricted Content

Restricted content, or as marketers like to call it – The Grey Area – include ads that social media channels might have a second look at. You can promote those products, but you must be very careful and follow the guidelines.

1. Alcohol

If you chose to promote or reference alcohol, you must follow the local laws, required or established industry codes, guidelines, licences and approvals. Note that promoting alcohol is prohibited in some countries, such as Russia, Norway, Lithuania, Brunei, Egypt, Kuwait and many more.

You must make sure that you target your adverts appropriately. In the USA, you can target people aged 21 or older, but if you’re from Europe, that age limit is 18.

You should also be careful with content. For example, showing people having fun while drinking won’t get your ad approved. Instead, you can follow a Baileys or Jagermeister examples:

2. Dating

Promoting dating apps is also allowed, but you must follow strict guidelines:

The Relationship targeting option must be set to Single or Unspecified;

The Sex targeting option must be set to either Men or Women;

The Age targeting must be set to a minimum of 18 years;

For example, this type of content would be prohibited:

3. Supplements

We mentioned before that you cannot promote certain supplements at all. But if your business is making other kinds of supplements, such as protein or collagen, you can create the ads.

When creating ads for these products, avoid ads that mention diseases, pain of any kind or excessive weight loss, such as:

Instead, you could say:

Those policies mentioned above are common for all social media channels. When creating ads for a specific channel (eg. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat…), make sure to go through their policy guidelines, because each network has additional rules besides these mentioned above. Also, make sure to follow the local laws for promoting these products, as they apply for social media, too. You’re ready to start creating flawless ads!





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