Facebook Ads Review Q&A
DATE: 27th April 2020
TAGS: marketing strategy, pay per click marketing
AUTHOR: Peter Garrett
Since the middle of March, the cost per click on Facebook Ads has dropped to one of the lowest levels since the service began. This has attracted more advertisers to request ads on the platform, which have to be manually reviewed by the team at Facebook. Given the current situation due to the Coronavirus pandemic, less of their team are available, which is leading to increased waiting times for those looking to get their ads approved.
We were looking for more information on this and came across a recent “Ask Me Anything” post from u/GatsbyJunior, a former Facebook Ads reviewer on Reddit. We went through and pulled out the top tips for getting your ads approved on Facebook.
Q: What is the story behind not allowing words like “you” and “your” in ads, even when they don't reference personal attributes. i.e. Do you create training videos to market your business?
A: Great question! You actually CAN say "you" and "your" ... but the problem is that the targeting on FB is so robust that the policy is designed to protect users from feeling like Facebook/Advertisers KNOW about THEM.
So when you say "Do you create training videos ..." and they actually DO create training videos, people feel like they are being targeted. A commonly successful workaround is to say something like "IF you create training videos ..."
Questions with "you" can definitely be approved, but it takes some trial and error in making them vague, because by nature questions are inherently personal. 9 times out of 10 just turning the same idea from a question to a sentence will get your ad approved.
Questions have always been tricky, so I wouldn't be surprised if the system has increased auto-flagging questions, but they can still be appealed if they are compliant.
To be blunt, the reason anything gets auto-flagged is because it's an image or word that's associated with poor advertising. In the same way, these advertisers have also ruined the question mark for everyone else. So again, you can appeal it, but it will get flagged.
Q: Are all the reviews manual?
A: All appeals are manual. However, many ads are not manually reviewed initially. Facebook's auto-flagging AI is constantly updated for images and keywords that are commonly associated with non-compliant ads. Many ads that pass through that automated system are published without a human review.
Resubmitting with minimal changes may eliminate the auto-flagged content and usurp a human review altogether. However, that may also mean a less effective ad. So if you know that your ad is policy compliant, appeal until someone can verify it's compliance.
Q: What's the best solution/method to use if our accounts get banned or restricted?
A: There is a certain level you just can't control. You can minimise risk (which you should already be doing), and have a Plan B ready. That Plan B should look operate on two fronts:
1. Rebuild. Starting from scratch, rebuild with a new account, page, website, whatever is needed to get you able to publish again and duplicate your campaign strategy. Does the idea of doing that suck? Yes! Do you have any other choice? Nope. You don't have to do it now. And maybe you never will.
2. Appeal. Be polite, be clear in demonstrating your familiarity with policy and your commitment to running compliant ads. And be persistent.
Q: I've heard rumours that Facebook gives a user's account a "score" that reflects how many ads are rejected due to policy violation and then weighs their serving of ads based on this score. Is this true?
A: I haven't heard of this, so I'll give it a temporary "no" and here's why. Facebook is not PPC, it's pay-per-impression. If nine ads are rejected for policy and that tenth one is good to go, your dollars are clear to buy inventory.
That said, your ads’ "relevance" is scored and accounted for along with your bid to win auctions for impression delivery, so it is possible that your account may be weighted too. If you're not happy with your results, there's probably something in your control that can be done to improve them.
Q: What is the best way to “scale” ads for a volume of conversions, but not increasing the cost per acquisition dramatically?
A: Remember that any time you're putting more money into a campaign, you're pretty much guaranteed higher CPA's because you're entering into more auctions.e You're bidding against more competition to deliver impressions to your target audience, therefore to WIN those auctions it takes higher bids.
So a key takeaway upfront is that a satisfactory CPA at your current budget needs to change accordingly. The tradeoff is higher CPA for more volume which means more revenue - and that typically trumps a higher return at a lower ad spend, especially when you calculate lifetime value because repeat business typically costs far less than acquisition.
The rule of thumb is never to increase your budget by more than 20% per day, but in my experience, there's almost always something that alters/resets the trajectory of the delivery algorithm when any change is made.
Q: What is the one thing you see that makes you believe most people operating in FB Ads aren't doing it right?
A: When I do an account audit, the first tab I open is their audiences. It lets me very quickly understand what "level" they're on strategically. It will tell me if their pixel is installed properly, how healthy their conversion funnel is and what kind of retargeting opportunities they've employed.
Q: Why does Facebook reject ads with “too much text”?
A: Text is auto-flagged. The system automatically scans images for what it thinks is text, superimposes them on a grid and flags anything over 20%. There is a list of text exemptions which can be found here - www.facebook.com/business/help/980593475366490?id=1240182842783684
Q: What changes to the campaign, sets and creatives removes social proof (likes, comments)?
A: Whenever you can, paste the ad ID into the ads manager under "Use Existing Post" and then it is possible to edit the copy of the post and retain social proof. If you edit your ad for "multiple placements" you cannot duplicate them and keep the social proof.
Q: Am I able to upload a Custom Audience using IP Addresses?
A: No, that is not one of the current identifiers accepted by Facebook to create an audience.
Q: Can you provide insight as to why, during the appeal process for disapproved ads, the individual responsible for the manual review can’t give specifics as to why an ad was or wasn’t approved to the advertiser?
A: There are a few factors but mostly it boils down to time. Keep in mind that most reviewers have to meet a minimum of about 300 ads per shift, which is a rate of about 30 seconds per ad.
As a reviewer identifies, or "tags" policy violations in an ad, the system automatically attaches a boilerplate statement explaining the violation to the advertiser. These are admittedly vague. Reviewers can also offer additional insights to advertisers, but are not supposed to give away "internal" policy info, which is a line most reviewers stay on the right side of by just sticking to the boilerplate messages.
The reason for this is that it protects Facebook to have more discretion to reject ads. If people knew the entire policy, they would be able to go right to the line every time. You know how people are.
We hope this has been useful and answers some of your questions on Facebook Ads, reviews and policies. If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about setting up a Facebook Ads campaign or look over a campaign that is falling foul of Facebook’s policies, please get in touch.