My team recently created a 27-page document filled with DOs + DON’Ts for Facebook ad approval – following the ‘Facebook Apocalypse’ of August/September 2019.

These are the nitty gritty details that sometimes take down whole accounts without warning.

Because here’s the thing: Facebook is really cracking down on accounts that violate their terms + conditions.

So, listen up. This is what you need to know.

In this episode, I’m diving into the huge RED FLAGS for ads + landing pages (i.e. what not to include in your messaging), plus walking you through a short list of what Facebook likes + how you can build trust with the company (i.e. what you should definitely include).

Social media companies are getting smarter. If you think you’re going to outsmart Facebook and Instagram… you’re not.

P.S. Grab a pen + paper for this episode. We’re going deep.

If you’ve been waiting for a deep dive into everything you hear right here… you’re in luck! I’m hosting a masterclass all about the 3 secrets to exploding your brand (without blowing your ads budget). You’ll learn our *proven process* that’s generated over $90M in revenue for our clients! Save your spot right here.

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention innovators, influencers, creators, and game-changing entrepreneurs: your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.

Hello, hello friends. I am so excited to be here with you guys today. Thank you so much for tuning into the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. I am excited about today’s episode, but it may not be the most exciting episode… but I’m excited to be able to deliver this information to you guys, because somebody’s got to do it, and I’m just so grateful for my team, that I’m able to just take this resource and share it with you guys. So basically in August and September, we had a lot of issues with accounts and actually whole business managers getting shut down for our clients, so we saw a huge crackdown. Really this whole year we’ve seen a huge crackdown from Facebook, shutting accounts down, shutting entire business managers down, really without warning, sometimes really without reason, and it was like … and it’s just super frustrating, because you know, we have clients who have Facebook reps assigned to their account. They’re supposed to be helpful, and these days it’s feeling like there’s less and less those people can do.

The other thing that’s really frustrating is, when a business manager gets shut down, it’s like a little bit bigger of a deal than an ads account, and so it takes a long time to get a response back, so then the ads are not live for like … It’s been taking us about a week to get a response back. And we have gotten some turned back on. We’ve gotten some not turned back on, and in that case, we had to create a new business manager and reset everything up. But with all of that, my amazing team and Operations Manager put together a 27-page document for my team and for our clients. We actually have two documents. We have one internal and one for our clients about this, about how to prevent it, what to do when it happens, email templates to email [to] Facebook when it happens, things we’re going to be stepping up [and] looking for in our onboarding process with clients.

So we have an amazing resource now to be even more prepared for this, because you know, we were prepared but not to this level. So now we are really prepared for when it happens and also preventing it [from happening] as much as possible, because Facebook is cracking down so much… and it’s just also frustrating how they’re cracking down, because it’s really hard to just talk to a person. You get a bunch of different reps sometimes, and then you get different answers, and so it’s really frustrating, especially when you count on your ads to be running, getting leads into your funnel and promoting your stuff. So I basically pulled out from this document, and I have it in front of me, just a list of really important things. So, things you should NOT do on the Facebook side, and then things you should do on the landing page side, and then good ideas to overall just build trust with Facebook.

So I don’t know, maybe get a pen and paper for this episode, see what stands out to you and what you could do and what you feel like is a really top priority for you. But also if this happens to you, you can use this episode to come back to, because I’m literally pulling from our SOP, every possible thing that we have in here. We have way more in the SOP but it’s overwhelming for me to look at it, too. So here is basically a list of things that Facebook flags on the ad side of things, so directly on Facebook. I’m going to go through that first. So first, Facebook flags pages and websites that get suspended, and so if you get your account suspended and then you go try to make another account and promote the exact same thing with the exact same links, it’s really, really slim [chance] it’s going to work.

So you have to one, wait a little bit of time. We waited a week to even try anything, because it’s a better chance of success… Change the links, make some changes to the actual ads and the landing page. Try to talk to Facebook and understand why it got shut down, because if you just think you’re going to outsmart Facebook by going to create a new ad account and then do the same exact thing, you’re not. They’re way smarter than that now. Don’t try to get likes or run ads for “make money online,” multilevel marketing, network marketing, work from home pyramid schemes, investment or finance related pages. We have some clients in the network marketing space, and that’s the one tricky one, but you can’t directly promote network marketing on Facebook. It just won’t work. You have to have bridge pages so that there’s a gap between Facebook and what you’re promoting. Don’t try to get ‘likes’ for email collection or list building.

So don’t try to use your ‘likes’ for email collection. They need to go to a landing page. I don’t think people do this a lot, but that’s something … This is something you might not realize, but don’t promote a website with a forwarded URL. So if your URL redirects or you use a Bit.ly or a Pretty Link, Facebook does not like it. They will disapprove it. They don’t want you to be tricking them, that it’s going to something different, so be careful about that. Don’t create ads for dating, relationship, or any type of singles-related website. Those will never work. Don’t make an ad for an affiliate marketing program or a third party advertising opportunity.

Obviously affiliate marketing, it has to be your brand, that your brand is promoting it. So in the influencer space, there are a lot of affiliate marketing opportunities, but people are promoting it as their brand. They’re sending it to the traffic, not just a third party advertising opportunity type of situation. Don’t create a new Facebook account immediately and make ads for it. If [your account] gets shut down, wait a minimum of one week, up to a month. Use the account the way a normal user would, and once you’ve established a normal pattern for use of the account, then you can attempt to make a Facebook ad. So meaning, set up the Pixel, build the audiences. You don’t want to just have your account shut down, create a new account, and then go put everything in that new account. We have tried that, and it will be disapproved immediately if you do that, like every time, it has happened to us. Before you even hit ‘go’ on the ads, it’s disapproved.

Don’t submit ads on behalf of your client for their page or website. So that means, Facebook really doesn’t like it when other people use … their ad account to promote their clients, so I don’t … Some agencies do that. I think it’s terrible, because the client doesn’t own the Pixel data, but it’s also against their terms and policies. You need to be using your client’s ad account, and so if your agency is doing that, it’s a red flag, because it’s against the policies. If you set up a new account, use a new credit card, because Facebook is smart. They’ve already flagged your credit card when the account got shut down, don’t use the same one. It’ll automatically be shut down.

Don’t use memes on Instagram or Facebook to promote. This triggers a legal policy violation, and the account will be removed without the ability to get the account restored. So it’s a big no-no, memes. You can make your own memes, so if it’s of you, but you can’t use other memes. They don’t like that. I already kind of talked about this one, but don’t use redirecting services like Bit.ly or Pretty Links. We sometimes get away with putting that in the ad copy still, because our clients prefer it for tracking. It’s rare that we do it, but definitely don’t use it as the main URL of your ad. Don’t use unclear, misleading, or shocking statements in ads or your landing pages. Don’t use poor grammar, excessive punctuation. So if you have like 50 exclamation marks, they’re going to flag that. Don’t use screenshots of the Facebook or Instagram platform that don’t show the actual functionality of the platform. They’re picky about how you use Facebook and Instagram. You have to have the trademark for Facebook if you use it, so be careful with that.

In your business page, don’t leave your company’s ‘about’ section blank. That will be a red flag for them. They like it when you are responsive on Messenger to your customers on your page. You have an overall page rating, and you need to keep that up, so make sure you respond there. Don’t use the Facebook Pixel on pages that violate Facebook’s terms of services, community guidelines, or brand guidelines, or advertising policies. So even if you’re just using it as a retargeting audience, and you’re not sending ads to it, you could get flagged if it’s a page that you just … it’s clearly breaking their rules, and you’ve got your Pixel on it.

This one I know people do, but it’s a big policy violation and a legal issue, which is, don’t scrape data off of Facebook groups to run ads. We had a client insist that he’s got these audiences, and that they’ll work, and they came from this, and his business manager was shut down. He had to get his profile, his Facebook page… It was a big deal, so it’s a huge policy violation to scrape data from Facebook groups and then use it for ads. Don’t do it.

Okay. That was kind of like the Facebook top things that you have to look for to get your ads approved. Some that I’ll also add that were in there but I want to make sure they’re really clear is like, in the actual copy and verbiage, using ‘you,’ a lot sometimes gets flagged. They don’t want you calling people out like, “You will get better, and you will have this, and you will do this,” because that’s seen as making claims. It doesn’t mean you can never use the word ‘you,’ because that’s really hard, but don’t create your copy so it’s just like, “You will get this, and you will do this.” [That’s a claim, and] they do not like claims, especially in the health industry. Any claims about like… you cannot say depression or anxiety or those type of illnesses or whatever, like symptoms. You can’t call them out in your ad copy. Maybe you’ll get away with it, but it does break their terms and their policies.

So let’s look at landing pages, because this is one thing we’ve noticed is, it’s getting harder and harder to “outsmart” Facebook with your landing pages. It used to be that a lot of the approvals came from Facebook itself, but now they really are actually looking at landing pages and have bots that look at landing pages, and especially if you get flagged, then they will look at your landing page even deeper, and it’s really hard to get out of that loop, because you’ve been flagged. So here’s a list of things that you need to look for on your actual landing page, that you might not have been thinking about.

Your ad’s call to action doesn’t match with the landing page. If it’s like super misleading, then that would be a flag. If you have a pop-up on the first step of the landing page of your funnel. A ‘click’ to pop-up is fine, so if it’s like an opt-in and it pops up to opt in, it’s fine. They don’t like automatic pop-ups on the page, like as a sales thing. If your value proposition is unclear, unreasonable, or misleading, they don’t like that. If it’s a really poor mobile experience, they actually flag that. The landing page and the ad creative are like totally off and misleading. They don’t like that. If the page load time is too long or there’s a really high bounce rate, they will flag that.

If the opt-in forms or the sign up boxes are really hard to find, they’ll flag that. Before and after images are a huge ‘no.’ Excessive amounts of emojis. This is actually both for ads and also the landing page, but excessive amounts of emojis, characters, or using all capital letters, they flag as spam. Missing a privacy policy, terms, and applicable disclaimers is a big flag. They don’t really like a video on your landing page that auto plays. Some of these you have to take with weight of like, “Okay, I’m going to try to get away with it.” It’s not like, if I have a video on my landing page that auto plays, it’s going to get disapproved. What we do is, once something gets flagged, an account gets flagged, we have to follow all of these, because any one of them could be another flag. So it’s your choice if you want to push the boundaries on some of these less important ones.

For example, before and after images, huge red flag. Video that auto plays on your landing page, smaller weighted red flag. [It] definitely needs to be addressed if you already have had something disapproved or shutdown, but may not need to be addressed if you haven’t been flagged. But if you want to be super careful, that is something they say they look at. Any copy obviously offering people ways to get rich quick, get results quick. Definitely going to be rejected, both in the ads and the landing page. You can’t refer to personal attributes, so race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability … this is what I was saying … medical condition. So like depression is a medical condition. Anxiety is a medical condition. If you say that in your ads, it’s going to get disapproved. If you say it on your landing page, it’s going to get flagged.

Financial status, criminal record, all those things are not okay. So as a general guideline, also avoid using words like, ‘other,’ ‘you,’ ‘yours,’ in your copy. You can’t imply that you actually know anything about the users that you’re targeting. So you can’t say like, “I know you have depression,” or, “I know you’re struggling to make money in your business.” That would be flagged. So a couple of examples of good language that Facebook likes is, “A blogging system that helps attract new leads,” or, “Find your ideal audience on Pinterest,” or, “Designed for business owners and bloggers.” So do you hear? The way you’re presenting it is different than, “You are a business owner and a blogger,” or, “You will have the perfect audience on Pinterest.” It’s different.

Make sure all your copy and your images from your ad to your landing page are relevant. Every single component of your landing page needs to relate to the product or service you’re selling. Also, your creative needs to have some relevance to the audience you’re targeting with the ad, and all the details that must be true and accurate. So those are a little bit obvious ones, but something to think about. Kind of said this one, but avoid using the word ‘you’ too much, both in the ad and the landing page. We said this about the ad, but landing page, too, proper grammar, punctuation, capitalization makes Facebook happy. Don’t use random capitalization or leave caps lock button on when writing your copy. So, all caps, they flagged that as just like, spammy. Don’t replace letters with emojis or random characters to get attention. We have it in this list, “Don’t add punctuation marks like this,” and it’s like, 50 question marks and 10 exclamation marks. They don’t like that.

Strong call to actions they like. Make sure to include a disclaimer at the bottom of your page to demonstrate that you’re not affiliated with Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. That’s a super important one, especially when referencing results obtained from these platforms. So if you teach how to do something on Instagram or Facebook or how to run Facebook ads, you have to make sure you have a disclaimer that you actually are not associated with Facebook or Instagram or whatever you’re teaching. Avoid pop-ups, we talked about. It’s okay to have a sign up pop-up, but not pop-up that pops up automatically for everybody. And then make sure there are no broken links or unfinished media elements or page loading problems. Those are all flagged. Facebook not only wants the policy to be followed, it also wants this to be a good experience for its users. So that’s why they look at things like the mobile experience, the page loading time.

They care about those things, because they want it to be a good experience for the users. And then, just really one main thing, if you want to build trust with Facebook, getting your business verified will help. Getting your Instagram verified will help, and verify your business for your Facebook business page will also help. So getting all those things verified, you have to follow a couple of steps where you turn in your ID. Sometimes they decline it. It depends. Instagram, it depends how big your account is and how many followers [you have]. They declined my verification as of now. But if you can get it verified, it will really help you build that trust with Facebook.

So wow, that was a lot. I hope you guys are not like crazy overwhelmed, but I think this is a really important one, because it’s going to get worse, I think, the way Facebook’s cracking down, and so we’ve included in all of our onboarding with clients, just a quick check on these major things so we’re not … and actually not major things, because we were always checking major things, like for example, before and after images. But going a little bit more detailed so that we make sure we’re covering our bases for clients. And especially the “make money” webinars, they’re cracking down on it, and so there’s language you have to be careful with, and so we’re working to do that, but also really working to make sure we’re covered if somebody’s account does get shut down. So I wanted to share that resource with you guys, and hopefully you found it helpful.

If you want support with this, you want to work with Team Hirsh, hopefully your ad account is not shut down right now, but you want to be with a team who you can really trust that they will watch over your ad account and take care of this for you, because it’s really a pain if it does happen, or preventing it [from happening]. It’s just a lot, and we see it everyday, all day, so we know it really well. You can go to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with us, and I will see you all next time.

Thanks for listening to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process, and listen to our most popular episodes over at HirshMarketingUnderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now, and I’ll catch you next time.