Why Your Facebook Ad Account is Disabled and How to Fix It

As we know, Facebook ads have completely changed the advertising game. They make it easier for small and large businesses alike to reach their targeted audiences in innovative and effective ways. The possibilities are endless. Unless, of course, your ad account gets disabled. If this has happened to you, not to worry! You’re not alone. We know firsthand how awful this experience can be. 

In this post, we will answer all of the questions you may have about Facebook ad account deactivation. If you’re in the clear, stick around to learn ways you can protect your account from being deactivated in the future. 

Why was your account deactivated?

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t always say exactly why your account has been disabled. If you get a message like this one, you will need to rereview their Advertising Policies. In this post, we explain the most common reasons for account disablement. 

The Most Common Reasons for Account Deactivation

Uh oh. So you’ve attempted to log in to your ad account and up pops the red box of death. It states that your account has been disabled for violating Facebook’s terms of use or advertising guidelines. You’re in complete shock and your first thought is obviously, “Why?!” 

There are many reasons an ad account can be disabled. Facebook lists these reasons on their ad policies page. The most common reasons include: 

Unsettled or Pending settlement 

You may not have violated any of Facebook’s community guidelines or terms of use. If this is the case, log in and check your account to see if all payments have been settled. Consider yourself lucky, because this is an easy fix. 

Make sure that your payment and billing information is up to date. For example, perhaps you received a new card from your bank. Make sure that the new card information has been updated on your account. Once the payment is settled, it shouldn’t take long before your ads are up and running again. 

Branded Content 

Facebook defines branded content as “any post—including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos and Live videos—from media companies, celebrities or other influencers that features a third party product, brand or sponsor.” For example, a makeup brand may collaborate with a beauty influencer to promote a new eyeshadow palette. 

Facebook updated their branded content policy in 2016. It requires influencers and publishers to tag the company they are collaborating with on paid partnership and sponsorship posts. Make sure that, both, ads and organic posts tag the business partner. 

It’s important to Facebook that users know when they are viewing an ad. Customers don’t want to feel like they are being tricked into purchasing a product or service. They will naturally be open to products introduced by their favorite influencers, as long as those individuals are trustworthy. 

Since the policy update, Facebook has created a tool for branded content. This feature allows publishers and influencers to officially tag a business partner. It also gives both parties access to insightful information, such as engagement, reach metrics, total spend, and CPM. 

“Paid sponsorship with [company name]” will now appear at the top of the post, under the influencer’s instagram account name. Benjamin Chacon’s article on branded content includes a step-by-step tutorial on how to tag and post branded content. 

Personal Attributes 

Facebook’s policy regarding personal attributes states: 

“Ads must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name.”

Whoa! We know, we know. That list is longer than an ten-foot anaconda. However, hopefully we can all agree, these terms are necessary. 

It’s so important to remain mindful of the way we word advertisements, so that they will not offend others. Focus on your unique selling proposition, and try to avoid questions that ask the viewer identifying questions. 

For example, “Gingivitis getting in the way of your relationship? Get help now,” is not permitted. It implies that you know that the viewer has gingivitis, which is too personal and invasive. Instead, try, “We have dental care plans for your every need. Click here for more info.” 

Sexually Suggestive Content

Yikes! Believe it or not, this is a topic that Facebook describes as a “common point of confusion.” Other platforms may give more leeway in this area, but Facebook has strict guidelines on what it deems acceptable in regards to explicit material or images. 

Adult content is never permitted in Facebook advertisements. This includes, “nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.” But perhaps you are in the business of selling undergarments, body wash, or art. You must still tread lightly. 

For example, images that focus on specific body parts, even if not “explicitly sexual in nature,” are not permitted. However, images of art, such as greek statues, are generally deemed acceptable. 

Facebook Brand Usage 

Facebook states, ads that link to Facebook or Instagram content (such as pages, groups, events, or sites that use Facebook Login), “may make limited reference to ‘Facebook’ or ‘Instagram’ in ad text for the purpose of clarifying the destination of the ad.” 

However, Facebook branding cannot be the most “distinctive or prominent part of the creative.” You may be thinking, “I’ll use the Facebook logo in my ad to grab the attention of viewers.” Perhaps it would make the ad seem more “official.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but using the Facebook logo in any way, shape, or form is strictly prohibited. 

What are other reasons for account deactivation? 

Violating Restricted Content Policies

For many of the topics below, your company will need to apply for written permission from Facebook. Others depend on the laws and jurisdictions in the area you are planning to advertise. Some require certifications, age requirements, and/or additional authorizations. For details regarding these guidelines, visit Facebook’s restricted content page. 

Content that is permitted but restricted are as follows: 

  • Alcohol
  • Dating
  • Real Money Gambling
  • State Lotteries
  • Online Pharmacies
  • Promotion of Over-the-Counter Drugs
  • Financial and Insurance Products and Services
  • Branded Content 
  • Ads About Social Issues, Elections, or Politics
  • Cryptocurrency Products and Services 
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment 
  • Weight Loss Products and Plans 

Posting Prohibited Content 

If you’ve read the violations above and are still scratching your head, review Facebook’s page on prohibited content. Posting anything on this list is a big no-no.

What can you do? 

Submit an appeal

So, you’ve reviewed all the guidelines above, and you’re screaming, “I’m innocent, I tell you. Innocent!”  Fortunately, you have the option to submit an appeal

First, you must log in to your Facebook account. You will be prompted to enter your advertiser account identification number. Then, you will have the opportunity to state the issues you are experiencing and describe your recent account activity. 

We know, you’re probably in the heat of the moment trying to quickly resolve this injustice, but we agree with Jerry Banfield. Take the time to write an email that is honest, descriptive, and appreciative. 

Also, don’t forget to cite the exact Facebook policy or policies you think your ad(s) may have broken. Make sure to mention that you’ll fix the errors and do better in the future. Basically, be remorseful and ask for another chance.

Fortunately, for us, our account was accidentally deactivated. We found out after filing an appeal and explaining our situation in a logical and thoughtful manner. 

If your appeal is denied, there are still some things you can do. If your offense was minor, you may be able to create a new ad account. Don’t know where to start? Banfield has created an easy to follow, step-by-step guide on how to do this. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to keep trying. Even if you receive a denial from Facebook, try again, and again. 

Remember that your appeal may have been read by AI (artificial intelligence)/ a robot, which often produces a canned response. Even if the response is “final,” you can still keep asking. Obviously, there’s a limit. If you’ve received 10, 20 or 50 denials, it’s safe to assume that it’s a hard no.

This is a perfect example of why it’s important not to rely on a single platform for advertising. Be sure to diversify your marketing efforts across multiple channels. Similar to the Facebook and Instagram outage earlier this year, this experience is a reminder not to put all your eggs in one basket. 

Speak with a Facebook Marketing Expert 

If filing an appeal leads to a dead end, try contacting a Facebook Marketing Expert. Facebook Marketing Experts are Facebook employees who provide free consultations and make recommendations for ad optimization. 

First, you’ll need to find out if you are eligible for a consultation. Then you can schedule an appointment. 

Since appeals are most likely processed by AI, contacting a Facebook Marketing Expert will give you the opportunity to speak with a real person. During the call, you can ask for advice on future ad campaigns. Explain that your ad account has been deactivated and you’re seeking advice to avoid policy violations in the future. 

Ask for his/her opinion on why your account was disabled. There’s a chance they will not be able to give you a definitive answer. But, there is a chance they will be able to view details on the back end, to give you an informed opinion. 

How long will it take? 

The appeal process could take anywhere between several hours to a couple weeks. To avoid this inconvenience, it’s best to prevent this predicament altogether. Read below to see how you can prevent the deactivation of your ad account.  

How can you avoid this? 

If your account has not been disabled and you would like to avoid the horror stories you’ve heard from your colleagues, there are ways you can protect yourself. The last thing you want is to incur so many infractions that you are banned from Facebook advertising, forever. Gasp! 

Julie Stoian, CEO of Create Your Laptop Life, has great tips on how to protect your account from deactivation. If you sought out this article to be proactive, have a look at her suggestions below. 

  1. Review Facebook’s terms and policies thoroughly beforehand
  2. Keep a lookout for updates and amendments. We know, this list of “don’ts” seems to go on forever, but it is important to stay abreast of these guidelines. 
  3. Stoian recommends that you set up one ad and get it approved before duplicating it and running multiple at one time. This way, your ad money doesn’t go down the drain if your account is temporarily disabled for a minor infraction. 
  4. Stoian also recommends having multiple administrators for each back-up account. If one administrator is disabled, another may take his or her place. 
  5. Only set up accounts with payment information when you are ready to use them, and do not put payment information into accounts that you are not actively using. 
  6. Use Facebook Business Manager, not your personal ad account. This way, you can have separate ad accounts for each client or business. If something were to go wrong, all accounts would not be in jeopardy. 
  7. Keep a close eye on the comments. Not all negative comments come from “internet trolls.”  Negative comments can be indicators of a community guideline violation. This should be addressed promptly. What’s worse than being deactivated? Being deactivated and “cancelled.” 
  8. Do not schedule ads too frequently. We understand. You want repeat exposure to your ad. However, ads that are seen too frequently often get flagged. 
  9. Last but not least, Stoian recommends doing a final review of the ad copy, ad creative, and landing page prior to getting approved. 

Phew! 

If your ad account was deactivated, hopefully you now feel equipped with the information you need to hit the ground running again. We know, deactivation is scary and upsetting but with the tools listed above, there’s a chance this nightmare is soon to be over. 

In the spirit of spooky season, feel free to share you deactivation horror story below. We hope your story has a happy ending! 

Share this post with a friend, peer, or colleague and help them avoid this terror. 

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