Winner CIM Best Agency NI

Banned From Ads: Why Advertisers are Turning Their Backs on Facebook

For years, Facebook has been the big enchilada of advertising, holding part of a duopoly with Google. Facebook ads have been able to offer second-to-none user targeting and tracking capabilities throughout the ‘wild west’ of consumer data collection and online advertising. As such, Facebook has become all-the-more powerful while Marketers have revelled in high returns that have been able to transform the flexibility, mobility and speed-to-sale of online businesses. 1:20 ROAS? No problem.

Banned From Ads: Why Advertisers are Turning Their Backs on Facebook

However, it seems the ‘wild west’ is ending and Facebook has not been able to handle the demand for changes well, considering the company was built on foundations that are no longer accepted by government regulation, changing user perception and platforms themselves (see the demands currently being placed on Facebook’s user tracking capabilities by recent iOS14 updates). All of this mess makes Google ads look like a glowing beacon of how to deal with consumer data safety correctly without damaging real businesses’ ability to achieve profitable returns and, quite frankly, without p*ssing off the entirety of digital marketers in the process. So, here’s why (as we’ve heard) Marketers are starting to jump off the sinking Titanic that is Facebook ads for the greener pastures of Google ads, LinkedIn ads and Twitters ads.

Unexplained Personal Facebook Account Bans & Locking Facebook Ads Accounts 

Personal account restrictions on Facebook advertising

Nothing ruins your day quite like Facebook restricting advertising through your personal account! What makes things even worse is the lack of explanation from Facebook. With a click of their fingers, Facebook has taken all of your control away and you are left with a screen similar to the screenshot below making all your fears a reality in an instant.

Unexplained Personal Account Bans & Locking Facebook Ads Accounts

At this point, all you can do is reluctantly upload a copy of your ID and leave it in the hands of Facebook for an unknown amount of time. So, Facebook in effect: take your ID, take your control and give no support – where is the fairness in that?

Business account restrictions on advertising

Every month for the past 6 or so months we have been contacted by marketeers and business owners – heck, even government bodies –  who are in despair because their Facebook business account has received a ban or restricted access out of the blue and they’ve not been told the reason.

And every day we see Facebook marketers in closed Facebook Ad groups begging for answers about client ad accounts getting restricted or banned.

Business account restrictions on advertising on Facebook

“Your Advertising Access is Restricted • You’re no longer allowed to use Facebook Products to advertise. You can’t run ads, manage advertising assets or create new ad or business accounts.”

You're no longer allowed to use Facebook Products to advertise

“You’ve reached the maximum number of reviews allowed. You will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook. This is our final decision.

You've reached the maximum number of reviews allowed. You will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

It is making marketers nervous to continue advertising on the platform in case their personal account gets locked or their ads accounts get restricted. Marketers around the globe are frustrated and angry that Facebook is consuming (and unnecessarily wasting) so much of their time trying to troubleshoot client ad accounts and incorrect actions like this costing them time and money. They simply do not have the capacity for this and it is imperative that Facebook approves the ad, takes the money and starts generating results for the client.

We will come on to address Facebook’s support (or lack of) later. But what is most frustrating is Facebook does not give clear reasoning as to why this is happening and thus marketers are left pulling their hair out. We really wish Facebook were more transparent and open about how they handle things regarding this issue because from where we stand it is nothing but a complete and utter sh*t show.

What can you do about personal or business account restrictions?

But to help you with what we do know, here are some of the more commonly known reasons for Facebook ads being rejected and accounts getting restricted.

  1. You are promoting something prohibited – things like adults services/ products, payday loans, multi level marketing schemes, tobacco products, prescription medication, you can’t sell anything that is intended to hurt other people – that is open to interpretation!
  2. You are promoting something restricted – Facebook – just like Google – take social responsibility seriously. Therefore if you are advertising the likes of weight loss products and services, alcohol, gambling, dating services, pharmacies, subscription service, loans, financial service, branded content – to name a few – you need to comply with their strict terms.
  3. You are not following Facebook’s ‘terms of service’ or ‘community standards’ – before you even begin promoting your products or services on Facebook it is worth taking the time to read their community standards here. Areas that fall within their community standards are anything that might promote discrimination, hate, encourage injury or suicide,  ads with nudity or sexual activity, anything that targets victims of serious physical or emotional harm, threats or danger, violence, criminal behaviour.

It is also worth noting that If your ad violates any copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights, it will get restricted.

In addition if you have mistakes in your ad copy, or not complied with their creative rules, or indeed have not declared your website url as safe within the ‘brand safety’ element of business manager – all these will have an impact.

Now, at this point, we must note that if you are a business that has employed a Marketing Agency and your business account or ads account has been restricted, these ‘bans’ and ‘restrictions’ are mostly falsely dished out at this time. In fact, mis-fires of the Facebook ‘ban hammer’ have become more and more common since the start of lockdown in early 2020. We recommend that you get all the information regarding the alleged offence and talk directly to your agency before pointing any fingers.

Insights from Digital 24’s Audience

We recently ran a 24 hour poll on Instagram asking our followers if they had ever had their business account restricted or banned.

Insights from Digital 24’s Audience

61% of respondents = 325 people answered yes.

Perhaps what is most telling of the times that we are in is the poll we ran after asking would advertisers turn their backs on the platform if given the choice.

Insights from Digital 24’s Audience on Facebook advertising

59% – said they would turn their backs on Facebook advertising.

We sit on the fence on this one tbh.

There’s no denying how incredibly successful our client campaigns have been and how transformational the results from Facebook ads are for growing client businesses across the globe. Facebook targeting has been the most sophisticated out of all platforms – how could we possibly move away. However – as more and more people turn their backs on the platform, we have to ask ourselves is it time for businesses to move to other platforms such as Google – where everything is so much more transparent and simpler?

Customer Support? No Need! 

Facebook has over 10 million advertisers, and thus relies on automation to be able to answer the many questions being asked. As such, it’s unlikely they have the capacity to manually cater to each and every issue, question and request, which is what leads to problems with its automated account suspensions and lack of follow-up customer service support.

During the first lockdown in March 2020 there was no customer support available at all. Now, customer support has very little power to action any current issues regarding unexplained bans. The help, if you can get it, is very limited.

Facebook has over 10 million advertisers lack of customer service

This, we gather, is what has led to 59% of our audience responding that they would leave Facebook if they could (of 61% that have experienced a restricted account). It’s not that performance on Facebook isn’t amazing. It’s that, when account issues occur, Facebook’s support and “Help” articles are incredibly vague. What’s more, there’s far less online community support than for the likes of Google. This means that accidental bans and restrictions can be more stressful than they need to be, especially if you don’t already know what to do in this situation.

Note: If you’re confused, we find it almost more helpful to look for help outside of Facebook from the wider community of bloggers and forums. If you do need to talk to Facebook support, here’s a handy article from Postplanner on How to Contact Facebook and Get Support When You Need It’. 

At Digital 24, we always recommend that you do not allow your audiences to be ‘owned’ by another company regardless of the situation, whether it be Facebook or Google. For example, having your business rely on your Facebook following. We are investing more time into building our clients’ email lists. This helps reduce the potential impact if a business or account restriction does occur – and we recommend you do the same. 

Picture of Meghan Semple

Meghan Semple

I'm Digital 24's Performance Marketing Director. My bread and butter's in advertising on channels like Facebook and Google as well as others like TikTok, Pinterest and LinkedIn... However, I'm quite a data-driven person and love chatting all-things tracking, analytics and even some SEO!