Curious about banned words on Facebook?
Want to avoid Facebook ad mistakes?
These blunders can cause wasted time – and money!
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Words to avoid in Facebook ads.
- 7 common Facebook ad mistakes inexperienced advertisers make.
- 13 policy-related mistakes that could get your ad disapproved.
- 3 lessons learned from Neil Patel’s $400,000 Facebook ad spend.
- Facebook ad placements for top results.
- Free Facebook ad training: 30 minute video, no email required.
So let’s get started!
Are There Banned Words for Facebook Ads?
Looking for a list of banned words on Facebook?
FB has 30 pages of prohibited content, but none list banned words.
But we do know what kinds of words to avoid!
Profanity is forbidden in Facebook ads, along with using numbers or symbols to stand in for letters.
This includes images, as shown below.
- Correct grammar and punctuation in the text you use for your ad.
- “Click here for more information!”
- Profane language, including profanity that is partially obscured by asterisks or symbols.
- “Get the best f*&%ing tshirts here.”
- Excessive symbols, characters, or punctuation.
- Misused capitalization, like using all capital letters in your ad’s text.
The word “Facebook”
Here’s one word you should avoid, with ONE exception.
Facebook doesn’t want you inferring any partnership or endorsement between them and your company.
Make things simple – just don’t use this word EXCEPT:
Ads linking to Facebook or Instagram content (including 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. source
False or misleading content
Not surprisingly, you can’t post any false or misleading content. Don’t exaggerate or set unrealistic expectations.
- “Learn to Lose Belly Fat.”
- “Tips to lose weight.”
- “Earn profits every 2 weeks.”
- Include deceptive or exaggerated ad copy that incentivizes people to click on your ad.
- “3 Shocking Tips to Lose All Your Belly Fat.”
- “1 crazy tip to lose weight!”
- “Earn 15% profits every 2 weeks.”
The word “you”
Does Facebook say you can’t use this word? Nope.
The problem arises when you speak directly to your audience in a way that indicates you’ve targeted your ad to them.
Understand, you absolutely should target your ad to the best possible audience, but shouldn’t let them suspect that you did!
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.
It includes reference to “other” and any insinuations that your audience is targeted, as noted below.
- “Meet Hispanic men online now!”
- “Date Christian singles!”
- “A service for teens.”
- “We have financial services to cover every financial need.”
- “We print customizable t-shirts and stickers with your name.”
- “Meet other black singles near you!”
- “Are you Christian?”
- “Car insurance for 18-24 year olds.”
- “Broke? Bankrupt? Check out our services.”
- “Billy Taylor, get this t-shirt with your name in print!” OR “It’s a Billy thing.”
Here’s a humorous video from Andrea Vahl explaining more about the YOU thing.
Don’t include text (or images of course) that infringes the rights of a third party.
If you see a great ad headline, landing page copy, etc. let it inspire yours. Don’t swipe it.
Facebook Ad Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Want a good return on your Facebook ads?
Beware! There are more rules and guidelines to follow now than ever before.
The ones outlined by Facebook could get your ads disapproved if you ignore them.
Plus, there are best practices that affect ad performance. Even if Facebook approves your ad, it could still flounder if you didn’t implement these practices.
Save time and money! Educate yourself about Facebook advertising.
7 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes Newbie Advertisers Make
If you don’t know all the ins and outs of Facebook advertising, you’re more likely to make one of these common mistakes that set your ads up to fail.
1. The Wrong Objective
If you don’t know what a Meta Ads Manager objective is, it’s time you learned. Otherwise, you are sure to make the mistake of choosing the wrong one.
Meta has simplified from 11 to 6 ad objectives to choose from. Each objective focuses on the particular goal you have for your campaign.
For example, do you want customers to install your app, buy products from your e-commerce store, or provide contact information?
For each of these three goals, you must choose a specific ad objective. These particular goals would require the App promotion, Sales, and Leads objectives, respectively.
Choosing the right objective is vital to a successful campaign because it determines your ads’ results. If you choose the wrong one, you’ll end up wasting time and money on something that won’t deliver the results you really want.
2. The Wrong Ad Delivery Optimization and Bidding Strategy
You should never spend more than your budget.
The delivery optimization you choose tells Facebook to deliver your ad to users with the highest potential of converting. For example, you may want users to install your app or purchase a product.
The bidding strategy you choose lets Facebook know what actions you want to be charged for. For example, you may choose to be charged for every click on your ad, install of your app, or view of your video.
Optimization and bidding strategy rely heavily on the objective you choose for your campaign.
So, for example, you’d want to choose the app installs deliver optimization for an app installs objective. Similarly, you’d want to choose the Link Click (CPC) bidding strategy to pay only for clicks your ad to download your app.
Avoid using the incorrect ad delivery optimization and bidding strategy, and you’ll be good to go.
3. Neglecting to Refresh Creatives
Users quickly grow tired of seeing the same ad creative over and over. Your campaigns are far more likely to perform well if you refresh creatives at least every two weeks.
It may take some time, but it helps prevent ad fatigue, which happens when your audience starts ignoring your ad after seeing it too many times.
When you have ad fatigue, you will see a rise in costs and a significant drop in frequency, conversions, and return on investment.
But how can you refresh creatives? Below are several ways to inexpensively refresh your creatives:
- Add or remove price details, emojis, product or brand name
- Switch from first person to third person or vice versa
- Change CTA verbiage
- Turn statements to questions or vice versa
- Add filters, text, stickers, quirky backgrounds, among other effects to existing images
- Add or remove brand logo
- Turn existing photos and videos into gifs
Rotate Ad Formats
- Rotate between the different ad formats Facebook offers: single image, video, carousel, slideshow, and canvas.
4. Reckless Spending
When something doesn’t work the first time, you may be tempted to spend a few extra bucks on something slightly different before even identifying the actual problem.
Don’t recklessly spend money on your Facebook ads!
Choose a bidding amount that isn’t too low lest competitors outbid you. Once your ads generate flourishing results, slowly increase your budget.
If your ads start to perform poorly, stop running them and address the issue before running them again.
In other words, spend your money wisely. Invest only in ads that are working. If you don’t, your spending could spiral out of control.
5. Poor Targeting
Audience targeting is everything in Facebook advertising. Who you show your ads to affects the success of your campaign.
For example, you wouldn’t want to deliver an ad for feminine products to older men whose Facebook activity suggests primarily masculine characteristics.
It’s very important to understand who your audience is (i.e. who is most likely to respond to your ad) and be as detailed as possible with your targeting.
Detailed targeting is key.
If your audience targeting is too broad, you will end up paying for ads delivered to users who are not interested in your business.
Use these three targeting tricks to reach only audiences that will be interested:
- Target existing customers by uploading a customer list to Facebook Custom Audience.
- Target new customers similar to existing customers by creating a Lookalike Audience.
- Target new interested customers by targeting those who have interacted with your Facebook page.
6. Only Static Creatives
Images have their moments for sure, but you shouldn’t use only static creatives for your Facebook ads. If most of your ads are static, try switching it up with a video or gif.
Moving imagery is far more captivating than static imagery, which means your audience is far more likely to click on your ad with the former. One of the reasons video and gif ads are more engaging is that they can help you tell a story, no matter how brief.
As with any story, your audience likes to know what happens next. If you don’t have the time or money to spend on quality video ads, consider gif ads.
You can easily create gifs using apps like:
And many others available in your app store.
7. No A/B Testing
If you don’t A/B test, you’ll receive discouraging results.
A/B testing is the practice of exchanging different elements of your ad to see which version performs best.
You can test call-to-action button against call-to-action button, image against image, copy against copy, and targeting against targeting.
For example, an A/B test might reveal that one image helps your ad perform better than another. Or you may find that a “shop now” call to action performs better than a “learn more” call to action.
You’d be surprised at what you can learn from a simple A/B test. The more you test, the more you can perfect the ideal Facebook ad for your campaign.
13 Facebook Policy-Related Ad Mistakes
Until this point, we’ve only discussed common mistakes that lead to poor-performing ads. But there are some mistakes that could lead to Facebook disapproving your ads.
If your ads violate any of Facebook’s advertising policies, you will not be allowed to run them on the platform.
Here are some policy-related mistakes that could get in the way of a successful Facebook campaign.
A Non-Functioning Landing Page
No one likes a landing page that’s slow or doesn’t navigate well. If your ad takes users to a non-functioning landing page, Facebook will disapprove it.
A Landing Page That Doesn’t Match the Ad
Facebook considers a landing page that doesn’t match the content your ad promotes to be clickbait.
Clickbait is content that leads users to think they’re going to see one thing but then takes them to a page with unexpected content. Facebook will disapprove these kinds of ads.
Inappropriate or Offensive Content
Facebook prohibits content that includes profanity, sexual innuendo, and discrimination. You will not be allowed to run any ads that contain this type of content, so keep it out of your copy and creative.
Content That Encourages Illegal or Unethical Behavior
Facebook does not allow the promotion of illegal drugs or unauthorized streaming devices.
If your business encourages illegal behavior, you should not be advertising on Facebook.
Facebook disapproves ads that infringe or violate any third-party’s copyright or trademark. Make sure your creative is honest and original.
Misleading or False Content
Don’t make any false or misleading claims in your ad about your products or services. Your ad will fail if you do.
Content Containing Prohibited Products or Services
Surveillance equipment, payday loans, counterfeit documents, tobacco, unsafe supplements, and weapons are all products and services that Facebook does not allow you to promote in ads.
Explore other platforms if you need to promote any of these to save yourself the time and money on a Facebook ad that will be disapproved.
Low-Quality or Disruptive Content
Facebook frowns upon anything that gives users a negative online experience. If your ad takes users to slow-loading pages, broken links, or pages with incorrect grammar, Facebook will disapprove it.
Do not make a video ad that plays automatically without first giving users the choice to engage with it. If your ad disrupts the user experience in any way, Facebook will disapprove it and your ad will fail.
In light of the Russian interference during the 2016 US Presidential Election using Facebook ads, Facebook is cracking down on content about controversial topics used for commercial purposes. For example, Facebook does not allow ads on topics like abortion or gun control.
Too Much Text in Your Image
Facebook has a 20 percent text rule for ad images, which means your image should not contain more than 20 percent of text. If your ad is disapproved, it may be because it violates this rule.
Copy That Mentions Facebook
Don’t use the word “Facebook” in your ad. Facebook doesn’t allow it for these reasons:
- It doesn’t want any companies claiming partnership with its brand.
- It doesn’t want anyone asserting rights over the brand.
- It doesn’t want anyone associating the brand with pornography, illegal activities, among others that violate its policies.
Before-and-after photos can misrepresent real results when someone buys your product. Facebook tries to nip this kind of problem in the bud and therefore does not allow ads with before-and-after photos.
3 Lessons Learned from a $400K Facebook Ad Spend
Neil Patel is a digital marketing wizard! When he shares insights, I listen up.
Here he shares how he wasted 6 figures on Facebook ads.
Don’t do this – watch the video and take notes!
I’ve spent a ton of money on Facebook ads, hopefully you can learn from the EXPENSIVE mistakes I’ve made.
Facebook Ad Placements Guide
When you want an instant, cost-effective way to reach your audience, there’s no better way than to advertise on Facebook. With billions of daily active users, exposure and conversion are guaranteed, even on its affiliate sites.
Depending on the nature of your campaign, there are two placement options that you can take advantage: automatic and edit.
The former means Facebook will choose the place where they think your ad is going to perform based on its goals, while the latter will let you decide for yourself.
Automatic placement claims to have the lowest average cost overall, but placing ads manually is more useful if you already have previous data to work with.
These are the available types of Facebook ad placements for you, but keep in mind that not all of these supports every kind of ad.
All are summarized on an infographic at the end of this post. Be sure to check the section on “Best Ad Placements According to Objective.”
1. Desktop News Feed Ads
They appear on the news feed along with posts from other people when viewed from a desktop computer.
This placement typically has 2–4 times higher CPC than mobile news feed, and ten times more than the audience network.
2. Mobile News Feed Ads
A mobile news feed ad is noticeable compared to the desktop because it maximizes the screen of the device. It has lower CPC than desktop, but higher than right column.
3. Right Column Ads
Ads on the right-hand sidebar of the Facebook desktop site are semi-permanently displayed and ideal for retargeting campaigns.
4. Audience Network Ads
Affiliate apps and websites like the Washington Post, Univision, and Daily Mirror can carry audience network ads, which have four times lower CPC than mobile news feed.
5. Instant Articles
These are ads placed in between paragraphs of articles.
6. Instagram Ads
Highly visual products or services can benefit from Instagram, with research showing that 60% of its users find new products and services here.
7. Messenger Ads
The newest ad placement is for businesses who want to reach their audience directly to explain their offer better, try their product, or have them revisit their store.
Learn more about these different ad placements and how your business can benefit from them with the infographic at the end. Save it to your “Business” or “Marketing Tips” board on Pinterest!
Reference it often to help you in your quest to place Facebook ads more effectively!
FREE Facebook Ad Training Video
Do Facebook ads feel crazy complicated to you?
Do you need a primer on Facebook ad basics?
Learn to use Facebook ads effectively to increase your sales without blowing your budget.
You’ll learn how to interpret the Facebook Ads metrics, how to make your ads more effective, and what you should do every time you create a new Facebook ad.
Here’s Tim from Ultimate Bundles, who handles all the advertising for their sales. He’s become quite a Facebook ads expert!
Watch it through once, as I’m sure you’ll find the overview helpful.
This timeline will help you review the sections you need more help with.
[6:35] The Biggest Thing to Remember with Facebook Ads
[8:06] What a Good Facebook Ad Campaign Always Starts With
[10:39] What Most People Need Before They’re Comfortable Buying Your Product
[12:50] The Value of Facebook – You Can Test Everything!
[15:01] Which Funnels Are Best for Facebook Ads
[17:32] Why Newbies Should Stick to Retargeting
[21:57] What a Low Click-Through Rate Tells You About Your Ad Campaign
[24:12] Exact Steps to Promote Your Next Affiliate Promotion or Bundle Sale
[28:41] Concluding Thoughts
Run the Best Facebook Ads Now!
Your Facebook ads can deliver astoundingly positive results when done right. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making any of these common mistakes.
We covered 20 mistakes that could ruin your Facebook ads, and more.
- 7 common mistakes inexperienced advertisers make.
- 13 policy-related mistakes that could get your ad disapproved.
- Banned words in Facebook ads.
- Ad placements for top results (infographic below).
- And more!
Before spending unnecessary time and money, check yourself (and your creative) to ensure everything is mistake-free, and you’ll be just fine.
Part of this post was written by Anna Hubbel, writer at AdvertiseMint, Facebook ads company. Part of the text and the ad placements infographic was provided by Spiralytics. Additional copy, editing, and design by site owner Louise Myers.
For more help with Facebook ad sizes:
Be sure to bookmark or “Pin” this post so you can create the best Facebook ad campaign!