I was recently featured in a few articles about local media buying (what an honor!) and discussed some of the biggest recommendations on media buying for local TV station marketing directors.
One of the recommendations was Facebook advertising - and a commenter noted that they have had significant issues with approvals on Facebook due to the platform flagging a promo that related to politics.
It's so frustrating to have that happen - I've been in that boat SO many times and have definitely been in the position of telling a client their ad never got approved in time.
One of the biggest things I have learned is to anticipate these approval issues well in advance of when the creative is set to go live. If news is covering anything to do with marijuana/cannabis, supplements, politics, alcohol, pornography etc. there is a strong likelihood the ad will get rejected by their algorithm before a human reviews it. Even articles about real estate get flagged because real estate is a special ad category on Facebook that has very unique and strict rules that do not apply to a news story or news promotion.
Here are a few of my tips for Facebook's infuriating approval process:
1) Anticipate Disapprovals For Some Subjects: News doesn't like a deadline before a deadline - but your creative has to be done and ready early for Facebook if they cover any potentially controversial subject (ummmm.... can you say every other story!?).
2) ReWord: Can you write around the word alcohol or supplements? Can you use a nickname for marijuana instead? Sometimes the simple trick of rewriting your headline and copy can help get it approved faster.
3) Always contest a rejected ad: If you let it go and have too many Facebook may see you as a bad actor and suspend your account. They may even suspend your page although it would have to be very egregious for such a dramatic move.
3) Try Different Versions: If your ad is rejected or you think it might be - try a few different versions - it's easy to turn off an approved ad if the #1 pick is approved.
4) Put the Copy In The Video: If all your copy is in the video it often gets flagged less for controversial topics.
5) Give It Time: Ad rejections come fast, reviews do not. It will take at least 24 hours sometimes to get an ad reviewed - so back-time your creative upload to accommodate for this delay.
6) Know the Rules: Seems simple but the rules are not just about things like politics. You can post an article with copy that seems to single someone out and it will get rejected for being discriminatory. Non-functional images that seem functional will also get rejected (think a "play" button that's not real).
7) Reach out to support: If things are taking too long or you want to know what's wrong. In my experience Facebook support is helpful about 25% of the time but it's worth it to take that chance.
8) Hire A Social Media Buyer: If it's draining your time to contest rejected ads, learn the nuances of the platform and know all the rules - a buyer can help take that work off your plate. Typically social-media agencies are expensive but there are a bevvy of freelancers who buy social for clients - just make sure your buyer is domestic, has a good track record and is only allowed advertiser access to your account. (Most station groups have rules to prevent shenanigans so make sure you know your company's rules).
9) Find An Alternative: Over the past few years due to the heated political climate and the Cambridge Analytica scandal Facebook has really made anything related to politics tough to promote. If you are running a promo about a story related to politics consider finding other places to run that ad - NextDoor, Reddit, Twitter, PreRoll, Display and Connected TV are worth considering depending on your budget. I advise clients who know their promotional calendar in advance to move any Facebook ad dollars if they anticipate an issue.