Facebook’s New Guidelines for Advertisers: Details of What Not to Do

Facebook updated its guidelines on what types of advertising cannot run in its performance ad network, last week. But we’ve since heard that a range of companies have been going back and forth with Facebook about what specific types of ads are acceptable or not. There has been some confusion in the market.

Facebook’s blog post referenced four general points about what ads shouldn’t do, but didn’t get into details or examples. Those points were: Unexpected User Experience, Unclear Recurring End Product, Unsubstantiated Claims and Unacceptable Business Models.

However, affiliate marketer Jonathan Volk, who is active on Facebook, posted the more specific version that Facebook sent out to him and others. For sake of helping people understand what not to do, we’re reposting his long excerpt from the document below.

Improving Ad Quality

Ad quality and user feedback have always been important considerations for Facebook Ads, and are significant factors in determining which ads we accept and display on the site. We’ve recently taken a close look at the ads that drive the most negative feedback, and identified four key themes behind ads that are detrimental to the user experience. As a result, we’re strengthening our Advertising Guidelines in these key areas to ensure that all Facebook Ads meet our high quality standards.

Unexpected User Experience

Advertised products may not generate any unanticipated user experience. This includes, but is not limited to:

1.  Computer performance changes, such as the unexpected installation of any secondary software or the overlay of advertisements on the user’s browser or operating system

2. Unanticipated recurring charges

3.  Undisclosed sale or distribution of requested user information. Any distribution of user information must be confirmed through user consent.

Unclear Recurring End Product

Advertisements must be clear and straightforward in describing any recurring end product to the user. The advertised offer must directly match the service being sold, and ads should provide the user with a clear understanding of what he or she is purchasing. Facebook Ads for products with recurring billing cycles should not:

1. Focus on an advertised “hook” without disclosing the core subscription-based service. Example: “Take a quiz!” (for a service that includes ringtones, wallpaper, or other undisclosed services).

2. Position a subscription-based service as a single product or billing interval. Example: ”Try now for $2.95” (for a service that includes monthly billing intervals)

Unsubstantiated Claims

Ads must not include unsubstantiated claims. Ads must clearly represent the offer, company, product, or brand that is being advertised. Unacceptable claims include, but are not limited to:

1.  Unrealistic prices or rates. Examples: “$0.50 LCD TVs,” “$10/month health insurance”

2. Use of current events or news reports to create false associations with the advertised product. Political events or images may not be
used for an irrelevant commercial agenda. Example: “Breaking News: Great car insurance rates”

3. Use of false qualifications to create a sense of relevancy. Example: “If you are right-handed, you qualify for low premiums”

4. Implication of dynamic ad content Examples: “7 minutes remaining,” “only (3) available”

5. Implied knowledge or passing of user data. Examples: “See who searched for you,” “you have been chosen”

Unacceptable Business Models

Ads will not be permitted in cases where a business model or practice is deemed unacceptable or contrary to Facebook’s overall advertising
philosophy. Unacceptable business models include, but are not limited to:

1. Lead generation offers which sell or distribute a user’s information to larger extent than indicated by the landing page

2. Offers that require a user to complete several hidden steps or make additional purchases in order to receive the promised product

3. Offers that require the input of user information for complete access to offer or product details

4.  Ads promoting deceptive recurring billing services

5.  Downloadable software that may affect the user’s computer or browser performance in unexpected or undesirable ways

To stay up to date on how Facebook’s changing policies will affect your business, check out Inside Facebook Gold – our membership analysis and data service on the Facebook business ecosystem.