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Marketing 360® Blog

Facebook Ads Personal Attributes Policy (Tips to Avoid Ad Disapproval)

Post By Scott Yoder | Case Studies | Facebook Ads

Facebook Ad’s personal attributes is its most nuanced ad policy. Here’s a breakdown that will help you avoid having your ads disapproved for this area of noncompliance.

Look at the following ad. Do you think Facebook would disapprove it?

There isn’t an obvious problem with this ad. There is nothing offensive, controversial, or racists. But Facebook disapproved it.

The reason is Facebook’s personal attribute policy. This is a nuanced policy that, other than using too much text in a Facebook ad, is one of the main reasons ads get disapproved.

This one is easy to miss. For instance, the problem with the dental ad is that it implies that the person has a medical condition.

With this policy, Facebook wants to avoid ads that trigger any type of personal reaction from people, and in particular, a reaction that might generate negative emotions.

If they change the content to something like: “Get help anytime with any dental emergency” the ad would be approved.

One of the things to avoid here is asking questions. For example, if your ad says:

Did your 401k take a beating last month?

This will be disapproved. Instead you’d need say something like:

“We turn 401k into happy retirements.”

Also, stay away from the term “other”. For example, this would get disapproved:

“Meet other black singles near you”.

Instead say:

“Meet black singles online now.”

Personal attributes you can’t imply include:

  • Race
  • Religion or Philosophical Beliefs
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation or Behavior
  • Gender Identity
  • Disability or Medical Condition
  • Financial Status or Information
  • Membership in a Trade Union
  • Criminal Record
  • Name

Why Facebook Has the Personal Attributes Policy

Again, most people would look at the dental ad or an ad that says “Meet other seniors near you” and not consider them a problem.

So why does Facebook?

Facebook wants people to use and stay on their system as long as possible (and return as soon as possible).

If an ad makes people feel unhappy or uncomfortable – even if the implication is indirect – that it will cause them to leave Facebook and not return.

People don’t go on Facebook to be reminded that they’re sick, broke, or old. They might feel uncomfortable if something is insinuated about their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

You see, Facebook runs this advertising system to make money. To this end, they want to create a kind of “happiness ecosystem” where people feel good about the content they experience.

Do you have a toothache? If you answer yes to that question, it means you’ve been reminded – directly – that you have a problem. Facebook doesn’t like that.

Tweak Your Copy

If you do much copywriting, you’re probably realizing you need to tweak your style for Facebook.

For example, in most web copy it’s a best practice to use the second person voice (You will benefit from this offer).

However, using second person makes it easy to imply personal attributes, as does asking direct questions.

In these ways, Facebook ads are different from most of the website copy you’ll create, and certainly different from traditional direct response advertisements.

Facebook ads need to be native ads. You want them, for the most part, to just look like another social media post, like this ad, which is in the form of a testimonial:

facebook dental ad testimonial

Keep the tone of your Facebook ads positive, and avoid implying any personal attributes about users. Otherwise, you’ll get the dreaded email stating that your ad doesn’t comply with Facebook’s advertising policies.