The Facebook Ad Review Process

There’s a lot to think about when you’re preparing to launch new Facebook ads.

Will your ad copy drive enough conversions?

Are you targeting the right audience segments? 

Is your campaign tracking set up correctly?

But if you’re going to successfully activate a new campaign, one of the most important steps is to have your ads approved by the Facebook platform.

And that means navigating the famous ad review system. 

If you’re not fully prepared for the ad review process, you can quickly encounter some obstacles. Rejected ads can significantly delay campaign timings, and even incur costly creative edits. 

Fear not. 

We’re about to explain everything you need to know about the Facebook ad review process and equip you with the knowledge you need to secure stress-free ad approvals. 

How long does Facebook take to review ads?

The Facebook ad review process is designed to check the eligibility and suitability of all ads before they go live on the platform. 

The aim is to filter out any inappropriate, misleading or controversial advertising content to ensure that only high-quality assets are given the green light. 

As you can imagine, with the scale of Facebook advertising, this is no small task.

The Facebook review process is mostly automated, but in certain cases, human moderators will manually review assets. 

According to Facebook, ad reviews are generally completed within 24 hours. 

However, these timings aren’t set in stone. 

Sometimes the review process can be completed in a matter of minutes, while sometimes the process can take days. Assets can even be reviewed once again after they’ve been set live, which can be pretty disruptive. 

Now, you might be thinking that these timings sound a little vague.  

And you’d be right. 

It’s difficult to accurately predict how long an ad approval will take on Facebook, which is why it’s super important to build enough time into your campaign deadlines to account for the review process. 

We’d strongly recommend submitting ads at least two weeks before your desired live date to compensate for approval timings and potential delays. 

What is the Facebook ad review process?

On paper, a Facebook ad review involves a straightforward three-step process:

1. You submit a new (or edited) ad for approval

2. Your ad is reviewed by Facebook 

3. Your ad is approved or declined, pending review 

However, in reality, the review process is a little more complicated, and it’s important to understand what’s involved in each of these individual steps. 

(Source: Facebook.com)

When you submit a new Facebook ad for approval, it will be reviewed by either a human moderator or in most cases, an automated system. 

The status of your ad will be set as ‘In Review’ while it’s processed by the platform, usually within 24 hours. During this time, you’ll just need to wait for the outcome of the review to be confirmed. 

So what’s actually being reviewed by the Facebook platform? 

In simple terms, the Facebook review system is checking for any violations of Facebook advertising policies.

(It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with these advertising policies to avoid any issues with the review process!)

Some of the Facebook policies will affect every advertiser. For example, all businesses will need to avoid including any inappropriate or sensationalist messages in their campaigns. 

However, some industries (e.g. alcohol, online dating) will also need to abide by additional rules that are associated with specific products. 

Violations of these policies can also come in different forms. They can involve individual elements of an ad, such as headlines, images and targeting details.

Facebook will also review the destination URL associated with a new ad to ensure that nothing contained in the landing page violates any policies. If an ad is deemed to have violated advertising policy, it will be rejected, and the advertiser will be notified. 

What can trigger the Facebook ad review process? 

The Facebook ads review process will occur whenever a new ad is created and submitted for approval. 

If you’re planning to launch a new ad campaign, you’ll always need to prepare for new assets to be reviewed.

But the review process can also take place if you make edits or adjustments to an existing ad, which is very important to bear in mind. 

If you tweak any of the following elements of an existing ad, the asset will need to be re-reviewed by the system:

  • Any creative assets (e.g. images, ad copy, videos)
  • Audience targeting tactics
  • Campaign objectives 

If you’re hoping to make a few speedy changes to your ads mid-campaign, just remember that you’ll be restarting the review process – and those speedy changes may not be so speedy after all!

What are the Facebook ad guidelines? 

There are plenty of reasons for a Facebook ad to be declined by the review system. 

You can check out the Facebook advertising policies here in detail, but there’s a fair amount of information to digest. 

Below are some of the most common issues that brands can encounter when submitting ads for review:

  • Ads that include sexual or inappropriate content
  • Ads that aren’t relevant to the product/service being advertised
  • Ads that receive a high level of negative feedback
  • Ads that contain personal or sensitive user information
  • Ads that use Facebook branding without permission
  • Ads that lead to inappropriate sites or error pages

As you can see, the list is fairly extensive, so it’s important to be aware of potential hurdles when producing a new Facebook ad. 

Some industries will always need to be more careful than others when navigating these guidelines, but you should always remind yourself of these policies before producing a new creative asset.

Avoiding policy violations in the first place is infinitely easier than making last-minute edits before a campaign is due to launch. 

Is there any way to speed up the Facebook ad review process? 

It’s important to understand the inner workings of the Facebook review process so that you can avoid basic errors and costly mistakes. 

But we know the question that you’re itching to ask. 

Are there any tricks, tips, or techniques that can help me to speed up this process?

A rigorous review process is great for brand safety and quality control, but when you’re trying to activate a campaign quickly, it can feel like a nuisance.

The first (and most important) thing to acknowledge is that there isn’t an official method for speeding up ad reviews. The process will take as long as it takes, so you’ll just need to prepare for this and avoid last-minute submissions as often as possible. 

However, that doesn’t mean you’re totally powerless here. 

By following best practices, you can give your ads the best possible chance of being approved quickly. 

One of the best ways to create easily-approvable ads is to follow Facebook advertising guidelines as closely as possible. Steer clear of anything that might cause complications in the review process and reference Facebook policy throughout the production process.

If your ad doesn’t explicitly break the rules, but still contains potentially problematic content, you can find yourself dealing with time-consuming additional reviews. 

If any element of your ad feels like it could border on violating advertising policy, it’s best to remove it to save time and prevent complications. 

It’s also important to stay aware of seasonality when preparing to launch a campaign. Busier sales periods (e.g. Christmas, Black Friday) will inevitably clog up the review system, so if you can avoid them, you’re more likely to secure faster approvals. 

Finally, consistency is key to achieving speedy approvals.

Trusted domains and advertiser accounts with a track record of submitting approved ads are more likely to receive quicker approvals over time – so the more consistent you can be, the more time you’ll save.

What can I do if my ads are stuck in review? 

No system or technology is perfect, and the Facebook review process doesn’t always run smoothly.

Sometimes you’ll find that your ad is in a permanent state of ‘in review’, floating in cyberspace with no updates on approval or rejection. 

If you’re dealing with an asset that’s trapped in the review process, you have two options to rescue your ad from the Facebook void.

The first tactic is to essentially reset your ‘in review’ ads. Open the Facebook Ads Manager, select all of the ads in your ad set, and hit ‘pause’. Select your ads once again, click ‘resume’, and wait for the review status to update. 

(This sounds suspiciously like ‘turn it off and on again’, we know – but sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones!)

Your second option is to contact Facebook directly through the Business Help Centre. This isn’t necessarily a quick fix, but a support agent should be able to assist and resolve the situation.

What should I do if my ads are rejected? 

If your ad has been rejected by the Facebook review system, don’t panic. 

You’ll be notified directly that your ad has been denied, and you’ll also receive an update on the Facebook Account Quality page explaining why the submission has been rejected.

If you feel like your ads have been incorrectly denied, you can request a re-review by following these instructions. This will take time to process, but if you’re confident that your ads aren’t violating any policies, it saves you needing to make edits.

However, if it’s clear that your ads have broken the rules, you’ll need to go away and make the necessary changes to your assets. 

After you’ve edited your existing ads or created new ones, you can re-submit them for another round of reviews.

A handful of rejected ads won’t impact your ad account, but consistent violations can have more serious consequences. 

Multiple ad rejections can cause Facebook to place restrictions on your account, which may prevent you from launching new campaigns. If you do find that your account has been disabled, follow this guide for more information. 

How can I make sure that my ads will be approved?

Avoiding the headaches of rejected Facebook ads is crucial to launching seamless and efficient campaigns.

Although the speed of the ad review process can vary, you can significantly increase the chances of approval by following a few basic rules and strategies. 

1. Don’t advertise banned products or services

This might sound like a no-brainer, but many advertisers can run into an immediate roadblock by trying to advertise prohibited products.

The list of banned products and services is fairly extensive, so if you’re wondering whether your campaign falls into this category, it’s always worth double-checking before producing new ads. 

The following products are all strictly prohibited by the Facebook platform: 

  • Illegal items or services
  • Tobacco and related products
  • Unsafe substances 
  • Weapons or explosives
  • Adult content and services

2. Set up high-quality landing pages 

The Facebook review process doesn’t just check your creative assets. 

It also analyses your destination URLs and landing pages to make sure that your website doesn’t violate any policies. 

To avoid any ad rejections based on landing page content, make sure that your website is relevant and user-friendly. 

If your landing page isn’t remotely connected to your advertising message, the Facebook platform is likely to reject your ads. This also applies to misleading URLs.

Any disruptive content on your landing page can also be problematic. For example, if you’re sharing low-quality content that forces users to click through multiple pages, this can lead to rejections.

3. Tread carefully with restricted products

Some products aren’t strictly prohibited by the Facebook platform but are still subject to more scrutiny by the ad review system.

The following products are all classed as ‘restricted’ by Facebook:

  • Alcohol
  • Dating services
  • Online gambling and gaming
  • Online pharmacy promotion
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Subscription services
  • Finance and insurance 

Although these products can be featured in Facebook ads, they often require some additional legwork in order to get approved. For example, financial brands need to comply with strict ad regulations and age restricted targeting to launch new campaigns. 

If you’re planning to advertise any of these restricted products, make sure that you check and complete any specific requirements before submitting ads for review. 

4. Focus on quality and transparency 

The words ‘quality’ and ‘transparency’ can go a long way when you’re trying to get your Facebook ads approved quickly. 

Quality content means ads that are clear, professional, and user-friendly. Avoid poor grammar, profanity, and crude messaging to prevent ads from being blocked by the platform. 

Transparency is also very important for the Facebook review system. 

Misleading claims and clickbait headlines can both be serious issues for advertisers, so make sure that your ads are honest and informative to ensure a smooth approval process.

If you’re ever unsure about the guidelines that you should be following, always refer to the Facebook advertising policies before producing new ads or submitting assets for review. 

The Facebook ad review process can be frustrating at times, but it’s necessary. 

If the platform became flooded with low-quality ads, audiences would quickly lose interest in them, which wouldn’t help advertisers to run successful campaigns. 

You can also reduce the headaches caused by the reviews system – sticking to Facebook policies, focusing on high-quality ads, and factoring in potential delays are all smart ways to make the process that much easier to navigate. 

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