May 11, 2016 by Paul Dughi
There’s something weird going on with Facebook ads right now. It’s either that or I no longer have any idea what constitutes a sexual or adult products ad, nudity, or cleavage.
In the last week, we’ve had three different FB ads turned down because of what I can only assume is some algorithm going wonky. The ads were for a contest we’re having at the TV station where I work. Viewers are being encouraged to enter and win various prizes, like getting their grocery bill, utility bill, or car payment paid for an entire year.
Take a look at these three pictures. Here are the three people shown in the three ads that apparently raised the FB techno-wizard eyebrows. I’ll post the videos below so you can watch the whole thing
All were posted to the station’s Facebook page and cleared with no hurdles, but when we tried to boost the posts, we got that “too sexual” message. Really? I appealed each one and we’re still waiting for a response *.
* To be fair, I had a problem with another Facebook ad last week and they got right back to me to help me fix the issue and get the ad going. In fact, they even called me after hours at home to make sure it was running right. So I don’t mean this to be a shot at FB ad manager helpers. That’s a story for another day, though.
You may also notice that even though the ads got flagged, they still got a fair amount of distribution before getting turned off. I mean they did charge me about $200 for ads that were not approved according to the Ad Manager dashboard.
Now we know that ads aren’t sexual in nature and they aren’t advertising adult products. Maybe they violate some other FB ad rule. I find it hard to believe, though, that it would be OK as a post (which we do for free) and not as an ad (which is labelled sponsored). Oh, and we’ve done this dozens of times in the past without any issues).
My guess is it’s some weird glitch in the system. Just like the one I found last week about scheduling by time period.*
* Just because FB says you can do something and it shows you how to do it doesn’t mean you can. Try restricting boosted posts to a one-hour time window. It won’t work. FB ad helpers told me it won’t. They suggested trying a 2 hour window. That didn’t work either. It did work on a three hour window, but FB still allows you to target for just an hour. OK, I didn’t save the story for another day, just later in this article.
NOTE: This was the original video for the Car Payments, but we changed the thumbnail for the FB post/ad.