Prohibited Phrases To Avoid In Your Facebook Ads

By Tim Burd - June 19, 2019 12902 Views
By Tim Burd - June 19, 2019 12903 Views

Prohibited Phrases Every Advertiser Should Know and Avoid

Facebook is extremely cautious in their ad approval process. If your ad seems overly targeted or misleading in any way, it will be rejected. In fact, one of the biggest challenges in social media advertising is ensuring your ads will be approved. Here is a rundown of basic, prohibited phrases you should be mindful of when creating your ad campaigns.

Prohibited Phrases
Facebook rejects ads with prohibited phrases.

1. Personal Attributes

This pertains to ads that speak too directly to a specific viewer. For example: “Are you a busy mom with no time to make healthy meals for your family?”

The Facebook algorithm can detect too much usage of “you” or “your” language to call out directly to viewers. There are cases when the usage passes the review. However, it is best to still avoid too much of this if your ads are already struggling. After all, Facebook recommends that an ad should resemble a friend’s post on the news feed.

What you can do is use stories, testimonials or your personal experiences. Essentially, remove as many instances of “you” and “your” as possible when creating your ad. Instead, find a better way to get the same point across. For example: “Dinner is ready! Meal delivery for busy families on the go.”


Facebook flags ads under their Grammar & Profanity policy when capital letters or any punctuation marks are used in excess.

What is the first thing you think when you read “STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND CLICK HERE!!!”? Spam. Using all caps will give the impression that you are yelling at your audience. Same thing goes for the excessive exclamation marks. You should avoid this because it will have the opposite reaction you are hoping for. People will be under the impression that it is spam or clickbait and no one will click on your ad.

Emphasize important words only. Also, avoid the obvious mistake of using too many exclamation points to prove your point. A good way to emphasize and grab attention without yelling at users is to throw in some emojis instead.

3. Sensitive Topics

Some topics that are considered sensitive by Facebook include health, weight loss, beauty products, and religion. Facebook closely monitors all sensitive topics. Some of these fall under the Personal Attributes Policy, Personal Health Policy or Misleading or False Content Policy.

Furthermore, avoid using pain points or negative words like diet, fat, overwhelm, depression, terrified, etc.  As an alternative, use positive words. Focus on what you want your customers to feel after using the product. For example, instead of “Tired of being fat? Lose 10 pounds this summer!” try, “Feel balanced and fit this summer. Join our free Fitness Challenge!”

4. Easy Money Schemes

Advertising claims that might not be possible for everyone falls under Facebook’s Misleading or False Content Policy. Additionally, it may violate the Multilevel Marketing Policy and Prohibited Financial Services Policy. Besides, if a message is too good to be true, Facebook is going to assume it probably is. Likewise, if it is so specific that not everybody can achieve it, that’s a problem too.

That being said, be careful of the language you use because its the easiest way to get your ad rejected. Or after several violations, your account disabled. What you can do is to focus on the benefits of what you’re offering. Offer true income opportunities or business training. Take for example, “Make 6-figures with this groundbreaking opportunity”. Sounds unbelievable, right? That would probably get denied. Facebook’s algorithm will likely accept it this way: “5 Important habits a successful entrepreneur needs to learn”.

5. Profanity

Using profanity violates the Facebook Grammar & Profanity policy. The platform protects its family-friendly environment at all times. Imagine a parent beside a child scrolling, only to encounter a four-letter curse word on an ad. Along those same lines, a sexy image and overt language will not fly.

Remember that Facebook is smart. They can read between the lines of a bunch of “&%#%^” characters and can tell you’re swearing. They know all the sneaky tricks and how to stop it. Therefore, keep your ads clean and child-friendly at all times.


Following the guidelines to avoid the prohibited phrases will solve the majority of your ad approval problems. Keep in mind that Facebook reviews not only your post but also your URL. So,  “” is going to be rejected. On the other hand, reach out to Facebook if your ad is still rejected even after editing it or if you feel it doesn’t violate their policies.

Finally, remember that Facebook is an incredible platform to reach your audience despite the recent changes. Learn the rules and play nice with the system so you can get the most out of the platform.

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