Prohibited Phrases To Avoid In Your Facebook Ads

By Tim Burd - June 24, 2020 21380 Views
facebook ads prohibited phrases to avoid featured
By Tim Burd - June 24, 2020 21381 Views

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and content.
Original Publication Date: June 19, 2019

Facebook is extremely cautious in their ad approval process, and there are quite a few prohibited phrases every advertiser should know and avoid. If your ad seems overly targeted or misleading in any way, it will be rejected.

prohibited phrases rejected

Facebook rejects ads with prohibited phrases.

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.

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!!!”?


Using all caps will give the impression that you are yelling at your audience.

The same goes for excessive exclamation marks. In short, they’ll have the opposite reaction you’re 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 create emphasis and grab attention without yelling at users is to throw in some emojis instead. 😉

3. Sensitive Topics

Facebook closely monitors all sensitive topics. Some topics that Facebook considers sensitive include health, weight loss, beauty products, and religion.

Many 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.

In other words, focus on how 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 fall under Facebook’s Misleading or False Content Policy. Additionally, it may violate the Multilevel Marketing Policy and Prohibited Financial Services Policy.

More importantly, 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 instead is focus on the benefits of what you’re offering. Offer realistic income or business training opportunities.

For example, an ad that says “make 6-figures with this groundbreaking opportunity” sounds unbelievable, right? That would probably get denied.

Facebook’s algorithm is more likely to accept a version that reads “5 Important habits a successful entrepreneur needs to learn.”

5. Profanity and Prohibited Phrases

Using profanity violates the Facebook Grammar & Profanity policy. The platform protects its family-friendly environment at all times.

Imagine a parent scrolling through her feed with a child nearby and encountering a four-letter curse word in an ad. Not great, right?

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.

Final Thoughts on Prohibited Phrases

Following the guidelines to avoid the prohibited phrases will solve the majority of your ad approval problems.

Also, 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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