Facebook Advertising Guidelines Change: No to Discounts

I received an email from a client yesterday about an error message on a running Facebook ad.

Facebook Ad Error

As you can tell, this was a Promoted Post targeted at Fans only. It is an ad that had previously generated 301 clicks and 428 actions, but Facebook suddenly deemed that it violated their Advertising Guidelines.

Let’s take a look at that ad…

Facebook Ad Error Discount

So, what is it about this ad that Facebook suddenly deemed inappropriate? I found this new passage within the Facebook Advertising Guidelines (thanks to my friend Blake Jamieson for verifying that it’s new and I’m not crazy):

Facebook Advertising Guidelines Price Information

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots here. Why doesn’t Facebook want you to create ads that promote a discount? Because they want to instead get you to use Facebook Offers.

This particular client was actually in the process of split testing to determine whether the Promoted Post or a separate Facebook Offer were more effective. I guess that test is no longer valid!

Have you seen similar problems with your ads? Let me know in the comments below!

The wording in the Advertising Guidelines refers only to images, and based on a Promoted Post I saw from Starbucks today, that would be the case. So feel free to include price or purchase information in the description, just not the image.

Starbucks Promoted Post

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShaneDJohnston Shane Johnston

    Wow …thanks for pointing this out Jon! I have recently had 2 different ads rejected for my Page that was promoting a Deal Offer that I made inside of a tab app (my Page doesn’t yet have 300 Fans so I can use FB’s own Promote Offer feature). Guess I know why now ;-(

    • RuthSheahan

      Shane, I wonder what would happen if you ran it as a straight ad and not a page post ad? Also, If you changed the image so it doesn’t say anything about a deal and put that in the text instead?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      That definitely is bad news for any of the smaller pages without access to Offers, Shane. Though you can still create ads with references to discounts — it just needs to be in the copy instead of the graphic (at least that’s what I’m seeing). See my update at the bottom of this blog post.

  • RuthSheahan

    To clarify– your friend verified both that 1) this is a new rule AND 2) that you’re not crazy? Just checking :)
    The interesting thing to me is that it is so specific. “Sponsored stories (not ads?) that originate from pages (Only page post ads or promoted posts?) May not contain an IMAGE with the following text” So, presumably any of these items can be used in a regular ad and in the copy of an ad.
    I believe they are addressing the issue of newsfeed ads meeting with hostile responses. If it looks like an ad, people are more likely to have the knee-jerk response of calling it spam.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      I have not received confirmation that I am not crazy, Ruth!

      Good observations. I haven’t been able to verify, but I think you’re right that such images would be okay within the sidebar. And your thinking would seem to be spot-on. Facebook doesn’t want this stuff in News Feeds. Not sure though.

      And you’re right about copy being allowed with price information. See my update at the bottom of this post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chokemail William Gonzalez Heredia

    Its not new its has about 2 or 3 months that i “Discovered” as you did it, no longer discounts in promoted ads…. but you can keep that info in the status…

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      If this is true, William, Facebook hadn’t been enforcing it until the past couple of days. I haven’t heard of this being a problem until now.

      You’re right, such pricing information can be included in copy, just not an image.

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  • ClaireR

    We had less words (3-4) actually written on the picture in our ad, and it was disapproved, so perhaps Starbucks gets special privileges.