5 Forbidden Phrases You Absolutely Must Avoid in Your Facebook Ad (2023)

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you haven't heard or had this experience yet, Facebook is cracking down on ad copy from businesses around the world. Small businesses and entrepreneurs in particular now need to tread lightly with ads that may seem overly targeted or misleading in any way, as the platform has begun rejecting ads at a far greater rate than ever before.

5 Forbidden Phrases You Absolutely Must Avoid in Your Facebook Ad (1)Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Related: Here's How to Master Facebook Advertising and Why You Must

In fact, ads getting rejected is one of the biggest challenges we see with our clients at the Facebook marketing agency I founded. The reasons why that happens apply widely -- to relationship coaches, therapists, counselors, institutes and book promotion campaigns being disapproved by the site. Here's an example of what a non-approval can look like:

5 Forbidden Phrases You Absolutely Must Avoid in Your Facebook Ad (2)

Explanation: What happens if you see a message like this? You'll get a flag in your account from Facebook and your ads will not be allowed to run until you fix them. Receive too many of these warnings and Facebook may shut down your advertising account altogether. (There are work-arounds in that case, but it's best not to get into this situation in the first place.)

(Video) Prevent Your Facebook Ad Account From Being Banned - And What To Do If Your FB Account Is Banned

Avoiding these problems is often as simple as following the advice below. Just remember: The advice won't apply equally to everyone. Some accounts -- like those that have more of an advertising history -- can get away with more. In fact, you'll see plenty of them in your newsfeed. But many accounts are having an increasingly tough time getting their ads approved. The trouble usually comes down to one of these five forbidden phrases

1. "Are you a busy mom with no time to make healthy meals for your family?"

What FB doesn't like: Ads that speak too directly to viewers or pain points. Facebook calls these Personal Attributes.

Just as the Google algorithm knows when you're keyword-stuffing to push your page higher in the search results, the Facebook algorithm knows when you're using too much "you" or "your" language to call out directly to viewers online. While a few instances of "you" or "your" are passable, we have emails from Facebook's reps themselves saying that if your ads are struggling, it's best to omit the "yous" and "yours."

Related: What to Do If Your Facebook Ad Account Is Disabled

Remember: Facebook wants your ads to blend into the newsfeed and not look much different from a post you would see from a friend.

The solution: Use stories, testimonials, or your own personal experiences or results. To avoid seeing your ads disapproved, remove as many instances of "you" and "your" from your ad copy as possible. The ad above could benefit from an easy re-work on the copy: "Dinner is ready! Meal delivery for busy families on the go."

(Video) 10 Amazon FBA Beginner Mistakes You MUST Avoid!


What Facebook doesn't like: Too frequent a use of all capital letters or lots of exclamation marks!!!! (in fact, overuse of punctuation is sometimes flagged by Facebook under Grammar& Profanity.

Remember: You don't want to "yell" at potential customers. That's the impression all caps gives, producing the opposite reaction of what you hope to achieve.

The solution: Use caps sparingly and only to emphasize really important words, and avoid the rookie mistake of using to many exclamation points to get your point across. But what if you really want to emphasize your point? That's easy. Play with emoji instead!

3. "Tired of diets that don't work? Want to lose weight without counting calories?"

Facebook doesn't like: Sensitive topics. Health, weight loss, beauty products, anti-aging, supplements ... these all fall under "sensitive topics" that are closely monitored by Facebook. It addresses this problem under its Personal Attributes policy, Personal Health policy or Misleading or False Content policy.

Remember: Avoid using pain points or "negative" words like diet, weight loss, fat, depression, anxiety, stress, fear, overwhelm, terrified, etc...

The solution: Use positive language instead. Focus on how you want people to feel after using the product. For example, instead of "Lose 10 pounds this summer!" try, "Feel balanced, fit and this summer. Join my free Fitness Challenge!"

(Video) The Line Up

4. "Generate $5,000 in the next 30 days! Join my free webinar to find out how."

Facebook doesn't like: Get rich quick and "make money" schemes, work-from-home opportunities, and big --or even small-- claims that might not be possible for everyone to achieve. Facebook addresses this under its Personal Attributes policy. its Multilevel Marketing policy, its Prohibited Financial Services policy and its Misleading or False Content Policy.

Remember: If a message sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Likewise, if it's so specific that not everyone will achieve the outcome promised, that's a problem, too.

The solution: Be very careful using any language around making money, work-from-home opportunities or readers quitting their jobs. That's an easy way to get your ads flagged or your account shut down. Instead, reframe true income opportunities or business trainings to focus on the benefits of what you're offering.

So: "Make 6-figures and fire your employer with this groundbreaking opportunity" isn't going to go over well. Instead: "Learn the 5 most important habits that every successful entrepreneur needs to master their first year in business (even if they've held previous leadership positions and have a strong business background)" not only sounds less scammy but will also very likely play nicely with the algorithm.

5. "&%#%^@%" (i.e., trying to add curse words to your ads)

What Facebook doesn't like: Profanity. Not even a little. Facebook addresses this under its Grammar & Profanity policy.

Remember: Facebook is always protecting its family-friendly environment. The last thing the platform wants is parents scrolling through content, a child by their side, only to encounter a four-letter curse word on a sponsored post. Along those same lines, a particularly sexy image and overt language around intimacy are nonstarters, as well.

(Video) What If Harry Was In Slytherin - FULL STORY 5-7 | Harry Potter Film Theory

The solution: Keep your ads clean and child-friendly. And as often as we've seen people try to get around these rules, remember that Facebook can read between the lines of a bunch of "&%#%^@%#%$&" characters to figure out that you're trying to swear. They know all the sneaky tricks, and that stuff gets shut down too.

A few more things to understand about Facebook ads

If we've learned anything by consulting with hundreds of small business owners on how to fix their ads, it's that the five simple solutions described here will solve 99 percent of your problems with Facebook.

Just remember, Facebook not only audits your ads but also your landing page (and your URL for that matter, so your "getrichovernight.com" URL is not going to fly). You may need to do some clean-up work there as well if you're promoting something a little more sensitive.

And if even after scrubbing your ads and web page of these forbidden phrases leaves you still scratching your head, wondering why your ads draw a "Not Approved" verdict, remember that you can always reach out to your assigned rep (if you have one -- most are randomly assigned and not all accounts get a rep).

Alternately, you can find an expert who'll dive in deep with you to figure out exactly which phrase or word is causing the headache. It's usually something subtle, so don't be discouraged if you're unable to see it yourself.

Related: As Facebook Clamps Down on Advertisers, Email Becomes an Attractive Alternative

(Video) Can I Use a Link Redirect in My Facebook Ads for Spotify?

Finally, never forget that Facebook is still an incredible lead-generation tool despite these recent changes. Getting the most out of Facebook just requires learning the rules of engagement and playing nice with the system. If you do that, you'll be very happy with your results advertising on the platform.


What words should you avoid in Facebook ads? ›

As a general guideline, avoid using words like “other”, “you”, “yours” in your copy. You can't imply that you actually know anything about the users you're targeting. You can use the word “Facebook” in your creative, and you can even use the Facebook logo, but you need to be careful about how you do so.

What are some things 3 that are not allowed to advertise on Facebook? ›

Ads must not promote products, services, schemes or offers using deceptive or misleading practices, including those meant to scam people out of money or personal information. Ads may not promote products or services that are designed to enable people to engage in cheating or deceitful practices.

What should you not do on Facebook ads? ›

Complete guide to The do's and don'ts of Facebook Ads
  1. Don't Be Deceptive. Do not set your ad as bait for the viewers. ...
  2. Don't Ignore Mobile Users. ...
  3. Don't Put Your Campaign On Auto-Pilot. ...
  4. Don't Overdose it with Text. ...
  5. Know your target audience. ...
  6. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) ...
  7. Set the right budget. ...
  8. Proofread.
Jan 14, 2023

What words should you not use in advertising? ›

Stop Using These 8 Harmful Words in Your Marketing!
  • Unconscious power of words. Language is not exactly question of our deliberate choice. ...
  • Forbidden words. ...
  • Problem. ...
  • Probability and beliefs. ...
  • Fillers. ...
  • Passive voice. ...
  • We, our… ...
  • Truth and honesty.
Jan 15, 2019

What words put you in Facebook jail? ›

If you hate any user or group on Facebook, it's better to keep it to yourself. Facebook bans any account that throws hate speech, threats, or attacks on any person/page/group on the platform. Spamming people with posts is another popular reason for being put in Facebook jail.

What words get you a Facebook ban? ›

Facebook will remove content where the user posts a 'degrading physical description' including someone 'disgusting and repulsive', secret documents reveal. Moderators are told to remove 'calling an individual's appearance ugly, disgusting, repulsive, etc', according to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal.

What are the prohibited ad contents? ›

Most prohibited content (counterfeit goods, illegal products and services, etc.) and restricted content (political ads, alcohol, etc.)
Other prohibited ads include any promotions that involve:
  • Infringing content.
  • Deceptive content.
  • Hateful or discriminatory content.
  • Inappropriate content.
Sep 17, 2019

What is not allowed in Facebook? ›

Nudity or other sexually suggestive content. Hate speech, credible threats or direct attacks on an individual or group. Content that contains self-harm or excessive violence. Fake or impostor profiles.

What is advertising forbidden for? ›

According to clause 6 of the ASCI Code, tobacco products, alcohol and gambling are prohibited from being advertised. Advertisements for these products are made indirectly sometimes by purporting to be advertisements for other products. Indirect advertisement for these products and services is prohibited.

What are the most inappropriate ads? ›

Take a look at 15 of the most offensive ads ever created.
  • “Too Thin” Pretzel Crisps.
  • “The 'N' Word” Renault.
  • “Believe in Something” Nike.
  • “Cheat on Your Girlfriend” Reebok.
  • “Uhh, Dad I'm Gay” Flora.
  • “Spike Your Best Friend's Eggnog” Bloomingdale's.
  • “Pipe Job” Hyundai.
  • “Test Baby” HomeAway.
Dec 15, 2022

What are Facebook trigger words? ›

Spam trigger words are words or phrases that spam filters see as red flags. Check out 188 spam words to avoid if you want to stay out of the spam folder.

What words should I avoid? ›

Words you should delete
  • Really, very. These are useless modifiers. ...
  • That. If a sentence still makes sense after removing “that,” delete it. ...
  • Just. ...
  • Then. ...
  • Totally, completely, absolutely, literally. ...
  • Definitely, certainly, probably, actually, basically, virtually. ...
  • Start, begin, began, begun. ...
  • Rather, quite, somewhat, somehow.
Sep 8, 2015

Can Facebook ads have curse words? ›

Ads must not contain profanity or incorrect grammar and punctuation. Symbols, numbers and letters must be used properly, without the intention of circumventing our ad review process or other enforcement systems.

Can Facebook send you to jail? ›


Posting the same content on many pages or groups at approximately the same time will land you in Facebook prison. So, if you want to avoid jail time, simply wait a few minutes between posts, or use a post-scheduling program to ensure you are not flagged as “suspect.”

How long are you in FB jail for? ›

What can I expect if I get put in jail? Facebook's penalties range from being blocked from posting to being completely blocked from logging into your account. These sentences can last from just a couple of hours to up to 21 days.

How do I get my Facebook ban lifted? ›

To appeal a Facebook content decision to the Oversight Board using your Reference number:
  1. Go to your Support Inbox and tap Your Violations.
  2. Open the update we sent you about our decision. ...
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions which will take you to the Oversight Board website to complete your appeal.

What things get you kicked off Facebook? ›

We may block people from doing something on Facebook when:
  • Something you posted or shared seems suspicious or abusive to our security systems.
  • Messages or friend requests you sent were marked unwelcome.
  • You've done something that doesn't follow our Community Standards.

What gets you suspended from Facebook? ›

If you follow too many people, or post too much, or like too many posts within a short time, Facebook thinks you're a spammer or a bot. At the same time, if your account demonstrates no activity at all, Facebook thinks it's fake.

What causes shadow ban on Facebook? ›

If the network believes content includes violent, harmful or inappropriate content, it can be flagged for shadowban. Ensure that your comments, posts or tags don't include anything content in this nature. Avoid this content and make sure to treat users with respect.

What Cannot be included on social media advertising? ›

Most of the prohibited content categories that are listed should come to no shock for most marketers. These prohibited content categories include illegal products or services, tobacco and related products, drugs and drug related products, spyware or malware, and prohibited financial products and services.

What are advertising restrictions? ›

Marketing restrictions are any regulations placed upon legal products relating to expression of brand identity and promotion to customers.

What words trigger Facebook? ›

Using trigger words such as “free, sale, limited time, join my team, follow, buy, like, share,” and so on, were the norm in traditional advertising messaging.

Do keywords matter in Facebook ads? ›

When you're searching for interests, Facebook has keywords just like Google. However, on Facebook, it's words that they put on your profile to fit you into a “box” that advertisers can target. This is based on your behavior, on which fan pages you like and on lots of other variables.

How do I choose keywords for Facebook ads? ›

The best way to do keyword research is to just see what types of suggested keywords come up when you type in a keyword in the interests section of your Facebook Ad Audience area. Select one keyword or job title and then select Suggestions to see what other possibilities come up.

What is illegal on Facebook? ›

Facebook says it does not allow someone to post content that's owned by someone else, including anything with “copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights.” It also says that you own everything you post.

What is Facebook's 20 text rule? ›

The Facebook 20% rule was a requirement that rejected Facebook ads with more than 20% of text in its images. While the rule is no longer enforced, Facebook still recommends including a 20% text-to-image ratio. The recommendation applies to both single image and carousel ads run on Facebook and Instagram.

What are the 3 factors that affect your FB ads success? ›

Engaging image. Compelling text with a call-to-action. Targeted audience. Ad placement.

Is there still a 20% text rule on Facebook Ads? ›

Facebook's 20% rule stated that no more than 20% of an ad's image could be occupied by text. While it's still a guideline today, it's no longer enforced or a reason that ads get outright rejected. Much to marketers' delight, the social network decided to do away with the “20% text rule” in 2021.

What is the most important thing in Facebook Ads? ›

Images are important in Facebook Ads, but copywriting is also essential. If you're spending money on a Facebook ad, you want to make sure it does its job. Good ad copywriting can persuade your audience to click through to your website. Good copywriting functions as a guide—it shows people where they need to go.

What are the 4 main types of Facebook Ads? ›

The best types of Facebook Ads are:
  • Video ads: to drive engagement.
  • Carousel ads: to increase conversions and sales.
  • Collection ads: for boosting catalog sales.
  • Instant experience ads: for offering an immersive experience.
Mar 15, 2022

What is the best audience for Facebook Ads? ›

Essentially, Facebook recommends targeting a minimum of 1,000 people with your ads. You can start with that and scale from there as you get a better understanding of who your audience is. Or, you can kick off with a broader audience of 10,000 people or 100,000 folks – depending on your budget.

What is a good audience size for Facebook Ads 2022? ›

Your Facebook broad ad audience should be between 500,000-1,000,000. Facebook needs sufficient audience data to work with for the best possible result. If the data is too narrow, Facebook will not perform very well. But it will do much better if it is broad.


1. 5 Print on Demand Niches You Must Avoid at All Costs
(Ronnie McKenzie)
2. People Continue 'Dying Suddenly' as Calls for Investigation Grow | Guest: Sara Gonzales | Ep 749
(Chad Prather)
3. 10 Computer Security Myths to Stop Believing
4. How to Do “Before And After” Facebook Ads… Without Getting Your Ad Disapproved
(Dara Denney)
5. How To Become Invisible Online
6. [Facebook Ad Policies Explained] How To Get Your Ads APPROVED On Facebook
(Laptop Empires)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 03/29/2023

Views: 5979

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.