Facebook Ad Policies: Understanding Personal Attributes

If you’ve spent any time working with Facebook Ads, you’ve inevitably had this happen at least once; after carefully crafting an amazing creative ad, it gets rejected, with no explanation why. The most likely reason… your ad probably contained “personal attributes.”

What are personal attributes?

Facebook makes money by providing a free service to its users, and in return, sells ad space to marketers to pay for its development and operation. Marketers love advertising on Facebook because of it’s extremely specific options for targeting users. For example, if you wanted to target non-married males, age 40–50, interested in Football, that live in Toronto, it’s easily do-able with Facebook Ads.

Privacy is a big concern for Facebook users. So, while you want to leverage the platforms powerful targeting algorithm, you don’t want to be a creep about it. Highly target your ad, but don’t refer directly to the personal attributes of that targeted set of people.

In other words, don’t create an ad that implies you know too much about them. Facebook doesn’t want that and frankly, neither do you. Instead, focus on the product or service that can help them.

So what constitutes a personal attribute? Direct or indirect assertions about a person’s:

  • Race
  • Ethnic origin
  • Religion
  • Beliefs
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Disability
  • Medical condition (pertaining to a person’s physical or mental health)
  • Financial Status
  • Membership in a trade union
  • Criminal Record
  • Name

Here are some great rejection examples straight from the Facebook Advertising Policy Page:

“Find black singles today”Meet other black singles near you!
“Looking for Christians near you?”“Meet Other Christians”
“Meet seniors”“Meet other seniors”
“Gay online dating now”“Meet other lesbians now”
“A monthly meetup for trans persons and trans allies”“Questioning your gender identity?”
“Depression Counselling”“Depression Getting You Down? Get Help Now”
“We have financial services to over your every financial need”“Broke? Bankrupt? Check out our services”
“Services to clean up any previous offences”“Are you a convicted felon?”
“We print customizable t-shirts and stickers with your name”“Billy Taylor, get this t-shirt with your name in print”

What should my Facebook Ad include?

Here are some approved tips to keep in mind when constructing your ad:

Be Honest

Everyone prefers not to waste their time with anything that is misleading. The same rules of regular advertising apply to Facebook Ad’s. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Be Kind

Being offensive, slanderous, or vulgar isn’t going to get you liked. It will also definitely get your ad rejected. So always lead with kindness and be considerate of those with opposing views.

Create Curiosity!

Creating a sense of curiosity with your audience through a series of teasers is totally ok. In fact, it’s encouraged.

Don’t Be Sneaky

Tricking the audience into thinking your ad is part of a friend request, direct message, or a wall post is an absolute “no-no”.

Get Attention by Understanding

A generic statement that the user might relate to is a good way to get their attention. You just have to make sure you do this without using “you” language. For example: Frustrated with ….? Lack energy . . .? Happiness boosters …

By keeping these do’s and don’ts at the forefront of your mind you can have successful Facebook Ads that generates traffic to your landing pages without rejection. If you still aren’t 100% sure about your ad, Facebook offers a great Advertising Policies Page to help guide you with more examples.

“YOU” shouldn’t use personal attributes

Most people have heard that using the word “you” in a Facebook ad will guarantee it gets rejected. But it isn’t so much about using the word “you” as it is about “not using personal attributes”.

As a “general” guideline, avoid using words like “other”, “you”, “yours” in your copy. This is not completely black and white however. Just remember that you can’t imply that you actually know anything about the users you’re targeting.

Learn more about Facebook Ad Policies

Remember: If you violate Facebook Policies you not only take a risk that your ad will be rejected but they could deactivate your whole account.