Facebook advertising is here to stay for law firms. When done right, a well-crafted Facebook ad set, with its ability to pinpoint a specific audience, is tricky to compete with, and can pay off tenfold.
With great reward comes great responsibility though; Facebook has dozens of intricate rules laced into the terms of service when it comes to advertising.
These rules have only become more strict after the COVID pandemic and in our current political climate. Without knowing these rules you’ll spend more time changing ad copy and resubmitting for approval than you will watching the leads pour in, and nobody wants to do that.
We’ve compiled a list of tips that you can follow to have your ads fast-tracked through the approval process and on their way to success.
Choose the right picture
Facebook is pretty picky about picture choice in advertisements, and since Facebook tends to show your ads on Instagram as well by default, it’s important that your pictures look as good as they can.
We’re visual creatures, and photos are stimulating and attention-grabbing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Facebook agrees:
Avoid too much text on the image itself. We’ve found that images with less than 20% text perform better, though there is no limit on the amount of text that can exist in your ad image. – Facebook Image Best Practices
The infamous Facebook 20% rule used to automatically throttle ads that had too much text in the image, but they quietly removed the rule back in September of 2020. The Facebook text overlay tool, which would analyze the percentage of text in an image for you, also disappeared with this change.
They still strongly suggest keeping the spirit of the rule alive, but they won’t automatically reject an ad for it anymore.
Truth be told, the rule existed for a reason: too much text is overwhelming. The 20% guideline – enforced by algorithm or not – is still a good one to follow.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re picking the right image dimensions for your ad based on where you want it to appear. Images that are too small will end up looking grainy and distorted, and images that are too big can run into cropping issues.
When in doubt, look for images that are 1080 x 1080 pixels. That’s the recommended image size for all image ads except Facebook’s audience network, which suggests 398 x 208 instead.
Keep the subject material rated G
We get it — law can be messy sometimes. While the latest defective drug may have some horrifying side effects, it’s best to keep the juicy details for your landing page. Facebook has a rule specifically for these types of instances:
Ads must not contain shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content. Ex: Images that may shock or scare viewers; images that are scary, gory or sensational – Sensational Content
Sensational content can be flagged as anything from a description of a drug’s side effect that’s just a bit too detailed to a simple picture of an auto accident used within an ad.
The easiest way to work with this rule is to use vague-yet-informative headlines and ad copy. You want your reader to understand that using X drug has some nasty things associated with it, but you ultimately want to encourage them to click on your ad and read about the specific details on the page devoted to it.
Don’t get this tactic confused with “clickbait” — such tactics can ultimately dissuade users from engaging with your product in the future if what sits on the landing page doesn’t fully satisfy the curiosity you piqued in your misleading headline.
Bad: “You won’t believe what’s happening to people on prescription X!”
Better: “A new study has confirmed that prescription X may lead to symptom Y.”
Don’t insinuate anything about your audience
This one’s a biggie, and without a doubt one of the most common reasons an ad gets rejected.
Ads must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name. – Personal Attributes
Facebook is very, very strict with this rule, and lawyers in particular often find themselves clashing with it in various regards.
Let’s break it down:
Bankruptcy attorneys: You are not allowed to make any insinuations about the financial status of the people viewing your ad, including drawing any hints whatsoever toward the idea that they may be in debt.
- Bad: “Struggling with debt? We can help you put an end to debt collector calls.”
- Better: “Filing for bankruptcy can put an end to constant debt collector calls.”
Personal injury attorneys: You may not phrase your ads in any way that may be insinuating that the person viewing your ad has been injured.
- Bad: “Injured in a car accident? We can help you get the money you deserve.”
- Better: “Car accidents can be terrifying, and the medical bills that follow can be worse. We can help make sure it’s the party at fault footing the bill.”
Employment attorneys: If you’re pursuing discrimination cases of any sort, you cannot phrase your ads in any way that insinuates that the person viewing your ad is part of any protected group.
- Bad: “Has your employer discriminated against you for being a member of the LGBT community? We can help.”
- Better: “Our firm prides itself on fighting for the rights of the LGBT community in the workplace.”
The list goes on, but you get the gist.
The easiest way to comply with this rule as a lawyer is dead simple: remove any instance of the word “you” from within your ad.
The second you mention the word “you” in an ad, you imply something about the reader, intentionally or not. In my experience, Facebook’s ad algorithm will quickly flag and reject any ads with “you” in the headline, news feed description, or ad text itself.
If that happens, your best bet is to remove any instances of it from the ad, rephrase, and resubmit.
The same can be said about questions within an ad:
“Had an accident?”
“Discriminated against at work?”
While none of these mention the word “you” in them, they’re directly asking the viewer a question as implied by the question mark, and thus insinuating that there’s a chance the viewer of the ad may fall into any of those categories. Try to avoid questions in your ads altogether to speed up the approval process.
Play it safe. If your ads get rejected too many times – even from honest mistakes – you can get your ad account flagged, disabled, or even permanently banned.
When all else fails, contact Facebook
In the event that you feel you’ve followed all of the guidelines but are still facing off with an ad that was disapproved, appeal the ad. You can do this by visiting Facebook’s business support page and clicking “get started” about halfway through the page.
From there you’ll be brought to the Facebook Messenger bot. The bot can be useful for a handful of things that can be automated, but isn’t usually much help for appealed ads. Work your way through the prompts to get to a human.
Quick Tip: Knowing Facebook’s ad policies will go a long way during this chat. Being able to reference it can help your appeal, but isn’t a guarantee. Be polite, show gratitude for their time, and make it clear you’re not trying to sneak something through that you shouldn’t.
It’s not uncommon for Facebook’s automated system to flag something that shouldn’t have been flagged, so don’t assume right away that you actually broke a rule in the process. If you’ve followed these tips and your ad has been rejected, chances are a human review will reveal that you’re indeed in the clear and they’ll get your ad up and running in no time.
Sound like too much of a pain to handle? We get it, and we’re happy to take care of your Facebook advertising for you to ease the burden. Get in touch with us for a quote to see how we can help.