Facebook’s Image Ad Lottery

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Facebook Ads Lottery

In a previous blog post titled ‘Surviving Facebook Advertising’s Ad Approval Process‘ I mentioned the inconsistency in the application of Ad Guidelines by the editors of Facebook Advertising. Specifically, the limit of 20% text in any images used in Facebook Ads or Sponsored Posts (section III, part D of the Facebook ad guidelines at the time of writing).

Remember, each image gets either approved or disapproved by their ad editorial staff.

These ads are less than 20% text?!

The images below were collected from real ads that I was exposed to while using Facebook. Ads that have been through the editorial process and deemed to contain less than 20% text.

Facebook Image Ads With Too Much Text

I should mention that I have no gripe with the companies behind the ads. If they can get their ads through the approval process then good luck to them! I’d just like to know their secret.

I’ve got to be honest, in my opinion and based on my experience the ads above are blatantly in breach of the guidelines and yet they have sailed through review and appeared in live ads.

Where is the consistency here? Why isn’t the process fair and evenly applied?

Clients using Facebook ads notice too

As an online marketing consultant I occasionally have to fend off questions from clients who have also picked up on this inconsistency. All too often an image ad provided by a client’s designer gets rejected because of text quantity and I end up having to go back and say “sorry, not approved”. Queue confused client’s phone call.

Why Facebook lets some companies get away with it and not others, I don’t know.

If, for example, they are giving preferential treatment to large budget accounts then they need to come out and say it. As it stands it is just a mystery and we are left wondering if ads containing text will win the lottery each time we submit them.

Good luck!

Update 23/12/2015: It seems that this problem, while it still exists, has been improved somewhat. I am noticing that more ads are getting through Facebook’s verification system without problem however this may be due to a manual grading of my advertising accounts. Perhaps accounts can be marked as compliant or be given more benefit of the doubt. As advertisers external to the system we have no way of knowing.