Leading Facebook ads strategist shows us how to not our Facebook ads accounts banned.
Nicholas Kusmich has been in the digital marketing space for as long as he can remember. Of course, 80% of that time was a collection of epic fails. Until he found this niche—Facebook Advertising. Nic was too late to the Google AdWords game. He knew he needed to find a place to fit in.
Fortunately, when FB released Beta Ads, he got in and cracked the code early. It was definitely a situation of the right place, right time. Nic kept running across people saying they couldn’t get FB ads to work for them. His response…
“You can’t make Facebook work? We’re making it work every single day.”
A lightbulb went off. Nic knew where he needed to focus and that he had something to share. The rest is history. Now Nic and his team work with top-notch clients—the biggest players in the thought leadership space, the biggest e-commerce brands in the world and the biggest Inc. 500 brands.
At first, he started in the information marketing space. Other people in the industry tried to pigeon-hole him as “the info marketing guy.” Claiming that he can only serve that market. In classic rebel form, Nic said “I’ll show you!” and began to get clients in a variety of industries. Serving such a wide range of clients, Nic gets insight not everyone has. And not to mention he has some of the highest ROIs in the industry.
Nic is an expert in his space. He’s known not for what he covers on stage, but what he doesn’t. When he speaks, Nic doesn’t even talk about the Facebook Ads platform. He says it’s like an iceberg. 10% of what you see is above the surface. 90% of the mass is below. Most people teach the 10%. Bidding strategies, ad placements, objectives, etc. Nic focuses on the 90%. Social psychology. Why do people do what they do?
That’s the difference between a 100% ROI and a 10,000% ROI.
Platform specifics, tactics, ROI—none of that really matters if you get shut down. You can’t run ads. You can’t make money. You can’t reach the world.
Nic’s advice…DO NOT GET BANNED!
It is possible to bounce back from a ban. However, it is really difficult. So…avoid bans like the plague.
Although it’s ill-advised, you can try to revive a banned account. You have to be persistent. Use nice language (be extra polite). Be extremely apologetic. Take complete responsibility for your mistake and vow not to make it again.
The better approach is to start fresh. Set up a brand new account. Preferably with Business Manager. (Facebook actually wants everyone to migrate from their personal ad account to business manager.) Everything associated with the old banned account must go. The fan page, the URL, admins, credit cards, and names attached to that account are flagged. This is not an exaggeration.
Nic learned the hard way. He was working with a client that was previously banned. He told the client they couldn’t have any access to the account. The client insisted on uploading their list because they didn’t want to give Nic access to it. The minute he uploaded that list, his account was shut down. So there are no exceptions.
Keep your new account clean. And protect it all costs.
What leads to getting banned in the first place?
Entrepreneurs are a weird group of people. When it comes to marketing, we become salesy and do things we normally wouldn’t do. Nic encourages us to take our marketing hat off and put our human hat on. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were on the receiving end of this? Would I like to be advertised to in this way?”
Remember, Facebook is a social platform. It’s not like eBay or Amazon which are e-commerce platforms.
No one wakes up with credit card in hand and says, “I wonder what I’ll buy on Facebook today.”
95% of people who got banned were direct response marketers. They violated FB’s basic rules. The context dictates behavior. Facebook is adamant about protecting their community and making sure they feel comfortable. The moment people feel icky, they’ll leave the platform and lose users. That’s the last thing FB wants. So don’t be the obnoxious drunk, hitting on everyone at the party. You will get kicked out.
When it comes to policy and compliance, there are 3 major areas of concern:
- The Ad Account: FB is encouraging people to use the Business Manager. You are more likely to get banned if you don’t. Each account should have its own credit card source for payment. FB will think it’s spammy if the same card is used for several accounts. Do not use PayPal. Facebook prefers credit cards with your business address so they can verify you’re a real person.
If you’re logging on from different IPs all the time, FB will flag your account. Nic went jet-setting, stopping in 4 different countries in 4 days. His account was flagged and he had to through crazy hoops to prove it was actually him. To combat this, use the business manager mobile app. Put it on your desktop. Use it when traveling to avoid confusion.
Also if you plan on spending aggressively, don’t do that. Don’t go from $100 a day to $10,000 a day overnight. Go slow. Warm up or “season” the account as Nic likes to call it. FB wants to know you’re in it for the long game. Take your time ramping it up. Once FB sees that you’re spending and earning, spending and earning, they’ll take notice and reach out to you. And ask how they can help you.
If you ever had a disapproved ad. Don’t edit or clean it up. Delete it completely. Start a new ad. Go and see how many disapproved ads you’ve had. If there’s a noticeable amount, they’ll say you don’t really know what you’re doing. And sometimes auto disapprove your ad. The more disapproved ads you have over time, the more likely you are to get banned. Keep it clean. Replace it with a compliant ad.
Make sure anyone who has access to the account is in good standing with FB. If you’ve had disapproved ads in the past, you’re flagged. Admins, editors if they’ve lost an account, DO NOT give them access. You’ll pay the price like Nic did.
- The Ad Itself: Get familiar with FB policy. Certain types of ads they just won’t allow. Business opportunities, make money from home, dating, pick up artistry, gambling, sex, porn, etc. These are just a few that are totally off limits. Avoid them.
Weight loss is really touchy. Facebook will slam you. You can’t make unsubstantiated or unrealistic claims. “Hey, are you fat and tired?” That’s a no-no. You can say, “I‘ll show you healthy things you can do to improve.” Or “4 Foods I’m eating to avoid holiday cravings.”
No miracle claims. “You can lose 20lbs in a day!” Any images, before and after are off limits. Be true. Don’t go overboard. Avoid hype words. Typical direct response stuff works everywhere else, except for FB. It actually helps your conversions when you take the human approach. Be cool about it.
One of Nic’s clients was in the weight loss space. The client chose inflammation as a niche to enter the space. You can be in the weight loss industry, you just have to choose a different angle. Get out of sales and into service.
As of December 2016, there were mass disapprovals across the board. The display link has to correspond with the destination. Or just leave it blank. Let FB fill it in as default.
Avoid Claims. No link bait like “10 things my cat does you don’t want to miss number 4.” Be very clear with your intention. You can’t say “Click here to download.” You have to say, “Click here to register to download.” If you’re going to sell something on next page, you have to mention it.
No fear mongering. “If you don’t read this you’ll gain weight or if you don’t watch this your account will get shut down.” You cannot make people afraid.
You DO NOT want to call anybody out by name or conditions. “Hey, are you suffering from back pain?” That’s calling someone out and it can make them uncomfortable.
- The Destination URL: Deals with what’s happening on the next page. No advertorials. It’s an ad disguised as an editorial. It’s misleading. Don’t pretend it’s a 3rd party validated blog that happens to be promoting your product. It’s not true.
Content pieces are good. Sales pages disguised as content pieces not good. Video Sales Letters or VSLs were all the rage not too long ago. Facebook is not completely against them BUT you need to have the player controls. Back in the day, the video would just autoplay with no controls. It was annoying. You couldn’t fast-forward or anything.
Autoplay is not allowed anymore. The user should have the decision to play it or not. Also, the Add to Cart button wouldn’t appear until the middle. That’s not cool. It implies that you’re hiding something.
Also, now VSL’s cannot be the only thing on the page. You don’t need sales copy below the video to support it. Talk about the product, price, and your guarantee. It’ll make the user experience that much better.
No trapping mechanisms. No pop-ups, overs, unders or opt ins. Every page should have full footer info. Full contact information, privacy, terms and conditions etc. If there’s nowhere else to click, people will feel trapped. FB wants people to feel safe. Exit pops are frowned upon, but not in the red. A fake countdown timer is totally out. Bogus discounts. “It was $1,000 but now you can get for $49.” Intent has a lot to do with it. No tricking or manipulating.
Here’s another tip. You want to pay attention to your relevancy score and positive/negative feedback. Obviously, you want to shoot for high relevancy. 8-10. If your relevancy is too low, FB will say this person doesn’t know their audience well. The message isn’t well-received. We’ll just stop showing the ad.
A high relevancy score actually lowers your cost. The more relevant your ad is, the more impressions FB will give you. The more impressions means higher click through rate. More clicks will average out to a lower cost. This is the number you want to watch to make sure everything is above board and you have better performance.
Remember to monitor your feedback. You will want more positive than negative. If you have a lot of negative over a long period of time, pause the ad. Write another variation. Tighten up the targeting and/or messaging.
When people get banned it’s a good thing. It’s FB cleaning up the slime. It makes it a better playground for everyone. Real advertisers and real entrepreneurs can do their thing. It keeps the environment clean and protected. The trash always gets taken out. Just make sure you’re not one of them.
Nic encourages you to read through policy and get familiar. Just remember it’s a social platform. The intention is to serve not to sell. Put your human hat on. Be less of a marketer more of a person.
If staying on top of the nitty-gritty is too much for you, head over to Nicsblog.com/policy. He’s compiled some resources for you. A checklist, policy updates, what to avoid, not to avoid. He also has a FB group called Facebook Marketing Mastery. It’s a free, no-strings-attached community about 15,000 strong. Nic spends a lot of time helping people with their ads. You can stay in touch or get answers from him there.