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Does your Post's Image break Facebook's new Ad Rules?

Posted 29 January, 2013

Does_your_Posts_Image_break_Facebooks_new_Ad_Rules-lsfollowrulesFacebook is creating ever more ways for businesses to advertise on their site. With each new way comes new restrictions and problems.

As you know, you can now run multiple types of ads on Facebook. You're not just limited to the ads in the right sidebar.

You can choose from traditional ads, Sponsored Stories, Promoted Posts and now mobile friendly ads.

You'll need to test each to see which one performs for your page -- but many businesses are having huge successes with Sponsored Stories.

Check these sources for more info:

Promoted Posts & Sponsored Stories

For this post, let's assume you want to run a Promoted Post or Sponsored Story for your page.

This means you will run an ad using one of your recent page posts -- which makes the ad look very natural in the News Feed -- and thus get a lot of engagement.

Posts with images seem to do the best (although some are seeing higher reach with text only status updates.)

But can you post just any image? Are there rules to follow?

Yep. Here they are...

The Rules for Facebook Ads

According to Facebook images in Ads or Sponsored Stories have to follow the following guidelines:

Ads and sponsored stories images must be relevant and appropriate to the advertised product

  • Images may not exploit political, sexual or sensitive issues.
  • Images may not use shock or scare tactics.

Facebook gives the following examples of "Unacceptable" images:


As you can see these images are graphic in nature and are purely meant to shock the person viewing it.

Facebook goes on to say:

  • Images may not be overly sexual, imply nudity, show excessive amounts of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on body parts.

They give these images as examples of "Acceptable" images according to this rule:


But then gives these images as examples of those that are "Unacceptable" according to this rule:


Personally, I don't see the difference here. My guess is the bottom ones are banned because the woman with the laptop might just be going commando. And the dude -- well he isn't really advertising anything -- other than being ripped and taking a lame photo in a mirror!

Anyway, Facebook then gives us some guidelines which I see everyone violating

  • Images may not portray nonexistent functionality, including but not limited to play buttons that suggest video capability and close buttons that do not close.


I see these bottom types of images all the time. People basically take a screenshot of their video and post it as a picture. The users think it's a video and push "play" only to be taken to the photo -- or if it's an ad, to the link.

Big no-no.

Facebook isn't saying you can't use these types of images on your page, but you can't use them as ads.

Let's continue with the guidelines from Facebook:

  • Images may not contain QR codes.
  • Images may not use Facebook brand images without permission, including but not limited to logos, icons and alert notification graphics.
  • Images targeted to users under 18 must be appropriate for that age group.

What's new?

Here's Facebook's newest rule -- and the one that's hardest to measure (and not break):

  • Ads and sponsored stories in news feed may not include images made up of more than 20% text, including logos and slogans.

Yes you read that correctly. Facebook is saying that any image you use for an ad cannot contain more than 20% text!

Time to get your slide-rule out and start measuring!

Here are their examples of both Acceptable and Unacceptable images:





Notice the difference?

Basically the first image is acceptable because it's an image of a t-shirt and less than 20% of the image contains text and/or logos.

The unacceptable image is well over 20% text.

If you're not a graphics person this will be hard to determine and measure. I'd recommend getting a good graphics person so you don't end up spinning your wheels and getting ads declined.

Here's the last rule Facebook gives us about images and Ads:

Sponsored Stories:

  • It's important that all sponsored stories lead to destinations with appropriate images. If your sponsored story was rejected for image, it's likely that the image used for your content is not suitable for display on Facebook.

Facebook only gives us an example of an Acceptable image for this one:


This image is acceptable because it doesn't contain nudity, or sexually suggestive or shocking material.


So basically you need to put some thought into the images you post to your page -- especially when you intend to use them in ads or Sponsored Stories.

I hope this rundown is helpful.

Sound off in the comments below if you think these restrictions are too strict or just right?

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