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What to Do When Your Instagram Ad Wasn’t Approved

Published by James Parsons on 12/21/2016
Written by ContentPowered.com

Instagram Ad Not Approved

Creating an ad for Instagram is very much like making one for Facebook. You have to go through the same interface, in fact, as the Instagram ad system is simply a different set of objectives for the Facebook ad system. I assume by this point you already know how to set up an ad on Instagram, but if not, you may want to check out this post.

Ads are rejected all the time. It’s a simple fact of life when it comes to online ads. You never know which of the million labyrinthine rules you break, or even if you actually broke a rule, or simply ran afoul of a false positive in the system or got on the bad side of a human reviewer.

You have a few options if your ad is rejected. You can file an appeal, you can try to fix and resubmit your ad, or you can discard the ad and create a new one.

Before you do any of those, however, the first thing you should do is create a new ad with all of the exact same elements to it and submit it again. Try to do this at a different time of day from when you did it the first time. See, the ad approval process for Facebook and Instagram is very fickle. It’s inconsistent from hour to hour and day to day. Sometimes you just the on the wrong side of whoever happens to be manning the desk that day, and your ad will pass through just fine if you submit it tomorrow. There’s nothing to risk doing this except for the loss of a day, and you should ideally be making your ads weeks in advance of when you want them to run, so there’s no harm in trying this method. If you’re lucky, it’ll work, and your ad will be approved without having to try any of the three options below.

Filing an Appeal

When you file an appeal, you’re contacting Facebook directly and telling them you think their reason for rejecting your ad is in error. You are essentially requesting manual review of your ad that was, presumably, rejected due to an automated process. You’re hoping that the manual review will find that your ad was rejected due to a false positive, rather than an actual rules violation.

If your ad is reviewed in an appeal and is found to still be in violation of whatever rule they claimed you broke, you will have no alternative but to skip this section. There’s no second appeal. If, however, your ad is reviewed and found to actually be allowed, it will be approved.

Instagram Ad Appeal

If your ad is approved in an appeal, be aware that it will run automatically according to the status of your campaign. If the ad is part of a campaign that is currently disabled, the ad will not run. If the ad is part of a campaign that is currently enabled, the ad will begin running immediately, and you will be charged for it accordingly.

How do you go about appealing an ad? You will have to click this link to go to the proper form in the Facebook help center. This is the “Appeal a Disapproved Ad” form. It will ask you a few questions about which ad was disapproved and why. When you submit the information, it sends your ad in for manual review. This process can take anywhere from several hours to several days, so don’t hold your breath waiting for it ot happen.

In some cases, the ad appeal form is broken. You can try to submit it through a different web browser, but sometimes it’s simply an issue Facebook hasn’t fixed with their back end. If this happens, you can either way for a few days and try again, or you can skip the appeal section and move on to the next option.

Fix and Resubmit

This is the most common way of fixing a rejected ad, but it’s also the most complex. It requires two things; the dedication to your current ad that makes you not want to drop it, and the understanding of the Facebook ad policies that allow you to figure out what the error is.

One thing to note is that you should first try to appeal system, even if you don’t fully submit the appeal. The reason is that sometimes your ad won’t show up as a rejection available for appeal. If this is the case, it means your ad was rejected because of a violation that cannot be appealed. One such violation is the age violation; if you’re advertising alcohol with consent of Facebook/Instagram, you still need to put the alcohol age limitations on targeting. Otherwise, people can slip through the cracks and you can be found advertising alcohol to minors. This can get both you and Facebook in trouble, so they are very staunch about this policy.

Create an Instagram Ad

So what does Facebook look at when they check to see if your ad is worth approving? It can be divided into two things.

  • Your ad itself. On Instagram, they will check to make sure your ad has an image that doesn’t violate Instagram content guidelines, and they will check to make sure your description doesn’t violate guidelines. They also maintain the text-limitation rules of Facebook ads in the images, so if your image has too much text, it may be rejected. You can read more about those rules here.
  • Your landing page. Facebook will check to make sure that your landing page is congruent with your ad, that it’s not in violation of advertising content guidelines, and that it’s functional. You can’t direct an ad at a test landing page that doesn’t work or is filled with Lorem Ipsum text, it will be rejected.

Each of these, as well as some technical information behind the scenes, can all be checked to see if it’s what’s causing the ad rejection.

Prohibited Content

The first thing you should do is double check to make sure you’re not trying to advertise something that’s against the community standards or Instagram rules. Some, but not all, of those potential violations include:

  • Photos that you don’t have the rights to share. Using someone else’s trademark or someone else’s content can get you rejected in an instant.
  • Photos that aren’t appropriate for all audiences. Nudity is not allowed, with some vague caveats, such as breastfeeding. Any form of nude or partially nude children is subject to being removed, no matter how artistic.
  • Photos that advertise illegal services are not allowed. No firearms, no sexual services, no prescription drugs, no online gambling, and so forth. Some few exceptions, such as a few dating sites, gambling sites, and pharmacies are allowed, but only with prior written permission. If you have that permission but were rejected, you will have to manually appeal.
  • Prohibited content includes tobacco products, drugs, unsafe supplements, explosives, weapons, adult content, overly sensational content, and other standard restrictions.
  • Content that implies or assets qualities about the reader is also not allowed. This is intrusive to the target of the ads and puts a bad spin on the site as a whole. You can’t assume your targets are part of a given demographic group, religion, age, gender, medical condition, financial level, or anything else personal about them. You can see a full list under prohibited content here.

There are other elements to the Instagram community guidelines. You can read the full document here.

So if your ad seems to be on the up and up, you have to wonder why it was rejected. It’s time to do some tests.

First, change the landing page URL to your homepage. This is obviously not a good practice for a good ad, but it will in one step eliminate any issues with your landing page. If every other aspect of your ad is the same, and it’s accepted, you know there’s something wrong with your landing page. You can then go about diagnosing the problem, which will either be nonfunctional elements of the page or something perceived to be malicious about it. As a reminder, you’re not allowed to include code that captures the user’s cursor or prevents them from leaving.

If the landing page is not the problem, you need to start making incremental changes to your ad text, or change it all in one go to see if text was the problem. Again, if the landing page and the image are the same, and changing the text makes your ad approved, you know some element of that text was triggering a rejection. The same goes for leaving text the same and changing out the image.

If it’s none of those, it has to be something in your targeting options. You may be targeting an audience that isn’t legal for you product or service, which tends to happen if you’re not careful when you’re putting in the options for an age-restricted service. It’s surprising what can and can’t be advertised on Instagram, if you have the right restrictions in place.

Instagram Ad Targeting

One more thing you might want to check is your payment information. Generally, if Facebook discovers that your payment information is invalid, they’ll cancel your ads and send you a notification about it. This is a different sort of notification from what you get when they reject a single ad, though, and it also means any other existing ads will be put on hold. This is dangerous, because Facebook takes financial fraud very seriously, and it’s something they ban people over. Always make sure your payment information is valid.

Submitting a New Ad

If none of the above worked, there are two possible causes. One is that whoever has been working on the line when you keep submitting changes has decided to judge you harshly and reject anything you submit. No change will be good enough to an existing ad, so you need to get out of the queue and into a new one, so you should create a new ad. Start with all new creative, new text and image, and even a new landing page if you can swing it. You might want to just change the URL of your existing landing page, or make a cloned copy, for easiest effect.

The other possible cause is that you, your business, has somehow been blocked by Facebook. I know a few people this has happened to, generally because of misuse of Facebook’s trademarks and copyrights, though other reasons can come up as well. Essentially, Facebook decides something about your business is not kosher for their site, and they block any mention of you. You may be allowed to keep a page, or may not. A personal profile might be all you’re allowed, or they might even ban that. However, this is likely to show up more as a generalized inability to create Instagram ads or even log in to the site, than it is the rejection of a single ad.

When it comes time to create a new Instagram ad, all you can really do is review the ad guidelines and try to make one that’s going to make it through the review. Make sure your targeting is up to snuff, make sure your image is not depicting something against the Instagram guidelines, and make sure your copy is not crossing any lines. Ideally, you’ll be making something more or less the same as what you had before, at least in terms of call to action and general content. Just avoid using any of the exact same content you used before, because it was rejected for a reason you haven’t been able to determine. An all new ad is the way to go here.

Ideally, your new ad will be approved, you can discard the old one, and move on with life. If you’re rejected again, you have the joy of going through this whole process again, or simply finding someone who works for Facebook and getting them to review and tell you specifically why your ads have been rejected.

Comments

  1. valerie

    says:

    Will they still charge me if my promotion was not approved / still pending and I delete it?

  2. Besmir

    says:

    My ad doesn’t have any irregular rules but it still isn’t getting approved. Any ideas to fix this?

    • James Parsons

      says:

      Some industries are prohibited from advertising on Instagram. I would check to make sure you aren’t on this list. Also try a new graphic and try changing your text. Do you have a link to the ad that we can look at to give advice? Thanks!

      • Rasheed

        says:

        I also have the same problem… my ads dont go through while some other guys promote ads with the same characters as mine and they go through.

        • James Parsons

          says:

          There are a lot of reasons why Instagram can deny your new ad. You can always try creating a few variations of that ad and see if one of them get approved. If you’re promoting a business that is prohibited, or if your image doesn’t comply with the terms, then it will be rejected regardless of the characters in your ad. I would start there and create several completely different variations of your ad to see if you can get one approved to start with.

  3. louise

    says:

    Hi can you help me to delete my ad that was not approved? I cannot discard the promotion that was not approved. Therefore i cannot switch back to my personal account. thank you so much in advance

    • Megan

      says:

      click insights under the not approved ad and then scroll to the bottom and click delete promotion 🙂

      • Marly

        says:

        I tried it, but there are no options for me to delete it. I get an ‘Error’ pop up. Also, on my notifications it shows that there is a pending promotion and when I click nothing shows up.

        • Francesco

          says:

          I am on the same boat. Looking forward to know the solution. I can’t even get into the insights. I have a feeling that Insta got stuck…

  4. Marcus

    says:

    I need help deleting my promotions that were not approved. They are under the active tab. When I select Delete Promotion, I get error deleting promotion.

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