About Facebook Advertising Policies and Community Guidelines
A page on Facebook advertising policies offers an overview of the ad review process, steps to take if disapproved, and many other policies that apply to a boosted post, which turns that post into an ad by paying money to boost it to appear as advertised content to a target advertising audience. Some find it frustrating to have a boost of a post to be rejected without what seems like a clear reason. But when thinking about other forms of advertising, one would accept adherence to advertising guidelines.
Where social media had been less restrictive in the past, and while it might create additional work for the content writers and publishers, the net result can be plainly-written content catching more attention by readers and search engine bots. This is a good thing and it requires content writers to be more aware and adapt to content requirements and guidelines, if not just for ads, also for SEO.
Facebook Ads: Personal Attributes Policy, Do Not Say “You?”
Personal attributes as defined relate directly to the private aspects of a person’s life. Likewise, personal attributes can relate to a person’s body, its care, or appearance. When someone receives an ad rejection notice from Facebook, they can research why their ad violated the Personal Attributes policy. Most often people find articles warning about using the word, “you” in their ad. While the word “you” alone is not a violation, it can trigger the automated Facebook bots and flag your ad for rejection.
The personal attributes concern is about calling people out for and identifying them by their personal attributes. For example, having children is a personal attribute. When writing a post, avoid pointing out people as parents by saying for example, “Attention parents, feeding children…” as opposed to “Attention parents, feeding your children…” As Facebook sees it, by saying “your” presumes the personal attribute of being a parent to every person who sees your post as you boost it.
The Work Around: Use Generic Plain Language for a Broad Audience
It makes good sense in advertising to appeal to a greater audience and not a specific individual defined by a personal attribute. Using more global language and considering a broad audience is essential when writing Facebook posts as ads to be boosted.
Beginning with a generic statement with broad reach can start with a question. For example, “Concerned about co-parenting during the holidays?” Contrast with “Are you a concerned co-parent during the holidays?” Note how the second sentence pinpoints the reader as being a co-parent, which is a personal attribute, and that is what triggers an ad rejection.
Plainlanguage.gov: What is Plain Language?
Options Facebook Offers When Rejecting Your Ads
When Facebook rejects an ad because it does not comply with their policies, they offer additional options including requesting a review of the post. Facebook uses algorithms that flag content that might violate its community advertising policies. Requesting a review may cure the block to boosting.
Alternatively, you can learn what you may have done wrong and create a new post consistent with Facebook ad policies. But before you delete your post to repost and boost it, consider the engagement you already have on the post. If several people liked, commented, or shared your post, your best benefit for traction is to leave it be. Because the post had so many interactions, it is likely to show up again in Facebook’s featured content it shows people hopping on to their page who haven’t been there in a while.
Expanding to Website Pages and Blog Articles: Plain Language and General Appeal
When the tech companies make and enforce content policies it can be challenging. Concerned about all the past-published content that could hurt page rank? Just as this preceding sentence is written to be inclusive and of general appeal, even by way of illustration, it begs an important question about current content.
A best practice with website content, on individual pages and blogs, is to be aware of plain language writing and general appeal moving forward. It is also a good idea to spend some time reviewing current website pages and reworking phrases that could harm page rank for violating personal attributes policies. And even if that is not happening to the website yet, it could affect page rank in the future.
Additionally, there is a search engine optimization benefit to plain language writing for a general audience. The search engine crawlers and artificial intelligence involved in scanning website content for page rank are always advancing. Easily added programs like Grammarly make editing easy and score the readability of the content. Content ranked easier to read is likely to be favored by search engines, especially when written plainly.