Facebook disabled your ad account – now what?

The nightmare scenario when advertising on Facebook is to open the ad account and see that it got disabled by Facebook. These type of bans come often without any pre-warning and are typically announced as “final”. In recent months we have observed that Facebook has been much stricter in enforcing their ad policies and we had a number of customers coming to us with blocked accounts. We thought it’s a useful topic to sum up in a blog post and share experiences of such bans.

What are the consequences of Facebook’s disabled ad account?

As you can’t do much with such an ad account, that means disabled accounts are pretty useless. You can’t advertise on them. Period.

In some cases, Facebook doesn’t allow to set up a new account, i.e., by setting up a new organization – it can also be seen as a method to bypass the Facebook advertising policies. That means that the new account is also likely to be disabled, so such a move from Facebook is effectively banning a business from using Facebook and Instagram advertising products.

Facebook Pages can also be banned, and companies can’t post on their pages anymore. What’s more, as a result, a personal Facebook account can also be disabled if it was linked to the already disabled ad account.

When your Facebook ad account got disabled, it affects your Instagram ads, and Instagram advertising products are managed from the same ad account.

This, of course, has significant consequences on the whole community building, sales, and brand perception. For a startup or company that is only starting its online journey, having a Facebook ban at such an early stage is a big blow.

Why did Facebook ban my ad account?  

Generally, Facebook doesn’t ban ad accounts without any reason. If it happened to you – that means you most likely violated Facebook advertising policies or even a few of them. Facebook is very strict about the policies. There is a whole catalog that contains all dos and don’ts.

The main reasons are:

It wasn’t me!  

We often hear from ad managers that they “did nothing to deserve the ban”. Once we speak to Facebook we find out that a number of manual reviews took place before the account was disabled. How does this work? Since Facebook runs some algorithmic checks that monitor ads, it’s possible that some ads have been flagged and were submitted for manual review. But, over time, when many manual reviews happened, this could lead Facebook to label the account as a “frequent offender” and at some point issue a ban. Most ad managers think that the ‘manual review’ request is a standard process, it isn’t and should be used only sporadically.

Is this fair? 

Of course, it’s often not fair. Sometimes these bans sound ridiculous, e.g., we’ve seen an ad for a non-alcoholic drink bottle flagged for sexual content because of the bottle’s shape!

But, let’s not forget that we’re dealing with a global American company that has been in the spotlight for allowing advertisers to get away with many things in their ads and influencing the result of the USA’s presidential election. So since then, we’ve seen Facebook stepping up its advertising policies and suspending accounts without much warning. Very often, those decisions are final.

Facebook also doesn’t care much about money. We’ve seen some accounts with a spend of 50k CHF per month that got disabled. Facebook has enough advertisers and isn’t afraid of removing companies to protect their reputation.

Our experience in dealing with Facebook & what can be done

As for the issue – the disabled Facebook advertising account is quite serious. We’ve dealt with a few disabled accounts from very severe penalties that required up to 4 months of escalations. We have also worked with the policy team at Facebook to resolve smaller issues within a few hours or a few days of talking to Facebook Support.

The biggest challenge is finding out why your account was disabled and getting access to the right people at Facebook. In the standard procedure, you can talk to Facebook Support, and they will try to find out the reasons and send the special form to review the disabled account again.

If your account was disabled by accident (it happens) or for not using it for a longer time or any other reason not connected to policy violation – you can fill out this form, and your account will get unlocked quite fast.

For more advanced cases with a policy violation, you need both senior contacts at Facebook and time. And there is no guarantee it will be possible to unlock the Facebook ad account again, but it’s worth a try.

Pro Tip – you can send the form to request a review of your disabled Facebook ad account yourself. However, we recommend contacting Facebook Support first to ensure there’s no ad policy violation and let Facebook representatives do it for you.

At what., we’ve created a process for getting back disabled Facebook accounts if such a situation happens. It starts with talking to Facebook and finding out the reasons for the ad account suspension.

Once we know the specific reason, we talk to Facebook to explain the reasoning. Sometimes, simply removing ads or some content that violates Facebook advertising policies does the job, so that when Facebook performs their check again, nothing gets flagged. But there are no ‘sure’ rules as each case is individual and requires tailored actions.

What next? 

The best piece of advice to avoid such a situation is to follow the Facebook advertising policies and check them often as they are continually changing. The ads created according to Facebook rules and policies, even if rejected by robots, are again approved by the Facebook team who does manual rechecks.

If your company needs support with a Facebook ad account or with creating successful campaigns according to Facebook policies, reach out to us for consultancy by sending an email to hello@what.digital.