I was recently tasked with creating Facebook advertising for a website client. It was the first time I had attempted to venture into the world of paid Facebook advertising. I know that there are companies who specialize in social media advertising, companies that offer courses in social media advertising, and really I am content with building websites but thought well, it can’t hurt to learn something new.

Facebook gives you the ability to reach a highly specifically targeted audience, information that users willingly provide, such as age, location, relationship status, interests, income, education. Companies used to have to purchase mailing lists to reach these niche audiences, but now all you have to do is select some checkboxes from a form. But first you have to decide whether to run an ad or boost a post. I came to the conclusion that ads are best used for directing traffic to a purchasable product; posts are best for building an audience. In the case of my client, her online store isn’t quite ready so we decided to dip our proverbial toes in the Facebook waters with boosted posts.

The first thing I had to do was to turn off my ad blocker. Yes, you can have a desktop Facebook experience with zero paid advertisements. You have to install an extension in your browser called “Fluffbusting Purity“. You can set it up to block any posts that mention a certain word. It’s very useful and I kind of miss it. But it’s difficult to create ads when you can’t see them ;).

The client has a medical clinic, and the ads are focused on common health issues for which  many people seek treatment, such as menopause, pms, low testosterone. After creating a nice graphic to the preferred size, using the text from the article to where we were directing our audience, selecting the audience and a budget and a duration, I submitted the ad for menopause symptoms and it was promptly denied!

Your ad was rejected because it doesn’t comply with our advertising policies.

To learn more, view your ad in Account Quality. You can request a review if you think your ad was incorrectly rejected.

It’s because I used the word ‘menopause’. Targeted to women age 38 – 60. I mean, what woman is not going to experience it at some point? Yet, it violated their policy somehow. So did mentioning ‘PMS’, which was targeted to women a bit younger. This page explains their policy. Basically, you can’t assume your audience has the problems that you’re advertising. You have to word it in a way that asks if they’re looking for help, rather than assume that they’re looking for help. I removed ‘menopause’ and used ‘hot flashes’ instead. For PMS, ‘depression’ was replaced with ‘low mood’. Those changes worked.

Ads for erectile dysfunction and low testosterone were equally tricky. You can say things without saying things. Takes some wordsmithing. I don’t consider myself a copywriter; more of an editor, and an amateur one at that. My latest ED ad that got approved without a hitch, starts with “Be ready for romance.”

One really annoying issue with ads that get rejected, or maybe have a typo or bad link, you cannot edit them! You have to delete your ad, create a new ad and submit it. At least Facebook remembers the audience you selected last, so you don’t have to go through the pain of selecting all the demographics all over again. If I am mistaken here, I would love to know how to edit a boosted post.

Facebook also considers these boosted posts to be in some special kind of category. They required a ‘one time authorization’ to make sure that I am a real person. Not the business I that was posting on behalf of – the way Google does with their postcards to verify an address – just little ol’ me. I had to wait for them to verify my identity by them sending me a physical letter, which takes 3-5 business days. Once the letter arrives, you enter a code, and just like that, you are verified! Although it is a ‘one time thing’ I get the notice every single time I go to create a boosted post for this client, although I’ve already been verified. Not sure why they can’t make that notice go away… I just ignore it.

First, I’ve already become authorized by the process described in this post. Second, look at the text in the ad. Does this talk about “social issues, elections or politics” in any way, shape, or form? How is menopause a ‘social issue’? I would consider it a personal health issue.

I get this screen after clicking the “one-time authorization process” link, which I’ve already been through. Why do they have to keep showing it to me? This is a very, very imperfect process.

Here are the images for the posts I’ve boosted so far, without the text and links. Enjoy!