“Your advertising account has been flagged because of unusual activity. For security reasons any ads you are running will be paused”
Alright you think… it can’t be that bad, there’s no “unusual activity” so I will just talk to the nice people at Facebook and explain that there has been a misunderstanding. This is where your big fat social media nightmare begins.
This article Is based on my own real experiences as a result of having my account suspended and how I went about restoring it.
WHAT DOES A SUSPENSION MEAN?
If you’re a social media manager then a suspension is bad news and if your heart is already pounding get ready for it to get a little bit worse. Here’s what will happen:
- All your running ads will be paused, regardless of how they are performing
- You may not be able to analyse the historic performance of those ads
- You will be unable to place new ads or add a new payment method
- You will discover that Facebook does not have a telephone support team
- Your boss and colleagues will not understand point 4
WHY DID FACEBOOK SUSPEND YOUR ACCOUNT?
The first thing you should do is to check your PayPal or Credit Credit card accounts. Was there a genuine security threat, has your account been hacked or did you spend more than usual? For your own security, check your payment methods first and if your account or page was hacked you should report it here.
Not hacked? Ok… then the second question you should ask yourself is whether you unwittingly flouted a Facebook advertising rule. The chances are that like me you never read the rules, you simply stumbled into them each time you broke one … right? Well here are some common Facebook rules I have flouted on more than one occasion:
- I used more than 20% text in adverts
- I didn’t write Facebook with a capital “F”
- I didn’t match the advert to the landing page
- I accessed my ads account via a proxy IP
- I used words which implied betting/gambling
- I used an image which portrays an “ideal body type” (see below)
DISALLOWED ADVERTISING IMAGE EXAMPLE
Remember that Facebook uses computerized processes to approve or reject adverts so this image which I used to promote a career in customer services was rejected for portraying an unrealistic body image!
You can read the full list of Dos and Don’ts right here and I recommend you do it BEFORE you start advertising. Facebook, or rather, Facebook’s robots, flag each rejected advert (regardless of the reason) and may eventually suspend your account without warning.
If you are working on a brand page which has more than one administrator then you need to make sure you are all aware of the rules. Facebook doesn’t care if it was you or a member of your marketing team who broke the rules. Your account will still get suspended.
HOW DO YOU GET YOUR AD ACCOUNT RUNNING AGAIN?
Now, here comes the tricky part because getting your Facebook ads account unsuspended is neither easy nor quick. The majority of Facebook’s “support” is based upon electronic forms, community run forums and an electronic ranking system. Your ad was likely suspended without a human looking at it, and to get it unsuspended requires human attention. When you appeal the decision – electronically of course, you may wait up to one month for a human to respond. Yes really!
1. Appeal Once– I have it on good authority that resending the appeal form simply moves you to the bottom of the queue. Send it once and wait… and wait… and wait. You can access the form by clicking the link in your red warning message but remember, just once!
2. Connect Another Account– You need to get your ads running again ASAP so you could try using another profile connected to the page with a different payment method. You may not be able to reactivate your paused ads but you should be able to create new ones. If you don’t have another connected profile then DON’T RUSH! If you do too much in one day then this account may also get suspended!
3. Search for Contacts– Facebook is notorious for deliberately withholding any contact info so you won’t find a phone number or public email address for them. That said, they have staff listed on Linkedin and they have their Facebook for Business page. This is the page I used to query my suspension, you will see that most comments on their page concern this issue! I also tagged them in Linkedin posts and mentioned them frequently on Twitter, politely of course!
4. Run Promotions Through An Alternative Page – This is not an ideal situation but if you have a neutral Facebook page then you may be able to run another brand’s adverts through it. For example, if your brand is “Training Shoes Australia” and you have a page entitled “What’s on in Australia” then you could run “click to website” adverts through it. Be careful though; if the problem lies with your payment method and you haven’t straightened that out yet you may “infect” your other pages!
4. Reconsider Your Social Strategy – If like me, you were relying too much on Facebook paid advertising then it’s time to go back to grass roots and refocus on organic engagement. Ask friends and followers to share your posts, utilize groups and forums, tag other businesses in your posts and diversify into other channels. I have always had a higher engagement on Twitter despite not having a paid ads account there but I probably got a bit lazy. Having your Facebook account suspended will force you to reconsider your overall social media strategy!
5. It’s Not About the money! If you search this subject on Google you will see that you are not alone. There are literally thousands of frustrated advertisers (some big players) in the same boat. You should also know that “spend” seemingly doesn’t matter to Facebook. My brand was spending 10,000 USD per month and it made no difference to the outcome. So before you start using phrases like “Do You Know Who I Am”, “I Spend $X Per Month” or “I Will Spend My Budget Elsewhere” remember, it won’t affect the outcome and it probably won’t make you feel any better.
My experience of Facebook support in comparison with other social media networks is very poor however at this time it is difficult to cut all advertising cords with the site.
Until then social media managers, Stay Strong, Stay Polite, Stay Persistent and you will get your ads account unblocked… eventually! Tweet me and let me know your experiences @charli_says