The Short List of Popular Platform Restrictions and Prohibited Content

Ad approval can be a lengthy process if you complicate things with inappropriate content. Though most social media and search sites have shared standard prohibitions and restrictions like no counterfeit goods, illegal products, political ads, copyright infringement, or tobacco, firearms and alcohol sales, each site may add their own specific no-nos to that list. Amy Gesenhues of Search Engine Land posted a fabulous list of what is prohibited or restricted when it comes to social media marketing. Here is a brief rundown of her top sites and what will get your ad rejected quick. She also noted that these lists are constantly changing, so it is always best to do periodic checks on the main platform lists.

Facebook and Instagram
Prohibited ad content that spans the full family of Facebook applications includes the standards above, plus:
     Any ad that includes third party infringement
     Surveillance equipment
     Any ad that leads to a non-functioning landing site
     Payday Loans, paycheck advancement services, or bail bonds
     Body parts. Yes, body parts.
     No dating platforms, political ads or cryptocurrency services without prior permission
     Gambling, state lotteries, OTC drugs and online pharmacies are also restricted
     No Drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs unless they are certified via LegitScript first
     Weight loss products and plans must be targeted to users age 18 years and older

Google and YouTube
Google has recently attempted to simplify and standardize its content policies.  Prohibited ad content includes:
     Counterfeit goods
     Dangerous products or services
     Ads that enable dishonest behavior
     Inappropriate content
     Restricted content ad policies include:
     Adult content
     Alcohol, Gambling and Games
     Copyrights and Trademarks
     Healthcare and medicines
     Political content
     Financial services

LinkedIn is a Microsoft-owned platform, but its prohibited and restricted ad policies are separate from the rules outlined for Microsoft and Bing. Prohibited items include the standards, but also ads for downloadable ringtones, fortune telling, dream interpretations, occult pursuits, political candidate promotions or ballot propositions. The company also states that “hateful, vulgar, sexually suggestive or violent” content is prohibited.  LinkedIn’s restricted ad content includes the following:
     Animal products
     Dating services
     Medical devices
     Short-term loans and financial services or soliciting funds

Microsoft (Bing)
According to Gesenhues, Microsoft’s disallowed and restricted ad policies, which include rules for Bing search ads, can be confusing to follow. Its one page list of “Restricted and disallowed content policies” contains multiple links to more detailed pages that better outline disallowed ads versus restricted ads. Microsoft Bing follows the usual standards but also includes no election related content, political parties fundraising efforts for political candidates, candidates themselves, or ballot measures.

Microsoft also doesn’t allow weapons of any kind to be advertised on its platforms, including knives. In Brazil, India and Vietnam, Microsoft does not allow advertising that promotes infant feeding products such as baby formula, feeding bottles, rubber nipples or baby food of any kind.

Pinterest’s prohibited ad content included the standard themes but also:
     Drugs and paraphernalia
     Endangered species and live animals
     Sensitive content
     Weapons and explosives
     Content that capitalizes on tragic events
     Adult content or Nudity
     Ads containing clickbait

Restricted content includes:
     Contests, sweepstakes and Pinterest incentives
     Any content alleging the promotion endorsement or sponsorship by Pinterest
     Content that directs people to click on Pinterest buttons to get money, prizes or deals
     Ads for weight loss or appetite suppressant pills and supplements or promotions that claim unrealistic cosmetic results

Twitter’s list of prohibited and restricted ads are easy to follow, straightforward, and basically in keeping with industry standards. Twitter is, however, the only platform that also prohibits the promotion of malware products and software downloads.

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