Why are my ads getting rejected on Google and Facebook?

Rejection is a pretty universal negative experience. You didn’t get the job you wanted, that intriguing person turns down the second date – you get the idea. What do we do when we face rejection? We assess what went wrong and try again! 

The same is true when your Google or Facebook ad is rejected. The ad is something you put a lot of thought, time, and effort into. Seeing it rejected can be disappointing, confusing, and probably a little annoying. 

Thankfully, you’re not alone. Even professional digital marketers aren’t immune to this situation. We work with a lot of clients and see rejections come through regularly. The algorithms and policies are constantly changing. Ad rejections can usually be attributed to one of several factors: content, targeting, and policies. 

Let’s dive into each factor on both Facebook and Google Ads. 

Facebook Ad Rejection

    • Content
      • Understandably, there are limitations to what content your ad can include. Promotion of tobacco or related products (e-cigs, vapes, etc.), weapons, illicit substances, illegal products and services, and more is strictly prohibited. Additionally, your content must not discriminate against any group or individual based on personal attributes. 
      • Your ad must also direct people to a functioning landing page. Ads directing people to a non-functional landing page (including content that interferes with a person’s ability to navigate away from the page) will be rejected. 
    • Targeting
      • Facebook targeting includes demographic and psychographic information such as age, gender, location, income level, life events (retiring soon, just bought a house, newly engaged), and interests (mountain biking, shopping, horror movies). You must not use targeting options to discriminate against, harass, or provoke audiences. 
    • Policies
      • One of the primary reasons we see ad rejections on Facebook is because of a  Special Ad Category policy. Ads about credit, employment, housing, social issues, elections, or politics require authorization. “Paid for by” disclaimers are also required for issue, electoral, and political ads. There are also limited audience selection tools for ads about credit, employment, or housing opportunities to help protect people on Facebook from unlawful discrimination.
        • Credit: Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including, but not limited to, credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards, regardless of a specific offer.
        • Employment: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including, but not limited to, part- or full-time jobs, internships, or professional certification programs. This can include promotions for job boards or fairs, aggregation services, or ads detailing perks a company may provide, regardless of a specific job offer.
        • Housing: Ads that promote or directly link to a housing opportunity or related service, including, but not limited to, listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage loans, housing repairs, and home equity or appraisal services. This does not include ads designed to educate consumers or housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under fair housing laws. You can include the Equal Opportunity Housing logo and slogan to help differentiate your ads as non-discriminatory. 
          • Note: We see this fairly often in our Contractor Marketing segment. Facebook will classify ads promoting home remodeling services as potentially promoting housing so ads get flagged and rejected. Approval often requires us to resubmit the ad for a special review. We can also select the Housing Special Ad Category to let Facebook know we are complying with their policies.
      • Social Issues, Elections, or Politics: Ads made by, on behalf of, or about a candidate for public office, a political figure, a political party, or advocates for the outcome of an election to public office. Ads about any election, referendum, or ballot initiative, including “go out and vote” election campaigns, also fall into this category. Ads about social issues in any place where the ad is being placed also earn extra scrutiny. Social issues are sensitive topics that are heavily debated, may influence the outcome of an election, or result in/relate to existing or proposed legislation. Ads about social issues seek to influence public opinion through discussion, debate, or advocacy for or against important topics, like health and civil and social rights. These ads will require an individual in your organization to be verified by Facebook as a verified advertiser. 

For more information, take a look at Facebook’s advertising policies.

Google Ads Ad Rejection

    • Content
      • Prohibited content on Google Ads is similar to Facebook. No promotion of counterfeit goods or dangerous products or services, no enabling of dishonest behavior, and no inappropriate content. Restricted content includes alcohol, gambling, healthcare and medicine, politics, financial services, trademarks, and more. 
      • Similar to Facebook, your landing page must meet Google’s requirements. Google wants consumers to have a good experience when they click on an ad, so ad destinations must offer unique value to users and be functional, useful, and easy to navigate.
        • Examples of promotions that don’t meet destination requirements:
          • a display URL that does not accurately reflect the URL of the landing page, such as “google.com” taking users to “gmail.com”
          • sites or apps that are under construction, parked domains, or are just not working
          • sites that are not viewable in commonly used browsers
          • sites that have disabled the browser’s back button
      • Google Ads also has extensive ad formatting requirements. In order to help you provide a quality user experience and deliver attractive, professional-looking ads, Google will only allow ads that comply with specific requirements for each ad format. Take a look at the requirements for each ad type here.
    • Targeting
      • Just as we saw with Facebook, any time you’re able to target groups of people based on demographic and psychographic information such as age, gender, location, income status, and interests based on previous browsing data, you’re getting into potentially sticky territory. You and Google Ads can agree that you don’t want to discriminate against any individual or group, but Google might read your ads as discriminatory if you leave out an age group or target a specific gender. In order to avoid rejection, your ad content must be relevant to the audience you’re targeting.
    • Policies
      • Google Ads has a robust documented set of “Sensitive interest categories.” Advertisers promoting products and services that fall within sensitive interest categories are unable to use advertiser-curated audiences. This helps ensure that sensitive interest categories aren’t inadvertently used for targeting audiences. Because predefined Google audiences are expressly configured without sensitive user signals, all advertisers are allowed to use them, even if they promote sensitive interest categories.
        • Legal restrictions: Advertisers are not allowed to target users based on legally restricted content such as users under age 13, restricted drug terms, alcohol, gambling, and more.
        • Personal hardships: Ad content cannot exploit personal struggles, difficulties, or hardships.
        • Identity and belief: Ads shouldn’t target users based on categories prone to systemic discrimination or unfair stigmas.
        • Sexual interests: Ads shouldn’t target users based on inherently private sexual interests or experiences.
        • Access to opportunities: Ads shouldn’t limit access to opportunities by leveraging unfair societal biases when targeting users with specific content categories.
          • Once again, our Keokee Contractor Marketing team sees this restriction most often. One of the subcategories is, of course, equal opportunity in terms of housing. While a contractor promoting remodeling services or custom builds will need to use the terms “Home” and “House” in their Ad Copy, be careful to not include any real estate related terms in your keywords as this will trigger a rejection if your target audience is narrowed to exclude certain age groups or household income levels. 
    • For more information on Google’s personalized advertising policies, click here.


Navigating the rules and policies of advertising on Facebook and Google Ads can be time-intensive and potentially overwhelming. If you’re interested in promoting your business online, reach out to the experts at Keokee to get you started!