Is Grey the New Black?

And we’re not talking the 50 Shades kind!

According to a new study more people over the age of 65 are using Facebook1. The study found that the increasing numbers were a result of them wanting to reconnect with old friends and maintain existing relationships, such as a desire to see what their children and grandchildren were doing. This brings to mind one of my favorite all time posts on Facebook. . .

The 65+ age group was found to be the fastest growing demographic across social media with a 14 point increase from 48% to 62% in a year. The Millennials are still the largest group at 88%, but growth is slowing as indicated in the graphbelow. All this is a wake-up call to marketers who still believe Facebook and other social media platforms are only for the younger generations.


A separate study by also reported that the 65+ demographic were most influenced by ads on Instagram. They were the group most likely to search for products after seeing Instagram promoted posts, with an 80% indication rate versus 40% for Millennials3.

The implications for anyone looking to target an audience on Instagram:

  1. The 65+ demographic is a lucrative market: Older adults have more disposable income than teenagers and students, likely a result of their own offspring leaving home.
  2. Changing times: The demographics of social media change as fast as Facebook statuses – 293,000 status updates every 60 seconds if you really want to know4. How can you possibly keep up? The trick is to use the Facebook pixel on your website so you know the type of visitors who are interested in your product, which also allows you to build lookalike audiences you can target. If you discover that a big portion of your audience is 65+, well then indeed, grey can be the new black!

1 Source: 2016
2 Source: Pew Research Center Social Media update 2016, November 2016.
3 Source: Adweek March, 2017
4 Source: The Social Skinny

Restricted and Prohibited: Facebook Ad Rules to Live by, Part 2 of 2

We’re back with Part 2 of our insight on Facebook’s restricted and prohibited ad content. Today, it’s all about the prohibited kinds, so pay close attention! Whether managing ads for yourself or selling Facebook ads to a customer, it’s important to understand Facebook’s advertising guidelines clearly, particularly around restricted and prohibited content. Otherwise, your ad could get delayed or removed, and worse, your page could get flagged for publishing prohibited content.

That Facebook has rules that restrict or prohibit certain content is a really a benefit to us all. The rules represent not only good advertising practices but good common sense and decency.

Part 2: Prohibited Ad Content

Is it Art or Porn?
Don’t tell me you won’t know the difference when you see it. Any ads that tout adult content, like nudity or suggestive activities, or adult products or services, like…well, you know, are prohibited. We all know that sex sells. Just not on Facebook.

Road Runner cartoons are great, but if Wile E. Coyote hopes to find some new ACME rockets on Facebook, he’ll be out of luck. Facebook ads promoting weapons, explosives or ammunition are nowhere to be found.

No Smokin’ or Tokin’
No tobacco. No drugs. No tobacco or drug-related products, like roach clips or vaporizers. Not that we would know. And while we’re talking about drugs, if Facebook deems your supplement unsafe, as it does with anabolic steroids, chitosan and comfrey, for example, don’t even try.  

That’s Shocking!
Nore gore found here please. Nothing violent or, you know, gross. No one comes to Facebook to be grossed out or scared to death.

404s and Other Junk
Who’d want to promote a broken link anyway? But this rule includes websites with features that interfere with a user’s ability to navigate away from a page, like pop-ups. In the same vein, low quality, junky ads that take the user to unexpected or disruptive experiences or sites with minimal original content are out. And since we’re talking about controversial content, I may as well mention that this includes questionable political or social issues being used for commercial purposes.

I Spy
Whether you’re using a webcam or a piece of software to spy on someone or what they are doing, online or offline, advertising about it is a no-go. Just don’t.

Pants on Fire
In this day and age, it might be hard to tell truth from fiction, but if you’re in advertising, you’re going to have to try. No misleading or flat-out false content is allowed. If they can figure out which is which.

Class it up
Nothing says spam faster than PEOPLE WHO USE ALL CAPS or tend to use exclamation points excessively!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, don’t be profane. And spelling the “S word” with a $ symbol will get you busted too. Keep it classy.

Don’t Discriminate
Speaking of keeping it classy, ads can’t discriminate based on all the things you’d expect – race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, etc.

Don’t Take it Personal
Of course, the expression is actually “Don’t take it personally,” but we got it wrong on purpose to make the point. Facebook ads can’t suggest that the advertiser knows you or your personal traits. This one is a little trickier to understand and we get a ton of questions about it. If an ad said something like, “Need a personal injury lawyer due to your accident?” This implies it knows you had an accident, and that’s not okay.

Not the Land of Make-Believe
Using your imagination is great if you’re a kid. But if you want to place an ad on Facebook, it has to be about something that actually exists.

Need a payday or cash advance loan? Don’t look for suppliers on Facebook. It’s not a thing here. Nor are ads promoting income opportunities classified as “multi-level marketing” or that promote “quick compensation” business models. Try daytime television instead, say during the Jerry Springer show.

No Fake IDs
Does it come as any surprise that Facebook doesn’t allow ads that promote counterfeit documents?

Cheap Tricks
Ads can’t promote penny auctions or bidding fee auctions. Ads also can’t contain flash animation that plays automatically without the person’s interaction. That’s tacky.

I Lost 60 Pounds!
Sorry folks. If you’re peddling weight loss products, you can’t show before and after pics, or anything else that implies a negative self-perception in order to promote the product. Furthermore, unsubstantiated claims, like promising that someone will lose an exact amount in a set timeframe or make $1,000 in a week is a total no-no.

That’s Not Yours
Content that infringes upon trademark, privacy, publicity or proprietary rights of any third party are clearly prohibited as well.

A special note for lead generation ads: due to Facebook’s privacy policy, advertisers must not create lead generation forms that request the following types of information:

  • Account numbers
  • Criminal and arrest history
  • Financial information
  • Government-issued identifiers
  • Trade union membership
  • Username or passwords
  • Health information
  • Insurance information
  • Political affiliation
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

We hope this content is useful to you. Bookmark it so you can visit again. And if you missed Part 1 in our series, visit it here. Want even more details about Facebook’s restricted and prohibited policies? Visit their Ads Policy page.

Restricted and Prohibited: Facebook Ad Rules to Live by, Part 1 of 2

Whether managing ads for yourself or selling Facebook ads to a customer, it’s important to understand Facebook’s advertising guidelines clearly, particularly around restricted and prohibited content. Otherwise, your ad could get delayed or removed, and worse, your page could get flagged for publishing prohibited content.

Here’s Part 1 of our 2-part series on restricted and prohibited ad content. Part 1 focuses on restricted content.

Part 1: Restricted Ad Content

Get it Free (for now)!
You know how you can get suckered into signing up for something that auto-renews? Then a year later, you see it on your credit card bill and you think, “Oy vey!” Yeah, Facebook isn’t a fan either. Along with auto-renewal, there are restrictions for free-to-pay billing conversion products, mobile marketing (like push notifications and texting) and anything that includes negative options (which is when you require the purchaser to opt out, as opposed to opt in to any agreement).

Bet you’re not surprised to learn that there are restrictions about alcohol promotion, right? In addition to complying with local laws, they must also follow any industry codes, guidelines, licenses and approvals. And, in some countries, they are completely prohibited. Check the list on Facebook to make sure you know all the rules.

Drugs, Dating and Gambling
Putting these three together makes it sound a bit like a scene from The Hangover. On Facebook, the connection between dating, real-money gambling and online pharma is that in order to run ads in any category, you need to seek written permission from Facebook before submitting the ad. Ads that haven’t been granted permission won’t see the light of day.

Speaking of categories requiring written permission, there are also some strict rules regarding video ads that include film trailers, TV programs, video games, etc. where content is intended for mature audiences. In addition to written permission, they must also target 18+ audiences, and in some cases – when the content includes profanity, violence, drugs or alcohol use, for example –  the ad may be prohibited entirely.

Legal Herbs and Student Loans
Ads that promote student loan services or non prohibited dietary and herbal supplements are fine, as long as they only target users who are at least 18 years of age. For student loans, there are added restrictions for anything that might be deemed deceptive or promote loan consolidation, forgiveness or refinancing.

Winning the Lottery
Ads that promote state run lotteries get the proverbial thumbs up from Facebook, provided the ads are targeted appropriately. In other words, only to those who are able to participate and only in the areas where the lottery is available.

Sign Up for this Credit Card Today!
Still gettting those big, fat envelopes from financial services institutions in your mailbox on a near daily basis? The reason they are so big and fat is they have to provide sufficient disclosure regarding associated fees, including APR percentages transaction fees in the envelope. Well guess what? The same is true for these ads when they appear on Facebook. Furthermore, lead ads for financial services can’t ask for someone’s financial information or any other sensitive information, like passwords or social security numbers. More about what questions you can’t ask for in a lead generation ad will be available in Part 2 of this series.

When You’re Advertising Branded Content
This one is tricky, but makes perfect sense if you can get out of the jargon-y gobbledegook. What this really means is, if you are running ads that feature a 3rd party’s content, you have to 1) have a Facebook Verified Page and 2) tag the sponsor’s page in the ad. More detail (and jargon-y gobbledegook) can be found on Facebook’s policy page.

Lastly, there are a couple of rules about images that can bite you if you aren’t aware of them:

  • Let your image, not text, do the talking. Images with more than 20% text will be restricted in terms of delivery, which will impact the ad’s performance. Importantly, logos count as text, That little tidbit is often overlooked, so take note!
  • There’s this little rule called “non-existent functionality” that could pose problems for you if you aren’t aware. Basically, this one says your image can’t have any element – like a cursor or button, for example – implying that if clicked or tapped would cause something to happen.

Thanks for brushing up on all of Facebook’s restricted guidelines for advertising content. As always, there is more information on Facebook’s Advertising Policies page and we strongly suggest a thorough review:

Check back for the all important Part 2 where we’ll share the latest news on prohibited content!