10 Things You Can’t Advertise on Facebook

If you’re running an ecommerce business, we cannot stress how important traffic is.

After all, everybody who visits your store is a potential customer. So, if you can bring in a steady stream of potential buyers to your store, it’s only a matter of time until you start making sales.

But, unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll generate traffic from the day that you launch your store.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent hours designing every detail of your store, or if you’ve carefully curated a list of compelling products – these are great, but they don’t drive traffic alone.

You’ll need to use the ace up your sleeve – marketing – to drive traffic to your store. And the success of your marketing campaigns will likely define the success of your store.

By now you might be wondering what the most effective way to market your brand is. Many dropshippers opt to use Facebook advertising as one of their main marketing channels.

Why? There are more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, and you can tap into that wealth of potential buyers with your marketing campaigns. Combine this audience with incredible targeting options, and a variety of ad objectives, and it becomes clear why Facebook advertising is so powerful for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

But it isn’t all plain sailing with Facebook advertising. There are plenty of products which you can’t advertise on Facebook, and it’s important that you’re aware of them before you build your store.

We’re here to help you succeed as an entrepreneur, so we’ve put together this article to outline Facebook’s ad review process, and list the products which are strictly prohibited from Facebook’s advertising platform.

So, let’s jump into it!

Understanding Facebook’s Ad Review Process

Every ad that you encounter while browsing through your Facebook feed has undergone Facebook’s comprehensive ad review process.

Don’t worry though, if you’re following the rules this process is a breeze. In fact, most adverts are reviewed and accepted within 24 hours (but they can take a little longer in some cases).

The main aim of the Facebook ad review process is to check that the text, images, targeting, and positioning of your ad is in order, and aligns with their policies.

One important thing to bare in mind is that they’ll also check the page that your ad will be driving traffic to – this means that your ad might be disapproved if your page isn’t fully functional yet, or doesn’t match up with what your ad is promoting.

So, make sure that your store is up and running before you launch any Facebook advertising campaigns – you don’t want to waste any of your precious time.

Equally, you don’t want to create ads for products which fall under Facebook’s “Prohibited Content’ category in their policies, as they’ll certainly be denied.

If you find out that you’re selling items which fall under the “Prohibited Content” list, you’ll have two choices:

  • Pivot with your products and update your inventory list,
  • Try to market your brand without using Facebook advertising.

Honestly, neither of those options are ideal, so it’s a great idea to check which items are prohibited before creating your store.

What To Do if Your Ad is Disapproved?

If your ad is disapproved, don’t worry, there are steps that you can take to rectify the issue.

Start off by checking the email inbox that is linked with your Facebook ad account – you’ll receive an email with details as to why your ad was disapproved.

When your ad is disapproved because it doesn’t fully comply with Facebook’s policies – e.g. promoting prohibited products – you can edit your ad and then resubmit it for a second review.

Once you’ve edited your ad, uploaded, and saved the changes, your ad will then be resubmitted for review.

Products You Can’t Advertise on Facebook

Now that we’ve covered the Facebook ad review process, it’s time to list the products which you currently can’t advertise on Facebook.

Once you’re armed with the knowledge from this list, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about which products are the best fit for your inventory list.

Let’s get started!

Unregulated Supplements

We’ll kick off our list with unregulated supplements. The supplements industry is booming right now, and it’s market size is expected to boom to $278 billion USD by 2024.

But, as with most health-related products, there are many rules and regulations which affect them, especially if you’re looking to sell them.

This only gets more complicated if you’re looking to sell these products all over the world too, as each country has their own laws regarding health products.

Taking this into account, it becomes clear why Facebook have banned advertisements which include these products – they could end up causing more harm than good.

Generally it’s best to avoid selling these products unless you’ve manufactured them yourself, and you have all the necessary paperwork which shows that they have been certified as safe for consumption.

Adult Products

Next up on our list are adult products. We know that the definition of an adult product is quite murky, so let us elaborate.  

Facebook ads cannot promote the use of adult products, include any nudity, or contain any depictions of people in explicit situations.

However, you can promote adult products if they’re focussed on family planning or contraception. If you are promoting contraceptives your ads must focus on the core feature of the product, rather than on sexual pleasure or sexual enhancement, otherwise they’ll be disapproved.

Also, you’ll need to make sure that you target those ads to Facebook users who are aged 18 or older, for legal reasons.

Third-Party Infringements

Any Facebook ads which appear to be infringing on or violates the rights of any third party will be automatically disapproved or taken down.

Third-party infringements can get you into a lot of legal trouble, so it isn’t worth selling anything that you assume is copyrighted or trademarked unless you have the proper trade agreement from the corresponding party.

If you are selling another brand’s products through your own Facebook ads make sure that you tag said brand in your post – this is a common practice and is endorsed in their policies.

Surveillance Equipment

Surveillance equipment is strictly prohibited from being promoted on Facebook’s advertising platform. This includes spy cams, mobile phone trackers, or other hidden surveillance equipment.

We know that many entrepreneurs are interested in selling these types of products, and that’s totally fine, just be aware that you won’t be able to promote them with Facebook adverts if you do.

If you’re interested in selling tech products, why not try selling drones instead? We’ve listed these products as one of the top business ideas that’ll make you money.

Counterfeit Products

Similar to the third-party infringements that we mentioned earlier, counterfeit products are a strict no-go when it comes to Facebook advertising.  

Counterfeit products are highly illegal, so our best advice is to avoid anything to do with them.

There’s really no benefit in trying to sell counterfeit products too, especially when there are plenty of unique dropshipping products which you can build a legitimate brand around.

Health Products: Before and After

The online health industry is thriving and, for the most part, brands find great success with Facebook advertising campaigns.

But, there are certain things that you’ll need to keep in mind if you’re looking to advertise your health products on Facebook.

Facebook point out that adverts must not contain “before-and-after images, or images thtat contain unexpected or unlikely results”. Essentially, your ads must not assert or imply anything that could lead to a Facebook user having negative feelings about their body image.

Also, you’ll need to make sure that you’re targeting your ads towards people aged 18 or above if you’re promoting health, fitness, or weight loss products.

Controversial Products

Controversial products are strictly prohibited from Facebook’s advertising platform.

Any products or adverts which are related to sensitive subjects, imagery, or controversial symbolism will be automatically rejected from Facebook’s ad platform.


Any Facebook ads which contain weapons, ammunition, or explosives will be disapproved during the ad review process.

These products are affected by various laws and regulations across the globe, and would be difficult to manage for Facebook, so it makes sense that they fall under their “Prohibited content” category.

Tobacco Products

Tobacco products are next up on our list of things that you can’t advertise on Facebook. This includes cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and other related tobacco paraphernalia.

Whilst you can’t promote tobacco products for monetary gain, you can use Facebook ads to promote resources that are aimed at getting over a smoking addiction.

This follows the same mantra that Facebook enforces with some of their other prohibited products – they’re ultimately trying to look after the health of their users.

Drugs and Drug-Related Products

Drugs and drug-related products are last up on our list of products which you can’t advertise on Facebook.

Ensure that you do not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs in your ads, otherwise you’ll be breaching Facebook’s community guidelines.

Similar to the tobacco products which we mentioned above, Facebook perceives that these products can be harmful to a users health, which is why they’ve been added to their list of prohibited content.

This means that you won’t be able to use images of smoking-related accessories, recreational or medical marijuana, or other images which could imply the use of a recreational drug in your ads.

Nailing Your Facebook Ads

And that’s it – that’s the list of products which you can’t advertise on Facebook.

Hopefully you’ll be able to use the information from this post to help you decide on a list of products for your store.

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, fear not, we’ve got comprehensive guides that’ll walk you through the process: The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising.

Got any questions related to Facebook advertising, or ecommerce in general? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below – we read all of them!

Want to Learn More?

Facebook Ads Tactics That’ll Skyrocket Your Sales 

How to Master Facebook Advertising

[VIDEO] Facebook Ads Tutorial: How to Optimize Facebook Ads

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