How to avoid getting flagged for political ads

If you are trying to run your own ads on Facebook to advertise your elder law or estate planning law firm, then chances are you have faced the issue of getting flagged. 

During this month’s marketing video session, we go deep into this issue: why are attorney ads being flagged and how to construct your ads to avoid this in the future. To read the transcript, please scroll down below. 

How to Avoid Getting Flagged for Political Ads at Your Firm

Video transcript as follows: All right, thanks so much for being a part of our marketing coaching session. This month I wanted to talk a little bit about an issue that a lot of people are probably facing if they are running their own ads for their estate planning or their elder law practice. So, if you’re trying to run ads on Facebook, for your elder law, your estate planning practice right now, this is probably an issue that you have had to deal with or is an issue that you are going to have to deal with. You just don’t know when. And so we’re going to go ahead and talk about it today. Keep in mind, there is a chat area on the side of the screen, so if you have any questions that you’d like to have us cover on this coaching session, feel free to add those into that chat and I will get to those as soon as I can, so, again, thanks for joining us.

The New Requirements on Facebook Ads

So what we want to talk about today, I wrote notes here so we can make sure we cover all the right things, is Facebook, if you haven’t heard, had some issues with running political ads and kind of manipulating the public based off of some data, that was like scraped from Facebook. And to kind of prevent that from happening again, they’ve put some pretty strong requirements on political, social issue type ads. So sometimes your ads will get flagged as a political ad or a social issue ad, and then they won’t run and it’s kind of like a guessing game on, how do we actually get these ads approved? We’re not a political party. We’re not really talking about anything that’s a social issue that Facebook should block. It’s not a political ad. So we’re going to go ahead and talk about how to avoid that from happening and then what we can do if you do get flagged as a political or social issue ad, how to get that ad back up and running as fast as we can within the guidelines that we know as of today. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to throw those in on the chats on the side and I’ll get to those as soon as we can, but in the meantime, I’m going to go ahead and run through this for you.

Who’s Really Doing the Flagging?

So, if you get flagged for a political or social issue on Facebook, typically that’s because when your ad is run through their artificial intelligence, something flagged it as a political or social issue. A human really didn’t flag that. Nobody actually was like, you know what, this is a political ad, or this is a government issue ad. And what we’ve seen that flagged is talking about assets, mentioning government or government programs like Veterans Assistance, the VA, Medicaid, those type of keywords will sometimes trigger their artificial intelligence and say hey, in the context of this ad, it’s a political or social issue and we need to deny this ad because you’re not authorized to run a political ad. So what we’ve been able to do is edit the way we talk about those issues and then it won’t get flagged by the artificial intelligence.

Rewording Your Ads

So how do we do that? Well, what you don’t want to do is make it sound like you are talking about Medicaid, or you are talking about VA benefits. You want to come across, if you do mention those keywords in the ad, you want to talk about how you help people understand those. You don’t want to be like, do you need to qualify for Medicaid or something like that. You want to be very casual and conversational about that, typically if like, protecting your assets from the government, you know stuff like that might get flagged. You’d want to reword your ad and talk about protecting your belongings or protecting your stuff or protecting your heirlooms, something like that, if you can avoid those words. I wouldn’t even want to, you know, I wouldn’t even. You could talk about, are you a veteran? There are benefits available to you. Without necessarily saying VA benefits and getting that flagged. So there’s different ways you can reword the ads so they still talk about how you’re able to help and work with the particular people but without flagging those keywords, which are going to be government assistance programs, saying the word government, talking about political issues. Even if it is a political issue, like some people I know they’ve reached out to us and are like, hey, how did the tax laws, how Trump’s tax laws affect you. That’s going to get flagged, right? You could talk about, there are new laws involving the tax based on the current administration. You can kind of reword those and they should pass through the artificial intelligence and not get them flagged. So if you have any examples, feel free to throw those in the chatbox as well, and I’ll go ahead and go over those with you if you have any particular cases where you’ve had something denied, love to help you out and reword that for you.

My Ad Has Been Denied: What Do I Do?

So what happens if something gets denied? Well, you’re not a political party, or you’re not a politician, or you’re not really talking about anything that’s a social issue that they’re concerned about, so on the ad itself there’s a button on there where you should be able to appeal that. So it’ll say like, your ad has been denied, you can appeal this ad. And so what you’ll want to do is click on that appeal button and a human is going to read this, right, so now you’ve been flagged by their artificial intelligence, they said your ad’s not approved, they turned it off, they’re giving you like a list of things that you need to do to run political ads, you can kind of ignore that as long as you’re not, which you shouldn’t be, and what you’ll do is you’ll have to actually type in there a description of why your ad should be approved. And what you should type in there is very clear, ’cause like, the people that are reading this, typically they’re probably not even in this country, honestly, you know, they’re like an outsourced group of people that are just like, is it black or white, right, so you want to make it completely okay. And so in that box where you’re appealing the ad, you will say, this is not a political ad, you know, we are not a politician, very clear. We are not associated with any political parties. Just boom, boom, boom, you want to just clearly state that none of the things that they say you are, you are, and then you want to put like what you are, right, but not by giving them too much information; you just want this person reading to go ah, yeah, it was flagged for the wrong reasons. So in there you want to write something like, we are an estate planning, or you could even be more personal, I am an estate planning attorney, I help out the local community talk about how to protect their savings, or we like to help the local community by providing free education, or we’re providing free education to our local community so they’re aware of how to protect their belongings or something like that, and so you want to make it really sound like you’re doing a community service. Because Facebook likes it when people are doing community service things because it makes the experience on Facebook better, and so basically you’re saying, you know, we’re not a political party, we’re not a politician, we’re not promoting anything that has to do with the government at all. What we are is an estate planning or elder law firm and we provide educational resources to the community. And then I write on there, please approve this ad. I’m just really nice about it. Typically within 24 to 48 hours it will get approved. There are some cases where, depending on your ad copy, what you’ve written in the ad itself, it might not get approved, and if that is the case, you can try to appeal it again. You can make a duplicate of the ad and you can try it again with some edits where you think the keywords are, ’cause again, you have to look at it like it’s just a machine that’s scanning your ad, looking for keywords and disapproving ones that meet certain criteria. So if you can change or manipulate those words a little bit, there’s a good chance that it will actually get approved and you don’t have to worry about it. And if not, you can appeal it, and if you appeal it, nine out of ten times it’s going to be approved and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. But again, you need to make it very clear that you’re not associated with any political party or political entity and you are an estate planning or elder law attorney, you’re trying to educate the community, you’re providing free resources, that type of thing, and they will typically approve it.

What If I’m Involved in Politics?

And so, if you continue to have this issue, or you just, maybe, you know, we had a client that was actually involved in politics, so not only are they an estate planning attorney but they’re also getting reelected for their local community board or something like that, and if that’s the case, you can actually become approved to run political ads, but that process is lengthy. You actually have to fill out an application inside of Facebook and you have to provide a copy of your driver’s license and then they approve that application once they verify your ID matches your Facebook profile and who you say you are, and then they actually mail you a physical confirmation in the actual mail, not an email or anything, and then you can use the code that’s on that mailer to respond to your initial application. You got to put the code in there and then you’ll be approved to run political ads for whatever given page you applied to run political ads for. And then once that’s approved, now your ads go through a longer approval process and they’ll also include a little notification on the ad itself that says like, paid for by your law firm. I would avoid that as much as possible because you shouldn’t need to be running political ads for your law firm. If you have to, then that’s the option that you have, but you shouldn’t have to have a notification on there. I wouldn’t go through that process to become approved to run political ads when you shouldn’t. And then your ads will show up and they’ll look like they’re political ads, right, and then that might lower your conversion on getting a new client lead because some people might be turned off by political ads and if it’s coming across as a political ad, might not be a good idea to do that, so. But you’re looking at about, by the time, if you do apply with Facebook to become able to run political ads, you’re looking at like a 30 to 45 day window by the time you send your application, they approve your application, they send you that physical notification in the mail, and then you put that code in there, you’relooking at about 30 to 45 days to get approved and that was like, I dunno, six months ago when we did that and, as the elections become closer and closer, I would assume that more and more people are applying to get that taken care of, and that wait time might go up, so definitely get on that if that’s something that you need to do.

The Goal for Your Ads: Be the Helper

Your goal, when you’re running these ads, is not to look too official. You don’t want to be like, you don’t want to look like a politician on there, you don’t want to do anything like that. What you want to do is be very casual. Your goal is to be a helper of the community. You want to come across as providing a service to the community and you don’t want any of that artificial intelligence to scan your materials and think that it’s a political or social issue and flag that. Because you just want to come across as an everyday person that’s out there to help the community. And that’s what you’re going to see is going to be the highest performing as far as your estate planning and elder law ads go. The most engagements going to come off of those type of materials, The more professional and the more formal you do everything, it’s going to tank engagement and conversion. Which, to you, that means it’s going to decrease the number of people that are signing up for workshops or downloading eBooks or guides or watching your recorded presentations, or whatever it is that you’re offering the public. People will just start skipping right over that as they’re browsing Facebook or the web. With that said, that’s really all of the meat that I had for today’s call.

Wrapping Up

Just wanted to go over the things that you needed to be looking out for, you know, if your ads do get flagged for those political issues or social issues, and then kind of how to manage that once it is flagged or how to be proactive and make sure that your ads never do get flagged so that they are displayed and you don’t have any delays in the approval process or having to appeal and get those approved on Facebook’s timeline. 

I appreciate you for jumping on. I hope it was valuable to learn a little bit more about the political ads and how those are affecting the estate planning and elder law firms around the country right now. But yeah, it shouldn’t be something that you’re worried about, just structure them a little bit differently, make sure that those keywords really aren’t used, and if they are, just manipulate them so they don’t get flagged. 

And if you do have any questions about this stuff in the future, feel free to shoot us an email, and we’d be happy to help.

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