Facebook Advertising Policies For Health & Fitness

What we can and can’t Advertise on Social Media.

Why So Many Rules For The Fitness Industry?

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have strict Advertising Guidelines on what Advertisers can do. If you have already been advertising on Social Media, you may have experienced road blocks in relation to what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook and Instagram with some Ads “Not Approved.”

Why So Strict Facebook?

As user-focused platform, Facebook wants people to feel good and enjoy using the channel so spend lots of time on it. No one would want to use Facebook if every time we jumped on there, Ads were upsetting and made us feel bad about ourselves. So Facebook has drawn up Advertising Policies where Advertisements must be positive, fair and useful to users.

The danger for Fitness Professionals – which also applies to the medical fields, such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, doctors, dentists etc. – is,  if we break these rules too often, we risk our Account being suspended for a short period or permanently. All your hard work will go to waste for breaking the Advertising Policy Rules.

How Facebook Screens Its Ads

FloSocial Smartphone Facebook Love

When you create a Facebook or Instagram Ad, these are screened to confirm policies are met. Facebook has a set of automated Filters to conduct the screening process. The Filters search for banned words in both text and audio, screens the background music, and even can test the image with something called the Skin Pixel, which is designed to check posts for nudity.

If these Filters pick up a banned word or breach of policy, the Ad will be automatically refused. When this happens, a request can be placed for Manual Review where the Ad is looked at by an actual person. Facebook will still have the discretion to approve and disapprove any Ad it wants.

The system is not always logical and Facebook has been publicly criticised on its rules for what is acceptable and what’s not, so the rules can often be a little bit murky.

So let’s avoid confusion here. You can post almost anything onto your Facebook Business Page Timeline, but if you want to promote that Post or set up an Ad, these policies are likely to prevent your Ad from running.

The Advertising Policy Explained

Facebook Before & After Compliance Ad FloSocial

No Before & After Images

This is a tough one for us, because it’s one of the most powerful ways to show our skills and services. We want to show the results we can achieve with our clients. We want to show we can change our clients’ lives and transform people, but Facebook doesn’t allow Before and After photos. Why? They are very tricky to substantiate. There is no way to prove what you are seeing is genuinely Before and After.
For example, whether or not the image has been photoshopped.

Facebook Says

Adverts must not contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Advert content must not imply or attempt to generate a negative self-perception in order to promote dietary, weight loss or other health-related products. Adverts for health, fitness or weight loss products must be targeted to people aged 18 years or older.

Positive Images & Testimonials Allowed

We can still show results for our Clients by posting a positive image of the client’s results and linking the Post to our website showcasing your Client’s story. You can then create a Blog or Page showing their Before and After pictures, detailing their training.

You can also include a Client Testimonial as well as a CTA  Call to Action to book a Training Session. This approach is great for improving our Website Traffic and SEO Search Engine Optimisation while promoting our services.

  • This example shows how to promote our Clients’ results without using a Before & After Photo

Facebook Says

Adverts must not contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Advert content must not imply or attempt to generate a negative self-perception in order to promote dietary, weight loss or other health-related products. Adverts for health, fitness or weight loss products must be targeted to people aged 18 years or older.

Facebook Weight Loss Compliance Ad FloSocial

Cannot Address Someone By Their Physical Characteristics

This means avoiding words with YOU.

Are You? Do You? Have You?

We need to sidestep anything where we are talking directly to an individual and identifying them by a personal characteristic. This is one of the most common ways great looking Ads are not approved.

We Can Talk About Our Services & Products Positively

Avoid words Do You? Are You? Fat Loss, Lose Weight

Rather than saying ”Do you want to lose weight?”, we can say ”Feel healthy and amazing with our 12-week programme”.

Avoid getting flagged for this issue by describing the benefits or outcomes of your products or service while avoiding addressing the audience. Keep your tone and language positive and show the outcomes.

Strengthen Your Social Services FloSocial

Facebook Says

Adverts must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record or name.

Don’t Focus Too Much On Body Parts

We can show people from a distance and highlight certain areas, but we cannot show close ups on body parts.

We Cannot Make Health Claims Without Providing Solid Evidence

This one can land you in seriously hot water. If we make health claims that we cannot substantiate with impartial and factual evidence, we can be held liable for legal action and heavy fines from the ACCC Australian Competition & Consumers Commission. If you are selling products or supplements, you can’t make claims about them without evidence.

Strengthen Your Social Health Claims FloSocial

Facebook Says

Advertisements for health and medical services, and the benefits they provide, can have a powerful influence on consumers. It is essential that businesses selling health and medical products and services provide consumers with accurate and truthful information so they can make informed decisions

Strengthen Your Social Health Benefits FloSocial

We Can Talk About Widely Understood Benefits & Imply Benefits

We can focus on widely supported benefits and only suggest or imply these benefits as we cannot guarantee results.

Don’t Say “Weight Training Will Improve Your Posture”. This is non-compliant as we cannot guarantee the results to that individual. Instead, We can say “Weight Training Has Shown Improved Posture In Many Individuals”. This doesn’t guarantee weight training will improve their posture, it just generalises a widely supported belief and conveys this may be of benefit for them.

Rules For Using Music In Social Media

Yep, Facebook Also Screens Videos For Music

If you add a track of music to your video, or record where you may have music playing in the background, due to licensing laws, you may not be able to post this content on Social Media. As Facebook is a global platform, post contenting can be viewed by people in other countries, and Facebook has global music policies. This means you cannot use any music you do not own the rights to  – this doesn’t mean just purchasing, but actually own the performance rights. Therefore, we need to use licence-free music on all videos. You can purchase licence-free music from websites like Audio Jungle, or use Facebook’s free music library Soundcloud.

  • Watch this next video for step-by-step guidelines on how to access Soundcloud.

10 Ways To Creating Better Ads

Hanging Tough FloSocial

10 Steps For Fitness Businesses To Build Better Ads

  1. Start with a very clear Marketing Calendar (this will be discussed more in Module 6). But knowing what results you need and when for your business is key to knowing how-to and when to advertise.
  2. Know who you are targeting. Go back to your Customer Avatar Sheets from Module 1 to understand who your Customer is and what motivates them. This is key to getting your message right. You may need to create multiple Ads to communicate well with male and female clients and different age groups.
  3. Select the right platform and Advertisements for your objective. If you want more leads, are you using Lead Ads? If you want people to be aware of a new product or service, are you using the right Ad for this?
  4. Make sure your Ad is consistent with your brand and delivers your message well. Check for typos, make sure your logo is clear and links are working properly.
  5. Test and test again. Test your images and copy os you are using the best image and words to get your Customer’s attention. This is called Split Testing. More detail is available about this in the below Resource Section.
  6. Remember Ads are only one part of the Customer’s journey. Make sure your Website is functioning correctly and easy to navigate. If you are driving traffic to your site, be sure the Sales Team follows up leads immediately.
  7. Pay to Play. Spending money on Social Media Advertising is unavoidable, Investing into a well performing Ad will see better returns. Throwing money at a poorly performing Ad is simplay a waste of time and money. Prove an Ad works first, then scale up.
  8. Respond to comments and messages on your Ad – these are opportunities to interact with the Customer and close more Sales.
  9. Ads don’t always need to be offers. Ads can also add value like offering an eBook for download or an Educational Content Series.
  10. Ads can’t fix a broken business model. If you are not offering your Customers a Product they want to buy, no matter how great your Ad is, it won’t help.

Happy Facebook Advertising!