Make Facebook’s New Advertising Rules Work for You
The new rules Facebook put in place this past summer have had a big impact on how law firms use it for advertising. As we’ve noted before, Facebook remains a powerful ad tool. But now all advertisers – including attorneys – have to use it with more care.
That’s because the world’s biggest social media platform has become much more sensitive about its use as a tool for advancing political causes and candidates. That also means it’s more likely to reject ads that might appear even a little “political.”
These changes have made Facebook more challenging for advertisers. But here’s the good news: The changes can actually make your firm’s advertising stronger.
How? If you can’t use keywords that sound political, you’re forced to speak more specifically, in phrases a legal consumer can better understand. What’s more, the new rules can also help make your targeting more effective.
In order to make use of this sharper tool, law firms that advertise on Facebook must tailor their messages carefully. And that requires knowing how to avoid hoisting the red flags that are likely to trigger an ad’s rejection.
Want to learn more about the changes?
A Real-life Example
One of the primary methods that Facebook uses to identify political advertising is the appearance of specific keywords in the ad copy. One of those is “law” – an obvious challenge for a law firm.
That doesn’t mean you need to stop using this keyword in your Facebook ad copy. But it does mean you have to use it more carefully. Here’s an illustration. The below ad on the left seeks to inform potential clients about changes in the federal Pension Retirement Act.
As FindLaw research discovered, calling out particular pieces of legislation is a signal to Facebook that the promotion might be political. And the phrase “2006 bill” reinforced to Facebook’s sensitive algorithm that this might be politically charged.
Facebook ended up rejecting this ad, and it never appeared. The bottom right ad is the revised version that Facebook did allow.
A Stronger Message
What made this new version more acceptable also made it stronger. The copy was rewritten to remove keywords likely to trigger a rejection – namely, the reference to a specific piece of legislation. But there was something else that this firm addressed.
One of Facebook’s great strengths as an ad platform is how it lets you zero in on the demographics you want to reach. The original version of this ad targeted a specific demographic —retirees interested in managing their funds.
But that was another red flag for Facebook. If you’re targeting a particular demographic and combining that with keywords referencing specific laws, the platform’s faceless algorithm is more likely to add the two together. And that made the ad more vulnerable to a rejection.
In the new version, the law firm was still able to pinpoint the demographic it wanted to reach, but by changing the wording, the firm was able to be clearer about how it wanted to help that particular group of people. Rather than focusing on legislation, the revised ad put the spotlight on retirement planning strategies.
And that’s what the firm really wished to offer potential clients anyway, not a discussion about particular legislation.
A Sharper Image
Facebook changes are seeking to create transparency in advertising. By avoiding what Facebook considers political, you have an opportunity to create a cleaner, sharper message that can help elevate the confidence that users have in the ads they see. And that’s good news for your firm’s marketing strategy.
The ad we’ve highlighted is just one example. There are many considerations your firm needs to keep in mind when using Facebook as a marketing platform.
Learn more about how you can benefit from Facebook's new ad rules.
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