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How to Advertise Health Products on Facebook in 2021 | inSyte Blog

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How Can I Advertise Health Products on Facebook in 2021?

The global health and wellness industry was valued at around 4,7 trillion dollars in 2017 and is still experiencing healthy growth (pun intended).

This means there is a ton of potential in the industry for new businesses and products to form, but just as much competition as other people try to do the same.

Facebook advertising can be a great way to get an edge over your competitors, but it is fraught with issues and restrictions around advertising health products.

Some may even think it’s outright impossible.

That’s not the case.

Many categories of health products are strictly regulated on Facebook in the interest of protecting consumers, but there are ways to work around their regulations to still advertise your health products in a way that’s profitable and ethical.

As long as you stay within Facebook’s Terms of Service (ToS) and the bounds of the law, there are plenty of ways you can advertise health products on Facebook.

Which Health Products Can’t You Advertise on Facebook

Let’s start with what you can’t advertise on Facebook.

This information is all taken from Facebook’s ad policies, which you can find here. 

Their policy differentiates between “Prohibited Content” and “Restricted Content”.

Prohibited Content generally isn’t allowed on the platform at all, unless it’s under very specific circumstances, where Restricted Content is generally allowed provided you adhere to their guidelines.

We’ll go over Prohibited categories of health products below, to give you an idea.

Prohibited Health Products on Facebook Ads:

Tobacco and Related Products 

Ads must not promote the sale or use of tobacco products and related paraphernalia. Advertisements must not promote electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, or any other products that simulate smoking.

Examples:

  • Tobacco or tobacco-related products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, tobacco pipes, hookahs, hookah lounges, rolling papers, vaporized delivery devices and electronic cigarettes”
  • “Buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes here today!”

Drugs & Drug-Related Products 

Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.

Examples:

  • Drug-related paraphernalia, such as bongs, rolling papers, and vaporized delivery devices.

Unsafe Supplements

Ads must not promote the sale or use of unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.

Examples:

  • Unsafe supplements, including but not limited to anabolic steroids, chitosan, comfrey, dehydroepiandrosterone, ephedra, and human growth hormones.

Multilevel Marketing

Ads promoting income opportunities must fully describe the associated product or business model, and must not promote business models offering quick compensation for little investment, including multilevel marketing opportunities.

Examples

  • “Get-rich-quick” scheme

Misleading Claims

Ads must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading claims like those relating to the effectiveness of characteristics of a product or service or claims setting unrealistic expectations for users such as misleading health, employment or weight-loss claims.

Examples

  • Exaggerated claims, tips, or tricks
  • Claims of unrealistic results within specific timeframes
  • Claims of cures for incurable diseases
  • False or misleading claims about product attributes, quality, or functionality
  • Setting confusing or misleading expectations for delivery times
  • False or misleading claims about return processes
  • Promoting claims to change or suppress one’s sexual orientation, or to suppress one’s gender identity

Vaccine Discouragement

Ads must not discourage people from vaccination or advocate against vaccines.

Examples

  • Ads that claim vaccinations are unsafe or unhealthy or will result in death or injury
  • Ads that are inconsistent with health authorities (including local health authorities) guidance on vaccination

Personal Health Products

We’ve put personal health products under a different category because they’re handled a little differently.

Facebook lists them as a category of Prohibited Content, but they are allowed under specific circumstances.

The general ruling is that as long as they are genuinely attempting to promote healthy lifestyle choices, and not by playing off negative self-perception, they’re allowed.

Personal Health
Ads must not contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products.
Example images:
A screenshot of the Facebook policy on personal health content, 1 of 2A screenshot of the Facebook policy on personal health content, 2 of 2

Exceptions to Prohibited Content:

Tobacco and Related Products 

  • Blogs or groups connecting people with tobacco-related interests, as long as the service does not lead to the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related product
  • Anti-smoking campaigns and e-books, counselling services for smoking addiction, and smoking rehabilitation programs or facilities

Vaccine Discouragement

  • Ads which discuss vaccine legislation (assuming they meet the requirements for legal ads)

What Health Products Can You Advertise on Facebook


You can advertise any health product on Facebook’s platform that doesn’t break any of the rules above or any of their other community guidelines

If you’re unsure, you can always try setting up an ad with your product and see if Facebook allows or disallows it.

They’ll usually tell you when and why you’re ads are disapproved.

Don’t knowingly submit an ad for a product you know isn’t allowed, do this too many times and they may take action against your account.

Additionally, you are allowed to run ads on restricted categories of content provided they meet the special requirements listed under each one.

We’ll go over those now to give you an idea of what those are.

Restricted Content Allowed on Facebook Ads

Online Pharmacies

Ads must not promote the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals. Ads for online and offline pharmacies are only permitted with prior written permission.

Promotion of Over-The-Counter Drugs

Ads that promote over-the-counter medicines must comply with all applicable local laws, required or established industry codes, guidelines, licenses and approvals, and include age and country targeting criteria consistent with applicable local laws.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Facebook requires advertisers who wish to run addiction treatment ads targeting the USA to be certified with LegitScript, and apply to Facebook for permission to advertise.

Addiction treatment ads include, but are not limited to:

  • Clinical addiction treatment services or websites providing information about in-person treatment
  • Online and in-person support groups
  • Crisis hotlines for those in recovery or who are seeking information about addiction treatment.

Allowed:

  • LegitScript-certified, in-person alcohol treatment centres
  • LegitScript-certified, addiction recovery smartphone apps

Not Allowed:

  • Ads for a call centre that provides addiction treatment advice, and is not certified with Legitscript
  • Online support groups not certified with Legitscript

Cosmetic Procedures and Weight Loss

Ads marketing weight-loss products and services must be targeted to people at least 18 years or older.

Ads marketing cosmetic surgeries and procedures must be targeted to people at least 18 years or older.

Example:

  • Elective procedures and surgeries, rhinoplasty, hair implants, and dermabrasion must be targeted to people at least 18 years or older.

What Can’t You Sell on Facebook?

Facebook has a different set of policies for commerce done over its platform.

That is, buying or selling goods directly through a Facebook-owned platform like a Facebook Shop or the Facebook Marketplace.

The following categories of health products can’t be sold over Facebook:

Medical Devices

  • Contact lenses
  • Bandages and braces for physical injuries
  • Thermometers
  • Testing kits for medical conditions or diseases
  • First-aid kits
  • Breast Pump

Medical Products and Services

  • Listings may not promote the sale of medical products or services.
  • Medical and cosmetic products and services including dermal fillers and Botox
  • Injectable products and intravenous services
  • Products, including food or drinks, that make health or medical claims

Smoking Cessation Products

  • Nicotine patches
  • Nicotine gum

Ingestible Supplements

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Chitosan
  • Comfrey
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Ephedra
  • Human growth hormones
  • Protein bars and protein powder
  • Vitamins

Prescription Products, Drugs, and Drug Paraphernalia

  • Drugs, including marijuana and marijuana products
    Drug paraphernalia, including pipes and bongs
    Prescription products, including prescription drugs

Recalled Products

  • Listings may not promote the buying or selling of recalled products.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of restrictions on health products and selling and advertising them over Facebook.

However, it’s far from impossible.

Work within the bounds of the law and Facebook’s policy, and you can still see great success on the platform.

To summarise, here are our top seven tips for making sure your Facebook health product ads will be allowed on the platform:

1. Always learn and follow the relevant laws and regulations

2. Have the customer’s best interest at heart

3. No “before and after” images, or exaggerated advertising

4. Back up claims with science where possible

5. Avoid hyperbole

6. Focus on real benefits

7. Use a reputable business model

 

If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.

 

This article was brought to you by Syte.

We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.

If you need any help running your business’ ads on Facebook, feel free to reach out with the form below.

Or check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our clients.

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