How To Get Your Facebook Ads Approved

Understanding Facebook’s rules is the key to using the platform to successfully promote your business.

How To Get Your Facebook Ads Approved

Every month I speak to about 10 NSSF retail or range members with whom I have never spoken before. I set this time aside so that I can learn more about their businesses and help with any marketing struggles they may be having so that I can better understand how to help members.

The most common question I get during these initial conversations is this: “Why have my Facebook ads been denied? I thought I did everything right!” So let’s talk about why this happens, even when you’re following all of Facebook’s rules.

Facebook’s current ad rules state that “Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition or explosives. This includes ads for weapon modification accessories.” However, you are allowed to promote blogs or groups connecting people with firearms-related interests (though those blogs and groups must not lead to the sale of Facebook’s “prohibited items”), safety courses for firearm training or licenses and books and videos about firearms safety.

There are several other considerations. The following may only be advertised to an audience 18 years old or over:

  • Mounted flashlights for firearms
  • Scopes and sights for firearms
  • Hunting, self-defense and military clothing and gear such as targets and clay throwers
  • Holsters and belt accessories
  • Gun safes, mounts (including bipods), gun cases and slings
  • Equipment and protective clothing (including bullet-resistant vests)
  • Paint, coatings or wraps for firearms and magazines

Let’s say you are advertising a safety class through Facebook, which is allowed based on the platform’s rules, and yet your ad is still denied? This happens a lot, so let’s talk about the top reasons this happens and how to fix it.

How to Fix It

1. Your Ad is Still Promoting the Use of Firearms

The No. 1 reason I see ads denied for firearms industry members advertising on Facebook is that they send the ad traffic directly to their website. The problem with that is that those websites promote the use and purchase of firearms or ammunition. In other words, Facebook considers the destination of the ad the same as the ad.

This is easily fixed by sending your Facebook ad traffic only, say for that safety class, to a separate and standalone webpage. More specifically, this webpage is called a “landing page,” basically a single-page website whose only purpose is the same as the purpose of your Facebook ad. It cannot contain navigation links to all your website pages.

You can create such standalone sites on your own through or you can use an easy, all-in-one DIY landing page builder like ClickFunnels.

While you’re at it, it’s a smart idea to buy an additional domain name that relates to your business but doesn’t mention firearms for your landing pages. For example, if the ad is for a safety course, then your landing page should be only about that safety course. This webpage should deliver the sales message and give the visitor a way to sign up for that class. Keep it simple, keep your contact info at the center bottom of your landing page, and don’t link to your website promoting Facebook-prohibited items.

2. It’s All About Your Images

The second most common reason Facebook ads are denied is because of an image or video. If the image can be considered either violent or a promotion of a Facebook-prohibited item, then your ad will be denied. This includes someone appearing to brandish a firearm and a perceived “act of violence” even if the subject matter is about self-protection.

With such restrictions, you’ll need to get more creative in your messaging, capturing attention and creating a connection. Such an ad — without a firearm in the image — could be a photo of a woman holding a sign that says “Want to Be Safe? — Take a Class.” Truly, you should also avoid showing firearms in general in your ads.

If you have a firearm in your image, make sure nothing can be construed as brandishing, violence or promotion of using firearms (yes, with a class on self-protection and concealed carry, that can be tricky), and be prepared to dispute the image because it will most likely be auto-denied by Facebook. 

3. Your Linked Facebook Business Page Doesn’t Follow the Rules

The page linked to your ads should follow all the business page rules relating to Facebook’s community standards and regulated goods. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a retail FFL or range having a business page on Facebook, but there are rules about what you can have on that page.

A business page should not post content that “attempts to sell, gift, exchange or transfer firearms, firearms parts, ammunition or explosives.” Your posts may also not “promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition or explosives.” Facebook’s Community Standards for Regulated Goods detail this more fully, but what this basically means is don’t talk about price, don’t ask people to buy and don’t include your business’s contact info in individual posts (you can still have contact info on your Facebook business page).

I strongly believe that if you run your Facebook business page correctly, people will know what you do and how to reach you without needing that information in an individual post. Follow these rules and you should lessen your chance of an ad being denied. 

Still Denied? You Have Options

If your ad is denied but you feel that you have followed all of Facebook’s ad rules, then you have a right to ask for a manual review through your Facebook Business Manager account. In your request, you want to make it clear that you know its rules and that you followed all of those rules. Outline this if necessary: “This is Rule ‘A’ and nothing in my ad violates that.’ Then ask that Facebook reviews the ad and approve it.

One last note. When launching any ad campaign, timing, of course, is critical. You don’t want to announce a new class or big weekend event in an ad and then have your manual review overturn a denial too late for that ad to make an impact. I personally plan for a four- to six-day hiatus for all ads I place that relate to a firearms retail or range businesses, just in case I need to request a manual review. I have gotten every ad approved after I go through a manual review and believe that, with the information in this article, you too can have the same success. 

Karrie Christen is a veteran marketer with 23 years in the field. She has teamed with FFL Consultants, a collaborative resource for FFLs with a goal of creating more compliant, safe, secure and profitable businesses.


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