Prohibited ads across social and search platforms

There are certain types of content that are not allowed to be used in ads, and having this insight beforehand can save marketers valuable time when creating and uploading ads. Let’s take a look at the rules across social media, Google and YouTube.

Facebook and Instagram

Prohibited ad content on these two social media giants includes any ads that promote:

  • Illegal products or services
  • Tobacco products
  • Firearms and weapons
  • Surveillance equipment
  • Third-party infringement
  • Payday loans, paycheck advancement services or bail bonds
  • The sale of body parts.

What’s more, ads must direct users to a functioning landing page.

Restricted ads

There is also some content that is restricted and requires permission from the platform before being published. This includes online dating services, political and issue-related ads and cryptocurrency products and services. Other restricted ads include those promoting gambling, state lotteries, OTC drugs and online pharmacies, whilst ads for weight loss products and plans must be targeted to users aged 18 years and older.


Although LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, its prohibited and restricted ad policies are different to the rules for Microsoft and Bing.

As well as the usual disallowed content, the platform’s list of prohibited ads includes:

  • Downloadable ringtones
  • Occult pursuits
  • Ads that are offensive to good taste
  • Any political ads.

Restricted ads

Advertisers are restricted when it comes to creating ads with the following content:

  • Alcohol
  • Animal products
  • Dating services
  • Soliciting funds
  • Medical devices
  • Short-term loans and financial services.


Banned ads on Pinterest include:

  • Drugs and paraphernalia
  • Endangered species and live animals
  • Illegal products and services
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Sensitive content
  • Adult and nudity content
  • Ads containing clickbait
  • Political campaign ads
  • Tobacco
  • Unacceptable business practices
  • Weapons and explosives.

Restricted ads

There are a few types of ads that have restrictions on Pinterest – more specifically, adverts should not require users to save a specific image or suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses the promotion.

  • Contests, sweepstakes and Pinterest incentives
  • Alcohol
  • Financial products and services
  • Healthcare products and services.


Snapchat is an app designed for a younger audience, so as well as the usual banned ad types, prohibited ad content includes:

  • Ads that encourage Snapping and driving or other dangerous behaviours.
  • Ads that shock the user
  • Ads for app installs from sources other than official app store
  • Infringing content
  • Deceptive content
  • Hateful or discriminatory content
  • Inappropriate content.

Restricted ads

When it comes to restricted ads, Snapchat has a number of different policies for different countries, so you will definitely need to be careful. Restricted ads include:

  • Alcohol
  • Gambling and lottery-related ads
  • Dating services.


Twitter has an easy-to-follow list of prohibitions and restrictions for ads placed on its platform, and its policies are the same standard rules applied across the social ad landscape. Twitter does also prohibit ads promoting malware products and promotions for software downloads are restricted.

Google and YouTube

Prohibited ads on Google include:

  • Counterfeit goods
  • Dangerous products or services
  • Ads that enable dishonest behaviour
  • Inappropriate content.

Restricted ads

  • Adult content
  • Alcohol
  • Copyrights
  • Gambling and games
  • Healthcare and medicines
  • Political content
  • Financial services
  • Trademarks
  • Legal requirements.

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