The 7 Biggest Reasons Your Instagram Ads Are Not Approved & What You Can Do to Fix Them (2023)

Quick Links
  1. The ad review process
  2. Your Instagram account isn’t set up correctly
  3. Your ad doesn’t adhere to guidelines
  4. Incorrect ad format
  5. You’re not targeting the right audience
  6. Wrong ad content
  7. You’re not checking Instagram Insights
  8. Post-click landing page isn’t mobile optimized
  9. How to review a disapproved ad
  10. Conclusion

With all the opportunities Instagram advertising offers to promote products and services, grow brand awareness, and connect with customers, it’s crucial your Instagram ads don’t get disapproved — or they only show on a limited basis.

Between heightened competition across social media and constant changes in the algorithms, many businesses find their Instagram ads not delivering — either because they were disapproved or because the ads are not optimized for the best campaign results.

The good news: Your Instagram ads not delivering doesn’t mean the platform is wrong for your business. It could simply mean a small mistake was made during ad setup to prevent it from showing, or maybe your ad strategy needs some tweaking. Either way, it’s most likely fixable.

But first, let’s review the ad review process.

What is the ad review process?

Before Instagram or Facebook ads show up, they’re reviewed according to Facebook Advertising Policies.

During the ad review process, the following components are checked:

  • Images
  • Text
  • Targeting
  • Positioning
  • Post-click content and functionality (an ad may be disapproved if the post-click landing page content isn’t fully functional, doesn’t match the offer promoted in your ad, or doesn’t fully comply with Advertising Policies)

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Although some ads may take longer, most are reviewed within 24 hours. After that, you’ll receive a notification letting you know if your ad was approved or not:

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If it was, the ad starts running, and you’ll be able to see your results in the Ad Manager. If it wasn’t, it could be because of any of the following reasons.

7 Reasons your Instagram ads aren’t delivering

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1. Your Instagram account isn’t set up right

The most basic explanation for your Instagram ads not showing is that your account isn’t set up as a business account -- and you can’t have an ad account without this in place.

So before going any further in this list, make sure you have a business account rather than a personal account.

If you still find your Instagram ads not working, it might be because you’re not a page admin on to your Facebook Page (keep in mind, Instagram ads are created through the Facebook Ads Manager).

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2. Ad doesn’t adhere to guidelines

There are several reasons your Instagram ads could get disapproved.

First, you must adhere to Facebook’s advertising policies and guidelines to successfully advertise on either Facebook or Instagram.

On top of that, Instagram has its own set of rules for using the platform. If you’re guilty of any of the following, it could get your Instagram ads rejected or, even worse; you banned from the platform altogether:

  • Impersonating others or providing inaccurate information
    Unlawful, misleading, or fraudulent activity
  • Violation (or helping/encouraging others to violate) of these Terms or other policies, including Instagram Community Guidelines, Instagram Platform Policy, and Music Guidelines)
  • Interference with or impairing the intended operation of the Service
  • Attempting to create accounts or access/collect information in unauthorized ways
  • Buying, selling, or transferring any aspect of your account (including your username) or soliciting, collecting, or using login credentials or badges of other users
  • Posting private or confidential information or doing anything that violates someone else's rights, including intellectual property
  • Using a domain name or URL in your username without Instagram’s prior written consent

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3. Incorrect ad format

Instagram provides a number of ad formats for businesses, and while choosing the wrong one won’t result in getting your IG ads disapproved, it could certainly impact delivery.

Photo ads allow you to tell your story through a clean and simple creative canvas with square or landscape photos:

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...but may not attract as much attention as a video ad that includes movement and sound:

Video ads provide the same visually immersive quality as photo ads -- but with the added power of sound and motion -- for up to 60 seconds. These would likely be a good fit for your brand if you have a product, feature, or service to demonstrate (how-to videos, explainer videos, recipes, etc.).

Carousel ads let users swipe to view additional photos or videos, so you can expand the theme or message of your campaign and add more depth to your offer. This ad type is particularly effective for selling products because you can show the same product from different angles or display a range of different items:

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Collection ads help tell an integrated story with a product or lifestyle focus, through multiple videos, images, or both all within the same ad. These ads are great for visually inspiring and helping your audience discover, browse, and purchase products:

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Stories ads complement your IG feed content by reaching the 500M+ accounts using Instagram Stories daily. This ad placement uses a fullscreen, vertical format, enabling you to immerse viewers in your content:

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Explore ads reach Instagram users on the Explore page, while they’re conveniently in a discovery mindset, looking to expand their interests beyond the accounts they already follow:

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4. You’re not targeting the right audience

Targeting the right audience is another element that won’t get your Instagram ads disapproved, but it will limit delivery and impact campaign performance. You could create show-stopping ads, but if they aren’t reaching the best audience, they’re likely not producing the results you’d hoped for.

That’s why every advertiser should take the time to become familiar with Instagram’s targeting options below (along with their exact target audience) before creating a new ad set:

  • Location -- Targets people based on specific locations including states, provinces, cities, countries, etc.
  • Demographics -- Narrows your audience based on information like age, gender, and language.
  • Interests -- Helps you reach people based on their specific interests, such as apps they use, ads they click, accounts they follow, etc.
  • Behaviors -- Defines your audience by activities they do on and off Instagram and Facebook.
  • Custom Audiences -- Targets customers who have previously interacted with your business based on email address or phone number.
  • Lookalike Audiences -- Used to find new people who are similar to your existing customers
  • Automated Targeting -- Instagram quickly creates an audience for you, who might be interested in your business using a variety of signals including location, demographics and interests.

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5. Wrong ad content

While including prohibited content could result in your Instagram ad not being approved, promoting boring, salesy, or invaluable content can result in poor delivery and performance.

When creating ads, you must ensure they:

  • Represent and reflect your brand
  • Aren’t too promotional, invasive, or salesy
  • Appeal and provide inspiration to viewers
  • Deliver the same message across the image and ad copy

Since Instagram is a platform for sharing images, videos, and stories; you must create ads to look like organic Instagram posts with entertaining, amusing, and/or inspirational content, rather than screaming, “This is an ad!” or “Buy this!”

See the difference:

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The first one uses:

  • A high-quality photo
  • Bright, contrasting colors
  • Smiling faces enjoying the vacation
  • A small logo in the bottom corner

Compared to the second one with:

  • Excessive text
  • Salesly, gimmicky copy
  • Pricing included on the image
  • No people featured

If your ads are attention-grabbing and tell a story, they’ll feel natural in the Instagram feed and your business will reap the benefits through engagement (and ultimately sales). If not, there’s a good chance you won’t see the ad campaign results you wanted.

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6. Not checking Instagram Insights

One of the most common reasons your Instagram ads aren’t delivering is because you’re not closely monitoring Instagram Insights to track:

  • Impressions – Number of times your ads were viewed
  • Reach – Number of unique accounts that viewed your ads
  • Interactions – Number and types of actions (profile visits, follows, and website/link clicks) that were taken on your profile after viewing an ad

These analytics help you understand your audience (gender, age, location, etc.), as well as how your audience is engaging with your ads, so you can see what is working, and what needs improving.

7. Post-click page isn’t mobile optimized

Instagram advertising can only be done on the Instagram app, not on the web platform. Since the app is mobile-only, you must make your ads -- and the post-click pages they lead to -- mobile-friendly.

If you find your Instagram ads not showing or performing well, there are typically two common explanations related to the post-click landing page:

  1. Perceived friction -- The mental block that occurs when a user goes from your ad to a mobile landing page lacking message match.
  2. Actual friction -- When a page is isn’t mobile responsive and people struggle to complete forms with their thumbs, have to scroll or pinch/zoom to find the CTA button, or can’t click the CTA button.

Without having a mobile-optimized post-click landing page, you could be harming your conversion rate. Be sure the landing page to which you send your mobile app traffic responds to every size, displays information best-suited to the device being used, includes only a few form fields, and contains an easy-to-click CTA button.

How to appeal a disapproved Instagram ad

When dealing with IG ads not being approved, there are two main approaches you can take:

  1. Edit your ad -- Check your email notification that explains why your ad didn’t get approved, edit your ad (or create a new compliant one), and resubmit it for review.
  2. Appeal the decision -- If you can't edit your ad or feel it was a mistake that it wasn't approved, you can appeal the decision using the Request Review form:

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Make sure your Instagram ads are approved and delivering

Don’t let a rejected Instagram ad keep you from benefiting from all the platform has to offer businesses. Determine what you did wrong (or what you could do better if your ad is underperforming), fix the issue, and move on.

Remember, a great ad campaign is about creating a great post-click landing page, too and that means personalizing it to each unique audience segment. Learn how to create personalized, Instagram-approved post-click landing pages at scale with an Instapage demo today.

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Last Updated: 05/24/2023

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