Show Resources

Here were the resources we covered in the episode:

Detailed explanation of policies

Ad Guidelines

Ad Disapprovals

Episode 72 – Quality Scores

NEW LinkedIn Learning course about LinkedIn Ads by AJ Wilcox

Contact us at with ideas for what you’d like AJ to cover.


Show Transcript

Have you ever had your LinkedIn Ads get disapproved for any reason? We’re talking about ad guidelines and disapproval process on this week’s episode of the LinkedIn Ads Show.

Welcome to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Here’s your host, AJ Wilcox.

Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics! Every ad platform needs to protect itself legally from allowing the bad actors to advertise in a harmful way. They do this by having your ads go through some sort of an approval process. This helps the platform to prevent any harmful ads from running on its platform. And of course, the platform being held accountable for that. LinkedIn is certainly no different. All of its ads go through some sort of a review process. And review processes are understandably complex, they kind of have to be, and this is for every platform. So today, we’re going to talk specifically about LinkedIn’s.

In the news, I wanted to let you know that a bunch of the members of my team were trying to run campaign reports inside of campaign manager to find the campaign quality score. And like we talked about in episode 72, there are a few reasons why your campaign might not be eligible to show its campaign quality score. But from what we could see, our campaigns weren’t being held back by any of those reasons that would keep them from showing the quality score. So we reached out to LinkedIn and got a good response back. They said, “Our technical escalations and engineering teams have confirmed the issue. It’s currently an issue that other advertisers are seeing as well. At this time, there’s no estimate as to how long it might take to resolve, we’ll do our best to provide progress updates as they become available.” So I will do the same thing for you. When we hear back from LinkedIn. I’ll let you know. Other news here. I actually got married, which is why you haven’t heard from me in about the last three weeks. The wedding went amazing. We took a honeymoon cruise, we went down the Western Caribbean. And it was right during hurricane Ian the cruise was supposed to stop in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, both I was really excited to see. But we didn’t end up going we had to veer back towards Mexico and stay there while the hurricane was passing. So we did a couple stops in Mexico, it was still wonderful. I’ve got no complaints. Certainly happy to avoid any hurricanes while I’m on a floating petri dish. And a sincere thank you to everyone who messaged or emailed to say congratulations on the wedding. All right on to the topic at hand. Let’s hit it.

So back in 2011, when I first started using LinkedIn Ads, the ad review process used to be 100% manual. That means every single ad that was published a human it would go into a queue and a human would look at it and decide whether the ad needed to be approved or disapproved and they’d hit the button. And there were all kinds of mistakes, too. If you tried enough times, you could get to a reviewer who would either mistakenly hit the approve button when it should have been disapproved or vice versa. It was a little crazy. And because it was all human reviewed, the process would sometimes take up to three days to get an ad approve. Then probably five or six years ago, LinkedIn shifted some of the burden of the review team by allowing some ads to be conditionally approved, or, as we might say, automatically approved. And this is something they did and probably still do for what they call trusted accounts. And I’m not sure what signals to LinkedIn trust. Maybe a certain amount of history of the account, or a spend level, or a lack of complaints about your ads, or your credit card not ever going down. I don’t know what the signals are, they could be any thing like that or other combinations. And if LinkedIn ever went back and found they didn’t like the ads, even though they were conditionally or automatically approved, they could be disapproved later. Now, I’m not entirely certain about how it works now, but I would guess that there’s now some help with machine learning involved on LinkedIn side to help find ads to disapprove. And then humans can handle appeals. There’s probably still quite a bit of human involvement, but I wouldn’t be surprised with LinkedIn being a tech company if there’s not some ML or AI kinds of stuff going on there too. If you go into LinkedIn’s Help section and search for the ad guidelines, you’ll find a help article called Advertising Guidelines. It says it was last updated in 2021 Back in January, and this article has a great list of things that LinkedIn cares about reasons that they might want to disallow an ad from running. I’m going to read off some of the reasons that they might disapprove an ad and then give you a little bit of color if I’ve got some.

So the first is accuracy do not deceive or lie to the members. We found that this relates to claims that might be too good to be true. The next one is advertising text and contact information. Do not use non standard spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, or repetition. You can include a single link and either a single email address or phone number. This is a little bit vague, but what we’ve found is they can disallow your ads, if you have too many symbols, or too many emojis, or even too many exclamation marks. This one’s pretty self explanatory here, discrimination, even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction. LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote or contain discriminatory hiring practices, or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity, blah, blah, blah, basically, don’t leave anyone out. You can also see this from LinkedIn, not allowing you to exclude with some of the targeting. For instance, you can’t exclude by group. And I think the thought there is if someone joins a group because of, let’s say, a race, or sexual orientation or anything like that, they wouldn’t want you to exclude that group, just to get rid of those people from your your targeting, which makes perfect sense to me, I get it and fully support it. Language. Don’t use inappropriate or offensive language. And I have found that some swear words are allowed, but others aren’t. So feel free to test or don’t, I would advocate making the world a better place by keeping your language classy. But feel free to try it out. We’ve done some of that testing before. The next one link behavior. Don’t deceive, confused or otherwise degrade the experience of members who click on your ads. Basically be a good advertiser, makes sense to me. This one’s interesting, prohibited products. Do not advertise adult content, affiliate advertising, alcohol, copyrighted content, counterfeit goods, data collection and privacy. Not quite sure what they mean by that. Drugs and related products, fake documents, gambling, hacking and cracking, health matters, loans and financial services, occult pursuits, I had to look that up, hat’s like tarot card reading and fortune tellers and witchery and all that opposition, I’m not quite sure what they mean by opposition, political or religious content – exceptions apply, scams, questionable downloads, tobacco, weapons, and fireworks. And it’s interesting to me, cryptocurrency used to be on this list, at least I thought it was we used to get ads denied for anything around crypto around initial coin offerings, or basically anything that talks about Bitcoin, but it’s not currently in this list. And this list was updated back in 2021. So we’ll come back to that here in a minute. The next one, sensitive content. Don’t advertise illegal products, dating sites, gambling, hate or violence, weapons, again, which are dually, excluded. Financial Status, I’m not quite sure what financial status sensitive content is. Maybe it’s the Tai Lopez style, like this is me on my Lamborghini in my garage, multilevel marketing programs, so MLMs aren’t allowed to advertise on LinkedIn. That’s great to know, inflammatory, religious or political content, and more. And then finally, trademarks. Do not use trademarks you are not legally permitted to use.

So going back to crypto, this was really interesting to me, because I went to go look at another, this is actually a web page. Both of these are linked to in the show notes. And it’s a whole website about LinkedIn Ads policies. And it’s actually really great. And it’s much more detailed than what I just read to you. It goes into a lot of examples and things about the reasons why things are disapproved and what’s allowed and what’s not. So if you get something disapproved, it’s probably a really good idea to go and look at that, read in more detail and see how you can get back into compliance. What’s interesting, though, is that the ads policy, it was last updated in December of 2020. So about a month before the ad guidelines I just shared with you, and it does mention cryptocurrency or anything related to crypto. So I’m curious to hear from you guys if anyone is actively advertising a lot of crypto, if you end up seeing issues with your ads always being disapproved. It might just be the in the ad guidelines, they forgot to list crypto, but under ads policy they did. Or maybe they used to disapprove it and then as of January of 2021, they now allow it. I’m not sure I’d love to hear from you guys on that. Here’s a quick sponsor break and then we’ll dive into the guidelines for your creative.

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All right, let’s jump into the things that you need to keep out of your ads to skirt disapproval. We’ve also linked in the show notes to the ad disapprovals document. But this one goes through the kinds of content in your ads themselves that will get you disapproved. So everything we’ve talked about before is basically been like, as a company and general industry and all that. This is the actual stuff in your ad that will get you disapproved. Use standard text, spelling and grammar, makes sense. Avoid excessive capitalization, other than valid acronyms, product names, or company names. Avoid emojis or contact information and this makes sense. If you ever tried to put like your call to action in all caps, like DOWNLOAD TODAY, they’ll usually turn that ad down. And you are allowed to include a little bit of this, they just say avoid excessive use. They’ll also turn you down. If you have pop ups, pop unders animated GIFs are unrelated hashtags. Now I’m guessing the animated GIFs thing is on the landing page itself. Because if you try to include an animated GIF, or even an animated ping, I’ve tried that before, as a single image ad, it’s only going to show the first frame, it’s not going to play like an animated GIF. So if you want to advertise using an animated GIF, you have to do it as a video ad. And videos will be accepted when they have animation. But pop ups, pop unders, those all seem to relate to the landing page that they would send you to and unrelated hashtags, my guess is that in the ad copy, but if you’ve heard me talk about it before, I don’t recommend using hashtags in your ads, because you’re essentially going to pay for someone to click when they’re gonna go to content that you don’t own. They say do not use LinkedIn in the ad copy or imply affiliation with or endorsement by LinkedIn. But your ad may use the phrase “Find me on LinkedIn”. That makes it a little bit tougher for advertising agencies like us who just live on LinkedIn Ads, but okay. The next is test ads will not be approved. And I can tell you, I’m very glad that they don’t allow test ads because something I used to do a lot when I would create a dummy campaign, the dummy campaign stayed in draft status until it had an ad. So then I would go in and put in something like this ad is a test or test test test or is something that I know the approvers are going to notice. And then they disapprove that ad so that the campaign can still be active with no active ads within it. So I don’t have to worry about a test campaign spending money. Next, LinkedIn says In addition, ad content should include truthful claims, provide accurate pricing offers and discounts matching the landing page. And like we talked about in episode 72, about relevancy score, LinkedIn is obviously starting to take into account what’s on the landing page. And they didn’t used to, this shows a pretty extreme advance in technology on the ad platform. So I’m applauding LinkedIn for doing this. This one’s a little rough. It says, ad creative and landing page language should match the audience language selected in campaign audience settings. This one’s tough for those foreign advertisers who are trying to advertise in a language that LinkedIn doesn’t officially support. And I totally feel for them on this. They just want to give LinkedIn their money, they want to advertise, but because LinkedIn doesn’t have that languages capability, then their ads get disapproved. It really sucks. I would continue to call on LinkedIn to work on supporting those additional languages that their users have and want to advertise using. It seems really straightforward to just not disapprove someone’s ads if they’re in a different language, but I’ll leave that to LinkedIn corporate to figure out. Here’s some guidelines for ad landing pages. They have to include working links as URLs, and a functioning backbone. So you can’t trap someone where the back button doesn’t work. Include a consistent display and landing page URL. So basically, don’t redirect someone when they click on your web, don’t immediately redirect them somewhere else. I can’t imagine you would, it would slow down the experience, cause everyone to bounce before they even got to your landing page. But they obviously don’t allow it. Provide clear billing practices that are fair, legal, and easily findable and include a privacy policy as applicable. Those of you who use LinkedIn lead generation forms, you know that a privacy policy is required for using those. That’s the biggest source of my frustration in launching a new lead gen form campaign. They mentioned ad creatives are automatically submitted for review when a campaign is launched, or when an ad creative is edited. When a campaign is running. As a best practice, we recommend creating your campaign at least 48 hours in advance in case you need to edit your ad following a review. So as you’d expect, we’ve had quite a bit of experience with the ad appeals process.

So I talked to Eric Jones on our team, one of our directors, and I just asked him about the experience on LinkedIn. And he also has experience with Facebook and Google. So I wanted to share with you some of the points of what he talked walkabout. First he talked about how on Facebook and ad appeal process is near impossible. He said it’s set up in a way that it should be easy, but they’re way too large of an organization to ever dedicate a human to something. So all the appeals and all the disapprovals are done by computers and computers get things wrong sometimes. And then when you do appeal, there’s no communication, you appeal and you wait, and the process can take days. So Eric said, LinkedIn is actually really good. You’re working with real people. You get live email notifications when a case is being processed and reviewed. And he said, it’s usually the day of, but worst case you hear back the next day. And they’ll let you know in the email, usually what needs to be fixed. So if you have done something wrong, you can fix it. But if you feel like your ads were totally disapproved for a reason that doesn’t make sense, you’re almost always guaranteed to get it reactivated when you make your case. But if there is a little gray area, you may have to explain yourself better, and make a case for it. And if you use the guidelines that I’ve shared with you in the show notes below, you can actually quote the guidelines to them, which helps strengthen your case. But as a reminder, always be respectful and patient, because the reviewers are real people. Every once in a while, you’ll get a response back about some reason that your ads were disapproved. And this is not LinkedIn only this is every network. And you might say, that’s way too vague, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I don’t even know what took my site down. And so it’s helpful to understand why they will give you something that is purposely very vague, large organizations like the ad platforms, they need to stay vague to keep bad actors from trying to reverse engineer and find ways around what they’re doing. So when you don’t get a very specific reason exactly why you broke a guideline, it’s definitely not because the support professional is dumb, or doesn’t understand the ads platform or doesn’t understand marketing. They’re just trying to protect themselves. All right, I’ve got the episode resources for you coming right up. So stick around

Thank you for listening to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Hungry for more? AJ Wilcox, take it away.

So in the show notes, you’ll find the three help articles that I used to find all this information. There’s the detailed explanation site on There’s the ad guidelines, and the ad disapprovals article. All three are worth bookmarking and referencing especially as you’re trying to make a case for appeals if you get something disapproved that you don’t think needed to be disapproved. Also, if you haven’t already listened to Episode 72, all about relevancy score and quality scores, definitely make that one part of your list. And if you are any of your employees are looking to learn more about LinkedIn Ads, definitely check out the course that I made with LinkedIn Learning. It’s by far the most in depth, the most accurate, and the least expensive course out there for LinkedIn Ads. LinkedIn Learning does a great job. Check that out, it’s linked to in the show notes as well. If this is your first time listening, welcome, make sure to hit that subscribe button. And if this is not your first time, welcome back and realize I put a lot of effort and so does my team and to helping create these episodes. We don’t ask you for anything. So please, please, please, the best way you can say thank you is by leaving a review, usually on Apple podcasts, but really anywhere that you have reviews available, we would love for you to shout us out. With feedback, suggestions, whatever you want to shout at us, hit us up at And with that being said, we’ll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.