An Insider’s Guide to Promoting Banned Products on Social Media


Despite the constantly changing social media algorithms affecting your organic reach, social media remains as one of the top digital platforms to promote your brand.

But if you represent one of those banned verticals, building a presence on the social web can be challenging.

This is partly why most marketers from such industries would either avoid having their brands to be on social media entirely, or find illegal methods of using it.

One such example would be startups who are building their products on blockchain and are attempting to raise capital through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Once Facebook announced that the platform would prohibit ads that “promote financial products and services associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” it was only a matter of time before the other platforms followed suit.

And followed, they did, indeed.

What Is Banned on Social Media?

Before we dive into the do’s and don’ts of promoting banned products on social media, let’s first look at the list of industries that are forbidden on the major social networks (like Facebook’s):

  • Tobacco products and related items.
  • Online pharmacies.
  • Alcohol or alcohol related products.
  • Unsafe supplements, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.
  • Sensational content, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.
  • Controversial content, as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.
  • Adult products or services (except family planning and contraception).
  • Dating services, apps or related sites.
  • “Risky” financial services products and cryptocurrencies.
  • Regional lotteries.
  • Get-rich-quick schemes, pyramids and MLMs Subscription services with auto-renew options.
  • Firearms, weapons, ammunition, or accessories.
  • Securities alleged insider tips.
  • Adverts containing before/after photos – e.g. weight loss or cosmetic surgery.

While these are verticals that are banned, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t build your brand on these social networks at all.

It merely means that…


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