4 steps to Run Affiliate Links On Facebook Ads Without Getting Banned
Affiliate marketing is a very easy way to make money on the internet. When you couple it with Facebook posts and Facebook ads, it can do wonders. In this article, I explain the do’s and dont’s of using Facebook for Affiliate Marketing Programs
Why using Facebook?
On January 15, 2009, amid one of the biggest snowstorm of the year and below zero freezing temperatures, Bryan Kelly almost missed his Qatar flight 704 from NYC to Mahe Island in the Seychelles.
An archipelago country in the Indian Ocean located 932 miles east of mainland East Africa, the Seychelles is a tourist paradise where the temperature is above 82°F all year long…
Bryan’s job was to go to all the college campuses and recruit the top computer scientists to join Morgan Stanley. He was just a regular salesman at the bank. But he was traveling all the time to exotic destination…
So much that his boss started to smell something fishy. So, he asked Bryan: “What trust fund are you on Brian?”
Bryan still laughs at the answer: “I had no trust fund — it was just my points.”
The best thing? The Qatar 704 flight to the paradise Island cost nothing to Bryan.
In 2010, he started a blog to share his best travel and points advice. What started as just a fun little side gig, evolved into a lifestyle media brand that now reaches millions of people across social media platforms thanks to the TPG website.
ThePointsGuy.com is a full-blown affiliate marketing site for credit cards, hotels, and flights. They get 2.5 million monthly unique visitors, and he’s getting paid out $50-$400 each time someone signs up for a credit card.
TPG was so successful that only after a couple of years; Bryan sold his website to BankRate that left him with enough money to live as a f—g rich one percenter for the rest of his life…
The strength behind his success: affiliation & Facebook ads…
Facebook is Dead. Or is it not?
Until a couple of months ago, Facebook was considered the best platform ever for advertising. Don’t get me wrong, it is still #1, way ahead of Google, but it has surely lost a lot of lackluster recently.
The reason for that is the billions of users that Facebook can boast. Each user adds an amazing load of personal information to the Facebook database. That intel makes Facebook extremely accurate when it comes to ads targeting.
The volumes of transactions involved on Facebook means that the ads tend to be quite cheap for nearly all targets. On top of that, when you chose the right goal, you only pay when your prospect truly clicks through. It means you get thousands of impressions completely free.
Facebook ads for Affiliate Markets
Of course, this looks like an excellent alternative for affiliate marketers. When you think about it, the strengh of affiliate campaigns is having people clicking on a link. When you only use PPC (Pay Per Click), you’re almost guaranteed to drive traffic and make money.
In the past, you would pay $10 for a ton of clicks & make $100 from those clicks. Of course, it all depends on the market, but you can now estimate that your rate is much more around 20% to 30%.
The best thing? You don’t even need Facebook ads. Since Facebook changed their algorithm a couple of years ago, companies are not posting anymore, which means that the few ones that are posting are getting a ton of traffic. You just need a good copy, a compelling image, and you’re up & running in no time.
The problem is:
- does Facebook allow all of this?
- can you really use Facebook for your affiliate links?
- will Facebook retaliate if you do it?
Have You Read Facebook Ads’ Policy?
I know… Boring!!
But, whatever you do, you need to read Facebook’s policy. They have an exhaustive index of advertising policies.
My account and some of my ads have been banned several times until I took the time to really read their policy. Having said that, I’m pretty used to them now. And I haven’t found a part anywhere stating that you can’t use affiliate marketing links.
By the same token, the personal experience of a lot of marketers posting in the Facebook help center and on forums like Warrior or Black Hat World is that affiliate links are generally blocked or rejected. Yet at the same time, just go to Facebook and browse for 10mn. I can guarantee you’ll see some affiliate markets before you finish your session.
Many publishers post affiliate links on Facebook, which is legit and not against Facebook’s guidelines (although it prohibits links from specific sites). When adding affiliate links to posts, you should add the appropriate disclosures as per FTC guidelines, for example, #Ad or #Affiliatelink.
If some can do it, what’s the deal?
First of all, not all affiliate links are equals. Some coming from giant affiliate network will be banned: if you try to post a link from Amazon, JVZoo or ClickBank you might be in trouble. But if you are using other networks like HotMart, you are good to go.
On top of that, There are 2 answers at work here.
Facebook Enforcement Policy
The first is that Facebook is especially unpredictable with their policy enforcement. They said they banned Russian political ads, but they make millions out of them and they are still present. Sam thing with clickbait. Take a look and you’ll see there’s more clickbait than there is legitimate content on Facebook these days. They had a rule regarding text density – thankfully removed – that was incredibly dumb.
Facebook Affiliate Links Policy
Truth is, Facebook is used by hundreds of thousands of marketers every day. So, it’s impossible for the relatively small advertising policies and enforcement team within Facebook to enforce everything. Facebook algorithmic scans and automatic rejections can only handle so much.
The Networks Policy
The other reason some marketers get affiliate ads through and others don’t is that a couple of affiliate networks are pickier than others. Affiliate marketing Amazon, for example, does not want you advertising through Facebook ads directly because you will be in direct competition with them.
If they discover that you do it, they will close out your account.
It means that you CAN’T advertise your Amazon products on Facebook, but Amazon corporate will do it…
How unfair is that?
What is the turnaround around Facebook ads?
The reality is that even Facebook help center staff don’t see anything wrong with using affiliate links in Facebook ads, as seen here.
There are essentially four ways you can run affiliate marketing strategy through Facebook.
1: Just Go For It
The first method is, as the title suggests, to just go with it. Facebook won’t ban your ads account just for having an affiliate link in an ad. The worst thing that can happen to you is having them reject your ad without really telling why. Actually they most always do this when they reject any ad, for any reason. That’s a problem for sure, but it’s something you can deal with. So, go ahead, create your ad, write your copy, upload your image, add in your link, and set your targeting. Let Facebook be the bad boy by rejecting your ad.
There are two caveats to this method.
- The first is that, if Facebook decides to reject your link, you won’t be able to use that link again. You’ll have to change it in some way to get the same content in another Facebook ad. Now, it’s pretty rare for them to blacklist an entire domain, but they’ll filter specific pages on occasion.
- The second caveat is that you need to make sure your affiliate network allows it. Like I said above, Amazon won’t let you do it. The reality is that you can have your Amazon Associates account closed for abusing Facebook ads in this manner.
Amazon is fine with organic posts. They’re certainly fine with affiliate websites. It’s just paid ads they don’t like as much. And, really, that’s likely because you end up competing directly with Amazon for the Facebook real estate.
For any other affiliate network, you’re looking at using, make sure to check their terms of service or talk to an account representative before you risk your account.
2: A Sales is Generated by a Customer in Transit
The second method you can use to get an affiliate link through the Facebook ad filter is to use a transit page. That is sort-of a variation on using a hard redirected URL.
If people or things are in transit, they are travelling or being taken from one place to another. This is the same thing with a transit page.
With a redirected URL, the user clicks the Facebook ad link and thinks they’re going to Site A. When they land on Site A, they are immediately redirected to Site B, which would be Amazon or whatever your marketing affiliation happens to be. They’re now on a site they don’t know and didn’t intend to visit, and they’re tagged with an affiliate code they weren’t aware of.
be careful because that is generally frowned upon as a form of URL cloaking, and might get your Facebook ads account suspended.
A transit page is something you put on Site A as a landing page. The user lands where they had intended to land, but as it turns out, that page is little more than a landing page optimized for one purpose; getting them to click through to the affiliate destination.
This does require that you, well, have a page you can use as a transit page. You can set up a cheap WordPress site, or you can use some free hosting, whatever works. If all you’re doing is setting up transition landing pages for your ads, you don’t need to worry much about Google rankings or SEO or anything like that. The only thing you should look into is landing page optimization. I recommend both that guide and the 101 tips from Unbounce as good crash courses if you aren’t already experienced.
Landing page optimization is crucial, because you still need to get the traffic you paid for to click through your affiliate link. If your landing page isn’t compelling enough, a lot of people are going to drop off, not interested in what you have to sell. With a good landing page, you funnel more people through to your affiliate, and can make more money more reliably.
3: Your Own Biggest Fan
If you want to avoid making a website of your own, you can use Facebook to do it for yourself. Creating a fan page is pretty easy, plus it’s a lot more likely to be kosher with both Facebook advertising rules and affiliate network rules. It looks and functions just like any other business page on Facebook.
Essentially, what you’re doing is creating a branded Facebook page for your affiliate presence. You need to post and share content that would be interesting to the people who might be your customers, and you need to pepper in your affiliate links. You don’t want an affiliate link in every single post or it becomes very transparent that you’re only there for the links. Make it look more likely you’re there for the passion and you’ll attract more genuine followers.
Your process will begin with organic posting, trying to attract people who will be interested in your shop, your genre of products, etc. You want to get a base of a few hundred users who will form the foundation of your future marketing. It’s important to have them around, so you can base your demographic and interest targeting on their demographics and interests.
Once you have this base, you can use lookalike audience targeting to reach more similar users and bring them into your Facebook page, where they can like and follow you. Once they’re in your audience, you can have more accurate targeting with future ads, and you have a wider audience to market to right away.
With your organic marketing and your paid promotion to get new users, you can add in more paid promotion to promote specific affiliate posts. Certain links or products you find convert at a high rate, you can then promote the post as an ad. This gets even more exposure and more conversions on your already high converting links.
The biggest downside to this method is that you’re stuck in the loop of using Facebook for everything. A few stray reports, a filtered link, or a suspended page and your entire business model is destroyed. You’ll have to start from scratch, and it’s always harder the second time.
4: The Complete Website
If you think that relying on Facebook alone is too stressful and too limited, you are correct, but not for the right reasons. You should never rely 100% on Facebook because they can always shut you down.
So, that leaves us with one more option that gives you complete control over your affiliate marketing. However, it’s going to be both more expensive and more work to set up, because you’re setting up an entire website.
- Pick up good web hosting.
- Set up your website, by considering your niche to pick a good URL.
- Make sure your site is filled with excellent content.
- Start building links in as many places as you can.
- Optimize your site for white hat SEO.
That’s all a very basic overview, but really, I don’t have the space to cover the entirety of web marketing in one subsection of a post not really related to it.
Of primary concern for this method is the time and money involved in setting it up. You’ve gone beyond the scope of simply using Facebook ads to leverage into money. It’s quite expensive to run a website with regular content updates, work put into SEO and keyword research, and all the rest. You can outsource it, but if you’re not making bank from some other sources, you’re probably not going to get a positive return on your investment.
If all of this sounds like too much work for too little return on investment, affiliate marketing strategies might not be right for you. Running Facebook ads and getting a positive return on investment isn’t necessarily too hard, but the profits are generally going to be low. We’re talking beer money, not a career change.
At the end of the day, you just need to figure out what style of marketing clicks with you, and what you can run to make a profit. If you don’t have the time or money for a full website, you can start small with a Facebook page and grow from there. If you’re ready to invest in the full website deal, by all means, give it a shot.
I will say that number one, the pure Facebook ads method, can be useful for one thing: testing. You can figure out in a broad, general basis which kinds of products do best on the site, or with the audience, you’re targeting. By running ads to a specific audience, you find out if that audience is interested more or less than average in the products you’re promoting. You can use it as a cheap, low-effort feeler to guide your future marketing.
Just make sure you’re actually getting a representative sample, and that you have some baseline data to compare it to. It does no good to have one statistic; you want to be able to see if your new statistic is lower or higher than the average. This means, of course, that you need an average. Likewise, you need to pay for enough exposure that statistical variance isn’t an issue. If you only run enough that 10 people see, it can be a significant jump in conversion rate if one person makes an impulse buy. That’s not representative of your marketing as a whole.
Xavier Lannes is the CEO of MyAdGency.Com & has several specialties: Graphic Design, Copywriting, Facebook Ads, Funnels, Sales Pages. Xavier's job is to attract, retain & monetize customers but find that copywriting, content creation & graphic design are the most rewarding parts. He has a BS in On-Line Publishing, a Master in Languages & certifications in copywriting. He also enjoys skateboarding in pools & bowls. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
You May Like: