The end of crypto ads on Fb? First ad accounts has been shut down

Jan, 29th 2018 will be known as a Judgement day for the crypto marketers. Facebook, which recently has become a source of low-cost leads for ICOs, token sales, cloud mining services and other crypto businesses made a big announcement. From now on it bans every ad, that is related to cryptocurrencies. Say goodbye to coin offerings ads.

Some of the Captain’s users were spending 6 figures budgets weekly on ICOs. So it is critical for us to understand, what’s happening. Let’s find out if it is really so bad?

Spoiler: it is.

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What exactly has Facebook banned?

Facebook has forbidden to promote Binary options, Initial coin offerings and Cryptocurrencies on its platforms. According to Facebook, those three are ‘financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices’.

Details are in the screenshot below:

The update has been announced by Rob Leathern, the new Product Management Director of Facebook.

Who the hell is Rob Leathern?

The new product director of Facebook Ads, who starts his work officially since February. He declares his mission is to ‘protect people’s trust in Facebook’s business products’.

I’ll build tools and policies that ensure positive experiences with ads and reduce fraud.

“I’ll build tools and policies that ensure positive experiences with ads and reduce fraud for people and advertisers, and I’ll work across the company to constantly improve people’s experiences with businesses on Facebook.” – Rob said in his Medium blog post, announcing his new position.

The first result is just there. The ‘Cryptoban’ is one of the first decisions Mr. Leathern made on this new position. Which means that financial scams are on top of Facebooks’ priorities list. The days of serenity are gone.

Why now?

It seems like FB’s KPI for 2018 is to keep marketers nervous. Recent Feed Update is still a shock for publishers and drop-shippers. Now Crypto Update is about to shut down huge marketing channel for the whole industry.

There are 3 possible reasons:

  1. Facebook is fighting for the transparency and its good reputation. After being blamed to be a Russian propaganda platform, they started to take control over the content and ads. Crypto industry is full of scams. So do crypto ads. And it is easier for Facebook to ban everything than to divide good things (5-10%) of the bad things (the vast majority).
  2. Mark Zuckerberg announced, that he would like to get deeper into the topic of blockchain and decentralized systems this year. A month has passed. Maybe he already has his own opinion about it? If yes, Mark thinks of crypto entrepreneurs as of fraudsters, who are dangerous for the ecosystem. Not the best news for them.
  3. Some Reddit users presume, that this way FB is getting prepared for the launch of its own Crypto Currency (some call it the ‘Facecoin’). One of the leading messengers Telegram already started its ICO this month. It might have been a good example for FB as well.

Is the update live already?

You can still see ads related to crypto offers. And you can still see your ads running. It is impossible to launch the update at once.

But, unfortunately, marketers have already faced new policies.

Kuba runs a major news media about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Around 2 weeks ago their Ad account on Facebook has been banned. Kuba addressed a question to the account manager, who used to be dedicated previously but got no reply. The official reason for ban from support was the following:

“We’ve looked again at your advertising account and unfortunately we will not be able to re-enable it.

We evaluate all advertising accounts in terms of meeting the applicable rules and the quality of the ads placed. When your ads do not meet the Advertising Policies, we disable your account.

You can not take any further action. We do not support ads on your business model.

Please treat this decision as final.”

Luckily, according to data from SimilarWeb Facebook ads was not the major traffic source for dowbit.com, but anyway, their ads had nothing to do with scam or crypto offers.

Couple of Facebook advertisers also confirmed us, that their accounts have been blocked after the announcement.

It seems like there will be no James Altucher in the feed anymore. Can that be truth?

My ICO is not a scam. Am I still at risk?

Most probably yes. As far as we see now, FB decided to shut down everything that is related to crypto somehow, and then to find out, what was right and wrong. And possibly make restrictions softer.

It is the famous FB strategy ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’. We are now at the forward phase, where changes are insanely aggressive and affect almost everyone.

Does it influence other businesses related to crypto? Exchanges? News media?

The case study of Dowbit shows that you can be banned for being just related to the topic. We are not sure, that the algorithm is intelligent enough to define if you are a shitty-token seller or a well established and trustworthy media. So it looks like FB just checks if your topic is related to crypto industries somehow.

Is there any hope for the better?

Fortunately, it is. Here is the quote from the original Facebook announcement:

“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve”.

They promise to revise the policy in a while when more data is collected. So there is a chance, that trust-worthy and fairly playing companies from crypto industry will be able to get back to Fb Advertising soon.

But the approach needs to be changed: from click bait ad headlines to wise long-term value-driven content marketing.

What to do now to minimize my loss?

David Dubov, the ICO marketing consultant, advices to stop creating new ads and editing existing ones in your account. Each new review might be the moment when you’re banned, while ads that have been already reviewed will still be working for some time.

Generally, it is time to wait for an adjust your marketing strategy to the new changes.

The problem with FB might also look like an opportunity if you’re targeting the audience of crypto-activists with a non-crypto offer. That is the case for Philip Miele, who’s selling a hardware device for cryptocurrency owners called SelfLedger. He believes, the update won’t influence him but will decrease the competition and the bids.

What else to do with ICO, besides Facebook?

Here is the short-list of channels you might consider using:

  • SEO
  • Twitter
  • Telegram
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Google Display Network
  • Opinion leaders and Crypto bloggers
  • Affiliates

Being diverse brings you a strategical advantage over competitors. So don’t rely on just one of those channels. The same way Facebook has banned crypto topic, it may happen with any other platform. Google already forbids advertising of binary options. So the update about cryptocurrencies might be coming soon there.

Monitor platforms, get prepared and don’t be surprised.

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