It’s understandable that Social Media and Search Engines are somewhat squeamish about advertising and promotions around the adult category. In particular for Sex Toys, but as a digital marketer working for a media agency, I constantly but up against the challenge (and not just in this category) of ‘what can we do for the client’ whilst also a) not breaching the rules of a platform and in this case being respectful of the audience.
Let’s give this some background shall we…
Facebook (& Instagram), Twitter, Pinterest, Google & Bing — among others — all have basically the same rules for the adult advertising category. You can promote products for safe sex eg. condoms for protective sex, but you cannot promote products for enhancement of sex or for sexual pleasure eg. condoms for sexual pleasure. And obviously all ads must be aimed at over 18s only.
It’s this second bit that automatically rules out the sex toys for most platforms, but all those names also make explicit mention of this too — though Google do say they may run text ads under certain circumstances.
Are Sex Toys Banned from Social Media Ads?
Yes. For a number of years the big players have made a point of rejecting ads and clamping down several times.
There are several examples of ads being blocked repeatedly by those attempting to advertise sex toys such as dildos, fleshlights or other adult toys.
Interestingly in recent times, Bing in particular have become more nuanced in the approach they have taken, they allow approved advertisers to place ads in certain ways (quite quickly too) and other advertisers can advertise but they are vetted. Google is also more open to adult advertising but it’s careful when and how it’s accepted (stating, in the UK ‘Promotion or sale of merchandise that’s intended to enhance sexual activity – Examples: Sex toys, lubricants, aphrodisiacs, sexual enhancers’).