December 26, 2021 34

How to Run Alcohol Ads on Facebook — A Step by Step Guide

Facebook's strict advertising policy is the talk of the town: the platform closely monitors and regularly bans the ad content that doesn’t comply with its guidelines. Hence, you need to be well aware of the requirements to avoid being banned and to ensure your ads are approved.

Despite all existing restrictions, the alcohol industry is continuously growing. Global pandemic resulted in increased alcohol sales: at the end of March 2020, alcohol sales increased by 262% compared to the previous year in the US only. According to Socialbakers alcohol ad investments also reached the above-average level.

The alcohol industry is one of those niches that require a special strategy when it comes to social media advertising. That is why besides all existing restrictions for alcohol ads, it is important to know who the audience is and what content people are likely to consume.

Facebook Policy

As for the Facebook Guidelines for ads related to alcohol, the platform requires that ads "must comply with all applicable local laws, required or established industry codes, guidelines, licenses and approvals, and include age and country targeting criteria consistent with Facebook’s targeting requirements and applicable local laws."

In fact, this means that you should always check the list of countries that prohibit promoting or referencing alcohol ads before you select a GEO for your affiliate offer. The list includes Norway, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, Lithuania, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, and some others.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is age targeting. Once you’ve decided on suitable GEOs, you should make appropriate age targeting: 18 years and older for most countries; however, some countries set a higher age, for example:

  • 19 years and older in Korea, Canada, and Nicaragua;
  • 20 years and older in Iceland, Japan, and Paraguay;
  • 21 years and older in the US, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Palau, and some other countries;
  • 25 years and older in Sweden.

Actually, Facebook goes further and restricts visiting alcohol brand pages for underage users. As for the US, alcohol ads are displayed only to users 21 and older, while underage Facebook users cannot even see Friends’ likes on alcohol-related posts or pages.  

If you target the Indian market, the situation is even more complicated as there are different age requirements for different states and regions, so study local regulations thoroughly.

Alcohol Industry & Facebook  

Facebook offers a huge audience and terrific targeting possibilities for marketing various products.

It comes as no surprise that alcohol ads have one of the highest CPC at $0.20 (SocialBakers):

Obviously, the alcohol industry invests impressive amounts in advertising on various media. Facebook is not an exception. However, alcohol brands and liquor stores have their favorite ad placement on this platform: more than 80% of alcohol marketing campaigns on Facebook were delivered on News Feed.

How to Run Alcohol Ads on Facebook: Step-by-Step

Yep, running alcohol ads is more complicated than promoting products in other niches but it is possible. Moreover, all the challenges you face are usually paid off by generous commissions. What you need are planning and testing. Now, let us get down to business.

Step 1. As with any ad campaign, you open your Ads Manager to create a new campaign. Select an objective for your campaign.  

Facebook offers several objectives for ad campaigns. The objective determines the nature of your ads, whether you introduce a brand to people or promote a new product from a well-known brand.

Step 2. Go to the Ad Set section. This is the crucial step for alcohol ad campaigns and you must be extremely precise while selecting location (see restrictions above) and the target audience.  

  • Select Location. First of all, the location depends on the offer you promote and GEOs that allow alcohol ads. Second, the choice of location depends on a product: if you advertise a specific liquor store, you select a location around the store or within its delivery service area.


  • Determine age, gender, and language. As we have mentioned above, the age setting is crucial to let your ads be approved. Make sure that you follow the age restrictions in the selected country before you will launch your ads.  Gender and language targeting just may help to narrow down the target audience.

Step 3. Detailed Targeting. As you should know, detailed targeting helps you to narrow down your audience. Here you can specify additional interests of your target audience. For example, you target people who are interested in beer, malt beverages, wine, or liquor stores.

Again, as with any other niche, alcohol ad campaigns require building a marketing funnel that is tested and adjusted for getting the best results.

Add here influencer marketing, which is a great strategy to promote alcohol-related products but do not forget to ensure that the influencer is of age. Influencer marketing via stories might be very effective — actually, several alcohol brands (for example, Cîroc) use this strategy as a primary marketing instrument.  

Would you launch an alcohol ad campaign on Facebook or select another traffic source?
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Success Story: Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Mike’s was initially introduced in Canada in 1996 as a mix of vodka, carbonated water, and natural flavors. In 1999, the brand entered the US market and changed the vodka base for a malt base.

The interesting fact is that Mike’s has recently shifted to fully digital marketing. Being fully compliant with Beer Institute guidelines, Mike’s hit more than 1 million fans on Facebook and became the largest malt beverage on social media. As a part of its marketing strategy and to celebrate the threshold of 1 million, the company changed its Facebook name for Paul’s Hard Lemonade (to honor its 1 millionth fan, Paul) for 24 hours.

The company’s officials note that "even with restrictions that we advertise, social media is a great asset for our company because it gives the opportunity to connect with our fans in a transparent, fun and interactive way… Creativity is cultivated through challenges, and here at Mike’s, our team is quick, innovative, and steps up to the challenge."


Keeping in mind high CPC and high competition, the cost per acquisition increased by 76% in 2020. However, marketers still try various ad placements, campaign objectives, and detailed targeting to earn on alcohol ads on Facebook. Experiment on how to reach your target audience and test how to bring down ad costs — alcohol brands pay handsome commissions to affiliates to increase sales. As 2021 continues, you may use the power of influencers via stories on Facebook and Instagram.

As you see, despite all existing advertising obstacles for alcohol brands, you can still run alcohol ads on Facebook successfully.

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