Change to Facebook’s 20% Text Rule in Ads

07 September 2016

Change to Facebook’s 20% Text Rule in Ads

Many people who have participated in Facebook advertising unexpectedly fell foul of the 20% ad rule. Facebook would reject ads that contained more than 20% text, but the testing for this measurement was a bit of an inexact science: if you placed a 5x5 grid over your image, there should have been text in five or fewer of the boxes, no more than that. If the text overflowed to a sixth box, your ad would be rejected. In reality, this meant that it was the placement of the text as much as the size and quantity of it that decided whether or not an ad was allowed.

However, Facebook knows that ad images with less text are more effective on its site, so it is somewhat unexpected that it has now scrapped the 20% text rule.

However, what it has replaced it with may be just as effective, or even moreso.

According to the new rule, Facebook advertisers can use as much text as they want on their ad images but the images with higher amounts of text are due to be penalised in other ways; with higher costs per click and less visibility.

Ad images will be judged into one of four categories: OK, low, medium and high.

  • Images that are considered OK will have very little text, if any, and will be rewarded with lower costs per click and better visibility than competitors with text that is more dense on their image ads.
  • Images that are judged ‘low’ will probably have roughly the amount of text that would have just passed the previous 20% text limit. They may find themselves with slightly higher costs per click and slightly less visibility.
  • Images that are marked as ‘medium’ will be fairly text heavy, and ‘high’ will be for images that are majority text. Medium- and high-level images will be penalised in the new system, so advertisers whose ads would previously have been rejected will be allowed, but fewer people will see their ads and it will cost more when they do.

What should Facebook advertisers do?

You might want to take this opportunity to test whether Facebook’s general rule (that minimal text in an image leads to higher conversions) applies to your own audience. It could be a good time to experiment with your images, but be aware of the higher costs and the risks associated with this process.

A safer, more cautious way forward would be to continue creating ad images that would pass the 20% text rule and enjoy the higher conversions and impressions that they are said to achieve.

Which approach are you more likely to adopt? Tell us in the comments!