20% Text Rule on Facebook Ads is Changing

20% Text Rule on Facebook Ads is Changing

As many advertisers have lamented, the 20% text rule can be a pain. Even when you're sure your image has less than 20% text, if it doesn't fit correctly into the "grid" system then it could be considered over 20% and get rejected. And getting rejected enough times (even if it's innocent) could get your ad account suspended.

For a long time, Facebook didn't have a better way to manage this. So now they are changing the system - but be careful, it comes with pros and cons!

This article from Jon Loomer breaks down all of the details. I'll sum up the key points here:

  • Research done by Facebook has shown that people prefer ads with less text (My understanding: by 'prefer' they mean more likely to interact and engage with, thus giving advertisers positive results. This makes tons of sense since it's a fairly well-known phenomenon that we are less likely to click on something that is obviously an ad - consider the death of those flashing banners at the top of every website.)
  • Instead of a "20% Y/N" rule, Facebook will now evaluate images based on the amount of text and classify them into 4 categories: OK (no text), Low, Medium, High
  • Facebook will be updating its current grid tool so that you know which category your image falls into, and the ad manager will also let you know before you click submit
  • Because we (as Facebook users) are more likely to take action on an ad image with less text, images with a higher amount of text can expect less reach and higher costs

This change is just rolling out, so your ad account may still be under the old 20% text rule.

So what does this mean for advertisers? If your ads with no/low text on images are working, stick with it! Feel free to experiment with high-density text images, but watch your ad performance very closely so that you can turn it off if it's not working. Or better yet, do an A/B test: run 2 ads that are identical except for the image - one has no text and one has a lot of text. You'll know what your audience prefers based on how they perform!

As I write this, I am prepping for a workshop that is all about creating effective ads on Facebook. Guess it's time to change my notes!