Facebook Removing the 20% Text Rule for Paid Ads

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There is a good reason for the over 6 million businesses Facebook advertisers to get excited. The giant social media platform has finally removed its restrictions on ads with more than 20% text in the main image. Facebook has been contacting advertisers directly to inform them that the new policy is less of a rule and more of a guideline. The message read in part, thus:

“…advertisers are encouraged to reduce the amount of text with images, as we have found that images with less than 20% text generally perform better.”

The long-standing rule that came into effect a while back had undergone a few changes over the years. This was aimed at making it less rigorous and punitive to paid Facebook advertisers. But September 2020 marked a complete abandonment of the 20% text rule.

The 20% rule historically.

Until recently, you couldn’t cover your Facebook ad images with more than 20% text. To adhere to the guidelines, you were forced to use a Facebook text overlaying tool that divided ad images with a 25 rectangle grid. If the text overlaying tool showed your ad image having more than 20 percent of rectangles, you could not run it. Facebook introduced the 20% rule to reduce the noisiness in the Facebook News Feed. The platform argued that adding more text and images resulted in more clutter and overwhelming user experience. There were also suspicions that too much text on images very clearly showed the content as an ad, and users would quickly scroll past it. Subsequently, any ad whose image had more than 20 percent text was rejected. However, the platform’s guideline caused advertisers a lot of frustration and additional work.

Implications of Facebook Removing the 20% Text Rule On Creative Services And Performance Ads

There is no doubt the removal of the 20% text rule on ads will bring new tidings to Facebook advertising, including the creative services and performance ads. Immediate benefits of the new policy include:

More approvals

Prior to the new developments, it was impossible for ads with “too much” text in their images to get approval. But with the changes, your ads will now get approval even when they contain over 20 percent texts. Media buyers on Facebook’s platform began to notice the significant changes recently. Ideally, their images are no longer being disapproved for having a lot of text.

Increased reach

In 2018, Facebook changed the initial ad text rule to enable marketers to include more text. However, there was a stringent restriction on how much you exceed the limit. But with the new update that removed restrictions, you can now achieve wider reach no matter the quantity of text in ad image. In essence, ads with more than 20 percent text in the main image will be displayed as expected. Such an ad will also reach the same amount of people as any other Facebook ad. Although Facebook recommends keeping your text short, clear, and concise for it to be effective, they don’t basically bar you from including more texts. Depending on your approach, your ads will still run and reach as many people as any other typical campaign.

Removal of text overlay tool

The overlay tool that advertisers used to check if their ads align with the 20 percent restriction is no longer available. Before introducing the overlay tool, a significant point of frustration for the advertisers was how to know you were in violation since a verdict on the text proportion was not provided ahead of time. You simply found out you were in violation when the ad wouldn’t run. Facebook subsequently released the overlay tool that allowed advertisers to upload the images they wanted to run. The tool will then screen each of the adverts before giving feedback on the text situation.

But even with the overlay tool, advertisers complained the process of checking text was taking too long. Besides, the text overlay tool was frustrating and largely ineffective as it relied on the text’s position rather than the amount of text itself. Now that the tool has been removed, the process of placing ads on the platform will be much faster as advertisers now find it a little easier to get images with a text through FB’s system than before. 

 A faster process with fewer costs

 Facebook’s long-held text restriction in ad images was a major headache for many advertisers. The rule required significant and specific reformatting of ads images to align with the platform’s rules. This approach was too much work, and an added cost as most businesses were forced to hire expert marketers and other specialists to help with the process. Most users also complained that Facebook’s enforcement of the rule was flawed and inconsistent. But placing ads now on the platform is not only effortless but also less costly.

Improved keywords and CTA

Image text is still an essential component of an ad. Essentially, search engines find, crawl, and index texts but not images. Also, for the ad to attract Facebook users, it should feature visually appealing and colorful images with an appropriate Call to Action. The more you use trigger words such as “free,” “now,” “today,” “limited offer,” “special offer,” the more your ad will be effective. With the removal of the 20 percent rule, advertisers can use more appropriate keywords and CTA type of text on their ads to increase the chances of ad being read. Besides, an ad with adequate text provides a natural feel. Such an ad will more likely convince a viewer to spend more time interacting with it, leading to a higher conversion rate.

Were There Previous Exceptions Facebooks’ 20% Text Rule?

There were some instances where the text in your ad did not count towards the 20% rule. The following items don’t count as texts on your images:

  • Numbers
  • Text-based logos
  • Watermarks
  • Cartoon sand comics
  • Screenshots for software and apps ads
  • Legal disclaimers
  • Posters of events, movies, entertainment shows
  • A product image that features a label
  • Covers of books
  • Infographics

Key Takeaway

If you are a business that advertises on Facebook, you need to acquaint yourself with the implications of the changes recently made by the platform on the 20% text rule and how it will impact on your marketing strategies. Determine whether using more texts on your ad images will help enhance your marketing efforts. Should you have any questions about Facebook performance and advertising, reach out to our team.

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