Facebook Has Scrapped 20% Text in Ad Images Rule

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  • June 28, 2016

On June 8, Facebook decided to change a long-standing rule that has caused headaches for many social media marketers since its inception. The no ads on Facebook with more than 20% text rule often caught people out who were new to advertising on the social media network.

But as Facebook marketers, we learnt to live with the less than 20% text rule for ads. After all, there was no choice previously. If an ad comprised more than 20% text, it simply wasn’t allowed to be displayed on Facebook’s advertising platform.

Previously, one of the easiest ways to check ads before you submitted them was to use a 5×5 grid and lay it over the image. With the image broken up into 25 squares, you could easily see whether text was covering more than 20% of it.

However, while Facebook has reportedly got rid of the rule, it’s not quite as straight forward as you might think. That’s because ads with a large proportion of text still aren’t welcomed with open arms. They won’t necessarily get rejected, as in the past, but their associated distribution costs are likely to be higher and their overall reach lower.

Going forward, Facebook will apply a rating to every ad based on the amount of text it has. The four classifications will be:


Not very informative for many of us, but luckily Facebook has provided a free Text Overlay Tool that can provide a classification for your images.

It’s worth noting that the following examples are exempt from the classifications:

  • Movie posters
  • Book covers
  • Album covers
  • Product images: Where an entire product can be seen, and not just a zoomed in image of the product
  • Posters for concerts/music festivals, comedy shows or sporting events
  • Infographics
  • Text-based businesses: Calligraphy, cartoon/comic strips, etc.
  • App and game screenshots
  • Legal text

The bottom line is that even though the 20% text rule is now officially gone, Facebook advertisers will still achieve the best bang for their buck by creating ads as they always have done.

Have you had any good or bad experiences with Facebook ads, and/or will this new change affect the way you run campaigns in the future? We’d love to know…

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