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What the Elimination of Facebook’s 20% Text Rule Really Means

On June 8, Facebook eliminated a long-standing rule that prevented ads with more than 20% text to run through their platform. Community Managers and Social Media Buyers around the world rejoiced! Then we read the fine print…

For the last few years, Facebook laid down the law on promoting images that had more than 20% text. Advertisers used a grid tool to test images in a 5×5 grid. If the image featured text in more than five squares, it was over 20% and would need to be adjusted.

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The image above is sample post from our client Go Red For Women, and example of an image with too much text. While the post is perfect for organic sharing, it would not make the cut for promotion.

While Facebook has technically gotten rid of this “rule,” the same practices still apply. If your ad has 20% text or more, it will not be rejected, however you can expect less distribution and higher costs.

Facebook now offers a propriety Text Overly Tool to determine how much text is in your image. It will provide a rating based on the following scale:

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As you can see we adjusted the previous image to contain far less text. Facebook then approved this post for promotion.

Keep in mind, the following examples are exceptions to the policy:

  • 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
  • Text-based businesses: Calligraphy, cartoon/comic strips, etc.
  • App and game screenshots
  • Legal text

The moral of the story is, while the 20% text rule is officially gone, it is a best practice to stick to the rule for efficient buying.

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