Breaking News! Facebook have eliminated their 20% text rule for advert images!

Or have they?

Perhaps don’t order the champagne in just yet. Because whilst the 20% text rule will no longer get your ad instantly rejected, very little has actually changed for advertisers on the platform.

For our Digital Marketing Team, the dreaded 20% rule has probably been the most frustrating of all of the Facebook advertising guidelines to grapple with.

The mysterious 20% Rule we keep referring to is based on a 5×5 grid system that limits the use of text on images or videos to 20% – which is actually a lot less than you would think!

Following ‘Facebook user feedback on advert relevancy’ the platform has traditionally forced advertisers to put all ads through an automated approval/rejection process that instantly rejected ads with more than this percentage of text (including logos!)

However, unannounced to advertisers, Facebook has recently made a slight change to these guidelines. Rather than rejecting ads that breach the guideline, ALL ads are now approved regardless of text coverage (only if they adhere to the long list of Facebook’s other rules of course).

But all that sparkles is not gold.

Because although the dreaded rejected advert message will no longer appear if your image contains too much text, marketers will instead be left scratching their heads trying to figure out why their ad has significantly under-performed compared to the norm.

In reality, adverts with more than 20% text coverage, although approved, will be severely penalised and distributed to an extremely reduced audience of Facebook users.

Facebook did comment on the matter recently, saying, “We’ve heard from some advertisers that this can be confusing, as it’s not always clear that an Ad does not meet the policy requirements until after creative has been submitted. We are shifting to a new solution to improve this experience which allows advertisers more flexibility while still allowing us to maintain an enjoyable experience for people.”

True to their word, Facebook has instead implemented a new system where ads are classified as having a ‘High’, ‘Medium’, ‘Low’  risk, or deemed as ‘OK’. This system is now able to inform advertisers of how their ad will be distributed before an order is placed, and if Facebook sees an issue, advertisers will be asked if they wish to continue with running the ad.

So, how are the ads classified?

High – You May Not Reach Your Audience

If you ad falls into this category it means Facebook’s algorithm has picked up a VERY large amount of text coverage on your image. This type of advert means Facebook will massively reduce the reach of your advert and ‘you may not reach your audience’. In other words, invest your budget elsewhere or re-do your creative.

Medium – Your Ad’s Reach May be Limited

Ads classified as Medium risk refers to images with a mediocre amount of text, but still greater than 20%. Ads in this category are spread to more users than High risk ads however reach is still very limited. As either a High or Medium risk ad, you are in danger of experiencing extremely high costs for low CPCs and click-throughs.

Low – Your Ad’s Reach May Be Slightly Limited

Images with a small amount of text reach are known as Low risk ads and will have a ‘slightly lower’ reach. Being in the Low category enables your Ad to perform more successfully than High or Medium ads, but it will still be penalised.

OK – Your Ad’s Image Contains Little to No Text. 

‘OK’ Ads are the most effective type of advert on Facebook and will reach the greatest number of users. Images with very minimal to no text reach a larger audience than all other categories as Facebook sees these as the most compliant with their guidelines and most likely to appeal to it’s users.

So there you have it, images with less text – and preferably 20% or below, get you the most for your money as a Facebook advertiser! Facebook is sending out a clear message to marketeers – keep copy within the text box and off ad images! Since Facebook controls ad reach and campaign cost on it’s platform – it’s wise to follow the new rule.

It seems safe to say that not much has changed, and if anything, the guidelines have further tightened up!

What do you think of Facebook’s recent changes? Perhaps it will be another tough year of grappling with guidelines for social media marketers? Or will it cause marketers to level up their efforts, raising the quality of ads across the platform generally?

Are you an established brand looking to expand your online presence through the use of Social Media? We can help! Our experts are here to help! Get in touch today. We’d love to hear from you.