Facebook Scraps 20% Rule for Ads…Sort Of

Changes in Facebook Ads

We’d heard the rumors a while back, but now we can verify that the rumors are true: Facebook has dumped its “20% rule” limit on text in ads. If you’ve never created an ad or fought with Facebook’s old grid-style measurement tool for text, then it might not seem like a big deal. 

But, if you know that frustration well, don’t be too quick to celebrate the rule’s passing. Although Facebook’s 20% rule is technically out the window, its spirit continues to factor into which ads get seen by the social media site’s audience. 

What Was the Facebook 20% Text Rule?

The 20% rule previously stated that the text on an image accompanying an ad couldn’t make up more than 20% of the image. To make sure that people stayed within those strict limits, Facebook used a grid-style tool to try to measure how much of the image’s real estate your text was taking up. If it was more than 20% of the image, your ad was rejected. 

In some ways, this was great. It’s been shown that people respond better to images with less text. They are more motivated by colorful, eye-catching images that don’t immediately scream “advertising!” to them. So, to some extent, Facebook’s rule benefited marketers and users. 

On the other hand, Facebook’s measurement tool for testing its 20% rule could be difficult to use, often depending more on placement of text than any actual character count. Companies trying to follow Facebook’s rule might sink a LOT of time and energy into getting it right, while other companies figured out ways to play the system to their advantage with little enforcement from above.    

What Do the Facebook Ad Changes Mean for Your Law Firm?

Facebook no longer outright rejects ad images based on the text they contain. However, the change isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. Facebook has also made it clear that, as the amount of text on your image increases, the reach of your ad may be limited. 

So, in short, you have a little more flexibility, but not that much—and it’s wise to still keep the old 20% rule in mind. 

Facebook will now prioritize images with less text, with restrictions on reach increasing as the amount of text on the image increases:

  • Little or no text: the ad should run normally
  • Low amount of text: the ad’s reach will be slightly lower
  • Medium amount of text: the ad’s reach will be significantly lower
  • High amount of text: the ad may not run at all  

If you’re not sure how your ad images measure up, Facebook has a new tool that lets advertisers check where their images fit on the scale. The new tool seems to be a little easier to use than the prior grid-style tool, but it works similarly. You simply upload an image to measure the proportion of text to image by Facebook’s standards. You’ll then see if your image is “OK” or potentially subject to low, medium, or high limitations. 

The good news is that Facebook does make ad-text exceptions for certain kinds of products and advertisements, and not all text in an image may count against it. You can visit the Facebook Help Center to learn more about exceptions, see examples of images with text, and get more guidance on the changes.

Questions about how the change might affect your social media marketing strategy? Not sure how to create paid ads that have real impact? Give us a call at 888.886.0939, and let’s talk about it.

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