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Facebook Advertising Removes 20% Text Rule on Images

September 24, 2020
written by Danielle Strouther
Product Marketing Expert

Facebook adverts will no longer be disapproved or penalised for using too much text as Facebook removes the 20% text limit on ad images.

In a surprising turn, Facebook has just removed a rule that has been haunting advertisers since the very beginning: the 20% text rule. 

From this point on, advertisers can now upload as much text to an image advert as they want, without the post being disapproved or suffering from a limited reach. 

What was the 20% rule?

Okay, a little bit of background. 

For those that were unfamiliar, Facebook Advertising does not like text on image ads. If your image had more than 20% text, it would be disapproved or would have a very limited reach, impacting your campaigns. 

A few days ago, some people noticed that the text overlay tool page was redirecting. This was a tool for advertisers to check the percentage of text on an image and if it would run into any problems. 

The tool’s removal was then followed with an announcement from Facebook, stating: 

“We will no longer penalize ads with higher amounts of text in auctions and delivery. 

As of Sept. 7th, we will begin gradually removing external material and sources that indicate that we enforce high levels of text in images. 

Please note, Advertisers will still need to abide by our ad policies regarding the content of the text. Advertisers are still encouraged to reduce the amount of text with images, as we have found that images with less than 20% text generally perform better.” 

Why has Facebook removed the rule? 

One reason why Facebook has removed this rule is because of the exception list they had to maintain. The 20% rule applied to all text images, apart from images such as infographics, event posters, screenshots for software, cartoons, book covers and so on. 

There were an increasing amount of places where text is essential in ads. But with the 20% rule in place, it was incredibly easy to have an ad disapproved or running with limited reach because it’s been accidentally flagged up. 

Removing this rule will make it easier for advertisers to post this kind of ads and lessen the number of appeals that Facebook will have to deal with. 

Although the rule is gone, Facebook hasn’t changed its standpoint on images in text. Their Business Help Centre page about text in ad images still states that “We’ve found that images with less than 20% text perform better”. 

a screenshot of Facebook's about text in ad images copy with the text "We've found that images with less than 20% text perform better." highlighted.

Underneath this, Facebook also includes tips on how to avoid text in ads. But, there is no mention of ads not running if they have too much text. 

The 20% rule is no longer enforced. Facebook doesn’t recommend it, but they’re giving you the ability to test it for yourself. 

More room to test is always good news for advertisers. 

Matt Hogan, Paid Social Manager at Adzooma states: 

“The Text Overlay rule has been a thorn in my side for as long as I can remember. Whereas I might agree that an image or video shouldn’t just be rammed full of text, I do think it’s an important part of what can catch someone’s attention. And keeping it under 20% is sometimes rather difficult. 

That being said, Facebook will still be keeping a close eye on making sure the ads fall within their guidelines. But the removal of this rule opens the doors for a little bit more freedom.” 

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