Two cents blog

Facebook removing 20% text rule? Could it be true?

by BCM Group on 27 April 2016

Facebook recently made a change that made many Facebook marketers jump for joy, the 20% text rule no longer applied to images on advertisements, but were the celebrations premature?

Here’s how it went down

Some users in the United States have logged onto Facebook to use their advertising image grid tool to find it no more, instead there is a new set of rules their advert images have to follow. Now there is a visual guide providing four categories of text overlay and each one will have a different impact on your level of advert reach.

Level 1

pic 1

Level 2

pic 2

Level 3

pic 3

Level 4

pic 4

So, now for these select users in the United States not only has the 20% rule gone, but Facebook is leaving the judgement up to the user as to whether they have still used too much text. The punishment for using excess text is no longer a total advert ban, but instead a decrease in reach, regardless of marketing budget.

There are also exceptions to the rule, which was an exciting turn of events. Images featured in adverts such as movie posters, book covers, product images and legal text would not have the rule applied. A new addition however, was that logo’s now count as text – boo.

Can we get excited?

The 20% rule has caused myself, and I’m sure thousands of other marketers, endless amounts of pain. The rule states that “adverts that have more than 20% text on their image won’t be approved to run on Facebook or Instagram”. I can understand why they want to keep their advert images as free from text as possible but 20% feels very measly. They also provide a not so handy grid to allow you to find out whether your image will pass their test or not and be allowed to run, so to be told that this rule was no more, brought me great joy. Sadly it was short lived.

This is just a test.

Facebook is going to monitor this new solution with a select bunch of users, and see how it goes. They have also said there will be no policy changing yet.

Final thoughts

Never one to be disheartened, I am still very excited by this change, even if it currently isn’t available to me. The text rule as it currently stands causes me a lot of drama, so to know that Facebook are open to exploring other possibilities is still very positive.

The way I see it, Facebook definitely still wants your money, so with these new rules they can take it for every advertising scenario, just now your paid reach will be severely impacted.

I do hope they decide to roll this out globally, but then to counter this I would rather not suddenly see a bombardment of heavy text images on adverts. It will certainly be interesting to see how marketers play with the new rule and if it makes any real difference to the overall ads on Facebook.

What do you think? Would you like to see the back of the 20% text rule? Is this change for the better?


Heather Linford is a Social Media Specialist at BCM 

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