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Facebook Removes The Long-Standing 20% Text Limit Rule On Ad Images

October 5, 2020

Ali Soudi - Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Social Media Management

Article Overview

10min read

Much to the frustration of advertisers, Facebook once had a long-standing 20% text limit rule on ad images which resulted in many ads getting routinely rejected. However, with an update to the rule, media buyers on the Facebook platform are no longer having their images disapproved due to large attached texts. 

Facebook’s guidelines have become less strict over the years, and now, they are removing restrictions on FB ads as well which initially required images to have less than 20% text in them. This update has been confirmed as advertisers started receiving direct communication from Facebook regarding this change.

Prior to this communication from Facebook, advertisers have noticed that the text overlay tool page has disappeared and they are being redirected to another page. To help advertisers overcome the obstacle of image rejection due to the text limit rule, Facebook created a tool in which advertisers could upload their image to see if it would pass. 

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The new update allows displaying any ads with more than 20% text in the main image as acceptable, and also it will allow to reach the same amount of people as any other Facebook ad.

However, a formal statement about the update from Facebook has not surfaced yet, but you can view the updated page on the text in the ad imagery page.

Image Text

Any text that exists on an ad image or creative is called an image text. It doesn’t include the body text of an ad image.

For instance, check out the below example.

social media management

Image text in this example is noted number 3 and number 1 is the body text.

20% Text Rule 

According to Facebook’s community feedback for ads over the years, users weren’t happy with ads that had too much text in the main images as it leads to a confused, cluttered and messy experience on their news feed. So in order to reach and connect with potential customers on Facebook, we need to create advertisements that blend as effortlessly as possible into the rest of the content on FB’s newsfeeds, which means focusing on uncomplicated, high-quality images and clear-cut messages, most importantly with minimal text. This is why Facebook created the 20% text rule. According to the 20% text rule, for a best-performing ad or to run an image-based ad on Facebook, your image(s) should contain less than 20% text or else the image text would be rejected. With this rule implemented on the platform, Facebook was trying to improve the user experience.  

However, there were certain exceptions to this rule, such as:

1. Covers for things like books, albums and so on

2. Video games

3. Infographics

4. Some product image

5. Event Posters

6. Legal Disclaimers

7. Cartoons/Comics

Also, keep in mind that certain items do count as text on your image, such as:

1. Numbers

2. Text-based logos (regardless of size)

3. Watermarks

In 2018, Facebook revised the rule and on a limited basis started approving the ads even if they were above the 20% limit of text. However, these ads were noticeable in fewer impressions (between no-text vs. low-text ad imagery), among other metrics – which means, fewer people were seeing what you posted. 

The 20% Text Overlay Tool

Facebook released a Text Overlay Tool that allows advertisers to upload the images they want to run and check the status of the text beforehand.

social media management

As a judgment on text proportion wasn’t given ahead of time, an advertiser would simply find they were in violation and the ad wouldn’t run. To overcome this obstacle, Facebook rolled out the 20% text overlay tool. With this tool, media buyers or advertisers could upload their images and the tool will give them immediate feedback on their text situation – that is, if the ad is qualified or not. 

social media management

However, with the lifting of the long-standing 20% text rule, the tool has also been removed.

Is It Still Necessary To Follow the Text Rule?

Though the rule has been lifted and advertisers will no longer be penalized for ads with higher amounts of text in auctions and delivery, Facebook still gives advice on how to lessen the text ratios in ad images. This is because it is believed that the 20% metric is the best practice to ensure better performance.

But it doesn’t mean you have to worry if you include more text in your ad image; your ad will still run, and could theoretically reach just as many people as any other campaign, depending upon your approach. 

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi is a Google Certified Digital Marketer with 10+ years of industry experience. He is a prolific writer on business-related topics, regularly contributing articles to leading digital marketing and business websites.

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Social Media Management
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