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Facebook’s New Ad Image Rules

For those of you who had just got used to Facebook’s 20% ad rule and were carefully using a gridchecker to make sure ads were Facebook friendly, you may have been somewhat confused recently. You’d be forgiven for not even noticing the 20% rule had been dropped, for it happened very quietly in March without any announcement to advertisers at all. If you’d been searching for the grid tool – it’s gone! 

A new vagueness has crept into the way Facebook deals with ads which contain text, which can be unnerving for those people who like to understand the rules. Advertisers may have come across automated warnings which pop up when creating an ad which say neither ‘your ad is approved’ or ‘your ad is not approved’. Instead, a warning might appear suggesting you find an ad image with less text to ensure your ad reaches all of your target audience.


Ads with text are now graded by Facebook using rules or algorithms which remain a mystery to the user. We do know the new approach doesn’t work on text alone. Facebook still prefers ads with little or no text because it believes images with a lot of text may create a lower-quality experience for people on Facebook. However, Facebook now appears to look more intelligently at what sort of text appears in ads. This is actually a very positive step since the old 20% rule could be a real problem for businesses who wanted to advertise text-based products like books, album covers or products. You can view exceptions to the text ‘rule’ here.

Another piece of good news is that there is a new tool which can help to ease the feeling of advertiser angst – the Text Overlay Tool. The new tool provides guidance as to how likely the amount of text you have in your ad is to diminish your chances of reaching your audience. Whilst this won’t provide a yes or no answer it does give a very good indication on reach. You upload an image which is then graded in the following categories:           

  • OK: Your ad will run normally.
  • Low: Your ad's reach may be slightly lower.
  • Medium: Your ad's reach may be much lower.
  • High: Your ad may not run.

Here’s the results from the Text Overlay Tool on three different ads which vary from OK to High:

As you can see, images with large fonts which dominate the ad are given a ‘High’ or ‘Medium’ rating and ads with minimal text are considered ‘OK’.

So the new approach to Facebook advertising is slightly more vague but possibly more flexible as well. It allows for good judgement rather than hard and fast rules. Taking this into account, approach would be to review the results of your Facebook advertising campaigns regularly to check ads containing text are getting the reach you’d expect. Let us know what your experience is of the new Facebook ad rules.

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