Facebook ditched the “20% text” rule, and this is why you should continue to follow it.

Facebook leads social networks worldwide, and one of the reasons is because of their prompt pivoting to respond to growing global trends. The way people communicate is moving towards a more visual-approach, and Facebook is evolving with this trend.

They are jumping on the bandwagon of visual based social networks. The step Facebook has chosen to take is remodel its ads to be more visual at the expense of over-texting those ads. The obliteration of the 20% of text policy in ad images seems a contradiction, but in fact it is not. Here is why:

Facebook recommends to use as little text in our ad images as possible.  The reach of the ad will be inversely proportionate to the amount of text on the photos itself.

Facebook's text limit in ads

This is Facebook’s 20% text policy in ad images:

To help advertisers achieve their business goals while providing people with an enjoyable experience on Facebook, we’ve had a policy limiting excessive text (more than 20%) on images in ads. We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience for people and advertisers, which is why we’re testing a new solution that will allow ads with text to run, but based on the amount of text in an ad’s image, the ad won’t reach as many people. We will continue to monitor how this test impacts advertisers as well as people and will iterate to ensure we are creating the best possible experience. We’re testing in certain situations but are not changing the policy across the board at this time.

This text policy also includes logos. Its main goal was to improve the visual content of Facebook ads, forbidding all the images with more than 20% of text within them. To check whether the images met Facebook requirements or not, Facebook launched the Grid Tool, now outdated, to save users from text limit ad disapproval.

Less text means cheaper ads

More text on the images will mean more expensive ads, as the reach of these publications will drop substantially. On the other hand, ads with little or no text will be more likely to have a better reach at a minor cost. Facebook encourages advertisers to focus text in copy rather than in the images.

Depending on the text density in your images, Facebook will grade it as OK, Low, Medium or High.  An OK and Low rating are the most desirable to achieve a greater reach. Facebook will not reject ads with Medium or High text density, but those ads will probably fail on reaching their target audience.

OK Density: The ad’s image contains little or no text. This is the preferred image style.

Low Density: The ad reach might be slightly limited.

Medium Density: The ad’s reach might be limited.

High Density: You may not reach your audience if you use an image with this much text.

As seen in the pictures above, Facebook’s reach constraints vary depending on text density, ranging from OK to HIGH.

The change is not official yet, but is a key indicator to how businesses are shifting the way they communicate to their stakeholders. Your business might need a new visual touch to keep it abreast of new communication trends.

Visual attention is the new currency of advertising

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ― Mark Twain.

The more you add to an image, the less impact that image will have, especially in busy environments like Facebook.  Not only you are competing with other brands, but also with updates from family and friends. As images are processed much faster by the brain, keeping text straight to the point will make your image stand out and allow your target customer to concentrate on your key message.

Your business might need a new visual touch to keep it abreast of new communication trends, including choosing images that communicate what you do effectively and make good use of typography.

Visual content is the new king.