There are four categories for the amount of text allowed on a Facebook ad. Your image text can be considered “OK”, “Low”, “Medium”, or “High.” The amount of text on your ad will determine the reach that it could potentially have. For example, an image that has the following text would be considered “Medium,” which may cause your ad to reach fewer people.
As you can see in the image above, Facebook is recommending that you “try” to use as little text in your ad images as possible. They recommend focusing your text in copy rather than in the image. And they even suggest limiting font size.
Here’s an important tidbit:
Facebook ads that contain images with little to no text tend to cost less and have better delivery than ads with image text.
From the start, Facebook is telling you that you can use text, but as you increase the amount of text that you use you can expect the reach to drop and costs to increase.
To provide further context, Facebook breaks down text density into four categories:
Facebook also provides examples of each and what to expect regarding distribution.
Image Text: OK
Facebook prefers little or no text in an image…
And here are three examples…
Facebook wants us to keep copy within the text box and off of ad images.
Image Text: LOW
But you may want to include some text. Here’s an example with a “low” amount of text in it, similar to what we may see in current ads…
Of course, if you also include the logo (which Facebook says they include), that would be more than 20%.
Here are three more examples of “low” text…
In each case, Facebook says you can expect reach of your ads to be at least slightly limited.
Image Text: MEDIUM
Add even more text (in this case, some next to the logo), and it will be classified as “medium.”
Here are some examples…
While Facebook labels it as “medium,” the examples they give have “heavy” text and they say that reach will be “severely limited.”
Image Text: HIGH
Then there’s a matter of really pushing the limits and using “too much” text…
Even in this case, Facebook won’t reject your ad. You just may not get it shown.
Here are some examples…
Yeah, so don’t do this. You’ll get it approved, but it won’t reach anyone.
Facebook also notes that these guidelines don’t apply to the following:
- Movie posters
- Book covers
- Album covers
- Product images: Where an entire product can be seen, and not just a zoomed in image of the product
- Posters for concerts/music festivals, comedy shows or sporting events
- Text-based businesses: Calligraphy, cartoon/comic strips, etc.
- App and game screenshots
- Legal text
Most of this isn’t new. For the rest of us, there has always been a product exception.
However, I find a couple of these particularly interesting. The infographic exception, in particular. I’ve wanted to promote infographics in the past, but didn’t due to the rule.
Legal text and text-based businesses also get the exception, which I believe is new.
What This Really Means: Not Much
I’ve seen way too much excitement over this change — or test, depending on how you look at it. While the 20% text rule may be going away for some — and potentially for all if it moves beyond a test — it impacts our approach to text very little.
As Facebook said, users don’t react well to ads with a high text concentration in images. And while they won’t be rejected, your distribution will suffer and the costs could be high.
Is it really worth it?
You’ll need to determine if lower reach and higher costs are worth the additional text. For me, I plan to approach text in the way I always have — less is better. Be a minimalist.
Even if there is no “rule,” act as if there is one.