How to Overcome Facebook Ads 20% Rule

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How to Overcome Facebook Ads 20 Rule

As a Facebook Marketer, there’s a lot I like about it. But then there are other things…Like the “20% rule” which limits the amount of text, you can use in images.

I’m not able to print 20% of the bad words I’ve said while trying to create Facebook Ads without using Facebook image representations, using the word “Facebook,” and making sure the text stays under that percentage.

In September, when Facebook began allowing larger sizes for images on link page posts (8X on the desktop, 4X on mobile) I was excited. Other modifications were made for sponsored story & ad images. (Check out my guide to the new sizes or the official guide).

MikeGingerich_20PctRule2However, even with those improvements, many of my ads were still rejected as “not approved,” usually because of too many words!

After some research and trying the tool above, I learned that Facebook’s grids aren’t flexible at all.

Look how “Guide to” in the title has a grid line running right through it, plus some letters in “Guide” and “ebook.”

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It appeared that “Guide” was in two rows and columns, (below) which was why I was being penalized.

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I learned that a grid + text = a full-text box. If there’s any kind of overlap, it still thinks the whole box is full. Test it yourself:

https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay

Using this info, if your text is moved a bit and doesn’t overlap any grids, you should be able to pass the approval test with flying colors, or at least keep below 20% (like in the following illustration.)

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When I tried it, there was lots of loading, adjusting and repeating until everything lined up perfectly. Slow, but satisfying.

A better way is to create your own grid templates? Mine are available here. You’ll get a grid on the top layer, and then you can insert your own design elements below. Turn the grid back on to see how well things are aligned, if it hits 20% metric or there’s overlap.

Or, try to create your own grid. Choose Edit:Preferences:Grids and pick a line every 20% with one subdivision. Preview with View:Show and choose Grid, or toggle it off and on with Ctrl-Pls.

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When designing elements for your boxes, you’re allowed to have text in as many as five boxes.

Here’s what you’ll get in this download: Download this Zip file

A 1200X900 page post photo ad grid .psd in the recommended size
A 1200X627 page post link ad grid .psd
A 400X209 page post link ad grid if you need a smaller size for news feeds.

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Remember, Facebook uses a variety of sizes for the different types of link ads, including page post photo ads and page post link ads.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s the list from Facebook Ad Master Jon Loomer himself!

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Hopefully, these strategies will help everyone who has been trying, and perhaps failing, to design effective Facebook Ads because of the 20 percent text rule.

It’s nice to know that you don’t have to cut out words after all (wouldn’t hurt though, in some cases!) but you can sometimes solve the problem by adjusting your words to better fit within the lines.

If you want to keep playing around, be sure to pull down these PSD files.

1.91:1 Aspect Ratio

Finally, a good rule of thumb is to keep your image width at 19.1 times its height. This makes scaling look consistent in most environments, rather than the stretched-out look.

This works for Mobile News Feeds, Sidebars, or Desktop News Feeds. Facebook has begun allowing larger sizes for link images, which means that separate ads with Photos aren’t as vital.

Infographic version:

MikeGingerich_20PctRule9

If you have any questions or comments, let me know.

  • venajensen

    GREAT post, Mike! Thanks for sharing. I too have some choice 20% text for Facebook…

  • Downtonian

    Mike, I had to laugh when this popped up today because I literally was sitting here fuming about my ad being rejected. The really annoying thing is first I got an email saying it was Approved, and then an hour later, saying it wasn’t! Make up your minds, FB! ANYWAY, what I’m doing is a carousel ad with three images. Those have to be 600 x 600. Unfortunately you’ve not got a grid here for that size – but I get the idea and will modify mine accordingly. I guess the “5 boxes” rule also explains why they are not letting me promote my page with my current cover photo which has a whopping 4, yes FOUR whole words on it. :-/ Grrrrr…

    Also, a question: Do words in logos count, do you know?

    • Hey, thanks for commenting! You know, all words count, so words in logos have counted for me.

  • Might also be handy to know that as silly and frustrating as this rule is I’m pretty sure FB have become more flexible with it in the last year or so; I’ve had ads with up to 40% text accepted.

    • Yes indeed Amy! I have one with much more than 20% text run for days! That was just ONE though! It always is a good idea to at least try.

  • Hey Mike, I’ve been playing around with this, too. And thanks for your generosity in sharing your tools. Question for you: in the past week or so I’m seeing side bar ads with what appears to be more than 20% text. Perhaps I’m missing something? Example:

    • No, you are likely not missing anything. Facebook is notorious for allowing some ads through for a time that have more than 20%. They typically catch them and stop them, but I have had one run for more than 4 days too! It’s simply not the standard they set, the standard max is still 20%.

      • another one…

      • Hey Mike,
        I can’t get away from Flo! Still here. I can’t imagine this is an oversight. Can it be that the $$ is too tempting for FB to be strict about the 20% rule for huge advertisers? I certainly hope not. Please let it not be so.

        Just now in the sidebar:

  • Ihab Soliman

    Thanks a lot mike.
    Q :
    I use a 900 by 900 AD for news feed as it provides higher height in the news feed.

    1- does the same rule of max. 5 boxes apply ?
    2- is there anything wrong with the size i use ? any side effects ?

    • 1. Same rule applies.
      2. Your size will get cut off in the viewable area in the news feed. Some of the top and bottom will be cut as Facebook tends to show the mid portion on images that are outside of the ideal ratio. So if you use 900×900, experiment and view in news feed so you can know where your copy needs to be to not be cut off.

  • Love this little hack! Thanks!!

  • Lisa

    Great post Mike – I’ll definitely be sharing it with my ChipMonk Media followers. Thank you 🙂

  • Becky Shields

    Does the 20% rule apply to only pics that have text ON them??

  • Kunal Singh Khati

    End of 20% Text Rule Now 🙂