Updates to Facebook Ad Restrictions


Facebook's advertising guidelines have for many years restricted the amount of text on ads to 20% or less on ad images. A significant September 2020 update to these guidelines now allows advertisers and marketers to ignore these restrictions without hurting campaign reach.

According to an update shared by Matt Navarra, a senior social media consultant, Facebook will no longer penalize ads with a higher percentage of image text. This update has also been reflected in the platform's business help center, which also no longer mentions the auction or delivery restrictions.

History of Percentage of Text in Facebook Ads

Facebook has always been strict with restrictions on sharing ads on the platform. The guidelines have been pretty straightforward: ads with text covering more than 20% of the photo would not be approved.

While the text on Facebook ads is key to keeping ads relevant and appealing on the news feeds, too much of it causes noise. This then negatively impacts the user experience. Originally industry commentators were quick to criticize what they deemed an ineffective move by Facebook to alter how they want their ads delivered to their prospects.

After several complaints and genuine concerns from marketers and advertisers, the platform modified its text on ads rule. However, these changes in 2018 were received with mixed reactions. Under those guidelines, an ad exceeding the 20% text on ad rule wouldn’t be outright rejected. Instead, it would have limited reach.

However, there were some exceptions, in which content didn't count as text on the ad image. These included;

  • Full product images
  • Infographics
  • App screenshots
  • Comic strips

More about the New Updates to Facebooks Ad Restrictions

The September 2020 update removed the reach restriction. Now ads with more than 20% of the image as text will reach the same number of people as any other ad on Facebook.

However, the platform still recommends keeping the text at or below 20% of the ad image. This is to increase user engagement and overall performance. The Text Overlay Tool, which had been used to align the text with the 20% rule, is no longer available.

Even with the new ad restriction policy, it's obvious that some ads will perform better than others in terms of reach, user experience, and engagement level. All this narrows down to not only the Facebook algorithm but also your ad's quality and relevance to the potential market.

As a rule of thumb, you will want to leverage the following tips:

Use attention-grabbing Images

Quality images are key, as visuals are more attractive than text. A high-quality image means higher-resolution, better graphics, the right color, and engaging background. Images should tell a story, rather than being a plain template or overly optimized graphic.

Create a Strong Copy

To win your potential customers' hearts, you want to hit their pain points. Tell them why they need to solve the problem, and why you're the right candidate for the job. Communicate this in a confident, concise, and clear manner.

Minimize the Text Volume

Just because the 20% text restriction has been removed, don’t spam ads with blocks of text. The algorithm might have changed, but people still prefer smooth, seamless, and “less-salesy” ads.

Closing comments: Updates to Facebook

From these policy shifts, it's evident that Facebook is moving from a more restrictive approach to a more flexible one when deciding what's best for its 2.7 billion active users. While there's no one right technique to beating the system and making your ads outperform your competitors, creating quality ads with the user experience in mind is the way to go.

Looking for help? Tired and believing there has got to be a better way?

Let's talk about your business. With over a decade of experience leading companies and transforming lives, and a Master's degree in Org. Development and Leadership, Mike can help you find the best way forward!

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