If you’re a graphic designer, the 20 percent Facebook rule has been a thorn in your side. Instead of being a creative genius, you’ve spent more time trying to adapt to the guidelines and fit your designs into a 5x5 grid. The good news is the rule was dropped, giving you more freedom to do your thing. However, Facebook is still prioritizing images with less text, and may punish those with “too much."
What was that stifling about?
The rule was originally started to help businesses achieve their goals, but also to keep the experience enjoyable for Facebook users. When the strict rule was in effect, a grid tool to determine how much text could be used by dividing an ad image into rectangles and then determining how many rectangles have text in them. You would upload your image/graphic and the Facebook gods would either accept the image, or reject it. It was very black and white. But many advertisers figured out that it wasn’t always about the amount of text, but where that text was placed that would result in a rejected ad.
So what has changed?
Not a whole lot. The rule wasn’t totally removed, but it is much more flexible. Fortunately for advertisers, the new rule will not stop you from using an image, no matter the amount of text on it. Hooray! Go wild! It will only warn you that the more text on your image, the less reach you are likely to achieve with the same budget. According to Facebook, ads with higher amounts of text will receive less or no delivery at all. So now, instead of having a “yes or no,” your ad’s image will fit into one of four categories ranking the amount of text overlay: OK, Low, Medium and High.
Here is an example of how we recently used the tool for one of our clients, the Summit County ADM Board:
Are there any exceptions?
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule! These examples of text do not count against you: infographics, book and album covers, product images (when the entire product can be seen), posters for movies, festivals and sporting events, and more. Keep in mind that logos, watermarks and numbers still count as text and should be kept to a minimum.
Good? Bad? Indifferent?
While the good news is you’re not technically limited to the amount of text on your Facebook images anymore, some people are finding the rule a bit too vague for their liking. Though you can add more text, it may not do you any good if your reach is limited or the image may not even be displayed. You need to determine if lower reach and higher costs are worth the additional text. Most likely, they’re not. Take the minimalist approach. Less is better. Realize that text on photos is not necessary to build powerful Facebook ads.
Three tips to help ads reach true potential
1. Use striking images
The image/graphic you use in a Facebook ad will be the first thing people see. And, yes, please try to use an image as often as you can. According to Social Media Examiner, photos are the primary type of content posted and shared on Facebook and account for 75 percent of content posted on Facebook worldwide. If someone chooses to read your ad copy, it’s because the photo or image is compelling enough for them to seek more information.
2. Create evergreen content
No, I’m not saying to write about fir trees. Evergreen content is always up to date, of primary interest to the fans on your Facebook page and has a long shelf life! Fresh, relevant content offers a variety of benefits, both in terms of SEO and for business growth.
3. Write irresistible headlines
Many times, it’s the last thing you think about. You write your content and then quickly, and under pressure to meet a deadline, you slap on a headline. However, the headline is the most important part of your content! It needs to convince the reader to keep reading. Focus the majority of copywriting efforts on catching and holding the reader’s attention. You may want to consider writing the headline first, and remember, the best headlines are always the ones that seem as if they were written for a specific person.
Need some help creating images that will get noticed? Or want the low down on social media advertising? We have some social media experts on staff who are happy to help! Just reach out.
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