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Is Facebook doing away with the 20% text rule?

25-April-2016
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Is Facebook doing away with the 20% text rule?

There have recently been some reports doing the rounds that Facebook has decided to relax the 20 per cent text restriction on Facebook ads.

Facebook’s 20 per cent text rule limits the amount of text on an uploaded image. The idea behind this is to make the ad more visual and attractive and reduce content-heavy images on the platform.

But before social media managers start jumping in joy, it seems that this might j­­ust be Facebook running a few tests with some randomly selected managers.

In his blog, Jon Loomer quotes a Facebook spokesperson as saying, “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.”

Facebook India had not gotten back to us with a reply at the time of writing of this article. However, a few social media managers admitted that he internet giant has been considering relaxing its requirements for text in ads for some time, which could explain the test and why only some managers can ‘break’ the rule and hence the confusion.

As per the policy:

Allowed:

·   Pictures of products that include text on the actual product

·   Photos of products in real situations or photos of products with a background

Not allowed:

·   Images that are zoomed in on logos/images with text overlay

·   Images that are clearly edited to include text on the product as a loophole to policy

Ads found to be in violation of this rule are not allowed to run on Facebook. Though the 20 per cent text rule has been in place for years, there have been frequent calls for abolishing, or at least, making it more lenient. Though it will no doubt provide more flexibility creatively; there is also the chance that it will lead to unnecessary clutter and sub par advertising.

“Facebook's attempt to up their ad revenue further may end up tampering the overall dynamics. Visuals were introduced with the objective of grabbing eyeballs since copy alone wasn't doing the trick. The restriction allowed for a good balance of copy and creative, but a heavy text option will lead to tons of clutter on the visual front with the fear of it turning into regular ad banners that most users turn a blind eye towards. There will be a fair share of businesses’ willing to invest more to communicate within a visual and it does make sense for certain businesses too provided they don't go overboard with it,” said Zafar Rais, CEO of MindShift Interactive.

Sanjay Mehta, Co-CEO of Mirum India was also of the opinion that this would give more creative freedom to advertisers and agencies. On the point of whether this would lead to degradation of quality he said, “I am sure there will be some other checks in place to see that the content does not become too text heavy. Also, if any content is bad and does not get impressions then it will automatically be dropped from the timeline.”

Gautamm Mehra, VP (Account Planning & Innovation)­­ at iProspect India, though agreeing that Facebook is considering this decision as it provides creative freedom cautioned that it is still a good idea to keep ads on Facebook visual.

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