[Post updated – 12th August 2016]
The Facebook 20% text rule is gone and that makes ‘Grid Tool’ from Facebook even more useful.
Up until recently Facebook would reject ads that had a text overlay of over 20% text, this was particularly frustrating for small businesses who use ‘Boost post’ a lot. Measuring the 20% was difficult. We’d have to upload our images to ‘Facebook Grid Tool’ and ensure the text didn’t spill into any more than 5 boxes on the grid.
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Goodbye 20% text rule
Facebook have relaxed the rules. We can now run ads that have text heavy images, we just won’t reach as many people with them.
This is great news for small business owners. We don’t have graphic designers on tap or available time to edit and re-edit our ad images.
The new standard
The 20% text rule may have been annoying but it was reasonably easy to understand. Now we have a multi-tiered system. Your images are assessed as having one of four levels of text coverage:
It’s only when your image is rated high that you could have problems reaching people with your ads.
How much text is high, medium, low or OK?
This is where the confusion starts. Facebook released details in an article on their site but the system seems to be glitchy. I’ve had warnings about heavy text usage on ads that had little or no text overlays.
Facebook grid tool (now text overlay tool)
Facebook grid tool/text overlay is a good way to check our images before we set up our ads. So before you set up your boost post ad check your images.
Here’s how Facebook’s text overlay tool works:
I tried an image I used on a recent boosted post to see how it fared in the new system.
Go to the ‘Facebook Text Overlay Tool’ webpage and upload your image.
Once uploaded you’ll get a ranking for your image. As you can see I go the ‘OK’ ranking even though there’s quite a bit of text.
I tried another, this time a square picture that I use to promote my Facebook Live events, there’s quite a bit of text overlay. This one got a ‘Low’ ranking.
What’s interesting is that both of those images would have failed the old 20% text rule. They also have more text on them than those in Facebook’s own guide.
It seems that there is still some work to be done at Facebook’s end on text recognition. For now I’d still recommend passing images through the grid tool to save time and inconvenience if Facebook rank your images as ‘Heavy’ text.