Facebook Ads have just had a new restriction placed on them by the powers that be:
Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories in the News Feed may not include images comprised of more than 20% text.
Actually, the restriction is somewhat wider than the topline announcement might suggest: this policy applies to all Facebook ad units in the News Feed, including photo page post ads, link page post ads, video page post ads, offers, mobile app install ads and page like ads.
A little bit of good news, however: text in product shots does NOT count towards the 20% limit for an image.
Snazzy New Technology To Scan Facebook Ads
How does Facebook intend to police its new restrictions? The company has created a new grid‐based text detection tool that is the standard for determining the percentage of text that appears in any image. This tool should ensure consistent and objective enforcement of the policy.
The tool is a 5×5 grid with a total of 25 boxes. To meet the 20% test, text may appear in a maximum of five boxes (5/25=20%).
If the image has text in six or more boxes, it is not eligible for an ad in News Feed.
Facebook Ads – The Good & The Bad
What sorts of Facebook Ads pass — and which fail? Here are some examples proffered by Facebook:
Facebook Ads: Example 1
Facebook Ads: Example 2
Facebook Ads: Example 3
The words on the can don’t count, for reasons noted above. Pop Facebook’s Gridomatic over the image and you’ll see how it evaluates the image:
Acceptable, apparently, because the text component represents only 4/25ths of the total picture (we’d have called it 5/25ths, because the letter N occupies part of a fifth grid — clearly Facebook’s tools take into account the amount of coverage within a grid as well).
Facebook Ads: Example 4
Clearly this ad strays near forbidden territory. But does it cross over? Facebook applies the Gridinator:
Facebook Ads: Example 5
Hmm — will this be one of the Facebook Ads that fail the Gridulometry test? Let’s see:
Facebook Ads: Example 6
Just three words — surely this will pass? Out with the Gridosconome and let’s put our perceptions to the test:
Looks like we’ll need to amend the old proverb: a picture can be worth a thousand words, so long as those words don’t occupy more than 20% of the image on Facebook Ads in News Feeds.
For the full details, download the Facebook Ads Text Policy here.
Stand Back for the Reaction From Advertisers
We doubt very much that advertisers will allow this new policy to go unchallenged — with Facebook Ads images being relatively small (in comparison, for example, to Full Page advertisements), many advertisers have opted to put relatively large text into their images, the better to attract consumer attention. Squeezing that particular genie back into no more than 20% of the box won’t be popular.