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Facebook Update Text in Ad Image Guidelines

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March 20, 2016

Having trouble accessing the notorious Grid Tool? Well we were greeted with a redirect to the Help Centre and an explanation that Facebook “have created a new set of resources to help you manage the amount of text in ad images on Facebook and Instagram”, it’s clear that the game is about to change.

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The whole thing has been very cloak and dagger with no major announcement regarding the changes from Facebook themselves, but with the Grid Tool offline, it’s clear that Facebook are loosening up their attitude, within reason, to text in images.

What’s New?

Unlike the no nonsense 20% Grid Tool, the new system allows you to promote ad images with any level of text in it. Ads are then categorised and depending on how text heavy your ad is, your post’s performance will be used as a punching bag.
Facebook have provided us with four samples which they have categorised, “Image text: OK, Low, Medium and High”. This is obviously dictated by the amount of text in our ad image up for review.

Image text: OK – Facebook favour this amount of text in an image. There will be no restrictions to your post performance.

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Image text: Low – The level of text in your image may slightly restrict your post performance.

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Image text: Medium – The amount of text in your image may limit your post performance considerably more than in the low category.

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Image text: High – The amount of text in your image is going to limit your post performance. There is a possibility you may not reach your audience.

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If in-image text is vital to your ad and you don’t want to take a major hit on reach, Facebook have provided us with a few helpful tips. The space that text takes up on the image dictates the category it falls into, so it’s advised to scale down the font size and to avoid scattering your text over the image. Additional to this, try putting your message in the post copy instead of the image. If this works for you aesthetically, it’ll save your post performance being penalised.

There are exceptions to the text rule; certain forms of text won’t be taken into account. Facebook have heard the people and are looking the other way for:

• Movie posters
• Book covers
• Album covers
• Product images (images with the entire product can be seen)
• Posters for concerts/festivals/events
• Text-based businesses calligraphy
• Cartoon/comic strips
• Legal text
• Infographics
• App & Game screenshots

These new exceptions are a huge deal, having previously been a thorn in the side of advertisers working in the related industries. They should save a lot of tears and valuable time.

What does it all mean?

The introduction of these new guidelines doesn’t mean that images consumed by text will receive a cost effective performance or even be approved. So don’t get ahead of yourselves, the absence of the Grid Tool does not mean that all text images will perform, low performing posts will likely be pulled and stop delivering.

Since the introduction of the new guidelines Discovery, the eightytwenty social team have tested the waters with a few text heavy image posts. This resulted in the posts either not delivering or performing poorly.

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So you’ve been given the opportunity to promote imagery with text exceeding the previously dictated 20% Grid Tool, but it’s worth noting that Facebook still primarily want high performing content that’s aesthetically pleasing. They stand by their words when they say that text heavy imagery won’t connect well with target audiences and takes away from the user experience.

With this, you’ll still be rewarded for having little to no text in your images with ads costing less and getting a better delivery rate, so, should you change what you’ve been doing? Unless you’re creating events based content or are lucky enough to work around the exceptions, not right now.

We’ll have an update for you soon after running A/B tests to see how these new guidelines affect Facebook ads in a practical setting. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter to see how they go.

March 20, 2016

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