First, let me introduce you to the former scenario in Facebook advertising. You create a gorgeous image and overlay the image with some text, you then want to promote your image on Facebook, if the text within the image took over more than 20% of the area, Facebook would barely show your advert to anyone. It would have a lower than average reach and you would see a poor ROI.
This meant that you couldn't put direct messages on your images and you had to rely on your customers seeing your ad image and reading the supporting text for the success of your adverts. This isn't always as successful for some advertisers but it gave Facebook control of the look of what people saw in their feeds. As you may have read in my previous article, Why Now Is The Best Time To Advertise On Facebook 'The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words alone' So perhaps Facebook was hoping that the images alone would be engaging enough to allow interactions on adverts.
However, there have been many times when the 20% rule has been a real struggle for businesses when designing adverts. Many clients want to include their logo or brand name on a post to give the advert their identity. Many companies use text within their logo or name and if this took up more than 20%, the ad would often not get served.
If you wanted to run an advert for an e-commerce brand with a slogan 'SALE NOW ON' or highlight a discount '10% Off' you could often find yourself with disapproved adverts because of too much text.
To make sure your images complied, before sending them for approval, to avoid any delays to ad campaign start times, you could use Facebooks own Text Overlay Tool - Which used to be found here - https://en-gb.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay However, this appears to now be defunct and no longer in use and in fact, the URL itself is completely gone and redirecting to an 'images best practice page'?
So does that mean we can now use as much text as we want in Facebook adverts?
Facebook has a page 'About text in ad images' which says -
Facebook's ad system is designed to maximise value for people and businesses. That's why we conduct research and analyse feedback from our community to understand how different attributes of an ad affect the ad's performance. We've found that images with less than 20% text perform better. With this in mind, we recommend keeping your text short, clear and concise in order to get your message across effectively.
Perhaps Facebook is still using the 20% text rule within ad images?
Maybe it is not so strict as it once was and Facebook no longer see the need to host a tool for testing the amount of text within an image before publishing?
Perhaps Facebook has seen a shift in user behaviour with things like stories on both Instagram and Facebook with text overlays becoming ever more popular.
Or maybe there is more to it, recently we saw a huge boycott of Facebook advertising from some of the biggest companies including Coca Cola who want the platform to crack down on hate speech and demanded Facebook to do more and made them listen by cancelling their advertising with them. Then there is the ever-growing impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic, that is seeing so many small businesses reduce their spends on advertising whilst businesses are shut or try to conserve spends in uncertain times.
Potentially, Facebook has seen ad revenues plummet due to the Coronavirus pandemic and with many businesses halting or reducing advertising spends removing any barriers and hurdles that would often stop customers spending on Facebook advertising might just be the motivation behind reducing the strictness of the 20% text on image rule?
For whatever the reason, the Facebook text overlay tool has disappeared. Meaning now is a really good time to A/B test some new adverts with and without an increase in the text, to see if one performs better than the other and whether Facebook is quietly removing the tool in a bid to gradually increase the ability to use text on image ads.
If you want help with your Social Media Advertising in Cornwall or want to discuss your thoughts on why the text overlay tool has suddenly become extinct, I'd love to have a chat.