Sometimes, the best ads are the ones with big bold fonts, clever messaging, and an array of exciting visuals – Facebook ads, however, can be a whole different ballgame.

To make sure your ad gets the reach and engagement it needs (and deserves) you should make sure that you’re abiding by the 20% FB ad rule. What does this mean? Well in short, for marketers and designers alike, it’s a bit of a frickin’ headache.

Essentially you need:

Simple (high-quality) imagery
Straightforward messaging
Minimal text

That last one is VERY important.

Facebook has magically (or possibly quite scientifically) discovered that the best performing ads have little to no text, and thus the 20% rule was born. Meaning that to run an image-based advert on FB, your image must contain less than 20% text. Now, it’s important to note that this rule is no longer an official requirement to run an ad BUT, it would be foolish to assume that not abiding by this rule when running FB ads isn’t still very wise, or even, pretty essential in getting the reach and engagement that you want.

Just to be clear – this is the party line from FB themselves:

The Facebook 20% rule was a requirement that rejected Facebook ads with more than 20% of text in its images. While the rule is no longer enforced, Facebook still recommends including a 20% text-to-image ratio. The recommendation applies to both single image and carousel ads run on Facebook and Instagram.

Whereas your post copy and CTA is able to be as wordy and free-flowing as you like, the main attraction aka, the creative, requires a little more time in the editing suite. So, where to start?

A few best practice tips…

The best way to capture your audience’s attention on Facebook is to use an eye-catching image with no text. However, we know this is not always possible, especially when creating an awe-inspiring creative campaign. Therefore, it’s important to remember that this rule isn’t just for fun, it’s so users’ news feeds don’t get overwhelmed with troublesome adverts that stick out from family and friends’ organic posts. Good for social network users, not so good for marketers and brands.

But, if you must add text to your image, here are a few tips to ensure you make the grade.

Font size
Nope, this is not a joke. Size really does matter. The font size that is. Naturally, a smaller font won’t take up as much space, which will reduce your text-to-image ratio. If you use a big old sexy font then you’ll end up exceeding the 20% rule straight away – no matter how trim your text is. On the flip side, you don’t want your text to be so small that users need to squint to read it. It’s a fine line and not one for the faint of heart, but we believe in you! For headings, try to stay under 42 pixels; for sentences, try to stay around 24 pixels. Much is dependent on the length of your text, but be sure to play around with font sizes to find what best works for the image you’re using.

Keep it short
You know what they say, good things come in small packages. And this couldn’t be truer than when dealing with a FB ad. Keep text to a single heading or 1 line of text. Use the post copy instead to include any extra messaging or details, or else you’ll risk all of your hard campaign work going straight to the depths of the non-compliant newsfeed, where no one will ever see it. Also, make sure the text you do choose is popping, like REALLY popping. Think bold CTA’s and statements that’ll really catch the reader’s eye as they’re scrolling through.

Make an impact
The image you use needs to be a top-drawer. This means high-quality and high impact. Stay away from low-res or ambiguous images and make sure that the image you choose is in keeping with the current climate. I.e., is it covid appropriate? Is it inclusive? All these things go a long way in ensuring that your advert makes the right statement.

Get help
While Facebook’s text overlay tool is no longer available, there are plenty of alternatives you can use that mimic Facebook’s original tool, including No Limit Creatives Text Overlay Tool and Social Contests Text Overlay Tool. If you’re struggling to use either of these, just ask, our team here at Pistachio is always on hand to create the perfect Facebook ad that’ll pass the test with flying colours.

Go forth and create great FB ads…

There you have it, your quick-fire rundown on how to make sure your Facebook advert is doing all that it can to get those all-important CTR’s. And, if you’re still unsure, don’t forget you can drop us a line anytime to discuss this and many other ways we can help boost your brand online.

Thanks for reading!