For many years as digital marketers using Facebook’s ad platform, we had to rigorously run our images through their grid tool and move copy around to ensure that we didn’t have more than 20% of the image as text.

Facebook’s official statement on why they applied this rule was:

“Our research has shown that people demonstrate a preference for ads with less text”

My understanding and assumptions are that Facebook wanted to limit Digital Marketers to only utilizing their space for copy.

For example, Facebook wouldn’t want their newsfeed filled with this type of imagery:

check your armpits

Large, bold copy would enable marketers to put too much distracting information into their creative and probably either drive engagement way up, or frustrate their user base by cluttering it with unprofessional imagery.

 

Recently, Facebook changed the 20% rule

Facebook has now removed the 20% copy rule, but drastically reduced your reach when you have more than 20% copy on your image.

The result is that if you try to post images that contain a ton of copy (text) and amplify them with a budget you will be paying drastically more than the same post with less copy on the image.

As a guideline, to get the most out of your dollar it’s a good idea to try and stick to the 20% rule.