Did you hear the news? All indications are that the long controversial rule that restricts the amount of text that can exist in ad images has been completely scrapped. Given that some version of this rule has existed since 2013, this is a big deal.
The responses I’ve read have ranged from elation and relief to skepticism and even annoyance. Those who have wasted time and energy over the years because of this rule were the most excited. Some refused to accept this as fact. And others assumed the worst from advertisers unbound to these rules.
It’s true. While Facebook hasn’t made an official announcement, all indications are that the quiet change is intentional because they don’t want to draw a lot of attention to it. Privately, reps are confirming this news with advertisers.
But… Now what??
This feels like we’re a bunch of new high school grads who have lived under strict parents our whole lives and we’re suddenly given complete freedom to act a fool. What do we do?
You Can Use Lots of Text!
The first thing I did when I published yesterday’s post was share it to Facebook and then promote it. You’ll note that I got a little carried away with the thumbnail image…
Facebook's text in ad image rule appears to be dead. I was growing suspicious, and those suspicions have been confirmed…
I wanted to push the limits. That’s what I do. I love to test things.
So, I not only created an image with an insane amount of text in it, but I also used a $500 per day budget to get the best sense of what would happen.
For a somewhat reliable test, I used the exact same settings promoting this post that I have for 11 others right now:Campaign Budget OptimizationConversions ObjectiveOptimizing for a Custom Conversion (60+ Second Page View)Three Different Ad Sets/Audiences (two are super broad and large)
The Facebook ad purists will be angry to know that I’m not doing any excluding of other campaigns. But, while there technically may be some overlap, I’m only using a $20 per day budget for the other campaigns and those broad audiences make it pretty safe (the overall frequency for all campaigns is 2.06).
First, the campaign is DEFINITELY delivering. I’m having no issue whatsoever. The results are also better than other campaigns, but that’s also related to the virality of the post. The CPM is on the higher end of the 12 campaigns, but not the highest — and it’s only been about 24 hours, so it’s still learning and the price has dropped since it started.
Bottom line: Yes, an image with a ton of text in it will definitely deliver. No, it doesn’t appear I’m being punished in anyway. No, it’s not definitive that there’s any impact whatsoever due to the text density.
But, Should You?
One segment of responses I received was disgusted with the entire possibility of advertisers using a ton of text in images. Here are some examples…
The comment that says my ad is trash is my favorite. I even gave it a “Love” reaction.
Look, I get it. For years, I defended Facebook’s rules on text in images because I agreed with the inspiration: Lots of text in images often looks spammy. Marketers screw stuff up. To a point, the rule wasn’t a bad thing.
But, I have to admit that these comments look a bit like grandparents complaining about “kids these days.” Something that we must acknowledge is that the spirit of the rule was birthed when the internet was very different. Lots of text in images wasn’t nearly as common in 2013. Now it’s normalized.
That said, just because that high school grad has freedom from his parents doesn’t mean he should get wasted every night (I’m sticking with this analogy). Use with moderation, my friends.
Looking back at this rule, I’m annoyed by the argument that it existed because “users don’t like lots of text in images.” Okay. if they don’t like the text in your ad image, theoretically they won’t respond positively to it. The algorithm will then raise the price and potentially limit your distribution.
Why do you need a rule to automatically do this?
The truth is that you don’t. It feels like Facebook HOPES people don’t like lots of text in their ad images. But they’re afraid that, if it were allowed, people might like it. So, they were protecting users from advertisers by preventing them from being exposed to such a monstrosity.
This stuff isn’t universal. There isn’t anything technically wrong or damaging about using lots of text in an image (marketing purists be damned!). Maybe users will like it. Maybe they won’t.
My guarantee: Your results won’t be 100-percent consistent. How much text you use in an image won’t automatically kill your ad or make it more effective. There are countless factors that ultimately determine how your ads perform.
So, what do you do? You test! You test like crazy. Try stuff. Have fun. Knock yourself out. Use lots of text. Go straight image and use no text. Be careful and use just a little text. Use moderate text. You have no limits!
We’ll finally find out if it actually matters. My prediction is that after a short period, everything will even out. Ultimately, we’ll wonder why we ever made such a big deal of text in ad images with that rule in the first place.
What do you think of this change? Have you started experimenting? What have you seen?
Let me know in the comments below!