Earlier this week, Facebook changed their guidelines regarding ad images. The images that accompany Facebook ads were previously allowed up to 20% text coverage, meaning that up to one-fifth of your promotional image could consist of written text; however, Facebook's Guide for using text in ad images
now states that their "preferred image style" contains "little to no text". Advertisers must now strip most if not all text out of their ad images if they wish to continue reaching the largest possible audience.
This change came into effect on Tuesday the 22nd of March, but you'd be forgiven for missing the memo - there seems to have been no official announcement from Facebook, and the alteration appears to have gone unnoticed by mostof the online publications who would usually cover this sort of thing. Even the people paying to advertise on Facebook were not notified of this change, meaning that many people will have seen their ad reach plummet over the last day or two.
If you're concerned that this change may have affected your company's ads, here's a quick primer on the updated guidelines and how to comply with them:
OK, Low, Medium or High?
As of Tuesday, text coverage is now defined by four different categories. The category into which your Facebook ad falls will determine a) how many people you'll be able to reach, and b) how much the ad will cost to run.
- OK: These ad images contain little or no text. A photograph overlaid with your company logo will probably fall into this category as long as there's no other text present.
- Low: These ad images contain some text. Ad images with one or two lines of text will fall into this category; while these ads will probably reach fewer people than ads in the OK category, you may decide that the image text is so important that you're willing to sacrifice a portion of your impressions in order to deliver your full message.
- Medium: These ad images contain a lot of text. Placing text in several different parts of your ad image will probably land your ad in this category. Facebook will still show these ads, but they are likely to reach a very small number of people under the new guidelines.
- High: These ad images contain too much text. Facebook will not show an ad like this (unless the ad image is covered by the list of Exceptions - more on that in a moment).
Here's the infographic that Facebook have released to help advertisers understand the new guidelines.
Exceptions to the new rules
Facebook have stated that certain types of image will be exempt from these stricter image saturation guidelines. If any of the following apply to your ad, you can probably disregard everything we've said so far:
- Book or album covers
- Posters promoting concerts, music festivals, comedy shows, sporting events and films
- Text-based businesses (e.g. calligraphers)
- Screenshots of apps and games
- Legal text
- Pictures of products (where the entire product is visible - no zooming in on a specific area)
Unfortunately, this list of exceptions does not cover logos, watermarks, or numbers - all of these things count towards the total amount of text in your image.
What should I do now?
If you're already running any adverts on Facebook, we strongly recommend that you log into your account and check the images that you've used alongside those ads. Pay close attention to the number of impressions your ad has achieved over the last few days - if that number has dropped since Tuesday, there's a good chance that your ad images no longer comply with Facebook's preferred style. Even if your impressions have remained stable, it's probably a good idea to swap any text-heavy images for images containing little or no text, just to be on the safe side.
Going forward, you will need to make sure that any new Facebook ads you create place are accompanied by images containing as little text as possible. You can still use text in the ad itself - just try to keep it out of the image or your campaign may not reach the audience you're targeting.
If you would like our social media experts to assist with your company's Facebook ads, please contact Designer Websites today - we can help you to create a compelling advert that reaches the largest possible audience.