Facebook have updated its image rules for adverts and boosted posts.

From my research so far, the new rules appear to have only rolled out in the UK.  My social media geek buddies are unable to access the new rules from other countries. This hasn’t been confirmed officially, but the lack of information from influential American publications and blogs may be another indicator that my suspicions are right.

Facebook’s new official rules on advert images can be viewed here. The examples are easy to interpret, however, Facebook being Facebook, there may be further additions, changes and catches that are yet to be discovered over time and testing.

Here’s a quick breakdown of my interpretation of the new rules and what I believe are the good and bad bits that will effect Facebook advertisers.

The Good News

  1. The 20% rule appears to have been abolished meaning you can have as much text as you like within an image. “Hurrah” I hear you cry. Hold on; this isn’t all good so keep reading.
  2. Text can go anywhere in your image and can be of any size.
  3. Posters, book covers, product shots, infographics, legal text and text-based businesses such as calligraphy and comics are exempt from the new text/reach restriction. This will most likely benefit many small businesses such as event managers, illustrators, authors and many marketers, for example.

The Bad News

  1. The more text you have in your ad image, the more Facebook will restrict the reach (how many people see your post) of that post. Facebook advise that users have little to no text in images as they believe it gives a better user experience. I don’t argue with this because, after all, Facebook have an unbelievable amount of data to back up their claims and decisions.
  2. As the reach will partially be determined by the amount of text in your image, it means that the more text you have in images, the more it will cost for reach. Facebook do give example of what they class as ‘light text’ to ‘heavy text’ in their rules.
  3. Logos, watermarks and numbers count as text and therefore their use and size will affect your post reach. This could be particularly annoying for photographers and designers who wish to promote their work by watermarking their image to help prevent copyright infringement. My recommendation is to place a transparent logo or text in the centre parts of the image, making them identifiable, but keep them small to reduce the impact on the reach of your post.

My advice

Implement a testing approach to your adverts. Try different versions of your images with different sizes and placement of text – if you must have text – and measure the results. Text will restrict your reach but if your audience are reacting to your ads, then that’s a signal they are working and therefore it may be worth the extra cost to reach them.


I’m optimistic that the new rules will benefit many businesses. Although the rules are more extensive and less definitive, they do give you more freedom over the images you create for Facebook ads. I also think we will see a more diverse range of visuals in adverts which could make Facebook more interesting for users and help businesses like yours to create images that convey your brand message more effectively and thus increase engagement from your target audience.


Jenni Tulip SocialRocks social media consultant