20% Facebook rule

What is the 20% Facebook rule?

Planning to launch an image advertisement on Facebook? Hold on, there’s something important you should know about the information you intend to put in that image. Keep in mind that a Facebook image ad is not a billboard. You have to find the right balance between text and image. If you don’t, your ad will probably perform poorly. Why? Probably because you forgot to follow Facebook’s 20% rule

Don’t neglect the rule

On Facebook, advertisements that make use of images cannot contain more than 20% text. This applies to a single image as well as multiple images. Want to try your luck and stuff more text in there? Okay, you can still launch that ad on Facebook. But keep in mind that Facebook reviews the ad taking the 20% rule into account. If the text takes up more than 20% of the ad’s image, it may be displayed less frequently on people’s feed or even be rejected. Wouldn’t that be a total waste of money? Our thoughts exactly. That’s why we hand you these tips on how to make that 20% rule work for the images in your Facebook ads.

Make the image speak

When you can’t use a lot of text to get your message across, it’s important to use a striking image for your advertisement. Make sure that the image you are using is relevant for the product or service you‘re selling. It also helps when you show people that interact with your product or service in your image. Facebook users are more inclined to convert on people-based ads, so images showing solely ‘the object’ you advertise, are overlooked more often than images with people on them. And finally, check if the image you are using in the ad is of high quality. A good-looking image will perform better than a blurry one. And by all means keep it simple. A chaotic, cluttered image will not bring your message across in a clear way.

Clever usage of other text-outputs

On Facebook, an ad can be more than just an image. You can add a teaser text that will be displayed above the image. That’s where you put the rest of the message that you couldn’t fit into the image. Use one short, powerful sentence on the image and put the additional information above it. But always keep the limited number of characters in mind (Facebook recommends 63 characters for a post, 90 characters for an ad). That doesn’t mean that you don’t need text on the image. But placing text that is ‘just slightly less important’ above the image helps you bypass the 20% rule. Additionally, you can insert call-to-action buttons and an external link, depending on the objective you choose inside the ad manager backoffice. Facebook offers a lot of objective options based around three broader categories (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion). Depending on the objective you have, people need to interact with certain elements in your ad and without a button or link, that will be rather difficult.  

Keep it smart and catchy

If you want to make your Facebook ad stand out, be sure to make use of smart and catchy copy. Since you can only use 20% of the image for text, use that space well. Always keep the main focus of your message in mind. Try to test multiple versions of the copy (A/B-testing) and choose the most successful one to mail out to your contacts. Dig into an in-depth feature about the importance of multiple versions of the copy in our blog 5 tips for profitable Facebook advertising. 

Text Overlay Tool

Do you want to check if your ad images comply to Facebook’s 20% rule? This is your lucky day: this nifty Facebook tool lets you check that, before you put effort in setting up your Facebook ad campaign around an image.


The 20% rule set by Facebook can come across as annoying sometimes. But when you apply the rule to your ad images wisely, your ads will be more successful. Keep in mind that a Facebook feed is quite different from those billboards you walk or drive by on the streets. The approach that worked for ads in the past, doesn’t necessarily perform well on social media. Stick to the 20% rule and watch the response roll in.

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Posted on
Jun 2, 2020