Chances are, if you’re reading this you’re interested in running ads on Facebook. You’ve also probably heard about the dreaded Facebook 20% rule and the damage that it can do to your ads if you don’t adhere to it.

The Facebook 20% rule doesn’t have to be a creativity killer though, and with attention to detail, design and copy you can make sure your ads get full reach whilst still being hugely engaging.

Facebook 20% Rule

What is the Facebook 20% rule?

Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that advertising on its platform must adhere to certain rules. No nudity, no profanity etc. However, one often overlooked rule is the Facebook ad text limit.

This guideline states that any image used in advertising should not contain more than 20% of the overall image as text. If your image contains more than 20% then your ads reach is limited, and fewer people will see it. If fewer people see it, you won’t get the results you’re expecting.

The good news is that it’s super easy to check if your advert breaks the rule. All you have to do is head over to https://m.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay and upload your image. Facebook will tell you if your advert passes, will have limited reach, or no reach at all.

Facebook 20% Rule Checker

Will this kill my creative?

Why Facebook has implemented this rule is anyone’s guess, however, if we had to stab at an answer we’d say it’s to keep visual ads visual. And really, the best performing ads are visual. If you’re relying on text heavy creative to sell your product it’s time for a rethink.

Whilst text on an image does have proven interaction results, you should use it in a way that compliments the creative. The post text is where you should be putting the bulk of your copy, as well as making sure your keywords are up to scratch.

But what about creative?

So let’s run through a few guidelines on how to make sure your use of text is effective, engaging and impactful.

Less is more…

If you think about how people will engage in your ads, you have to think about how much time you have to make an impact. They might see your advert for a fraction of a second, so really you don’t have a lot of time to get your message across.

Small, tightly packed text will not work here – you need to make an impact with a few bigger, bolder, carefully chosen words.

Distil your message into its purest form, and then put that into your advertising in a visually pleasing or creative way.

A picture says a thousand words

Whilst less is more, and words do have proven metrics of engagement, you have to ask yourself – does your advert need words at all?

A killer picture makes people stop and look. Or think twice. It will be a much better driver for them to read your copy and engage with your product. Could you think of ways to convey your message in an image alone?

It doesn’t have to be costly photography though (although this really does help). There are plenty of stock image sites that offer free photography or design that you can utilise to get the right imagery. We often recommend pexels.com or freepik.com to our clients.

T&C’s are the enemy

Are you in an industry with strict rules regarding warning messages that have to be shown alongside your messaging?

We recently worked with a trading app that was regulated by the financial authority, and the warnings that had to sit alongside their messaging were long and prominent.

If this is the case with you, then you can effectively kiss your text-based adverts goodbye. Where possible try to include risk warnings of T&C copy in the advert caption. If you do need to include it in the image then make sure your image works without text.

What about video?

There is some good news though. If you have the capacity to do video then there is no limit to the amount of text in an advert. Facebook’s checker does not include video. As an added bonus video is proven to drive more engagement than static posts!

A guide to success

These are only pointers on how to make sure your advert is effective whilst getting through the 20% checker. However, real impact lies with great creative and a great strategy. Make sure your ads are targeted correctly, designed correctly and embody your brand or product and you’ll see good results.

We’re always happy to help. Why not drop us a message if you need more info?

Related blogs


Think we can make magic happen together? Drop us a line and we’ll setup a call to go through your goals and explain how we can help.


Favoured relies on it’s amazing set of talented staff to achieve what we do. Think you’d like to be part of an award winning team?

Thanks so much! Please download the guide below