A Quick Guide to the Text Overlay Tool for Facebook Ads

A Quick Guide to the Text Overlay Tool for Facebook Ads
June 29, 2020 SEM

Quick Guide to the Text Overlay Tool: The best billboards demand attention with in-your-face messages, bold fonts, and eye-catching colours and designs. Facebook takes the exact opposite approach with ads. The platform prefers ads that blend seamlessly with users’ news feeds, and it created a sophisticated Facebook image checker to enforce that strict standard on Facebook marketers.

Facebook’s 20% Rule

Facebook values user experience above all, and this means discouraging content that disrupts the news feed experience. Instead, the platform wants Facebook ads that focus on high-quality and simple images, straight-forward messaging, and minimal text. Hence the 20% rule, which requires all Facebook ad images to have less than 20% text.

Aside from a few exceptions, ads that don’t adhere to the 20% rule may be rejected by the platforms review team. In case they get approved, they may be shown less frequently than other ads. To prevent this, Facebook has created the Text Overlay tool to help marketers run effective Facebook ads.

What’s the Facebook Text Overlay tool?

During an ad review, Facebook examines how much of your ad images are covered by text. It can be tricky to calculate this on your own, and the Facebook Text Overlay tool is designed to simplify the process. It checks for any text that’s laid over an illustration or photo, and also covers:

  • Text-based logos
  • Watermarks
  • Text in thumbnail images used for videos
  • Image used as profile photos or cover photos of promoted pages

Aside from the text, you also need to be mindful of Facebook image size guidelines for ad placement. Each type of placement must follow a specific image size, which in turn affects how much text it’s allowed to have.

Below are the recommended aspect ratios for each Facebook ad placement:

  • For stories placements: Use the 9:16 aspect ratio.
  • For feed placements: Use vertical 4:5 for videos, and square 1:1 for images.
  • For in-stream video: Use the horizontal 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • For video carousel format: Use square 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Audience network placements: Use the vertical 9:16 aspect ratio for your ad image.

Once you’ve determined the ideal Facebook post image sizes for your ads, you can now check the text percentage.

The Text Overlay tool allows you to upload your ad for an image text check before you submit it for an actual review. After uploading your ad image, will receive one of the following image text ratings:

  • Image text: OK
  • Image text: Low 
  • Image text: Medium 
  • Image text: High 

An OK rating means your Facebook ad will run normally. As the percentage of text increases, the potential reach of your ad decreases. Finally, a high text percentage may lead to your ad not running at all.

The Best Approach to Facebook Ads: Use Little to No Text

To ensure that you comply with Facebook image guidelines, it’s best to use little to no text in your ad images. For instance, consider using no copy on the image itself, and reserving it for the caption. Another technique is to use fewer words with a smaller font size to reduce the proportion of text to image.

Getting frustrated with the complexities of Facebook advertising? Consider working with SMM experts to simplify the process and make the most of your Facebook ad spend.


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