The best ads and billboards attract you with bold fonts, straight forward messaging, bright and eye-catching images. However, it was not the case with Facebook until recently. For long enough Facebook has warned it’s advertisers from putting too much text on the ads’ images, famously known as ‘20% text rule’, citing reasons that audiences on Facebook like to interact with ads that have less text and can easily blend in with the rest of their newsfeeds, creating a better experience. In short, focusing on simple, good-quality images and straightforward messages with minimal or no text. And this rule was applied to both single images ads and carousel ads with a few exceptions. Images of book covers, event posters, album covers and product images containing text. However, text based logos were not an exception.
Over the years Facebook did, however, change its ad text rules like in 2018 – enabling digital marketing agencies and advertisers to include more text, but their ads’ reach will be restricted depending upon the limit exceeded. The new update apparently removes any reach restrictions put earlier and now the ads exceeding the 20% limit will reach the same amount of audience as any other ad on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook in its official explanation has maintained that 20% of text ads perform better, recommending marketers and advertisers “keep your text short, clear, and concise in order to get message across effectively”.
So, what made Facebook scrap it’s 20% text rule?
The answer is not that simple and since there is no official explanation from Facebook we have the leverage of intelligent guessing and analyzing trends. Now if one notices the fact that since the pandemic hit, more and more people went online and the internet saw a huge surge in hours spent on social media apps. Increased hours spent on the internet has shaped the human mind to gain more and more information at one instance. Earlier the same audience that had less time to interact with the content on their newsfeed is now spending more time and is ready to interact with ads that have more text. This is a behavioural change caused by external social factors and has a huge impact on the buying, selling and marketing behaviours and Facebook has studied this well enough to scrap the 20% rule. Facebook, also must have analysed the rise in online buying and as a result more and more businesses from small to medium to large have come online- it’s a cut-throat competition out there not everyone can make it to the top. Every business wants to showcase their products and services effectively and every brand does not have the same branding strategy some might like to play minimal some might want to go full frenzy with the content, but that doesn’t mean they have to be controlled. With change in behaviour of the online audience Facebook felt the need to level the ground for all and give their users a different experience.
What exactly is the reason behind scrapping the 20% rule is still a debatable topic in absence of any official explanation and one can find enough reasons as to why Facebook did it, and why it should not have. However, the marketing and sales strategies are human behaviour driven and change with time, the year 2020 has brought in such changes in human psychology and suddenly changing the overall human behaviour. In current times a good digital marketing agency can leverage this to their advantage and give their clients a rich marketing experience.