Understanding the Limit on Text on Facebook Promoted Posts

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

facebook-taking-over-the-worldUsing Promoted Posts on Facebook is an effective way to increase the reach of an organization’s marketing message. The feature is budget friendly, simple to use, and able to target specific demographics. The problem for many new social media marketers and business owners is that Promoted Posts have strict rules about how much text can be in the image of a Promoted Post. Specifically, an image can’t contain more than 20 percent text. This may sound like a lot at first, but the way Facebook calculates this percentage creates limitation for how text can be used in Promoted Posts. Here are some of the things business owners need to know to keep their promotions headache free.

The challenge with using images with Promoted Posts is that most business owners and marketers are used to putting some sort of text on images. In traditional forms of advertising, it’s known that people won’t necessarily read the any text under an image, but they almost always read text within an image. This is why even if there is advertising copy under an image in a magazine or newspaper ad, there is always a slogan, a logo, or a tagline that makes it easy to understand the main theme of the ad.

The 20 percent limit on text is more or less incompatible with this traditional model of image-based marketing. Not just because most images have more than 20 percent text, but the way Facebook calculates the text percentage actually allows for far less than 20 percent. For starters, most (if not all) logos are considered to be text. This means that any branding on an image will have to be small or the only text on the image.

While annoying, the logo issue is actually manageable. The bigger problem is that the calculation of the 20 percent is childishly simplistic. The image is divided into a 5×5 grid, so no more than any five boxes can have text within them. This causes a lot of limitations to how text can be used. For example, it means that there can not be text that goes across the top and bottom of an image. Because any amount of text in a box makes the box count, having a line of text at the top and the bottom will always be counted as 40 percent of an image (no matter how small the fine print is). Similarly, since the boundaries of the boxes are static, graphic designers have to make sure that the text doesn’t cross into the boundary of another box. Since text is almost always pushed away from the margins of an image, there’s actually less room to work with per box. When it’s all said and done, there will be much less than 20% text on a Promoted Post.

Facebook recently added a tool where users can upload their potential image to see if it meets the requirements or not. The tool is useful because it let’s marketers know how the total is calculated. Prior to the introduction of the tool, it seemed like throwing dice as to whether an image would be allowed or not, and many simply sidestepped the issue by not having any text at all. Hopefully, Facebook will make changes to the way they calculate the text percentage so marketers have more room to work with.

Regardless of the challenges, Promoted Posts on Facebook are a great way to reach new clients within a target audience. While Facebook’s rule about text is counterintuitive to centuries of graphic design and advertising traditions, it is possible to meet the requirements with a few adjustments to the way images are designed.

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