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How To Use Text in Facebook Ads (and Why Not To)

Post By Scott Yoder | Facebook Ads

Facebook ads with minimal text in the image perform better and get shown more. Here are some tips and examples on how to use text in your ad images.

Facebook is clear about using text overlays in your ad’s images. They state that less than 20% of the ad’s real estate should be text – and that even less is better.

For example, if you tried to use this image in an ad:

You’d likely get this email from Facebook:

Facebook even provides a tool that will tell you explicitly if your ad has too much text:

This ad is unlikely to run at all:

Also, keep in mind this isn’t just about word count, but also about the amount of space on the ad image that uses text. For example, this ad (which only has three words) got the underperforming alert:

This image would run without issue and get no email warning:

This all seems straightforward enough, so what’s the problem?

Well, look at the above images again. Now ask yourself, which one looks the most like an advertisement?

You probably answered the one that has the 20% off discount plastered right across the middle of the image. Why? Because it’s the one that looks the most like the traditional idea of an advertisement.

Ads That Don’t Look Like Ads

There are two things to consider when it comes to using image text in Facebook ad images.

The first is the formal policy that Facebook has in place. If half of your image is text overlay, Facebook simply won’t show it. Put your copy in the text section instead of on the image.

The second has to do with your approach to Facebook advertising in the first place.

On Facebook, content that screams “I’m an advertisement” is unwelcome, not just by Facebook, but – more importantly – by Facebook users.

Can you image this showing up in your Newsfeed? Would you like, comment, or share it with friends? Or would you give the thumbs down – or even comment that an obnoxious advertiser is stalking you?

There is something everyone who advertises on Facebook needs to reconcile.

Facebook is a massive advertising platform. The Facebook Ads system has an immense array of tools for targeting audiences and building ads.

However, Facebook ads aren’t print coupons, TV commercials, or billboards. People aren’t on Facebook to see advertisements. They are there to see fascinating, personal content.

On Facebook, you’re on the user’s turf. The system won’t allow you to annoy people with bombastic ad images.

That’s the real point here. On Facebook, the advertising that’s most effective doesn’t look like an advertisement. It looks like native content; in other words, like another fascinating, personal post.

This is one reason it’s so effective to include people in the ad’s image. The more authentic the image, the better. For example:

education case study facebook ad

This ad would all but pass for just another post (complete with cute kids) in someone’s Newsfeed…except that it’s an advertisement for this music school.

Follow Facebook guidelines and use little to no text in your ad images. Save the copy for the text section, and let the image do its own talking.

Learn more about advertising on Facebook.

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