20% rule

What Does Facebook’s 20% Rule Mean?

Have you ever noticed an ad with too much text on your Facebook timeline? If you’re having a hard time recollecting such an ad, it’s probably because they don’t show up all that often, unless it’s an organic post.

Even then, those posts don’t really stick out in your mind, do they? That’s because people are too busy/lazy to stop scrolling to read all of those words. We expect to see stories on social media, not read them.


If there is more than 20% of text on your image, Facebook will flag it and a pop up will show up, explaining that the image will not run optimally if you choose to use it as a sponsored post. Facebook will even flag your post it if it has medium or low text, both of which will still run in your social media campaigns but not as successfully as it could have with less text.

Not sure how much 20% is? You’re in luck! Facebook created a text overlay tool just for this reason. You can upload an image and the program will tell you the percentage of text it has.


This tool is so much more than what its main function is. Rather, it’s a guideline of what the future holds for social media content. Facebook’s 20% rule further supports the indication that audiences are wanting more visually appealing content.

Some may argue that without text, the audience will not have all the information he or she may need. Although this is a valid point, the main takeaway from this little to no text rule is that we need to reconsider how we are utilizing social media with our audiences.

They don’t need all the information right then and there. They need an attention grabber. Something that will spark interest and provoke them to click, learn more, make that purchase, sign up for the subscription or whatever the end result may be.


The first step I recommend is to do further research on this topic and see how it pertains to your business specifically. Each industry will face the transition of little to no text social media advertising campaigns and posts differently and it’s important to understand both why and how.

Next, really think about what you want your business’ social media page to look like. Sure you could post pictures without any text, but posting without intent isn’t the most strategic method. Instead, think of the big picture. What story will your brand tell? Once you have a clear picture of that, it becomes easier as to what your content should look like.

Overall, rules like these are implemented to help guide social media advertising toward success. Don’t fight the change. Instead, embrace it with open arms and be the one to set the tone for what social media can be for businesses! Try new tactics, learn from the good and the bad and just remember that rules like these truly are set in place to optimize your social media influence.

Katie Silva, Outreach Coordinator