Saturday, June 11, 2016

Facebook's New Policy Towards Text in Ad Images

Until very recently, Facebook had a policy concerning text in images of boosted posts. The policy was no more than 20% of an image could be text. Part of the problem with this policy was that it was not an actual 20%. Instead, an image was divided into a five by five grid and if text was in more than five grid squares it was judged as having more than 20% text. It did not matter if the font size was huge or small, or the amount of text was used so long as it occupied less than five grid squares. Placement played a great deal in whether text occupied more than five grid squares. One could sometimes just rearrange the text on the image so that it occupied five grid squares or less. Thus, the policy was sometimes not so much a judge of how much text there was, but a judge of where the text was placed. Unfortunately, the grid was laid out in such a way that such text placement did not always make for good graphic design. Read my previous post on the topic here.

Effective June 8th Facebook changed its policy. The 20% rule is no longer going to be used. Instead, they are classing images as Okay, Low, Medium, and High. An Okay image has no text. A Low image would be one with some text. A Medium image has more text than a Low image. And a High image would be one with a lot of text. A Low image will not get as many impressions as an Okay image, a Medium image will get a lot less while an image classed as High may not run at all.

I tested two images using the new testing tool and found both images to be in the Okay range despite having text. I suspect these images would be classed as Low in reality. Both images though may have ran afoul of the 20% rule due to text placement. This is much more acceptable to me as even though a Low image may get fewer impressions, it may be more effective than an Okay image at getting a reader to read the post's text. As I said in a previous post it has been my experience that oft times people look at the image, perhaps "like" it, and never read the post so you wind up not getting your message across. However, if an image has just enough text to pique a Facebook user's interest they may go ahead and read the post's text.

I can definitely work with Facebook's new policy. The most desirable policy though would be to only penalize images with a lot of text, and allow Facebook users via reactions and clicks to determine how many impressions a post may get. That is  images with no text and images with some text should both be classed as "okay," and have their number of impressions determined by how users react to them. Still though, the new policy is a step in the right direction,