20% text, 100% confusion

Two weeks ago I blogged about Facebook’s new “text in images” guideline and how I found it somewhat confusing.

“Ads and sponsored stories in news feed may not include images made up of more than 20% text, including logos and slogans.”

Recently (January 31, 2013) I saw a Jimmy Kimmel Live sponsored post (read: ad) in my news feed that only added to the confusion.

JKL mobile ads

At first glance, my eyes were telling me the image contained more than 20% text. So how did this image sneak past Facebook’s SPAM checkpoint and make it to my news feed?

Theory: By stretching the image’s height and loading the text in the middle of the image, JKL was able to get past Facebook’s defenses. Once inside, Facebook did all the work by cropping the image to display in the mobile news feed, serving up a text heavy graphic. Brilliant!

With this newfound knowledge, I conducted a test.

groundhog post on facebook

On the left is how the image appeared in mobile news feed thanks to Facebook’s auto-cropping. The text takes up 12.18% of the image, still well below the 20% cutoff. On the right is the full image, the text consuming just 5.75% of the image.

The result of the test?

Yet another rejection letter from Facebook claiming the image violated the “more than 20% text” image guideline.

denial email from facebook

How could this be? If you compare the two images side by side, the groundhog image clearly has less text than the JKL ad. Yet the JKL ad ran in my news feed while the groundhog image was rejected.

comparing facebook images

//stop the blog post… was just directed to a Social Fresh blog post, thanks Annalisa//

Does Your Content Play By Facebook’s New 20 Percent Rule?

Thankfully, the team at Ron Sachs has developed a grid-based template to help content developers determine what percentage of an image contains text. The tool is a 5 x 5 grid with a total of 25 boxes. An image meets the 20% test if text appears in no more than five boxes.

A 5×5 grid? Could it be that easy? No counting pixels in Photoshop?

ad 5x5 grid

I guess the grid explains why the groundhog image was rejected — text appeared in 8 boxes, 3 more than allowed. But it doesn’t explain why the JKL image found its way to my news feed as an ad — text appeared in every box, EVERY BOX???*

I’ve never wanted a perfect Facebook experience… just a fair one.

*Logos and slogans count as text.


2 thoughts on “20% text, 100% confusion

  1. Perhaps it’s just me, but based on your screenshot it seems like they’re taking issue with your profile photo, not the ad itself. If so, I think it’s just the same problem you had two weeks ago?

    • The profile pic was updated to no longer trigger the “more than 20% text” violation on February 1. The “disapproved ad” that the email refers to is the groundhog photo which was created on February 2. Not sure why Facebook displays the profile image in the email.

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