Digital Marketing is a strange and ever-changing field. Industry best-practices one day can get your account flagged and restricted the next.

With that in mind, here are three half-truths you’ve probably heard about advertising on Facebook.

  1. The Image of My Ad Is A Great Place to Put Copy!
  2. The more targeted I can get my copy, the better my ads will perform.
  3. Any Engagement is Good Engagement

I say half-truths because there’s a kernel of correct advice to each one of these statements. For today, let’s break down #1.

The image is the most visible part of your ad, and it is the best chance you have at stopping someone from scrolling past your ad. However, it is also dangerous to put too much stock in your image to convey everything you need your consumer to understand.

Facebook recognized that they would be granting images additional space in their newsfeed, and put a few restrictions in place – the most notable of which is the 20% text rule.

Put simply, Facebook limits delivery of ads where more than 20% of the available image space is occupied by text.

The more text you include past that 20% mark, the lower the delivery of your ads.

Personally, I’ve seen ads cut to 30% of the total delivery they would have had, just because Facebook recognized almost 40% of the image as text.

If you want to check your images to make sure they abide by this 20% rule, Facebook provides this handy tool:

So how do we get around this?

A] Visually arresting images.

B] Clear Calls to Action

C] Near-Square Aspect Ratios

Back in 2013, Curata Inc. published a content curation study that reported a 47% increase in click-through rate (CTR) for articles with images over articles without.

Since then, entire ad firms and design agencies have built their careers around the core competency of eye-tracking studies and identifying what design elements will stop the scroll of a potential customer and convince them to click through.

6 ways to 80/20 your visual marketing

The Nielsen Report, Venngage, and Fotor have all written extensively on the subject, and I’d advise you to check out those articles if you want further clarity on image design – but here’s the 80/20.

  1. Use recognizable images – People instinctively anchor to the most recognizable part of a brand they respect.

    If you’ve built your brand around a single personality or authority figure, make sure they’re present.

    If you’ve built your brand around a logo, make sure it’s in any image you’re putting into the public eye.
  2. Use darker colors – Facebook is built on a color palette of blues and whites. Black and Orange tones will make your image stand out.
  3. Include a CTA button – Yes, Facebook will give you the option to add a “learn more” button or a “shop now” button to the post, but the image is what people will see first, and it’s what people will recognize most.

    Make sure you aren’t wasting this precious space by not providing people with clear action steps.
  4. Keep your CTAs consistent – This isn’t really about getting people to click through the ad. It’s about what happens once they’ve clicked.

On your landing page, once someone has clicked, they’re going to be looking for the next step. Keeping your CTA consistent is the best way to make sure someone follows through.

Here’s an example from a recent campaign: The landing page’s CTA was: “Register Now,” but the image read: “Join Today.”

Changing the image to read “Register Now” instead of “Join Today” produced a 20% lift in lead conversion rate.

  • Start using square images – Facebook allows images in several aspect ratios, from 16:9 to 1:1 to 9:16. While 16:9 may be the most common image format, it also takes up the least space on the screen, which means it’s the least likely to stop people from scrolling. 1:1 aspect ratio images can be far larger and will inevitably take up more space in the newsfeed, giving you even more time to get your image in front of your prospective leads or customers.

Finally, TEST – I can’t stress this one enough. Nearly everything I’ve written in this article so far could just as easily apply to your business as not. Your audience may be in the extremely small minority of people who respond better to pictures of forests with no text better than they respond to pictures of your brand with clearly denoted CTAs.