The Problem with Facebook’s 20% Rule

20% rule

The Grid Tool has become a necessity for all brand marketers looking to use Facebook’s advertising platform. The 20% text rule has become engrained in every campaign strategy, and social media writers have had to find even more concise ways of communicating their message. While this has been a headache for many designers and marketers, it’s also prevented users from being bombarded with blatant, text-heavy advertisements. Unfortunately, it’s also become a major problem for pages looking to mark and celebrate the past.

With hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday, Facebook has become a great place for brands and pages to celebrate the past. It’s also a great opportunity to recognize companies, brands and products that no longer exist, whether it’s through first-hand images or advertisements. While these posts aren’t pushing, promoting or selling a product or brand, if they are text-laden, there is a chance that they will fall victim to Facebook’s 20% rule.

Inconsistency Confuses Marketers

One of the biggest problems with Facebook’s ads review methodology is that it’s inconsistent. Identical ads could be uploaded by two different accounts and, depending on the day and Facebook reviewer, one may be approved while the other may not. This inconsistency is a challenge all marketers using the ads platform face, but it becomes more pronounced when it involves historical materials. The post on the left passed Facebook’s review process and was successfully boosted. The post on the right failed the review process and was shut down immediately. Both involve a film company that was closed before 1920, and both (especially in the context of the accompanying text status) are clearly historical in nature.

nitrate examples

Small Businesses and Non-Profits Hit Hardest

Most of the pages sharing this content are run by individuals, non-profits or other small businesses — precisely the audience who has already been alienated by poor post reach and increasing pressure to purchase ads. In order to help grow their page presence and post reach, they’ve been pushed to purchase ads, but if an ad is denied and the appeal process takes several days, the ability to grow their page is stunted. The eagerness to disapprove ads will undoubtedly turn off those SMB marketers to the process, and push them to spend their time and money elsewhere.

What are your thoughts on the 20% rule? Do you think that Facebook will eventually relax its rules? Will Facebook review team be forced to be more consistent in their rulings? Should context be taken into account? Share your thoughts with us.