I’ve started a business with the Better Half.
And for that I made a few ads that I wanted to boost on Facebook to get a larger reach. You’d think that’s a straight-forward piece of design, right?
Facebook has a few rules to live by when you want to boost posts on their website. That’s fine, of course. And if it was all logical, it would be even finer (is that even proper English? 😉 ).
But it’s not as fine as it sounds.
The rule over which I kept on tripping was the 20% text rule. In order to be allowed to boost an ad on Facebook, the ad is not allowed to have more than 20% text. And that’s where everything goes south.
I don’t know if there are actually PEOPLE checking the posts submitted, or if that’s a totally automated “optical character recognition” kind of thing, but there are two major flaws in the system where Facebook fucks up royally (excuse me my french).
1) They don’t understand logo fonts. So everything that has a logo in it consisting of text, is seemingly considered as… text.
2) They work with a grid system. A 5 x 5-box grid. Regardless of the size of the ad, everything is divided in a 5 x 5-box grid and you’re supposed to click the boxes in the grid that contain text. If you have more than 5 boxes clicked, you have more than 20% text and your ad is rejected for boosting.
The problem with this is, if I have only ONE letter in one box, that WHOLE box is considered to have text. If that letter happens to be exactly on the division of the grid, it will be in two boxes, and thus TWO boxes are considered to have text.
An ad that would -supposedly- fail according to Facebook’s 20% text rule
Left a 125 x 125 mm square made in InDesign with the letters on the grid division. Right the grid from Facebook where you have to indicate what boxes contain text. When done properly, it indicates that this ad has 40% text. Of course that’s not true, and if there are ACTUAL people checking this, you will get away with it, because it has maybe 5% text. But a computer is stupid. If this is done automatically by OCR, then you’re screwed.
Another problem with this system is, that they use this grid, the 5 x 5-box grid, on EVERY ad. Regardless of its size. So I put out another test.
In InDesign I made a document of 150 x 2500 mm, so a super long, narrow document. I put a bit of text in the top and in the bottom. See what happens:
Another ad that would -supposedly- fail according to Facebook’s 20% text rule
Facebook’s app to check your ad squeeeeeezes that complete document into a smaller space. The text is somewhat stretched, so it’s unproportionally scaled, but according to the boxes checked, that ad still has 40% text. And that’s nowhere near right
The initial add that I posted DID have more than 20% text.
Initial ad that was rejected because it had too much text.
So that was right. But then I changed it, took away the majority of the text (two versions in between), until only this was left:
Ad that was initially accepted, but then rejected after all.
So this one was initially accepted, it ran for about an hour, and then I STILL got a mail that it was rejected, due to the 20%-text rule.
So I really believe that they have no clue about logo fonts. In this last case the ACTUAL text is only in the red stamp and next to it, and those fall exactly in the second row of the grid. They clearly calculated the diver’s log, which is a logo font and the Reconnect Discover logo as text.
But then again, if you look at it closely, and look at the EFFECTIVE amount of text in the image, so the part that is really text and not the boxes that Facebook has indicated as being completely text, then all that is left is maybe… 10-12%? And in the example below I’ve even added the logo font that is Diver’s Log (which isn’t text, but a logo / image):
The actual amount of text in the image in blue, the text in the image according to Facebook in red (Diver’s Log not included in this).
Right now I’m a bit at a loss. If they really do also consider the Reconnect Discover logo a bit of text, there’s no way this ad would ever get through.
If they would only consider the top part text, I would have to design it like this:
I’m a designer. A visual artist. I create nice things.
And that idiotic 5 x 5-box grid of Facebook prevents me from making nice things. No designer in his right mind would make something like this. By default any design would cover exactly the division of grids. It’s a rule of thumb. That also goes in photography. You put things on the division lines, because instinctively that’s where your eye draws to first.
And Facebook is putting a plug in that.
So F**K YOU, Facebook.
Now… Since this is my own website, and I can freely advertise anything I want here, I’ll put the original ad here once more.
Go check out the website, and go get your Diver’s Log. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make in 2014. I promise 🙂
Edit to add, at 13:39.
Just for the fun of it, I boosted this post on the fromadifferentangle.net Facebook page.
This was at 12:09:
At 12:09 I boosted the post on the fromadifferentangle.net Facebook page. It was approved.
Then at 13:39 I get a message from Facebook, saying that the ad to boost my post was rejected. It had, by that time, generated just over 600 views and I was charged $ 1,32 for it.
At 13:39 I got a message from Facebook saying that the ad for boosting the post was rejected, because there was too much text in it.
So first the boost was approved. I’ve boosted a good number of posts on the fromadifferentangle Facebook page, and they have ALL -without any exception until now- been accepted. Why? Because it’s a LINK. It’s a link to a post, not an image ad.
Now one can start thinking: WHY did they reject this boost? Was it because I was badmouthing Facebook? Or was it because I was basically promoting the ad that they wouldn’t let me promote through Reconnect Discover Facebook page?
It’s a very dubious case.
Do leave your input, if you know the answer.