The article says that, in recent times, the long-standing rule had been enforced less enthusiastically but that this week, the platform has abandoned the 20% text rule altogether. Media buyers have been noticing for a while that it became possible to push ads through containing more and more text. Up to now, it's mainly been speculation, but Facebook has confirmed the change to users this week.
Facebook documentation just got updated to reflect the change. It still gives tips on reducing the amount of text in ads, but it doesn't go as far as saying there's a limit. Now, the advice is that 20% is 'best practice.' That's a fundamental shift in policy from how the platform used to define the rule:
|"To create a better experience for viewers and advertisers, ads that appear on Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network are screened based on the amount of image text used in your ad. Based on this review, advertisements with a higher percentage of image text may not be shown. Please note that exceptions may apply to certain ad images. For example, exemptions apply to book covers, album covers and product images."|
The rule was intended to reduce clutter on Facebook Feeds in an age when ad units tended to be just images and text. Now that things have changed, the rule is changing too. Flashier modern ads mean that text isn't the distraction it once was. Ads with more than 20% text used to get rejected, but that changed a while back - even before the seeming abolishment of the 20% rule. Things like infographics, book covers, posters, and legal disclaimers were always exempt from the old 20% rule - and now it seems the rule will get consigned to history. I reckon many won't be sorry to see it go.