Last updated April 14th, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Facebook doesn’t allow images in ads to contain more than 20% text as worked out using the Facebook Grid System.  Breaking this rule, which applies to all ad types including boosted posts, is the most common reason for ad rejection.

But, do you know what 20% actually means and that there are some exceptions? (The same rules applies to Instagram). I explain this here and give you 3 transparent grid overlay images, to help you when you add text to your own images.

The idea behind the 20% rule is so that images are engaging and of high quality. This effectively means that all those very popular, much shared and commented on, picture quotes posted to Facebook aren’t. The same with all those wonderfully designed, text added, images created with Canva and other editors? I suppose the real reason is to stop images with too much ad copy.

When 20% isn’t 20%

Unless you’re a mathematician, working out a true 20% would be a nightmare – I wouldn’t even attempt the B would you?

Working out 20% Facebook Grid Mathematically

OK, that was just the silly side of me coming out. Just ignore that and read on 🙂

Facebook Grid System

Thankfully Facebook uses a grid system to make it easier. Divide an image into a  5×5  grid,  with  a  total  of  25 equal parts, and only 5 of them can contain text (20%) :

Text fits into 5 out of the 25 rectangles. This is acceptable:

Facebook Grid with 20% Text

Text covers 6 out of 25 rectangles. This is not acceptable.
(FB Grid Tool Warning: “Based on the boxes you’ve selected, your image is covered by 24% text. If marked properly, this image may not be used for an ad on Facebook or Instagram.”)

Facebook Grid over 20% text

When Text Isn’t Just Text

The 20% text rule also applies to logos and watermarks containing text. These 2 images fail the Facebook grid test:


Facebook Ad Grid Image with Watermark


Exceptions to the 20% Rule

The 20% rule doesn’t apply to text on images of products. That is real photos in real situations (including book covers, album covers, movie posters, games, apps…) but:

  • You can’t add extra text to get around the rule.
  • You can’t zoom in on text or logos within a product, unless it meets the 20% rule.

Facebook Ad Images - Products

Cartoons are allowed to exceed the 20% limit if the text is part of the cartoon itself.

Cartoon for Facebook Ad

Free Facebook Grid Overlay Download

As mentioned here are three transparent images displaying grids. Each is split into 25 squares/rectangles. Text should only appear in 5 of these. Facebook Help only covers profile and cover image sizes so the dimensions of the grids below are

Use them in desktop photo editors such as Photoshop or online editors, such as Canva, where layers are allowed. Add the grid image on top of your background, add your text and then delete the grid layer.

Click on the image to download the 1200px X 630px grid for link posts and uploaded rectangular images.

(This grid is based on Sprout Social’s Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes for Facebook)


Click on the image to download the 800px X 800px grid for uploaded square images.

Square images can be anything from 504px X 504px up to 1200px X 1200px. I’m using 800×800 here as that’s the size of Social Media Images in Canva.


Facebook Grid Square

Click on the image for a 940px 788px Facebook Grid (size used for Canva Facebook Posts)

Facebook Grid for Ads 940x788

Alternative Facebook Grid Tools

If you just wish to check that an image you created meets the 20% rules here are a couple of online tools:

Both of these tools do the same thing so take your pick. Upload your image then click on the grid areas containing text. A message appears letting you know what percentage the text covers, and whether it will be accepted for ads. The disadvantage of this method is that you’ve already created your image and may have to change it.

Tools I Use to Create and Post Images to Facebook

Sociocaster – A superb online Social Media Manager with multiple tools for posting, scheduling and finding viral images with an inbuilt image editor. I use this all the time. For more details please read my post: Sociocaster Social Media Manager Review

Pic Redirect – A tool for creating and posting clickable images on Facebook. Redirect any Facebook Image to any website you wish.

Coming soon

Free e-Book Giveaway:

The Ultimate Guide to Public Domain Images (with links to download sites)

I’ve almost finished this e-book guide so please watch out for the announcement of when I publish it. If you’re already subscribed to my newsletter I’ll let you know by email.

I hope this guide helps you when you create a Facebook Ad.

  • Have you had any ads rejected because of too much text or for any other reason?
  • Please ask if you need more details.