Is Your Facebook Cover Image Breaking The Rules?
by Jo Shaer, on May 14, 2013
UPDATE: Facebook changed the rules about cover images again in June/July 2013. The rules are now that there are no rules for cover images. You can have as much text as you like and it can say what you like with calls to action about discounts or instructions to visit your website. See the new rules here
The 20% text rule does still apply to Facebook ads and any images on your wall that you might later decide to promote/boost.
I will leave this post up, just in case they decide to change their minds again in the future.
Whilst we are now allowed to include calls to action like 'Like our Page' and '40% off', QR Codes and contact information in the cover image of our Facebook business pages, Facebook's rules say that it can include only a maximum of 20% text.
There is some leeway on this in terms of whether the text is contained within additional graphics or actual products on the site since it is a natural part of the photo and not a text overlay. In our example, Lauren had the writing actually on her TShirt.
The 20% text rule applies to both cover images, images in Boosted (was Promoted) posts and Facebook ads themselves. It does not apply to unpromoted photos that you post on your page - these can have any amount of text.
Because not all images will be reviewed by a human, there is room for error when cover images and ads are assessed. Their automated system may not be able to tell the difference between text on a product or in a logo and some businesses may have their cover image rejected.
Facebook 20% Rule for Cover Images, Boosted/Promoted Posts and Ads
According to their help centre:
For ads and sponsored stories that appear in News Feed, the amount of space the text in your image takes up may not exceed 20%. Examples of promoted content this applies to include promoted page posts, app install ads, offers or any other ad or sponsored story with placement in News Feed. For example, event ads use the event’s photo for its image, so your event’s photo should not have more than 20% text if you plan to promote it in people’s News Feeds.
This 20% text policy does not apply to pictures of products that include text on the actual product. Photos of products in real situations or photos of products with a background are acceptable. Images that are zoomed in on logos or images with text overlay are not allowed. We will also not allow images that are clearly edited to include text on the product as a loophole to policy.
Here are some visual examples from Facebook about their 20% Text Rule.
Facebook 20% Text In Cover Image Checker
So, how can you tell? Well, some educated Geek has put together a grid onto which you can upload your cover image. Then you click on each square of the grid that has wording on it and the fabulous widget will tell you if you are within 20% or breaking the rules.
Go to http://coverphoto.paavo.ch/ and enter the URL of your Facebook page into the box provided. That will be something like http://www.facebook.com/NameOfYourPage. The cover image will then appear in the grid below.
Click on each of the squares that contains text - make allowance for those squares that contain only small amount of text - and Bob's Your Uncle, you can tell whether you are breaking the rules and sticking with the Facebook guidelines.
Here's some examples of how other businesses are making the most of the new rules on Facebook cover image.