Facebook just implemented a new rule limiting the amount of text that can be contained in graphics used for business page cover photos and ads.  They're calling it the “20% Text Rule.”  As of January 15th, 2013, graphics must not contain more than 20% text.  This rule applies to graphics used in cover photos, page post ads, sponsored stories, and promoted posts.  In other words, if you have a Facebook business page, this rule applies to you!

How Will This Affect You?

Any text, including your logo, counts towards the 20% text rule for graphics.  You'll need to consider the size of your logo and the amount of additional text in your cover image and in each image you post to your page.  This doesn’t mean you can’t use images that contain your logo or additional text, but you'll need to adhere to the new guidelines and ensure that all text is kept within Facebook's imposed limits.

Cover Photo

Your page's cover image must not contain more than 20% text.  Textual information of any kind, including logo text, may comprise only 20% or less of the image.  Facebook enforces this rule by analyzing your cover image using a grid system.  See the example image below.  If more than 5 grid spaces contain text, Facebook will reject your cover image. 

This 20% text rule is not the only guideline for Facebook business pages.  Make sure you are familiar with these other cover photo restrictions.

  • Your cover photo can't contain price or purchase information, such as "50% off" or "Buy it at our website!"
  • Your cover photo can't contain contact information, such as a website address, email address, mailing address, phone number, or other info.  Contact information should go in your page's "About" section.
  • Your cover photo can't contain references to actions, such as "Like," "Share," "Get it Now," or "Tell Your Friends."


Ads and Sponsored Photos

Anytime you are paying for Facebook to promote a post, advertise your page, or create a sponsored story, this 20% text rule applies.  Using the same grid system, Facebook will monitor your ad images for text.  Because sponsored stories draw from content on your Facebook wall and promote this content to other users, make sure any images you post on your wall aren't more than 20% text.

Why Have a 20% Rule?

Although advertising your business is your main goal as a business owner, Facebook wants to keep their platform as clean and user-friendly as possible.  As a result, they are trying to limit companies' efforts to bombard Facebook users with advertisements and promotional sales graphics.  Facebook is encouraging brands to engage with their audiences through comments and likes in order to produce more user-generated content.  According to Facebook, hard-selling ads appear less genuine and thus don’t convert well.  With the 20% text rule, Facebook is forcing your company to do something that will help in the long run!

Are You in Compliance?

As mentioned, Facebook will enforce this 20% text rule through a grid-based system to determine how much of a photo contains text.  They have not released this system to the public yet; until they do, you can use the grid tool in Photoshop or the third party Cover Photo Compliance Tool below.

Cover Photo Compliance Tool

http://coverphoto.paavo.ch/

  • Type in your Facebook page’s username, which is displayed at the end of your page's URL (www.facebook.com/username).
  • Click “load Cover-Photo” to process your image in the tool.
  • Select the grid spaces that include text.  The tool will tell you the percentage of your cover photo that contains text.


To view Facebook's full rules and guidelines, click here.

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