UPDATE 1st July 2013 – Another rule change has seen Facebook remove the 20% text rule for cover images from their T&Cs. However, while you are no longer limited to 20% text in your cover images, testing has proved that people respond best to images rather than all text. I’ve left this post live in case the rule gets changed again…! 🙂

Your attention please…! Facebook has changed the rules again!

This latest change relates to the use of images in ads, but importantly for you (and the reason why I wanted to make you aware of the change), it also relates to your cover images.

Cover images are the big image that appear at the top of your profile or page, next to and behind the profile picture. Previously the rules stated that cover images CANNOT include;

  • Contact details: so no telephone numbers, email addresses or website URL’s
  • Price or purchase information: such as, “40% off,” or, “Download it on xxxxx.com.”
  • Calls to Action: so no “tell your friends” type text, and
  • References to Facebook functionality: so no “like my page” or “share this photo”

If your existing cover images include any of the above, then you are already in breach and need to make the changes ASAP.

But back to the latest amendment.

Section III.D of Facebook Image Guidelines now reads:

“Ads and sponsored stories for news feed that originate from pages may not include images with more than 20 percent text.”

 And Section III.B has been updated to say:

“Covers may not include images with more than 20 percent text.”

Do your cover images contain text? How much of the image is text?

Before writing this post today, I looked at a random selection of cover images, and at least 60% of them were in breach of this new rule. So it’s highly likely that you or someone you know is affected by this rule change too.

How are Facebook monitoring the 20% Text rule?

They say that they are in the process of creating a “text detection grid-based monitoring tool” which is essentially a 5×5 grid consisting of 25 equal sized squares. If text appears in more than 5 of the squares, your cover image is in breach.

Without the tool, it’s relatively easy to measure it by sight… just imagine the cover image is divided into 25 equal squares and if your text appears in more than five of those squares, you’ve too much text.

But it isn’t quite “that” simple. The guidelines then go on to differentiate between text and text on logos… and sometimes text on logos is allowed, and sometimes it isn’t!

So here’s what I propose you do now; hop over here and read the new Facebook Text Policy which has examples of Facebook cover images that are allowable, and demonstrates the individual aspects that will put your cover image into breach.

Then GO HERE to use this grid that Paavo.com has already uploaded, enter your Facebook page ID (the part that comes after fb.com/) to check your own business page cover image and see whether you are on the right side of Facebook’s new Image Guidelines or not.

Over the weekend, I have heard unofficial reports that Facebook have pulled down cover images that are in breach, but what we don’t know is how they were alerted to the breach. My advice to you would be not to wait for Facebook to find you and take your image down, but to be ahead of the game and make any changes now.

Here are the guidelines and please, set aside some time in the next day or so, to get a handle on these new rules, and make the necessary changes to your Facebook cover image design ASAP!


Does your cover image meet the new guidelines? Leave me a comment below to let me know how you got on