Update: Facebook’s 20% Policy [Current Social News]

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Update: Facebook’s 20% Policy [Current Social News]

Earlier this month, Facebook changed its policy regarding text overlay on images that appear in a user’s ‘cover photo’ and in News Feed advertisements. The updated policy limits the text in these photos to 20 percent of the surface area. In the past, Facebook restricted the use of “calls-to-action” and “price and purchase information” in photos because the developers wanted to prevent advertisers from sharing (and over-sharing) images that looked like typical promotional material. The guidelines were vague, however, which led to a lack of participation and enforcement.

The new policy states that advertisement photos are now permitted to include calls to action and purchase information as long as the text makes up less than 20 percent of the image. The cover photo specifications are considerably more restrictive.

Page Terms Section III. B reads:

Covers may not include:

1. Images with more than 20% text;

2. Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”

3. Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;

4. References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

5. Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Starting January 15, Facebook associates will begin reviewing images from page post ads that are eligible for News Feed. The company is developing a grid-based text overlay detection tool to identify non-compliant photos; a version of this resource will be available for advertisers and small businesses in order to help them determine, in advance, whether or not their images will be approved. It is important for advertisers and small business owners to remember that text within logos and taglines will also count towards the 20 percent limit. Also, there is nothing written in the rule that requires text to fit into a specific area, just that the cover image cannot be more that 20% text.

Facebook's 20% Policy

How will these changes affect business owners and entrepreneurs who depend on Facebook as an integral part of their social network advertising campaign? That depends on your perspective. Many business professionals argue that it is your content and not your cover photo that builds relationships. The cover photo may be an eye-catcher, but the page itself is what encourages customers to stay.

“Facebook people react negatively to content that they perceive as inauthentic or impersonal. Since text is rare in photos from friends, text in brand photos triggers negative emotions in people. Instead of introducing text in your images, choose photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without words.”

                                                –Facebook’s Page Post Practices 

Rather than including deals and contact information within your cover, reserve that space for your company name, logo, and a catchy tagline. Or perhaps you could use your 20 percent to describe your unique services, features, or the benefits your organization offers. The main objective should be to keep it simple and focus on quality. Customers should be able to understand what your image represents without having to squint in order to read fine print.

In your ‘about’ section, be sure to emphasize your website address so that is prominently visible beneath your cover image. That way, if your customer is eager to learn more—he or she knows where to head next.

There are no limits to the number of photos a company or general Facebook user is allowed to post on their own News Feed, so remember to post plenty of photos of your products, staff hard at work, or services you’ve provided a client. Human beings are very visual creatures; we buy with our eyes—so the more photos, the better.

If you are still concerned about the new policy sabotaging your Facebook advertising strategy, keep in mind that you can purchase as many advertisements as you please. Each one can contain a separate, but related, message. Last year the ads were not allowed to highlight product cost or purchase information. Now that the advertisements can include a call-to-action, the price of a product, or information on an upcoming sale, your marketing campaign will be more effective.


Facebook has offered us some updated information to clarify some of the confusion that occured after their latest 20% text banner image restriction.

Rather than focusing on the cover photo, this new information tackles the text in images that companies and businesses use for advertising. Facebook officials say, images in your ads, sponsored stories, and cover photos may not include more than 20% text. Surpassing just the cover photo, promoted content that this rule applies to includes: promoted page posts, offers, app install ads, and other ads or sponsored stroies with placement in News Feed. Here are two examples of how this restriction should and shouldn’t appear.

Acceptable use of text: 

Update: Facebook's 20% Policy [Current Social News]








12% text





Unacceptable use of text:

Update: Facebook's 20% Policy [Current Social News]








60% text








The 20% text policy does not apply if you showcase images of your products and the products include text on the actual packaging. Photos of products in real world situations or prodcuts with a background are allowed. However, images that zoom in on logos or images with text overlay are not permitted. And please, do not edit images and obvioulsy include text on the product– someone will notice and ask you to remove the photo. Searching for loopholes is not only a waste of time, it is against the terms and conditions and could bring more head ache than business, so just stick to creatine a new, clean image.

Remember, this limit only applies to ads and sponsored stories that appear in News Feed– personal and unpromoted photos you post from your Page can have any amount of text.

Facebook Help Center for More Information


Originally published on February, 01, 2013.

By: Sasha Novikov

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