Tagged: cover photo

Facebook Rule Change: Text is Coming to More Photos Near You

facebook-word-cloudFor those of you who manage a Facebook page for a business or organization, you may be interested in a recent change Facebook made to its promotional photo policy. The rule change involves the use of text in certain promoted content, including:

  • Promoted Page posts
  • Offers
  • App install ads
  • Cover photo of your page
  • Other ad or sponsored story with placement in News Feed

The change will be a welcome one for many businesses wanting to include a call to action in their cover photos or sponsored ads. The loosening of the overlaid text restriction is a step towards a freer and more creative Facebook for businesses and organizations, but before you run off and turn your cover photo into an alphabet soup of offers and marketing messages, let’s talk about a major stipulation to the new rule. While you can now include text in promoted content, the photos cannot include more than 20% text. Let me explain.

Facebook calculates its percentage-of-photo value by splitting photos – regardless of their size – into a 5×5 grid. Some quick mental math should reveal that this gives you 25 rectangles to work with. Some of you probably further calculated that the 20% text rule leaves you with no more than 5 rectangles in which you can include text. Below are two examples from Facebook’s blog post on the subject.




In the first example, you can plainly see that only 1 out of the 25 squares includes text. This means that 4% of that photo includes text – far under the 20% cap. Facebook suggests that the second photo includes text in only 3 out of 25 squares. The text percentage is therefore 12%. The far more interesting thing to note in this example is that they did not count the bottom-left rectangle as including text, despite the fact that this segment clearly includes text. There is no explanation as to why this section was not counted in the calculation, but one might infer it’s due to the amount of text in that box. However, this supposition could be easily challenged by citing the bottom-right segment’s inclusion of a very similar amount of text. Regardless of the reason, the fact that the bottom-left cell was not included in the calculation shows us that there is some flexibility in the new rule.

Below is an example of an unacceptable text-to-photo ratio.


Again, there’s some uncertainty in the guidelines based on the fact that cells B2, D2, B5, and D5 weren’t included in the text percentage calculation, but the photo fails the test either way.

There are some caveats to the new rule that Facebook outlines at the end of its blog post. The 20% text policy does not apply to portions of photos where products are depicted and happen to include text as a part of the physical product (e.g. packaging or label text). So if Coke has a giant can on its Cover Photo, any text on the physical can doesn’t count towards the 20%. This is great news for businesses that sell physical goods. However, Facebook stipulates that photoshopping text onto pictures of physical products to take advantage of the aforementioned caveat will not be allowed. They also remind businesses that this 20% limit only applies to ads and sponsored stories that appear in people’s News Feeds. Unpromoted photos you post can include any amount of text, as always.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, many new opportunities for businesses and organizations come with this rule change. And the change itself points to Facebook’s continued mission to create value for businesses. After all, they’re the ones keeping the lights on.

Are you excited about the prospect of including text in promoted content, or do you fear a continued cluttering of your News Feed? Let me know!

Twitter Adds Custom Header Images #CoverPhotosMuch?

In a move towards even more customization, Twitter has rolled out the ability to create and upload what they’re calling “header images” to your profile. Bigger than profile pictures, but smaller than Facebook’s cover photos, the new header image lets users and companies add a little extra flair to their profile page, on top of the already customizable Twitter background.

But in an interesting twist, Twitter has decided to layer your info and your profile picture on top of your header image, presumably in hopes that users will create customized header images that incorporate the profile picture into the image (see below).


Now, this is not a new concept. Facebook users have been cleverly blending profile pictures and cover photos since they rolled out the new Timeline layout, but Twitter is the first social giant to plant a flag and design a feature around this idea. It seems as though Twitter’s less graphically inclined users might get a little frustrated with having to take the time to create this customized image combination if they want to have a header image, which could land Twitter in a perpetual state of limbo – where some users have embraced the new header image, and many others have not. As of right now, if you don’t choose to have a header image, your profile appears as you’re used to. This way, only users who see value in creating a custom image that works nicely with their profile picture will be the ones with the new feature.

At best, the new header images will offer a creative outlet for Twitter’s users and add another point of interest while checking out someone’s profile page. At worst, they have just created an aesthetic fissure on their site between those willing to take the time to play along and those that are not. While this might be a little overdramatic, it’s one step towards the mess that Myspace found themselves in, due to over-customization and a decentralized look (stay tuned, more on that tomorrow!).

If you’re interested in creating your own header image, here’s a link to a blog post that takes you through the steps. If you want SUM to whip you up something fancy, send us an email at info@sumseattle.com