For 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
- 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!