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Are You Falling Foul of the Facebook 20% Text Rule on Images?
Posted on February 18th 2013
Did you know that Facebook is now strictly enforcing its "20 percent text" rule on images?
Back in Dec 2012, Facebook tightened up a rule which had been around since the implementation of the Timeline. Previously, Facebook dictated that Pages shouldn’t use “calls to action” and “price and purchase information” in images (this is to reduce blatant commercialism and keep newsfeeds engaging). But this policy was a bit vague and rarely enforced.
However, the changes announced on Dec 20th – which came in to effect on Jan 15th this year – are much more stringent, and they’re also being policed. It’s time to make sure your content is compliant.
The restrictions apply to:
- Cover images
- Promoted (paid for) posts in the newsfeed
- Sponsored stories (including links, offers, and mobile app install units)
They do NOT apply to:
- Images shared in the timeline which aren’t promoted.
- Marketplace ads
Cover images have the tightest restriction – content as well as percent area
Covers may NOT include:
See more from Facebook in its guidelines. Update 21 March: these guidelines are now changed. Whilst the 20% rule still applies, Facebook now make no stipulations about calls to action or other marketing messages.
Promoted post images and sponsored stories
These may use calls to action or purchase information in images, but only as long as the text makes up less than 20 percent of the image.
How do you work out what 20 percent of the area is?
Well, it’s not that difficult actually. If you overlay a 5×5 grid onto your image, and your text fills more than 5 boxes of the 25, it will fall foul of Facebook. Thanks to SocialFresh for the following examples:
According to Social Fresh, this grid method appears to be in line with internal Facebook tools that have been referenced when content has been rejected recently.
Drilling down, see what Facebook has to say:
“This 20 percent text policy does not apply to pictures of products that include text on the actual product. Photos of products in real situations or photos of products with a background are acceptable. Images that are zoomed in on logos or images with text overlay are not allowed. We will also not allow images that are clearly edited to include text on the product as a loophole to policy.”
That means charts and graphs that you try to promote as Page posts most likely will not be allowed, nor will ‘poster’ type text-based images like this:
The Marveo blog suggests that, to elicit response, the type of image post below, a ‘real’ photo which has a question taking up less than 20 percent of area and then uses a call to action suck as “20% off Men’s Shorts this week [link]” in the accompanying text, would work well and conform to the guidelines.
Pay heed to Facebook’s general advice on posting images to maximise engagement:
- Photos should include real people and real things. User sentiment research shows that emotions triggered by images of real people, real situations, and real objects, are more lasting and compelling than those with words or text.
- Text or text overlay should be minimal. Text in photos from friends is rare, so text in photos from brands is seen as inauthentic and generates negative reactions.
- Brand logos, campaign slogans, and taglines should be used sparingly. Consider using a photo of your product in action instead of overlaying your brand logo or slogan on an unrelated image.
- Keep it simple.