Facebook Guidelines: Your Tool For Following The 20% Text Rule

April 16, 2013
Facebook Ads drove new regulations for all images posted on Facebook…  Facebook Page covers are no longer subject to this…...
Facebook Guidelines: Your Tool For Following The 20% Text Rule featured image

Facebook Ads drove new regulations for all images posted on Facebook...  Facebook Page covers are no longer subject to this rule.  However, is your Facebook Ad copy in compliance with Facebook guidelines and their 20% text rule? Here are tools to easily find out!

Does your images comply with Facebook's 20% text rule?

As soon as they released Timeline, Facebook guidelines were set in place regarding cover images.  No website URLs, phone numbers, or calls to action allowed.  This was seen as a challenge to many Facebook Page Admins.

When Facebook focused more on their advertising program, we saw the "20% rule" - Not more than twenty percent of any image could be text.  This was confusing for many Facebook Page Admins and some Facebook Marketers.

...How to accurately calculate 20% text on an image on Facebook?

Like Your Facebook Guidelines

The roll-out of Facebook's NEW news feed brought the focus back onto images:

  • Richer appearance.
  • Larger in most stories.
  • New types of images seen in the news feed from user interaction.

An example:

[caption id="attachment_3776" align="aligncenter" width="506"]Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media explains Facebook Guidelines for cover photos and the 20% text rule Facebook news feed screen shot[/caption]

This type of image is seen in the Facebook news feed when one of your friends likes a page.  Very cool presentation to optimize!  You see the logo or avatar, the nifty Facebook Like button, and a portion of the Facebook Page cover photo.

That's right - Your cover photo will be sent into the news feed when someone likes your Facebook Page!  So, you want to capitalize on that opportunity with really groovy graphics.

Note: The image above displays about 60% of the top of the cover photo.

Facebook Guidelines Refresh

Facebook continued to develop their advertising program, and reconfigured it's news feed to be more appealing.

It surprised most everyone.  But no Facebook guidelines hoax -- they snuck in a change to their rules, and went for more simple:

  • Website URLs
  • Phone numbers
  • Calls to action

All now fair game with the new Facebook guidelines for cover photos.

You just need to abide by the 20% text rule for other images and Facebook Ad copy.

The new Facebook Guidelines - For your reference.

20% Text Rule Facebook Guidelines

Motivated by Facebook's Ads program, the Facebook guidelines and 20% text rule apply to all images posted on Facebook.  However, Facebook Page Admins have been highly interested in Facebook cover images:

  • Just how 20% text will be equated.
  • Does text within brand logos apply?
  • Who will be monitoring, and by what standard.
  • Penalties or consequences that may apply.

According to Facebook, text in logos is NOT included in the 20%.

The Cover image is a big part of Facebook presence.  For each upload, it is content that goes out into the news feed.  Now that these images are also pulled into ads and other news stories, cover images are a big stake in the branding game.  Rightfully, Facebook Page Admins should be concerned.

After much speculation, several ways of calculating the 20% text were introduced in the social space. Mathematical formulas, social tools, and templates.  Here is an example.

But it can be sticky.  If you're not using the exact method that Facebook will enforce, it is easy to step over the 20% text rule line.

A few tools surfaced that seemed to set a norm and aligned with Facebook's policies...

Friendly Facebook Guidelines

We all know when an image obviously goes over 20% text!  We could all probably agree - there really should be some set standard.

The following image was surveyed (without the grid marks) and, hands down, people stated that it met the 20% text rule Facebook guidelines:

[caption id="attachment_3842" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media explains Facebook Guidelines and the 20% text rule as it applies to Cover images Do you think this meets Facebook's 20% text rule?[/caption]

When you apply the grid from one of the accepted tools, this image actually goes above 20% text, based on the placement and curves of the writing. It is against Facebook guidelines. 

To be a graphic designer, eh?  They will probably have several requests for work!

Your Tool For Following The 20% Text Rule

The grid marks on the Facebook cover image above is from a tool that seems to be widely used and observes the standard.

While there is no rule to follow for Facebook Page cover images, it may be wise still to uphold that guideline so any ad copy would connect with your marketing goals.

Do you think YOUR Facebook cover image is in compliance?

The tool is available here, for your use to find out:

Simply type in your Facebook Page name, click the blue check-marked button, and then click the boxes where you see text.  The tool will tell you if you are following Facebook guidelines, and whether or not you are in compliance with their 20% text rule.

How did you do?

Another tool widely used is Facebook's Text Overlay Tool - Try it out!

Please feel free to check as many images as you like, and share these options with others.

Your 20%

What do you think of the Facebook image guidelines?

Do you agree or disagree with how 20% is determined?

Please tell me your thoughts in the comments box below!  :)


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