Facebook Cover Photo and Ads – Text Limited to 20% of Image

The 20 percent rule for Facebook Cover Photo and Ads

Facebook Cover Photo example more than 20 percent text new policy as of January 2013



★ Keep reading for UPDATE: March 25, 2013 – FACEBOOK COVER IMAGE GUIDELINES CHANGE ★



Facebook has updated their Cover Photo policy to be more specific and announced that on Facebook Cover Photos and Facebook ads or sponsored stories text is limited to 20% of the image area which also includes text within a logo.

When Timeline was introduced with its big panoramic Cover Photo, Facebook listed a set of image guidelines to prevent a company’s Facebook Page from using their Cover Photo as an advertising banner. The fear was that people would rent out their Cover Image as “advertising space” if they had a Facebook Page with a large number of fans or followers.

Remember that Facebook is a social network first and foremost, even though it is now being used as a marketing platform. Reducing the text on Facebook Cover Photos is aimed at creating a better user experience for people landing on any Facebook Page.

The original Cover Photo guidelines were vague and not often enforced. However at recent Facebook conferences (such as Facebook Small Business Bootcamp among others) it was revealed that Facebook will be cracking down on Pages that break the rules.

According to Facebook Insider :

Facebook has told partners that it is preparing tools to help advertisers be compliant…[and] is developing a grid-based text overlay detection tool to identify non-compliant images.


Want to see what I’m talking about? Watch these videos!

Use free photo editing software Fotoflexer to see if you are breaking the 20% rule:

Examples of actual Facebook Cover Photos and Facebook ads

Dimensions for some Facebook images that will be affected by the new 20% text policy:

Facebook Cover Photo size: 851 x 315 pixels

Status Update Image size: 403 x 403 pixels (if you plan upgrade it to a Promoted Post ad)

Sponsored Story Ad (in Newsfeed): 358 x 268 pixels

Page Post Ad : 90 x 188 pixels


>NOTE: the 20% policy does not apply to sidebar ads. However, when you create a promoted post ad, it can appear in several locations (newsfeed, sidebar) so be sure to check your settings when creating an ad.

Check out this useful Facebook ads post by John Loomer – Step 4 outlines the fact that 3 ads are actually created when you “promote” a post in your newsfeed!


For more techy people, or if you want to watch the Fotoflexer video to determine if your Cover Photo is within Facebook’s guidelines, here is where I got the numbers from:

Facebook Cover Photo: 851 x 315 pixels

Total area of Cover Photo: 851 x 315 = 268 065 pixels

20% of Cover Photo: 0.20 x 268 065 = 53 613 pixels

So the text on your Cover Photo must have an area less than 53 613 pixels.

It might sound complicated, but I show you a super easy way to find out if your Cover Photo is within Facebook’s guidelines using Fotoflexer, in the tutorial video above.

What does an area of 20% look like on a Facebook Cover Photo?


Facebook Cover Photo example of 20 percent text area

So remember:  Facebook Cover Photos and Facebook ads or sponsored stories  may only use images that have less than 20% text, including text-based logos.





Great news for businesses using Facebook! 

Fan pages can now have any of this on your Facebook Page Cover Photo:
● price/purchase information
● discounts
● calls to action
● contact info (incl web addresses, phone number)
● like or share, or arrows to like your page,
● BUT the 20% text rule still applies!

Here is the link for updated rules

Just because you CAN have all that in your cover photo, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Here is a sample image of what you can now include in your Facebook Page cover image (but I definitely do not recommend you create one quite like this).



Facebook page cover photo illustrating new guidelines via Mari Smith


Remember to limit your advertising and promotion on Facebook. People are there to be entertained, connect with friends, or kill some time, not be sold to.

Jeff Berezny of Tent Social illustrated this point in a humours way: Don’t be a Used Car Salesman – Don’t Abuse Facebook’s New Cover Photo Rules


★ End of Update


Is your current Cover Photo or Facebook ad breaking the new Facebook policy?

How do you feel about this new Facebook rule?



Angelique says:

That’s awesome Celina. Thanks for sharing it.

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