If you haven’t heard, Facebook is changing things up (again!).
Starting today January 15, both cover photos and any News Feed ads cannot contain more than 20% text. What does 20% look like? It could look like this (or a whole host of variations):
Facebook’s cover photo guidelines have always included things like no URL or no call to action as show below. But now they’re adding one more thing to the mix (see i):
i. images with more than 20% text
ii. price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
iii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iv. references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
v. calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
Why are they making this rule?
Well, I have Facebook’s answer and then I have my answer. Let’s hear it from Facebook first. This is what they’ve previously said about using text in images:
Facebook people react negatively to content that they perceive as inauthentic or impersonal. Since text is rare in photos from friends, text in brand photos triggers negative emotions in people. Instead of introducing text in your images, choose photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without words.
What I think? I doubt they’re going through all this hoopla to make better marketers out of everyone. I imagine that Facebook ads aren’t performing well enough for advertisers. So if more advertisers are forced to comply with something Facebook’s sees as best practice, then Facebook gets happy advertisers, who then want to spend more money.
While I agree that some images with a lot of text looks bad (and thus performs poorly), I think we at Burt’s do a good job with text in images. *sigh*
Of course, cover photos have nothing to do with paid advertising but the rule applies to those too. While I hate seeing cover photos crammed with marketing messages, I do think they can be done well with more than 20% text. Ah well.
With these changes, I wanted to answers some questions I thought you might have about the change…
Does this mean ALL my images can’t have more than 20% text?
This change does NOT affect any image that’s not in the cover photo or a News Feed ad (like a promoted post). So if you are just posting something on your Facebook timeline, then not to worry.
Does the 20% limit include the text of my blog name or logo?
Can that 20% be spread out or does it all have to be in one spot?
It can be however you want it to be. All together, in bits and pieces, whatever floats your bloggy boat.
Can I just pretend Facebook didn’t announce this and leave things as is?
Facebook is promising to be more diligent with its enforcement by developing a grid-based overlay tool that can quickly review an image and determine whether it’s compliant. If you’re an advertiser, it sounds like you’ll be able to use the tool before you submit your ad.
Sure you COULD ignore it (and not doing it exactly by today probably won’t make Facebook come knocking at your door), but you do have to change your cover photo if it’s got more than 20% of text.
Is Facebook getting more annoying by the day?
I will say that I hope we won’t see what I fear we’ll see: people cramming as much text in that 20% as they can. People already try to skirt around the rules as it is. Let’s not turn our cover photos into design nightmares, okay?
What do you think of the changes? Do you have to make any adjustments to your cover photo or News Feed ads?