Facebook tests Page-Like stories and ads that include cover photo

Facebook is testing a new design for page Like stories, both organic and sponsored, that incorporates a page’s cover photo to make the unit more visual and striking in the desktop feed.

This design is similar to what has been previewed in the latest overhaul of News Feed, which puts greater emphasis on images across all story types. Although the new News Feed is rolling out slowly to a small percentage of users and is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on ad performance immediately, this latest ad design is appearing for users who have not upgraded to the new layout so it could affect more of an advertisers’s audience.

For comparison, here is what Page Like Sponsored Stories looked like before, as well as how they appear in the News Feed design announced Thursday.

Including a page’s cover photo could improve clickthrough rates and actions because they are more likely to catch a user’s eye and because they can offer a better sense of the brand in one glance.

Pages should consider how their cover photo represents their brand, as well as how it appears when scaled down in size and overlaid with their profile picture and page name. For example, in the Guinness example above, some of the words in the cover photo are cut off. Pages that try to make their profile picture appear as part of their cover photo on Timeline might find that the design does not work well when applied to feed stories like this.

The inclusion of cover photos in News Feed ads might also lead Facebook to be stricter about enforcing its 20 percent text rule for covers. Earlier this year Facebook changed its policy regarding text overlay on photos in pages’ cover photos and News Feed ads to limit text to no more than 20 percent of an image’s area. It has been monitoring images in ads, but for the most part doesn’t seem to have taken action against pages that include too much text in their covers. Now that these photos are included in ads, this could change.

Thank you to Eti Suruzon for the tip and screenshot.

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