Facebook updates cover photo and News Feed ad policy, limits text to 20% of image

Facebook is changing 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.

Previously, Facebook restricted the use of “calls to action” and “price and purchase information” in photos because it wanted to prevent advertisers from sharing images that looked like traditional banner ads. The policy was vague and not always followed or enforced. The new policy set to go into effect Jan. 15 is much clearer, and Facebook has told partners that it is preparing tools to help advertisers be compliant.

Ad Guidelines Section III.D now says:

“Ads and sponsored stories in News Feed may not include images with more than 20% text.”

News Feed ads may now use calls to action or purchase information in photos as long as the text makes up less than 20 percent of the image. Cover photos still have restrictions on the type of text that can be used.

Pages Terms Section III.B reads:

Covers may not include:

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.”
Starting Jan. 15, all images from page post ads that are eligible for News Feed will be reviewed for text overlay. The company is developing a grid-based text overlay detection tool to identify non-compliant images. A version of this tool will be available within Power Editor to help advertisers know in advance whether their images will be approved. Advertisers should keep in mind that text within logos will also count toward the 20 percent limit.
Pages are still allowed to post images with more than 20 percent text, as long as they don’t plan to pay to promote them in News Feed. These posts can be turned into page post ads that appear in the sidebar of Facebook, but they cannot be promoted in the feed unless the amount of text overlay is reduced. Even if page owners do not plan to turn their text-heavy image into an ad, they should consider how fans will respond to the post and take note of any negative feedback the image receives.