Facebook Cover Photo 20% Text Rule FULLY Explained | May 2013


Back in December 2012 and again in March 2013, Facebook changed and relaxed its rules on cover photos respectively. The newest rules read:

"Covers can't be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else's copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text."

This means that since March you have been able to include text like a call to action, contact details, and pricing and purchasing information about a product in your cover image - something that was not permitted before. The 20% rule also applies to ads, Offers, and sponsored stories that appear in the News Feed.

Despite the details given by Facebook, there is still a lot of confusion about exactly what kind of text the 20% rule applies to. Now, Facebook has quietly revised its guidelines again to make things much clearer. Here is a summary:

The Facebook 20% Text Rule Fully Explained

  • The 20% text policy does NOT apply to pictures of products that include text on the actual product. 
  • Photos of products in real situations or photos of products with a background ARE allowed. 
  • Images that are zoomed in on logos or images with text overlay are NOT allowed.
  • Images that are clearly edited to include text on the product as a loophole to the 20% text rule are NOT allowed.

Note: The 20% text rule limit only applies to cover photos and ads and sponsored stories that appear in the News Feed. Unpromoted photos you post to your Page's Timeline can feature as much text as you like.

Let's look at some examples... 

Example 1 - Adheres to 20% Text Guidelines


Taking my current cover photo as an example and measuring the amount of text it contains with the Facebook Cover Photo Compliance Tool at http://coverphoto.paavo.ch, you can see that it currently contains about 16% text (or closer 20% if I was accurately able to highlight the area of text below my photo). While there is a lot of text on my book cover, the image complies with Facebook's guidelines because the 20% text policy does not apply to pictures of products that include text on the actual product.

Example 2 - Breaches 20% Text Guidelines


While the online compliance tool only measures 5% blocks, it is clear that this cover photo is made up of more than 20% text. And as the text is not part of an actual product , it breaches Facebook's rules and would risk being removed without warning.

Further Examples (Promoted Post, Event Photos)

Here are some more examples - provided by Facebook itself - to help clarify its 20% text rule, this time focused on Promoted Posts and Event Images.  

Complies to 20% Text Rule

4% Text - Complies to Guidelines.

4% Text - Complies to Guidelines.

12% Text - Complies to Guidelines.

12% Text - Complies to Guidelines.

Breaches 20% Text Rule

60% Text - Breaches Guidelines.

60% Text - Breaches Guidelines.

40% Text - Breaches Guidelines.

40% Text - Breaches Guidelines.


Chances are that Facebook will revise its cover photo (and promotional image) guidelines again in the future, but I hope this summary has given you a much clearer understanding about where you stand with the current rules, and help prevent any of your images being removed or rejected. How does your current cover photo fare? Let me know in the comments below!  


Andrew Macarthy is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

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