Facebook has implemented changes to its text overlay policy for cover photos and News Feed ads for Pages. Starting today, text is limited to no more than 20 percent of an image’s area.

The new 20-percent rule applies to all cover photos, regardless of whether it’s promoted. The area of text can’t take up more than 20 percent of the area of the photo. Note that size, font, and number of characters all contribute to this. News Feed ads, such as Page Post ads (Promoted Posts) and Sponsored Stories will also be affected. It doesn’t apply to Marketplace ads, which appear in the right-hand column, or photos uploaded to your Page that you don’t pay to promote.

In the past, Facebook restricted use of calls to action or purchase information in photos. Now, News Feed ads can include both, as long as the text makes up less than 20 percent of the image. All Page Post ads eligible for News Feed placement will be reviewed for text overlay. Cover photos, however, still have restrictions on the type of text that can be used. For example, cover photos may not include contact information (such as a website, email, or mailing addresses), price or purchase information, references to Facebook’s features or actions (such as “Like”) or calls to action (such as “Get it now”).

The social network is said to be preparing a grid-based text overlay detection tool to help enforce the new policy. A similar tool will also be available in Power Editor to help you know in advance whether your image will be approved. We reached out to Facebook for more information about the automated tool and will update this article when/if the company responds.

While some people are counting pixels, there doesn’t seem to be official guidelines for adding text to cover photos. There’s currently no word on whether Facebook is creating a similar automated tool for these images. Until more details are released, we recommend choosing a unique image that represents your brand, such as a picture of a menu item or someone using your product. Photos should include real people and real things — brand logos, company slogans, and tag lines should be used sparingly.

[Image credit: Phil Manker]