Facebook Cover Photos Restrictions Updated…AGAIN

facebook cover photos rules and restrictions

New Rules For Facebook Cover Photos

What’s the deal with Facebook once again changing the restrictions on cover photos? Is it just me or does it seem that Facebook is making it increasingly difficult for brands to not only connect with all their fans and followers (see Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm), but now it will be very challenging to post promotional images with marketing messages to the 16% of their followers who actually see the post and hopefully engage with it by ‘liking’ or sharing.

Today I read that  “Facebook Quietly Loosens Restrictions On Cover Images For Pages” This sounds like a good thing for brands doesn’t it?

I was like YES, finally, Brands can now use their Facebook cover photos to their full potential in their social marketing…and without paying! Cool, score!

While this may seem true upon first glance when you read further into what is actually allowed and what isn’t allowed on your Facebook cover photos you see that it’s not quite so. Another possibly puzzling fact is that these new changes go into effect on April 1. Yes I know…that’s what I’m thinking. Is Facebook screwing with us on purpose…for a joke? Crafting a social media marketing strategy with any popular social is serious business.

Essentially Facebook has eliminated rules against including calls to action, contact info, and price or purchase information in all brands Facebook cover photos.

The one thing that remains is the 20 percent limit for text.

According to the new Facebook Page Terms, dated March 6, 2013:

“All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. 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.”

Sounds like great news doesn’t it? I’m Not So Sure.

It may seem that Facebook has removed these tough rules because they’ve had a hard time enforcing them. While that may or may not be true, I know I have played ball with most of my client’s cover photos but for some I’ve pushed the limit and included URL’s and more than 20% text and have not been “busted”. For a “cover photo” violation that is. However, recently I’ve had the most difficult time trying to get a sponsored or promoted post approved by Facebook. This is a post that I’m actually trying to pay for too!

Here’s my recent experience with Facebook’s 20% text rule.

This example is not with Facebook cover photos, but with a promotional image I wanted to use in a Facebook promoted post. I had created promotional materials for a client’s Instagram contest. Each time I posted the image to Facebook to promote the contest, my analytics told me I was only reaching approximately 12% of my client’s total fans. I understand I’m not the only one experiencing this. Every Facebook business page has the same issue thanks to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. Of course if I’d like to reach more of my total fans and their friends I could pay Facebook for a sponsored post. Which is what I did. A few hours after I posted the update I receive this email

facebook cover photos violation email

I determined it had to be the 20% rule as the other reasons weren’t relevant to the image I posted. So I went back to edit the copy and posted and promoted, i.e. was ready to pay in order to reach more fans. A few hours later I get the same email. So I rinse repeat and guess what? Facebook didn’t approve my already three times edited promoted post. With each edit I tried to limit the copy to 20%. I found it to be difficult and didn’t get to include much of what I wanted in order to get my desired result.

My point is that I believe brands will find it a challenge to keep to 20% marketing copy in their Facebook cover photos. So even though Facebook eliminated rules against calls to action, URL’s, and pricing info, it’s a challenge to include that info and remain at 20% text. I’m working on a fourth edit…

A interesting point to note is that when I posted the image originally and did not ‘promote’ it, i.e. attempt to pay for it to reach more of my client’s fans, there was no approval process. I was able to post it no problem – it just didn’t reach as many fans as I’d like due to EdgeRank. I guess it’s fair for Facebook to have to approve “ads” or sponsored/promoted posts.

Have you had similar experiences with Facebook cover photos, Facebook ads and/or sponsored/promoted posts?

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