social media how toAre you familiar with the new Facebook cover photo rules?  You are now able to put calls to action and your website or address information in your Facebook cover photo, but there are still text restrictions.

Would you like some inspiration for what your business can do with a cover photo?

Many people have not updated their cover photos to be in compliance.

In this article I’ll tell you what’s changed and show you 9 examples and how you can leverage the new rules to boost your business.

Facebook’s New Rules

As of March 6, Facebook’s rules state that cover photos may not include more than 20% text. But the previous restrictions that were in place were removed (i.e., no calls to action, no websites and no address information).

The maximum 20% text rule also applies to any photo in a Facebook ad as well, so keep that in mind with your next ad campaign.

There was some initial confusion about how the 20% text area was measured, so Facebook came out with a post that clarified how this area was calculated and what was acceptable.

cover compliance

Check your Facebook cover photo with the Cover Compliance Tool.

Facebook Cover-Photo Compliance Tool

Use this tool by Paavo to help you see if your cover photo is in compliance. All you need to do is to put the link to your Facebook Page (or your Fan Page ID, whichever is easier for you) in the box labeled Fanpage ID and click the blue check mark. Then select the boxes that have text in them.

For cover photos, they have a grid of 25 blocks (5 x 5) over the photo. If there is text in more than 5 of those boxes, your photo is out of compliance.

One thing that is confusing in the example provided by Facebook is that there are a couple of boxes that have text extending slightly into the box and Facebook did not mark them as having text. Hmmm.

Also worth noting is that the 20% text policy doesn’t apply to pictures of products that include text on the actual product. But Facebook goes on to say that they aren’t allowing images that are edited to include text as a “loophole to policy.”

Some of these 9 examples may have a little text that appears in one other box (similar to Facebook’s own examples). The examples are for your inspiration and we recommend you comply with the 5-box maximum guideline to avoid any problems.

#1: Mari Smith – Facebook Marketing Expert

As usual, Mari does a great job with her Facebook marketing and is on top of the trends. Her cover photo does apply the fact that the image of the Facebook Marketing report shown is a product photo and therefore is not included in the 20% text allowance.

mari smith

You can now have calls to action such as “Click Like!” with an arrow.

#2: Intuit – Small Business Products and Services

Even though it’s a little busy, I like the Intuit cover photo. It showcases some of the good things they are doing, as well as the members of the community. Your Facebook Page is always about your audience and how you can serve.


A good example of a brand showcasing their audience.

#3: Qlixite – Marketing Solutions

Qlixite does a great job with drawing your attention to the freebie that they have every month. The photo is simple and the graphics are eye-catching.


A simple photo with a big attention shift to the Apps space.

#4: James Haydon Coach Realtors

James Haydon Coach Realtors’ cover photo looks nice and is easy to create with Pagemodo. The free version will have the attribution in the lower right corner but if you sign up for their monthly subscription (with more capabilities), you can have the photo without the attribution.

As the new rules state, you can have your phone number on the cover photo and that is a smart idea for local businesses like realtors.

james haydon

This cover photo was easily created with Pagemodo.

You can also use a free tool like Timeline Cover Banner or iPiccy to create a cool cover photo.

#5: Harvard Business Review

You may just want to keep things simple with an engaging picture. The Harvard Business Review chose an artistic shot from their current magazine.

harvard business review

Keep it simple with an interesting photo and no text.

Make sure you caption the photo to tell more about it and possibly include a link to your website to which you want to direct traffic.

#6: Through a Dog’s Ear

Through a Dog’s Ear has a great example of a cute picture (which is a little easier to do if your business involves dogs) and their tagline and website all in one cover photo.

through a dogs ear

Add your tagline and your website.

#7: Realty Austin

If your business revolves around your website, have it on your cover photo. Realty Austin has a simple, clean cover photo and their website address stands out.

realty austin

Add your website prominently.

#8: Inbound Zombie

Talk about minimalist cover photos! Inbound Zombie has a very clear call to action on their cover photo and all within the new guidelines. Once you click on the tab clearly marked Free Webinar, you can then sign up right on Facebook.

inbound zombie

No mistaking the call to action in this cover photo.


This one may be outside the 20% rule, but I had to share it because it’s cool and it could easily be made compliant with some shifting of some text.

Feature something new. uploads a new cover photo that features their latest blog post. When you click on the picture, you get the link to the blog post in the description. Great way to showcase new content!

Final Thoughts

As the Facebook news feed changes start rolling out, it will become even more important to have an engaging and interesting cover photo.

Facebook is putting greater emphasis on cover photos when people interact with your Page. And if you have a Page that is noncompliant, it’s a good idea to fix that as soon as possible.

What do you think? Did you get any new ideas for your Facebook Page cover photo? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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  • Great post Andrea! I love numbers 1 and 6 because they have a cleaner look making it easy on the eyes!

    Thanks for those useful tips/examples!

    Stay inspired!

    ~John Lee Dumas

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  • Great examples here of how businesses have used the call to action in their images. Given me a few more ideas to play around with thanks for sharing Andrea 🙂

  • EmilyQuestions

    I found this really interesting and helpful. The Paavo tool is really a great filter for a business to put their image through – how did you find that tool, Andrea?

  • Dara Khajavi

    At first, I thought the cover photo was useless, but I have grown to appreciate the cover photo. It is a great way to further connect with customers. You can use the cover photo to advertise upcoming promos or for a call to action. Images are incredibly powerful, and the cover photo can be used quite strategically.

  • Thanks John! So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Thanks Ravi – always good to get some inspiration from others 🙂

  • Thanks Emily! I’ve seen the tool circulated around on social media 🙂

  • I was skeptical when it first came out as well, Dara. But now I really like it as a “billboard” for your business – plus it’s much more useful now that you can have calls to action like you said!

  • Andrea, thank you for the examples. They were very clear and showed some great techniques.

  • Some great tips! Thanks. Will def look into how we maximise our cover image now!!

  • Angie

    Awesome article! Thanks!

  • Angela Wright

    Thanks John, more great tips for Optimising Business.

  • Ian D.

    Cover Photos are useless, 92% of interactions are completed directly in the newsfeed. you need to show up, focus efforts there. #badPost

  • This was an excellent article. Very inspiring and informative!

  • Alaa Sayegh

    Andrea Thank you for this genuine info. I’m just wondering what if the cover photo doesn’t comply with the new rules? shall I expect Facebook to contact me in a warning or something like that? If it wasn’t for your article, I’d never know about this.

  • Jennifer Hill

    Thank you so much for this! I never had really though about more than putting up a pretty picture, but I love the call to action right on the cover photo! I will get right on it 🙂

  • Akasha

    Great article Andrea. I hadn’t realised you could put a call-to-action now! I couldn’t use the Paavo tool – it seems I have some restrictions. Thank you for the other tool suggestions re the cover… going to get to work on making some changes…

  • There’s an important distinction about the 20% rule that’s missing from this article, as stated here:

    “Remember, this limit only applies to ads and sponsored stories that appear in News Feed. Unpromoted photos you post from your Page can have any amount of text.”

  • Thanks Andrea, I didn’t know this. I
    I like number 2 and 5!


  • Great post – as always. However, the impact (in my opinion) will be nominal because the majority of the engagement with brands occurs in the news feed – a very small percentage of fans ever visit the “home page” of their Facebook pages of which they are fans.

    Nonetheless, I love the ability to customize – and as always… great content!


  • Great article and new ideas…I’ll change my FB covers to inspire my followers. Thanks.

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  • This is a great article! I like the specific examples because I always have trouble with the “creative” side of things!

  • From what I understand, they are going to give warnings about this rather than just shutting a Page down like they do with some violations of Facebook’s terms. I have not heard of that happening yet but it’s a good idea to get things changed over asap just to be on the safe side!

  • Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Thanks Barbara!

  • Actually the Cover photo is becoming more useful because when you hover over the name of the Page in the news feed, the full cover photo pops up. If you have something like a Free webinar advertised on your cover photo, it may encourage someone to click over to your Page.

  • Thanks Jennifer!

  • I wonder if it doesn’t work if you have country restrictions on your page. I haven’t tested that out. But it’s easy enough to remove the restrictions and put them back after doing your testing. Thanks!

  • Thanks Leo! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Yes that is true but now when you hover over the name of a Page in the News feed, the entire cover photo pops up. So cover photos are becoming more important. And they will also be more visible in the ‘new” news feed that is rolling out. So it’s a good time to make these changes!

  • I’m the same way Kelly! I need some examples to get the creative juices flowing. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Thanks Janice!

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  • Yes, this rule does apply to photos that you are going to advertise as well but it does also apply to all Facebook Page Cover photos as shown in III B here

    But if you are just posting regular photos that you aren’t going to advertise, they can have as much text as you want. Thanks for bringing that up Jim!

  • Hi, interesting article. What about a logo? Is it going to count as text? I am helping someone with their page and the cover image is just their logo. See SchubeckHighPerformanceSolutions cover. From the tool, I make it at 24%. What is the penalty if you exceed 20% and does this logo count as text? Thanks.

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  • Since the article is talking about Page covers I don’t think anything was missing.

  • Of course engagement occurs in the news feed but most people will look at your Page before deciding to Like it or not and that’s when the cover is very useful. And of course if a Page decides to use the cover for periodic promotions there are ways to get people to return to the Page quite often. Red Bull does a great job of that by encouraging fans to post photos and they need to visit the Page to do that.

  • The logo does count towards the 20% if it just appears on the cover image somewhere but if it’s in on a product shot, like a Coke bottle or book cover, it does not count.

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  • venkyiyer58

    I do not understand the reference to being “outside the 20% rule”. Would some kind soul guide me, please?

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  • Tim Jones

    Wow Andrea! Great info. Very useful. I’m going to work on making my cover more effective. Thanks

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  • Victoria

    I didn’t realise the rules had changed! Thanks for an informative post 🙂

  • Julie Geller

    Thank you for this tip. I added an arrow pointing to a free download ( The only thing is, it doesn’t make any sense viewing it in on a phone because you can’t see the buttons beneath. Can you please speak to this? Thank you.

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  • Tony Nguyen

    I am so amazed with those examples, your post really help me to have new ideas about how to make effective cover photo for my facebook fanpage. Thanks a lot Andrea !!

  • Erin C

    Good to know! I have a basic question: what’s the optimal image size for a cover photo? This post would be even more helpful if linked to a previous blog post that covered this basic information… I’m new to this, thanks!

  • Superb article Andrea Vahl

    Andrea I would like to know more about the importance of Cover image like “Why cover image is important?

    I always shares concerns of this to mine clients but they don’t take it seriously and put useless images which don’t have any relevancy to their brands.

  • Andrea – Thanks for including me AND Jim. 🙂

  • Guest

    Great article, Andrea. I only wish the compliance tool had a finer grid with smaller blocks. Just because there is one or two words in a block, doesn’t mean the whole block should be counted as containing text. I’m wondering what kind of algorithm Facebook will be using to judge the 20% rule compliance – hopefully something more fine-tuned.

  • I love how Mari Smith does her stuff.

  • fina

    I spoke to facebook today asking about this article and they denied changes to their cover photo guidelines. I cannot believe how you can publish incorrect information.

  • That’s very strange that they would deny the changes. I have screenshots of the before and after changes to their Terms from the two dates. We are taking the information right from their current Terms of Service listed here: We are not publishing incorrect information.

  • Great to know we can add words. Now I need to learn how to do it?

  • Wait, wait… I hope this post is a joke?

    Many of the advice you give clearly breaks Facebook’s guidelines. If Facebook sees you doing that you risk Facebook removing your page permanently.

    Please update your article accordingly asap. People may actually do what you say and that would be really sad.

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  • Darlene Carucci

    many free photo programs, like picasa allow you to place text onto your graphics. 🙂

  • Darlene Carucci

    i’d love to know what programs people are using to create custom tabl covers!

  • What are you referring to specifically Fritjof? Facebook’s rules changed a while ago lifting certain restrictions, as outlined by Andrea Vahl above. You can read the rules here:

  • No this post does not violate Facebook’s guidelines. Facebook revised it’s guidelines on March 6th. That is why we are highlighting the new rules and showing what’s possible now.

  • 🙂

  • Your cover photo is going to be much more important in the “new” News Feed. The cover photos will show up if you do sponsored Like stories and the cover photos also pop up when you hover over a Page’s name in the News Feed so they are very visible. Hope that helps you with your clients!

  • I wish they did too but they actually were the ones that showed the grid the way it appears here – so it looks like that is how they will be judging the photos. It makes it hard if your text isn’t positioned right in the box and it overlaps and counts as 2 boxes when it clearly could be just one.

  • SZ

    I hope this has not been addressed, but how do the rules apply if your logo is a text logo?

  • Suziart

    I almost always get ideas from your posts! I I like Mari Smith’s like button since I want to increase likes to my group page.

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  • Julia

    Hi! I love #3 with the arrow pointing down to an app. My question is, do you think there would be an issue for some who is:
    A. Viewing it on mobile who will see the cover photo with no apps and
    B. Viewing it in the newsfeed rather than the page (I’ve seen cover photos show up in my newsfeed a few times when someone likes a page).

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  • its really a good way to show our creativity,skill set or on what we are working on help us to say lot through photos …thanks for the pics

  • Debbie Cornelius

    thanks Andrea, that clears things up, I am assuming that my products that contain text would not be considered and/or calculated in the equation?
    what do you think?
    Thanks, Debbie

  • Derek Brown

    Awesome post! Thanks so much. I had found an article yesterday from January and change my entire cover photo to remove address, phone, and call to action. So glad I found this one today. Back to the drawing board!

  • Excellent examples, very helpful ideas. Thanks!

  • Sikandar

    Wow Article! The moment I finished Reading it. I changed my FB Cover Page…Thank You Andrea.

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  • Al Simon

    Is this 20% rule still valid ??
    I was just looking at this page….
    and there’s no way the text is under 20%!!

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  • Niall Ricce

    wow great awesome tools

  • Hygiene

    Open your mind to new ideas.