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The Twenty Percent Rule

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twenty Percent Rule for Images on FacebookI ran into the figure of 20% on Monday. Not in the usual way either, which makes it more interesting to talk about. Well, at least to me.

When you post an image to Facebook and you plan to use it in an advertisement (key point there), there can be no more than 20% of the area of the graphic devoted to text.

If it's a regular image that is in a post that you're not boosting or otherwise not being used in a Facebook ad, then there are no restrictions.

Facebook uses a grid system (like the one displayed) to determine the overall text content. You can click here to see their descriptions of how their system works.

That was interesting, as I had a boosted post rejected by Facebook as they said it was more than 20% text. The image was a collage of several social media icons (including Facebook's). Because the icons are all letters, I went over 20% very quickly. It's too bad, because I thought it was a good post, which you can read by clicking here.

Going back to the other 20% you are probably familiar with, I did some reading on Vilfredo Pareto, the economist behind the Pareto principle. This is also known as the 80-20 rule, summed up as "roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes". In 1906, Pareto made an observation that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He also observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

The 80-20 law is the basis for many "rules of thumb" in business. These include the following:

  • 80% of company profits come from 20% of customers
  • 80% of complaints come from 20% of customers
  • 80% of profits come from 20% of time spent
  • 80% of company sales come from 20% of products
  • 80% of sales are made by 20% of sales staff

This distribution has been found in many fields of study, from wealth distribution to health care to criminology. It has even been suggested by some that the Pareto principle is truly a natural phenomenon. Regardless of whether it's natural or manufactured, it's a convenient principle to work from.

How can you apply the 80-20 law in your business today? If Facebook can apply it in their advertising criteria, there's likely a way it's affecting your business in ways you're perhaps unaware of. The Pareto principle can be a powerful tool to help you in your efforts to achieve more success in business.

Here's hoping you find your 20% today!