Facebook has made a couple recent changes related to page cover photos (the big photo at the top of your Facebook page). And both of them increase the importance of your cover photo.

When a friend of yours likes a page, you’ll see that page’s cover photo show up in your news feed, like this:

cover photo matters

Here’s what you used to see:

cover photo old

Facebook has also relaxed the rules on cover photos. See all of Facebook’s page guidelines.

The old rules said that covers may not include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

The new rules seem to allow all of that:

“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.”

So you can now treat your cover photo as more of an advertisement.