Facebook News Feed Changes Mean Changing Your Approach to Images

Posted By on March 13, 2013

Facebook news feed changes put a major focus on visual content so now every business and brand needs to respond. Two Pens has an easy answer: seriously rethink how you select and add text to images in order to drive more Likes, follows and comments. Here are a few tips to delight the eye while capitalizing on Facebook’s new look.

Make your Visuals Work WITH Text, instead of Merely Repeating It.

Many people mistakenly choose images that say the exact same thing as the words that they accompany. Here’s an example from our pals at Microsoft.

The visual of the confidential watermark simply restates the headline and doesn't require anything from the reader.

The visual of the confidential watermark is a restatement of the headline and doesn’t require any mindshare or engagement from the reader.


See how the picture of the watermark, professional and lovely as it is, just restates the headline? In the old days in my advertising agency, we called this a “see-and-say” communication. It doesn’t make you think. Doesn’t require much at all from the reader.

Contrast this with this wonderful image and word combo from Bit Rebels (one of my favorite sources of great, information).

The black-and-white photo of this woman has a ton of ‘tude because of her facial expression and the cat-claw hand gesture.

Bit Rebels post with cat woman

Look at all the shares Bit Rebels got by asking you to imagine what this woman’s pet would look like. Photo copyright 2012 Tobias Long.

What makes this image and word combo work is that people must do some of the work to get it. You read “Pets and Owners Look Alike” and you can’t help but think what would this woman’s pet look like? You click the post because you want to see if your mind’s image matches the image shown.

Bit Rebels proposition that “Pets Look Like Owners” is answered when you click the link to Tobias Long’s beautiful black-and-white photo of the slinky, designer cat that matches the slinky high-design woman. Photo copyright 2012 Tobias Long.

Bit Rebels’ proposition that “Pets Look Like Owners” is answered when you click the link to these beautiful black-and-white photos of the slinky, designer cat that matches the slinky high-design woman. Photo Copyright 2012 Tobias Long.

Even a So-so Image can be Rescued by Wordplay and Wit.

To recap today’s lesson: people love images and headlines that interact in the same way that they love solving puzzles. Here’s another example of how that works from Seattle creative wizard, Dave Moore.

Dave helped P.A.W.S. promote pet adoption with this wonderful visual idea. He put a plain cardboard box in front of a busy office building downtown with a hand-lettered sign offering “Free Puppies.”

Dave Moore, Seattle creative wonder, placed a box in front of a busy building with a sign promising "Free Puppies." Who could resist? Photo copyright Dave Moore 2012

Dave Moore, Seattle creative wonder, placed a box in front of a busy building with a sign promising “Free Puppies.” Who could resist? Photo copyright 2012 Dave Moore


Everybody looked, as you can see from the compilation of photos Dave captured of people walking by the box and peering in.
The "Free Puppies" sign became a magnet for people. Virtually everybody looked. Photo copyright 2012 Dave Moore

The “Free Puppies” sign became a people magnet. Virtually everybody looked. Photo copyright 2012 Dave Moore

But the real kicker was the revelation of what Dave Moore put in the box.

The raised bottom of the box hid a mini-boombox that played sounds of puppies. The sign suggested that someone who peeked in to see the free puppies should call P.A.W.S. Now that's worth sharing.

The raised bottom of the box hid a mini-boombox that played sounds of puppies. The sign suggested that someone who peeked in to see the free puppies should call P.A.W.S. Now that’s worth sharing.

Cynthia Hartwig

PS I rest my case. Visuals that work with text get shared on Facebook. Please respond in the comments with an example that you had to pass on. If you can beat “Free Puppies,” it will earn you a Word Czar hat from Two Pens. Unless you want a free kitten.