Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why have the background images on my FBML pages shrunk?

[Update: This has been identified as a Facebook bug and has since been fixed. However, there is news that Facebook will be changing it's FBML tab dimensions from 760px to 520px sometime in late July, so you might want to start making these adjustments for any upcoming campaigns that will run past July]

Imagine my horror when I found that the background images I have been using for some of my client’s Facebook pages have shrunk. Some of them have even disappeared completely, leaving a blank canvas page when you click on the tabs.

I originally thought it may have been some problems on the webserver which the images were hosted on, but a quick check on the absolute image paths showed everything was ok.

A quick search on other Facebook pages showed similar problems for some brands. But others looked just fine. A quick search for “FBML” on Twitter provided some explanations - Apparently Facebook has made some changes to FBML and any images that are bigger than 400px would be automatically resized to that size.

A good example is the Fan offer page for Walgreens

The only alternatives that I know of are to either slice up the images on the FBML canvas (so that each individual image is less than 400px) or build a Facebook app. I decided an app was too much trouble and it took about 15 mins (per page) to re-cut the images and layout onto HTML and re-upload the new (sliced up) images onto my webserver and everything was back to normal again

The only problems are the pages I have that uses image maps for multiple links on a page. That will probably take a little more time if you’re not using a whole image to map out your links. If you get line breaks in your image (which usually looks fine on IE but shows on Fire Fox or Chrome), just adding a simple string of code => style="display:block;” ( e.g <img src="images/main.jpg"  border="0" style="display:block;"/>] after all image paths should resolve it.

Someone on Twitter mentioned that this might just be a temporary glitch which would be resolved soon. I personally figured that Facebook implemented this because they felt larger images (>400px) would take a longer time to download which would mean a bad user experience and decided to limit it.

Either ways, this has been a real pain especially since a lot of my FBML static canvas pages are the default page that users land on when they reach my clients’ Facebook page. Not giving any advance notice to us as stakeholders, if this is indeed an official Facebook decision to change it, is just really just really really uncool.

It’s also a classic example of our over-dependence on Facebook as a marketing platform.

Posted via email from The Digital Marketer


The Digital Marketer said...

Ok, apparently this is a Facebook bug and the engineers are looking into it and it's expected to be fixed soon:

In any case, the temporary measure I reckon is to either slice up the images on FBML (which takes a couple of mins) or take down the page for the moment - Especially if you are running Facebook Ads and using FBML pages as your default landing page.

ChrisFantauzzi said...

Yep, I noticed this too!
Thanks for digging up the direct responses from Facebook, it's good to know that they're planning on fixing it soon!

I'll probably do the same in the meantime, though.. time to split my image into four! Haha

The Digital Marketer said...

Hey Chris,

No problem. Slicing it up is not that difficult a thing to do, but it sure is a pain to have to fix something that shouldn't be broken in the first place.

Hope they get this sorted out soon!