As a marketer, you know that quality visuals are a crucial element of any successful social media strategy. But with the abundance of platforms and content types, formatting the visuals to make them look their best might become tricky.
Here's everything you need to know about getting social media image sizes just right:
Why social media images are critical to your strategy
That's because it's words that mostly help you achieve your marketing objectives.
Just think about it: every time you want your followers to complete one of your goals, be it liking your content or visiting your web, you tell them to do so through words.
The CTAs companies use on social media are all mostly text.
So if that's the case, why should marketers even focus on social media images?
We identified top five reasons:
The social media image sizes you need to know
Now, let's delve into the social media image sizes and types available at different platforms.
It is important to point out that all the major social media platforms are similar in the types of visual content they offer.
In fact, there are three types of visuals you can share on social media: vertical, rectangular, and square.
Let's take a closer look at each of them:
Because people naturally keep their smartphones in a vertical position, the need for vertical content has been increasing, which caused other platforms to eventually introduce it.
Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook decided to introduce the format, first through Stories and later through vertical videos.
The Stories format was first launched by Snapchat in 2013. Three years later, in August 2016, Instagram introduced Stories, and that's when the format took off, claiming its spot across numerous platforms and apps.
Based on the official recommendations from Instagram, the Stories format dimensions are 1080 by 1920 pixels. In other words, it is a traditional vertical HD size with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
If you want to upload a Story off-hand, use your mobile camera in portrait mode - the images will fit the recommended image ratio just right.
Don't forget you can invest in creating ads in Stories!
These types of ads are a great choice for marketers since they appear in full screen - in fact, they're the first ad format that's displayed in such mode.
Additionally, the ads appear in between other Stories people shared on Instagram, so they don't feel as intrusive, which is a huge benefit.
Here's a quick rundown of the recommended social media image sizes for vertical content across platforms:
- Pinterest - 600 x 900 pixels
- Instagram Stories - 1080 x 1920 pixels
- IGtv - 1080 x 1920 pixels
- Snapchat - 1080 x 1920 px
- Facebook Stories - 1080 x 1920 px
In the past, people would shoot photos and videos in a horizontal position with the aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. These ratios were later popularized by television and, eventually, by video sharing platforms such as YouTube.
Due to the increasing number of people browsing the Internet on vertical-friendly mobile devices, the horizontal format lost on popularity. Still, there's quite a lot of places across social media where horizontal content is a must - and that's why you need to know how to use it.
Horizontal content is essential when setting up your social media pages and profiles, and especially header images on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
But because the headers on Facebook and Twitter are not standardized, you need to pay attention to their distinct sizes.
Here's a little cheat sheet:
The new Twitter profile header format is a standardized 1500 pixels by 500 pixels banner.
This is the maximum size that Twitter will later resize for proper display on their web platform.
You don't necessarily have to stick to the 1500px x 500px format - you can get along just fine with 1263 pixels by 421 pixels banners. However, it's best if you choose the maximum width for proper display on big screens.
Twitter profiles are responsive. In practice, this means your profile banner will be scaled and cropped to fit all screens, especially on mobile phones and tablets.
The most popular social media channel, Facebook, comes with slightly different recommendations when it comes to header image sizes.
They also outline how to crop post images:
Recommended News Feed link image size: 1200 x 900 pixels, with a news feed image ratio of 4:3.
The desktop news feed will be displayed at a ratio and size that goes up to 470 x 470 pixels while on mobile devices, the same images will go up to 626 x 840 pixels.
- Facebook cover image: 820px x 312px (minimum 400px x 150px)
- Facebook shared post image: 1200px x 630px
- Facebook shared link preview: 1200px x 628px
- Facebook event image: 1920px x 1080px
- Twitter header image: 1500px x 500px | maximum 5 MB
- Twitter In-stream image: 440px x 220px
- Google+ cover image: 1080px x 608px (minimum 480px x 270px)
- Google+ shared image: 497px x 373px
- Pinterest board cover image: 222px x 150px (minimum 55px x 55px)
- LinkedIn banner image: 1584px x 396px | maximum 4 MB
- LinkedIn cover image: 1536px x 768px
- LinkedIn shared link preview: 180px x 110px
- LinkedIn company cover image: 1536px x 768px (minimum 1192px x 220px) | maximum 4 MB
- LinkedIn company page banner image: 646px x 220px | maximum 2 MB
- YouTube channel cover image: 2560px x 1440px | maximum 4 MB
- Youtube video thumbnail: 1280px x 720px
Why choose square?
Square visuals are compatible with all sorts of devices, whether they're used in a vertical or horizontal position.
What's more, leveraging square visuals is essential if you want to build your presence on Instagram, where square is a default image format.
Here's a list of the recommended square profile image sizes across platforms:
- Facebook: 180 pixels by 180 pixels square image (displayed at 170 x170 pixels on desktops)
- Twitter: 400 pixels by 400 pixels square image (displayed at 200 x 200 pixels)
- Instagram: 110 pixels by 110 pixels
- LinkedIn: 400 pixels by 400 pixels (minimum 200 x 200 pixels)
- Pinterest: 165 pixels by 165 pixels on the home page (they appear as 32 pixels x 32 pixels on the rest of Pinterest)
- YouTube: The channel profile image recommended size is 800 pixels by 800 pixels.
- Tumblr: Profile picture displayed at 128 pixels by 128 pixels
If you want to take your visual content strategy a step further, check out this article and see how media brands are optimizing their Instagram images to drive more engagement!
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