Social Media Image Sizing: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Social Media Image Sizing: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Table of Contents

Images are the most powerful tools you can use when harnessing social media’s power. Think about it. Would you rather read a long line of text or look at an interesting picture? The answer for most people will always be the second option. Humans are naturally drawn to bright colors and interesting images; hence, images are essential in advertising. Despite this, there’s one facet that marketers tend to take for granted: social media image sizing.

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You don’t just upload photos on social media; you need to find the right image size for each platform.

The size of your images matter. It directly affects image quality, and by extension, the message you want to convey in that image. Nobody wants to look at a thumbnail the size of a literal thumb. Similarly, there’s no need to choose an extremely large size when a smaller one will do. Advertising is one part of life where bigger isn’t always better. 

You may ask: what size should images be for social media? In this quick reference guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about social media image sizing—ideal image sizes for each platform and how you should use them. This post will be divided into subheadings that focus on a particular social media platform for easier reference. Without further ado, here’s our comprehensive guide on social media image sizing. 

Facebook

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When you set up the right profile picture and cover photo on Facebook, you can attract quality customers.

Facebook supports a wide array of photos on its platform, from profile pictures to posts. Photos used in posts can further be categorized into different types, depending on how you use them.

Profile Picture

Profile pictures are the images most associated with your account. It’s the photo that appears in a circle next to your name—strengthening your identity. Thus, your Facebook profile picture size must be right. 

Take note that profile pictures appear differently when a user is on a desktop, smartphone, or a feature phone. For correct appearance, your profile picture must be at least 180 x 180 pixels. Considering the gadget where they’re viewed, profile pictures may appear as 170 x 170 pixels on a desktop and 128 x 128 pixels on a smartphone. If the user is on a feature phone, the picture will appear as 36 x 36 pixels. 

It’s also not uncommon to correlate a profile picture with other photos, like a cover photo. In this case, you should know that your profile picture is located 176 pixels starting from the top of the cover photo on the desktop and 16 pixels from the left. Take note: this changes on a smartphone, where a profile picture is 196 pixels from the top of your cover photo and 24 pixels from the bottom, and 24 pixels from the left.

Recently, Facebook has changed business accounts’ look to distinguish them from personal accounts. However, the profile picture sizing for a business account and a personal account remains the same. 

Cover Photo

Unlike profile pictures, cover photos are rarely seen on social media. Nevertheless, they make up an important part of a user’s first impression of your account. A cover photo is one of the first things that people see when they load your account. You can even use your cover photos to post announcements and promos. The larger size gives you more freedom with profile pictures.

A cover photo’s minimum size is 400 x 150 pixels. Like profile pictures, they appear differently whether a user is on a desktop or smartphone. However, they don’t show up on a feature phone. A cover photo will show up as 820 x 312 pixels on a desktop and 640 x 360 pixels on smartphones. 

Post Images

Post images are photos that you post on your timeline, meant for everyone to see. However, the change in Facebook’s algorithm means that not everyone will see your post, but that’s a story for a different time. You may wonder: what size should Facebook post images be? Facebook post image sizes are smaller in width than cover photos but larger in size than profile pictures. 

When sharing images on your timeline, it’s recommended that you upload a photo with 1,200 x 630-pixel dimensions. However, its appearance will change depending on whether it’s viewed on a user’s feed or your timeline. If viewed on a feed, the maximum width will be at 470 pixels, with a scaling of 1:1. If viewed on a page, the maximum width will be 504 pixels. 

Event Image

If you’re hosting or planning an event, it’s a good idea to post an event image. It’s the equivalent of taking out an ad in the newspaper or putting up a billboard to advertise your event. Event images are larger than shared images, allowing more room for creativity.

The recommended event image size to upload is around 1920 x 1080 pixels. Facebook will reduce this to around 470 x 174 pixels when it’s uploaded, and the same dimensions will show up in someone’s timeline or feed. 

Shared Link

A shared link image is an image that appears when someone shares a link on Facebook. Again, we go back to the importance of first impressions—shared links are a user’s first impression of whatever can be found on that image link and affect users’ actions. The recommended size for a shared link image is 1,200 x 628 pixels.

Twitter

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This social platform may not be that high on images but getting the right photo size is still an important factor.

Twitter is gaining momentum as one of the hottest social media platforms for digital marketing. It has experienced exponential growth in the last few years, and by all indications, this growth will probably continue. The platform’s unique feature is that text posts are limited to 140 characters. However, it has recently allowed users to post images and videos. You may ask: what size should my image be on Twitter? Find out below. 

Profile Photo

Like Facebook, Twitter allows users to post profile photos. These photos appear on your account and next to your name whenever you tweet or post something. Twitter’s profile pictures also appear as circles next to someone’s name. The small size isn’t ideal for extremely detailed images, and it’s best to go with a simple design for your profile photo. 

Additionally, your profile picture should have a minimum of 400 x 400-pixel dimensions as a square image. There’s also a size limit of not more than 2 MB. Twitter supports a variety of file types, including jpg, png, and gif. 

Header Photo

The header photo is Twitter’s answer to Facebook’s cover photo. It’s wider and larger and appears on top of your profile picture. A header photo’s large size makes it ideal for creative posts. 

To make the most of your header photos, we recommend using the highest resolution possible. This is especially useful if you’re going with an extremely detailed photo. Your header photo should grab people’s attention as this is one of the photos that visitors will first see when they visit your account. 

An ideal header photo should have a dimension of around 1500 x 1500 pixels. Like profile pictures, Twitter has a maximum size on header photos, which is around 5 MB. It also supports multiple file types such as jpg, png, and gif. 

In-stream Photos and Links

In-stream photos and links are the images that appear on your feed. Twitter now allows users to include photos and texts in a single post, and sometimes even a link. It’s important to choose the right size since centering can be a problem for in-stream photos and links.

If it’s a single image, we recommend 1200 x 675 pixels. Meanwhile, if you’re attaching two or more images in a single tweet, you should have them at least 700 x 800 pixels. 

Instagram

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Instagram highly focuses on photos and videos. Hence, uploading quality images is essential on this platform.

If you’re using Instagram for your business or personal reasons, knowing the right image sizes is necessary. After all, Instagram runs solely on posting images and videos. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which offer more options like text posts, you’re limited to just photos and videos on Instagram

Hence, it’s important to get the right Instagram image size. A bad quality or stretched photo can ruin your post and turn off other users. Instagrammers have perfected the ability to look effortless, and a good marketer should do the same. Aside from the usual airbrushing and editing, an Instagram-savvy user should also be able to choose the right image size, depending on where they’ll post it. 

Profile Image

Like any social network, the first order of business on Instagram is the profile picture. We know you’re familiar with it by now. Choosing the right photo for your profile picture is everything. It sums up the image you want the most to be associated with your brand. 

One factor to remember when posting on Instagram is that more people use it on mobile than on desktop—so you’ll probably want to consider that. Your profile picture should be at 110 x 110 pixels. For the best look, your image should have an aspect ratio of 1×1. 

Photo Posts

Instagram has recently increased the size of photos that you can upload. As of writing, it stands at 1080 x 1080 pixels. However, even if you upload a photo of this size, Instagram will still reduce it to a scale of 612 x 612 pixels. 

When a user is browsing the feed, the image gets scaled down even further to 510 x 510 pixels. If you’re thinking of uploading photos that aren’t square—say, horizontal photos like portraits, the rules change a little. For selfies and portraits, it’s recommended to have dimensions of 1080 x 1350 pixels. You should also strive to keep an aspect ratio of around 9:11 to 4:5. 

Photo Thumbnails

Photo thumbnails show a smaller version of the user’s posts with 161 x 161 pixels. Thumbnails are the little squares of photos that appear when you draw up a person’s account. 

Instagram Stories

If you’re posting stories, you should keep in mind that they appear differently from image posts. Instagram stories usually take up the entire screen and are viewed vertically. The recommended resolution for story images is 1080 x 1920 pixels, with a minimum of 600 x 1067 pixels. Your file shouldn’t be larger than 4 GB. Lastly, the aspect ratio for your image should be around 9:16. 

Image Size Is Key

Social Media Image Sizing

Social media image sizing is incredibly important to ensure that your post’s photos impact your audience and convey your message well. A photo with an incorrect size can come out messy and disorganized—who wants to be associated with those? You may wonder: how do I resize a photo for social media? There are available tools online that help you produce the best social media image sizes in 2020. 

Want to get the best shot in social media marketing? Check our article, “Social Media Advertising Campaigns: Definition, Examples, and Strategies.” Furthermore, head on to one of our influencer software reviews for the complete social media marketing package.

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