Digital:

Ideal Sizes for Image Content on Social Media

Rachel Denton
  • Content Editor
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With social media a continuous presence in most of our daily lives, we are repeatedly absorbing information, words and image content from both brands and friends alike – sometimes without even realising it as we passively scroll through our news feeds.

One of the most important statistics to take note of is that 65% of seen information is remembered up to 3 days later, compared to just 10% of heard information… what does that tell you? Using imagery makes you stop, take notice and remember – it is also one of the easiest and quickest ways to capture your audience’s attention. For example, twitter users are 150% more likely to retweet a post containing an image compared to one with just plain text!

However, the first mistake many make when posting imagery on social media is not making sure the design conforms to the best image size and resolution for the platform. In addition it’s important to remember that a poor quality, or pixelated image will instantly discourage the viewer and give them a bad impression of your brand!

We’ve broken down the requirements for the key social media channels to help you upload your images in the best possible way:

Facebook

A landscape image uploaded to Facebook will automatically be resized to 470px wide in your feed, the height being adjusted accordingly to keep the dimensions the same. The size of your image appearing on your page however will be slightly different at a width of 504px.

Any images smaller than this will lose quality as they are enlarged, so you’ll want to make sure your image is large enough – the recommended upload size is 1200×630 to achieve the optimum quality. Unlike Twitter, Facebook isn’t quite so restrictive with its file sizes.

Key takeaways:

  • Image uploads: 1200x630px
  • Cover photo: 828x315px – use RGB .jpg for the best results
  • Profile picture: 180x180px

Twitter

Images uploaded to Twitter appear in two forms; a collapsed smaller image that appears in a users stream and an expanded image that appears when clicked. With over 313 million active users per month, this is a platform you definitely don’t want to overlook.

In-stream photos will be collapsed to a minimum of 440x220px (2:1). Expanded, the image can appear at a maximum size of 1024×512 pixels. It’s also worth making sure the content you want your audience to see is horizontally centred to avoid cropping issues. Twitter also has an image file size limit of 5Mb, or 3Mb if the image is a .GIF file – but you can tweet up to four images at any one time.

Key takeaways:

  • Image uploads: 1024x512px – maximum file size of 5MB (3MB for .GIFs)
  • Header photo: 1500x500px – maximum file size of 10MB
  • Profile picture: 400x400px – maximum file size of 100KB

Instagram

This platform purely focuses on sharing visual media, so this is where image quality is absolutely key.

Traditionally, Instagram images have always been presented in square format, so it has been incredibly important to make sure that your content looks attractive and designed for a 1:1 ratio format at 1080x1080px. However, photos are now supported in a rectangular layout, but you should make sure that the longest side is always at least 1080px across. When you first upload a landscape or portrait image, Instagram will automatically crop it to a 1:1 ratio for you, but tapping the format icon will allow you to switch to the original aspect ratio.

Instagram does apply some .JPG compression, but this isn’t as noticeable as that used on Facebook. The web-app uses slightly smaller images at 640px square, but for the very best result it’s still recommended that you use an image at least 1080px in both axis.

Key takeaways:

  • Image uploads: 1080x1080px or longest side 1080px
  • Image thumbnails: 161x161px
  • Profile picture: 110x110px

Increasingly, content posted to social media is now often the first exposure to your brand that a potential customer will have. Getting your imagery right has the potential to open a whole new customer base, draw in those that may not otherwise have heard about you and ensures that your content reaches a constantly expanding and diversifying audience.

Paying attention to the optimum image format can be the difference between an unattractive and unprofessional piece of content vs. visuals that look polished and engaging – which brand would you trust the most…?

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