The Definitive Guide To Facebook Image Optimization For Articles & Web Content

One thing is certain, images are crucial in social medial success — especially with Facebook. Thanks to new changes, having the proper image display alongside your linked content has never been easier to control. Link images have been consuming more real estate in News Feed and large, vivid images not only help engagement, but also boost distribution.

Marketing-Land-Image

 

To help you pull the in the perfect image we talked to Vojin Katic, Facebook Software Engineer, to collect thoughts on best practices and the future for images in articles. Here is our guide on how to optimize article images for Facebook success:

Image Specs

One of the first “no duh!” elements for article images is that the image must be found on the page with direct links or must be referenced with the og:tag. In order to be used for web devices, an image must be at a minimum:

Pixels

  • 200px x 200px for desktop web devices
  • 600px x 600px for the best experience across iPads & all devices <– recommended

Image-Size

Filetype

  • image must be JPG, PNG, GIF or BMP

If you don’t have images larger than 200px x 200px, you’ll be out of luck. Facebook strongly recommends adhering to these minimum sizes so that “so that the rollout of new News Feed doesn’t negatively impact them.”

Bigger Is Better

In case you couldn’t tell above, the rollout of the new streamlined Timeline has allocated more News Feed pixels to images. This isn’t a trend that will be changing anytime soon. When creating an image to be pulled with an article (more on execution below) bigger is better. Don’t scale down the image size unless it surpasses the maximum requirements.

File Size

  • 4 Megapixel limit
  • 5 Megabite limit

Screenshot_2013-07-25-16-05-13

Again, Facebook prefers larger images than the (all devices) minimum 600px s 600px size. In their maximizing distribution section, they clearly state:

“if you have a 1500×1500 image that you can use, please use it.”

It should also be noted that the larger image trend isn’t just for Facebook. Networks like Google+ will now show images up to 1000 px x 700 px, so no need to crop/downsize/ down-sample your images if they fall under the max Facebook file-sizes.

Proper Aspect Ratio For Images

If you’re a fan of Facebook, you’ve likely seen the “square-ization” of images in the News Feed. From regular photos to link posts, all items have the same ratio, 1:1. When creating an image to pull for your article, it is important to remember that it should look good at that aspect ratio.

Aspect Ratio

  • A preferably aspect ratio would be 1 x 1 or 1 x 2
  • The highest aspect ratio users should use is 1 x 3

Crops

It is also important to remember that if an image is over the 1 x 1 ratio, it will be cropped when being displayed within News Feed.

og:image Won’t Give Users A Choice

Sometimes it’s best to do the work for others. The og:image tag allows publishers to assign an image to be pulled along with a link. Something that you may not know is that if og:image is applied, users will not have the ability to modify/remove the image when the link is shared:

Mo-No-Thumbnail

If there is not og:image tag assigned, then a user will have a selection of images to choose from:

Image-Choose

If users share via a share button on a page, they will have the same image choice buttons if no og:image is present, but will also be able to remove the thumbnail:

no-Thumb

 

Link Posts Vs. Image Posts

While the above is all well and good, we wanted to know the official stance on using image posts to promote a link within the description. With this method, users upload an image and then write a description with a link within the text.  Image posts allow for real estate. Images from link posts show a 154 px x 154 px picture, while image posts can show upwards of 552 px x 480 px.

Image-Post

The official Facebook response on whether or not your brand Page should use link posts or image posts is:

“we advise people to see what works best for their Page and fan base. Some Pages may see more engagement from links, while others may see more from posts without links — we tell people to use Insights to work out what works best for them and their audiences.”

So, feel free to do what works for you and test, test and test again. Don’t fear that your image posts aren’t acceptable to Facebook, if they are working for you, keep on using them.

For more, see the Facebook Developers section for more Facebook resources including a specific section on maximizing media distribution.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Facebook: Open Graph | How To Guides | How To Guides: Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Top News

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About The Author: is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • Rae Hoffman

    Interesting – one thing you didn’t note though is how image choices for posts affect your ability to promote posts. I’ve had multiple instances now where FB’s “word acreage” rules ( https://www.facebook.com/help/468870969814641 ) they utilize for promoted photos have gotten a post I’ve attempted to promote denied for promotion due to violating the image guidelines with the *thumbnail* of the photo I used within the post that gets put along side it. So, folks need to be really careful that if they use an image within the post that “violates” those photo guidelines, they need to upload a thumbnail that falls within them if they plan to promote the post.

  • Greg Finn

    Great point Rae!

  • http://www.northsideseo.com/ Anthony D. Nelson

    Can’t stand the 20% rule.

  • Matt McGee
  • http://www.northsideseo.com/ Anthony D. Nelson

    Was referring to promoted posts, not cover photos. 20% rule is still there.

  • http://karenkaro.com/ Karen Karo

    Pictures do help engagement. Make sure they are interesting enough to catch the eye and peek the imagination.

    One question: How do you apply the og:image tag?

  • Rae Hoffman

    Yeah, ditto on Anthony – the rule still exists for promoting 1. photo posts (as in the photo is the primary content) and 2. the photo accompanying a promoted post as the thumbnail – which is ridiculous, because it only shows at about 100X100 anyway. :/

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