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.
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:
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:
- 200px x 200px for desktop web devices
- 600px x 600px for the best experience across iPads & all devices <– recommended
- 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.
- 4 Megapixel limit
- 5 Megabite limit
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.
- A preferably aspect ratio would be 1 x 1 or 1 x 2
- The highest aspect ratio users should use is 1 x 3
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:
If there is not og:image tag assigned, then a user will have a selection of images to choose from:
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:
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.
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.