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Facebook format for images: the practical guide

10 February 2022Reading time: 4 min.

What is Facebook’s image format? With social media you can use various types of images for profiles, pages, posts and advertising. Let’s discover the recommended formats for each.

Few social media have the variety of recommended image formats found on Facebook. There are the photos for cover photos, personal profiles, stories and other, and all this depends on the many platform features that allow you to manage personal profiles, groups, company pages, advertising and other networking and online community creation solutions. Multiple formats also mean different resolutions and sizes depending on the content you share.

In general it is always important to pay attention to image size on social media and be sure that the images you choose are optimized before posting.

This is fundamental not only for apps focused on image sharing, such as Instagram, but also for social networks with a series of different formats: from profile photo to cover image format. For a social media manager, or anyone using a social media platform for business purposes, paying attention to the Instagram image format, as well as the image format of Facebook or any other network is very important.

Today we’ll take a close look at everything there is to know about images for Facebook.

Optimizing Facebook images

Even on the world’s most popular social platforms, poor quality pixel images, or with inadequate resolution are counterproductive.

With unoptimized graphics, the user might underestimate the value of associated content or the user who shared. Failure to display certain details in the preview may stop users from opening the full image. In addition, a failed image cannot be reused.

How can we avoid this kind of problem? A first step towards optimization is to follow Facebook’s recommendations for supported formats.

Facebook profile image format

Let’s start with the business card of any active account is active on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network: the profile image. Usually, it is a photo, but the user can also choose different graphic content.

In this case Facebook only supports square images, displayed in a circle. If the uploaded image isn’t in this format it is cropped to generate a square output both in the platform’s web version and in mobile app.

It follows that the ideal profile image size must respect a ratio of 1:1 between width and height expressed in pixels (from now on “px”). The recommended size may vary, depending on the device used, starting from 170 x 170 px for the desktop to 128 x 128 for smart phones.

Since even 170 x 170 px images are resized to 128 x 128 px on mobile phones, it is advisable to use maximum resolution to optimize for all devices.

Facebook cover image format

For profile images, Facebook recommends using PNG files for logos or a text. In other cases, you can use the JPEG format. Instead, for cover images, JPEG is recommended. Be careful to upload content with RGB color and no more than 100 KB. 

You can still use the PNG format. But regardless of the extension you choose, try to use images as light as possible since that has an important impact on loading times.

Cover images are basically backgrounds to insert in the headers of the pages whose recommended size is 851 x 315 px. After images are loaded Facebook automatically adapts them to a display of 820 x 312 px on desktop and 640 x 360 px on mobile device.

The minimum size should never be less than 400 x 150 px. Otherwise, the yield could be compromised by the compression that Facebook applies to all files or be distorted.

Group cover images

Instead, the size of Facebook group covers is 1640 x 856 px with a ratio of 1.91:1.

You should take into account that the system crops the loaded image both at the top and bottom. So, before deciding, remember that you need to leave a space of at least 96 px, both top and bottom, where there aren’t any relevant display details.

Post images

Facebook post images can be loaded in various formats. The main extensions for graphic files such as PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF and GIF are supported. Despite the great availability regarding choice, the recommended format is still the JPEG for images with RGB colors of no more than 15 MB.

If you decide to opt for PNG, then you can stay below a single MB and still get good display resolution.

Here, if the original is a good quality image, you don’t have to use heavy files to maximize details. Here, the social media naturally loads in high resolution

As for size, recommendations are 720, 960 and 2048 px, all of which have a different influence on height.

One particular example of sharing concerns the posting of links that show a preview of the content in the Facebook newsfeed. Before sharing, you should check the original server specifications. This is because social media supports deflated compression algorithms and Gzip, which means that you may have decoding errors with different solutions. 

For this type of image, the recommended size is no less than 1200 x 630 px for files up to 8 MB. 

Story images

As far as Stories are concerned, the expected width to height ratio must be 9:16 for a maximum of 1080 x 1920 px in size. These values are recommended because the Stories are displayed in full-screen and the ideal graphic rendering is given by the portrait mode.

If you have to go below the recommended width, you should still use an image of at least 500 px with a proportionate height. 

Considering that a space of 14% of the height (top and bottom) is taken up by author references and networking features, some elements in the upper and lower part of the image may not be clearly visible.

Images and advertising

Facebook offers many formats for advertising images. In this case it is possible to upload both JPEG and PNG files remembering to use the best resolution. The aim is to enhance the product, the service or the message that you want to promote.

Advertising images for newsfeed should have dimensions of 1080 x 1080 px with a ratio of 1:1 and should not exceed 30 MB. It is still possible to use files of 600 x 600 px taking into account that this is a minimum requirement. Only square size isn’t supported and a ratio of 1.91:1 is acceptable.

The same specifications are required for sponsored messages, searches, instant articles and advertising files Marketplace. Images for advertising displayed in the sidebar to the right of the Facebook desktop on the Web version can range from a minimum of 254 x 133 to a maximum of 1080 x 1080 px.

Finally, we need to talk about immersive 360 photo. Regardless of their purpose, Facebook recommends 30.000 px in any size and less than 135.000.000 as the overall size. In the case of JPEG images, images should not exceed 45 MB, 60 MB for PNG. 

It is always a good idea however to stay within the range of 20 and 30 MB. 

Conclusion

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. Every social media has its own image format and standards.

Today we looked at how Facebook allows you to upload diverse types of images depending on whether you want to edit a profile, a page, a group or your business advertising. Remember though, that each type of content has different formats. If you want to obtain an optimal result, it is always good practice to follow platform recommendations.

This article was written by

Claudio Garau

Claudio Garau

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