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Social media image sizes guide for 2020, 2021, and beyond (+ examples)

When it comes to social media, size does matter. If your social media images are the wrong size for the platform, you'll not only distract from your message, you'll also tarnish your brand image.

Social media image sizes guide for 2020, 2021, and beyond (+ examples) Blog Feature

Ramona Sukhraj

Managing Editor, Strategized Initiatives That Increased IMPACT’s Website Traffic From ~45K to ~400K

November 11th, 2020 min read

Last week, I found myself curled up on my couch anxiously eating kettle corn. OK, yes, this isn’t out of the ordinary for me, but this night was different.

You see, it was November 3, and I was watching a rather important national election — maybe you heard about it? Millions bravely left their homes during a global pandemic to cast their vote for the next president of the United States as well as their state representation, and I was more than a little bit anxious. 

As I do during most major events, I turned to Twitter to see what the world was saying, but before I could read a single tweet, this congressman from Virginia stopped my scroll — well, at least the top few inches of him did.

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This poor man. He’d just won what I’m sure was a tough race for political office, but this congratulations had him channeling Wilson from Home Improvement. To make it worse, here’s what was behind the click:

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Not only did I and anyone who saw this tweet miss out on this dazzling smile, but his name, his party, pretty much the core of the entire message was lost in the crop. Ugh. 

In the heat of election night, this distraction was welcome, but at the same time, if I wasn’t cozy in my blanket burrito, my palm would have reflexed against my forehead in annoyance. 

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This team took the time to make and post an image for their post; that’s admirable. But they failed to optimize it, hiding all of its value. Sadly, this kind of social media image size negligence is all too common and brands are often some of the biggest culprits. 

On social media, images are what grab eyes. They’re what make people pay attention to your posts over others. It doesn’t matter what your caption or tweet says; if your image misses the mark, most people will just scroll past you.  

But the solution is simple, my friends, and in this guide to social media images sizes, I’ll give you all the information you need to make sure this never happens again. 

Why does social media image size even matter?

When it comes to social media, size does matter. 

If your social media images are the wrong size for the platform at hand, words, faces, and other elements may be cropped out, hidden, or go unseen. These shortcomings not only distract from your message, but reflect poorly on your brand. 

Poor user experience

Think back to the image debacle I faced a few days ago. 

While on the click the image did its job, as a consumer, it was a hassle. I shouldn’t have had to take that extra step to know what the network was trying to tell me. 

Just like your website, additional clicks to consume content or complete an action on your social media only creates friction and more opportunities for you to lose people along their journey.

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People are lazy. To ensure your messages get seen, you have to put the most compelling and essential information front and center, especially on social media. When you do, people can make an intentional decision of whether or not they want to click-through to learn more — not just do so out of confusion. 

Overall, not optimizing your social media image sizes creates a poor user experience which can, in turn, lead to fewer eyes and less engagement. 

Poor brand image

According to Hootsuite, 52% of online brand discovery happens in public social feeds and not optimizing your social media image sizes can reflect badly on yours. 

Chopped off content can make your work look unprofessional and careless; like you rushed or didn’t put any thought into what you posted. 

In a market where people need to trust your brand in order to buy from it, these little flaws create doubt in the mind of your audience.  If you’re haphazard about something as small as a Facebook graphic, what’s to say you won’t be the same way about your products or service?

Didn’t think your social media image sizes carried so much weight, right? Now that we’re all on the same page on its importance let’s break down the specifications for the most popular platforms for social media marketing. 

Facebook social media image sizes

With just about 2.5 million daily active users (nearly 3 billion overall) and 66% of users saying they “like” or “follow” a brand on the platform, businesses would be remiss ignoring Facebook in their social media marketing efforts. 

Here are the essential sizes you need to know, with examples for each from our pals at HubSpot.

Business page profile photo size

180 x 180 px (but displays as 170 x 170px on desktop, 128 x 128 px on most smartphones); 1 x 1 aspect ratio.

The size of your profile picture on a business page is the same as it is on a personal profile, but, in most instances, this is simply your company’s logo. Making your profile picture your logo helps in building brand recognition as this will appear on every post you comment on or post. 

Facebook notes your “Page’s profile picture will be cropped to a circular shape in ads and posts, but will remain the same square shape when people visit your Page.” 

Here’s an example from HubSpot:

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Notice how the square image gets cropped to a circle on the main page:

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This can run the risk of cropping key information if not taken into account. HubSpot did a beautiful job displaying their iconic sprocket against a striking orange gradient with sufficient padding to ensure the sprocket appears large, but not crowded.

Business page cover photo size

Must be at least 400 x 150px. Max size: 820 x 312 px on desktop (but will display 640 x 360px on most smartphones).

Your cover photo is your most prominent business page real estate, so don’t waste it! This is commonly a place for a really visually striking image that represents your brand or a place to highlight an important message.

Here, Facebook notes:

“(Cover photos) load fastest as an sRGB JPG file that's 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes. For profile pictures and cover photos with your logo or text, you may get a better result by using a PNG file.” 

In HubSpot’s cover photo, they highlight their well-known motto of “Grow Better.”

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However, a few days prior, the company used this area to highlight its support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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As a platform focused on family and friends, this was a fitting social message to display on their Facebook page and once again shows the versatility of the real estate.

Shared Facebook feed image size

Recommended upload size 1,200 x 630px, but minimum of 484 x 252px for a rectangular image or 154 x 154px for a square. Rectangles will appear in feed at a max width of 470px, and max-width of 504px on a page; all shapes will scale to a max of 1 x 1 ratio.

Feed images and link thumbnails essentially follow the same sizing guidelines. While the max dimensions are for a rectangular image, square images are recommended as they take up more visual real estate. 

Canva also explains: 

“If you upload a single image to your timeline, it’s best to stick either to a square image or a photo with a 3:2 aspect ratio because Facebook will automatically scale your image to a thumbnail.” 

HubSpot does a great job of creating shareable Facebook image posts like this one on Remote Sales Tips:

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They opted for a square image which I would recommend as well since it takes up the most visual real estate when browsing on mobile. 

Shared Facebook feed link image size

Recommended upload size 1,200 x 630px, but minimum of 484 x 252px for a rectangular image or 154 x 154px for a square. Rectangles will appear in feed at a max width of 470px, and max-width of 504px on a page; all shapes will scale to a max of 1 x 1 ratio.

Facebook typically automatically pulls a thumbnail from the link you are sharing. That looks like this when optimized correctly:

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You also, however, can upload a new image to attach according to the feed image guidelines mentioned above. 

Facebook event cover photo size

Recommend upload size of 1200 x 1080px (minimum of 470 × 174px).

While cover photos on personal profiles and business pages are the same, event pages are dramatically different. Make sure to plan accordingly. What you should showcase here will be dictated by the event.

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For example, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and most events being virtual, HubSpot has been using its event photos to focus essential information in an on-brand graphic. 

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With in-person events, however, they would often use a photo from past similar events or even a reel of footage. 

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Ultimately, they used this space to drive home the experience that would be had at the event.

Facebook group cover photo size

Recommended upload size of 1,640 x 856px.

Last year, Facebook announced that more than 400 million users belong to a group that they find meaningful, which means it’s no place to slack when it comes to optimizing your images.

In this example, HubSpot keeps it simple with an on-brand graphic with the name of the group:

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Facebook ad image sizes

While Facebook ads generally follow the same guidelines as organic feed posts and videos, there are several technical specifications that should be considered. You can find them outlined by the platform itself

Instagram social media image sizes

While some may argue Instagram is Facebook’s younger sibling, the visual social platform has certainly taken on a life of its own. With over one billion monthly active users and 200 million claiming to visit at least one brand profile a day, it certainly warrants its own focus, but there aren’t as many “profile” images to consider.

For this, we will use workout app, Aaptiv as an example. 

Instagram profile picture size

110 x 110px (but keep in mind it will be cropped to a circle on your profile, in feed, and in Stories feed)

Like your Facebook business page, you’ll likely want to make your Instagram profile picture your logo to promote brand awareness. This is especially important as this is your only static visual branding opportunity on the platform.

As you can see below, Aaptiv’s use of white space (and a white background) makes sure their black logo is crisp and easy to spot.

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Shared Instagram feed image size

Max size for square images is 1080 x 1080px (will be scaled down to 612 x 612px), 1080 x 1350px for portrait, 1080 x 566px for landscape.  

With Instagram now allowing portrait and landscape images, more than anything, you should be considering dimensions and ratios to ensure your full images get displayed. Whether square or rectangle photos, make sure to maintain an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5 ratio.

For any orientation, Canva recommends you “keep your image at [max] 1080 pixels wide.”

Aaptiv does a great job of creating simple, shareable custom images for their Instagram feed. Note how this example appears fully optimized whether viewed on mobile or desktop:

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How the post appears on mobile

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How the same post appears on Aaptiv's profile on desktop

social-media-image-sizesThe post fully expanded on desktop

Shared Instagram Story image size

Max size of 1080 x 1920px.

Like in your feed, in your Instagram Stories, you have the freedom to share images of pretty much any size. However, to make the most of the screen space, design your images with the 1080 x 1920 px limit in mind.

Take a look at this Story frame from Aaptiv.

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The brand doesn’t waste an inch of the screen space. Everything is spaced out well and bold, making it easy to read while also guiding eyes to the “see more” icon at the bottom. 

Instagram ad sizes

Similar to Facebook, Instagram ads tend to follow the same guidelines as organic feed posts and videos, but there are technical specifications that should be considered. Thankfully, Facebook and Instagram have outlined them in detail.

Twitter social media image sizes

Twitter may notoriously have trouble monetizing its platform, but its unique place in the social media ecosystem and greater society is undeniable. With roughly 330 million users, it’s one of the few places to get real-time updates on any subject.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t use Taco Bell as the example here!

Twitter profile photo size

400 x 400px (displays 200 x 200px), max file size 2MB.

Like the other platforms, your profile picture is what appears alongside everything you post, so making sure it’s the highest resolution is essential.

Taco Bell takes this very seriously, so they uploaded an image where you can also feel the glow of the neon logo:

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My only critique here would be that I would like to see more contrast between the profile picture and the cover image when visiting the brand’s profile.

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Speaking of cover images...

Twitter profile cover photo size

Max size 1500 x 500px; although square and portrait photos can be cropped in Twitter, landscape-oriented photos are strongly recommended. 

Your Twitter header photo only appears on your profile, but like your Facebook cover photo it is an opportunity to highlight something significant to your brand. 

Taco Bell’s certainly grabs your eye and capitalizes on the all-too relatable experience for many of driving up to Taco Bell drive thru late night:

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Again, it would have been great to see more visual contrast between this and the company’s logo, but standalone, the header image does a lot right. 

Shared Twitter feed image size

1024 x 512 px (max file size of 5MB).

Feed images are displayed at 1024 x 512 pixels on Twitter. As these notoriously get compressed, it’s recommended that you upload the highest resolution you can under the size limit.

Taco Bell’s images are crisp, vibrant, and nothing of importance is hidden. 

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Also, Twitter allows you to upload up to four images at one time.

The more you add, the smaller each image gets when displayed. In tweets sharing two images, each image becomes 700 x 800px; in tweets with three, the left image is 700 x 800px, while the right two are 1200 x 686px, and lastly, in tweets with four images, each image becomes 1200 x 600. 

Twitter ad sizes

You can find all of Twitter’s ad image specifications here

LinkedIn social media image sizes

Unlike the other platforms on our list, LinkedIn is primarily focused on professional audiences. It touts over 760 million users in over 200 countries and regions, with more than 260 million monthly active users, so if you’re a B2B brand, it can’t be ignored.

LinkedIn company page logo/profile image size

300 x 300px (max file size of 4 MB).

This one is pretty cut-and-dry. Upload a clean, high resolution image of your logo and make sure it is crisp on the page. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, users won’t be able to click to enlarge it, or comment or like.

Our friends at Element Three made their logo look sophisticated and upscale on its profile:

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LinkedIn business profile cover photo size

1536 x 768 px; although square and portrait photos can be cropped in Twitter, landscape-oriented photos are strongly recommended. 

Like personal profiles, LinkedIn company pages can also have a header image, but they are sized very differently. 

There isn’t a ton of space to work with here, but with the right design, you can make a visual and verbal impact. You can use this area to highlight your product, service, team, or business tagline. 

As you can see in the screenshot above, Element Three’s profile went for a graphic with a simple, but powerful tagline that gives you a good idea about what their brand stands for. 

Shared LinkedIn feed image size

1200 x 627px upload size (displays at 552 x 289px).

LinkedIn has become more visual over the years, enabling the sharing of videos and images. Feed images are a great way to draw attention to your posts by highlighting quotes, headshots, and event photos among other things.

Here’s a great on-brand example from Element Three:

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Shared LinkedIn link image size

1200 x 627px upload size (displays at 552 x 289 px).

Like Facebook, LinkedIn automatically pulls in a thumbnail from links shared like seen below:

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While this abstract image works well, when sharing a link to LinkedIn always make sure that it displays as you intended before hitting publish. 

LinkedIn Life tab cover photo (company careers) size

1128 x 376px.

You may not be aware of this (I actually wasn’t until I sat down to research this article), but on your LinkedIn page, there is also an option to have a dedicated “careers” page where you can highlight your company culture. 

This is listed on your profile as “Life” and allows you to further attract talent or interest by showcasing unique content (written and visual) separate from your main profile and from your job listings. It can even pull in employee-generated content from throughout the platform if they use designated hashtags. 

This tab has a hero image where you can show a photo of your team or something that truly exemplifies what it’s like working for your organization.

Element Three didn’t have a Life tab, in fact, I didn’t find many brands that did — but we can always count on HubSpot!

HubSpot has two different pages and, in turn, two different covers on its Life tab, but both highlight members of their team. While the “Marketing” image shows a teammate working in office, the “HubSpot Life” image shows a diverse group of employees representing the company at a Pride event:

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This gives you a well-rounded picture of what it’s like as a member of the HubSpot team. 

Shared LinkedIn Life tab photo (company careers) size

264 x 176px.

On the Life tab, you can also share photos of your team, company events, your office spaces, and anything else that would make you more attractive to talent.  

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LinkedIn ad sizes

LinkedIn offers a variety of in-feed advertising that includes single-image, carousel, and “dynamic” ads. You can find the specifications for those directly from the platform here

YouTube social media image sizes

YouTube is often touted as the second largest search engine in the world. 

In fact, over 2 billion users visit YouTube each month and every day, over a billion hours of video are consumed. If you’re investing in video marketing, optimizing your presence on the platform should be a key focus.

YouTube channel profile photo size

800 x 800px (displays as 98 x 98px).

Once again, your profile picture can’t be engaged with on YouTube. It’s purely there for branding purposes so it should be bold and high resolution like Netflix’s:

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YouTube channel cover art size

2560 x 1440px (1546 x 423px minus bleed), maximum file size 4MB.

When people click on your profile from your videos, they’re engaged, so use this opportunity to make it clear what you’re about and why they should subscribe in your cover photo. 

Depending on your branding, you may want to use this for a sleek image or to tell visitors a little bit more about yourself.

Netflix uses its channel art to highlight a high-profile upcoming title, in this case, Season 4 of The Crown:

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This promotion also aligns with the first video on the page, making for a smart, cohesive messaging experience for visitors.

YouTube video preview thumbnail image size

1280 x 720px.

When you upload a video to YouTube, the platform automatically chooses a thumbnail. You can also adjust these a few frames on the backend, but we recommend that you create and upload your own custom thumbnail.

This gives you the ability to highlight exactly what you want to get seen and known by your viewers before clicking through and to even add text. 

On Netflix’s channel, you can see the company uses its thumbnails to display pivotal scenes as well as the title of the show or film and a description of what the video is (i.e. an “official clip.”)

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If you're a business looking for inspiration, here is how we do our thumbnails for our educational videos on the IMPACT YouTube channel:

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Pinterest social media image sizes

Last, but not least, we have Pinterest. While this may be more catered to B2C and consumer good marketing, it’s also proven to be fertile ground for educational content distribution.

While posts on other profiles can grow stale in a matter of days (if not hours or minutes like on Twitter), quality Pinterest content is known to get shared for months

Pinterest profile picture size

280 x 280px (displays 165 x 165px on your main profile as a circle, 32 x 32px on the rest of platform), max file size 10MB.

Here’s a perfect example from Target:

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(Yes, their bullseye was convenient in this instance, but we can’t knock them for that.)

Shared Pinterest pin image size

Minimum width of 600px expanded, max-width of 236px on feeds and within a board (height scaled), Recommended ratio of 2:3 to 1:3.5.

This is the meat and potatoes of the platform and essentially the thumbnail of your content so it’s best to custom design something that includes a high quality image and descriptive text.

Pins are all displayed in portrait with the height scaled according to a max width. 

Target takes a unique approach with their pins, opting for uniform sizes to keep their feed looking neat and tidy:

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Pinterest board cover image size

600 x 600px.

Your board covers are essentially your album covers. Use these square images to simply highlight a focus item or optimize this to match your brand.

Target, with the ability to purchase directly on Pinterest, chooses to let the products speak for themselves: 

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Tools to help size your social media images

This sounds more complicated than you thought, right? Same.

But we don’t have to go at it alone. 

If you have a graphic designer on staff, they should be able to help you optimize your images for these specifications with no problems (bless their souls), but if you’re a small team or just getting started, there are several tools to help.

My go-to recommendation is always Canva. Canva offers a wide variety of pre-sized templates for all of the platforms mentioned above. You can save and even post directly to many of the platforms straight from inside the tool.

I also recently discovered Sprout Social’s Landscape. This free tool helps you resize your images for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and more, but doesn’t offer design capabilities like Canva. 

Lastly, there are also platform-specific tools like Instasize (focused on Instagram), that can help you make sure your images are sized for success. With these specifications and tools in hand, you should be fully equipped to make your social media picture perfect in 2021.

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