** FULLY UPDATED for August 2023 **
In the fast-paced, constantly changing world of social media marketing, your business’s Facebook page is a crucial asset. It serves as the digital front door to your brand, welcoming visitors and offering a glimpse into what your small business is all about. It’s highly likely to be the first encounter that a potential customer or potential follower will have with your brand.
They’re forming a first impression… in a matter of seconds.
As such, one of the most important elements of your Facebook page is the cover image, and in today’s mobile-centric world, it’s essential to ensure that this image is not only visually appealing but also mobile-friendly.
In this blog post, I’ll dive into the nuances of creating an optimised cover image for your Facebook page that looks fantastic on mobile devices, and will also work well on desktop. All without having to understand Photoshop or having to pay a pricey graphic design expert to create that visual for you.
Understanding the Mobile Difference
Before delving into the specifics of crafting your business page’s cover image, let’s discuss why it matters. Mobile devices have become the primary means through which users access social media platforms, including Facebook. Consequently, your cover image needs to be tailored to fit the dimensions and display characteristics of these smaller screens.
When users access Facebook on a desktop computer/ laptop, the cover image is displayed in a landscape format. However, on mobile devices, the cover image is cropped and displayed as a narrower, taller version. This means that the focal point of your cover image should be centred, ensuring that important elements aren’t lost when viewed on mobile.
Ideal Dimensions for a Facebook Cover Image
To create a cover image that looks great across all devices, you need to know the optimal dimensions.
My recommendation for the best size (fully updated as of 30 August 2023), goes like this, broken down into two stages:
Stage A. Starting with the Facebook-recommended sizes…
- Desktop: 820 pixels wide x 312 pixels high
- Mobile: 640 pixels wide x 360 pixels high
It’s worth noting that these dimensions might change over time as Facebook updates its platform. It’s why I will always keep this blog updated with current information for you! 🙂
Using only one set of dimensions will lead to sections of your image not displaying, ie leaving blank space, when displayed on the other format…
So, if your image is created purely for mobile (640×360 pixels), when it is viewed on desktop, there would be insufficient width to display at the far sides of the cover image (going up to 820 pixels across).
Similarly the full height would not be accounted for if the desktop-friendly dimensions are used, and then it’s viewed on mobile.
In summary, the two differing dimensions mean some sections of the image will be missed out. You’re missing the opportunity and your page may look less professional in the eyes of a user making their first impression!
The overall recommended size – which takes into account the maximum width of the mobile view and the maximum height of the desktop view – is therefore 820 pixels x 360 pixels.
Stage B. Now, I suggest creating your image at DOUBLE these dimensions.
This is because it’s important to make sure your visual is crisp and detailed. Using twice as many pixels both lengthwise and widthwise ensures the resolution is high, the image still fits the space because it is used in proportion no matter what window/ device it is seen on, and the image will not lose quality when shown on those different devices that have screens of different retina quality.
So… doubling each:
- Desktop: 1640 pixels wide x 624 pixels high
- Mobile: 1280 pixels wide x 720 pixels high
And therefore, the optimal ‘double area’ encompassing both desktop and mobile works out to be this…
1640 pixels x 720 pixels.
Check out this diagram:
But, there’s more to consider!
Here are some tips to go about crafting your cover photo, with easy-to-follow ideas for non-design-pros.
Practical Tips for Creating Your Facebook Cover Image
Now that you understand the importance of a mobile-friendly cover image and the dimensions required to ensure your mobile-friendly image also takes a desktop user into consideration, let’s explore some practical tips for creating a compelling, as well as optimised, cover photo:
- Simplicity Speaks Volumes
Keep your cover image clean and simple. It should convey your brand’s essence and values without overwhelming viewers with too much detail or text that’s difficult to read when viewed at 100% on a mobile. Even using a large number of small photos can be confusing, at this scale.
Bold visuals and complimentary colour choices can work wonders.
- Mind the Mobile Centre
Since the mobile version of your cover image is taller and narrower, make sure the central part of the image is hooking viewers in! Avoid placing crucial elements in the extreme corners and at the edges.
This is known as the ‘Safe Zone’, so don’t design your image with elements in the lilac or blue spaces as indicated here:
- Consistency is Key
Your cover image should align with your brand’s overall vibe and the content you share. Capturing your visual identity. Ensuring consistency across your cover image, profile icon/ picture, and posts will work towards creating a cohesive and memorable brand impression.
You’ll likely also want to repeat this visual identity across the rest of your business’ online and off-line materials. Such as on your website, business cards, any flyers, posters, and digital resources you share with clients, and/or packaging materials if yours is a product-based business.
- Be Mindful of the Icon Placement
A key factor to take into consideration within the ‘Safe Zone’ is that the icon will be viewed on your home page overlapping with your cover image. The circular icon is seen covering an area at the bottom left of your cover photo. It will obscure a section of the image, like this, so you’ll also want to take this into account, not covering key details or text on the photo:
It’s hard to know the specific placement area of the icon, or specific size that’ll be covered, since this varies on different devices, but the good news is that you can do a little trial-and-error to check your design when you upload it, and then adjust the image ready to re-upload if needed.
Take a look at this diagram to get an idea:
- High-Quality Imagery
Use high-resolution images to prevent pixelation and maintain a professional appearance. Grainy or watermarked photos will give a bad impression that’s pretty hard to turn around!
- Think Seasonally to Keep it Fresh
Changing your cover image periodically to suit holidays, seasons, or timely promotions can help to keep your page fresh and relevant.
- Consider a ‘Call To Action’
It can be helpful to integrate a Call To Action in your cover image, directing visitors to learn more, sign up, shop now, or explore a specific offer. What single, clear action would you like the viewer to take, immediately?
Examples of Great Cover Images for Small Businesses
A, Local Bakery: A bakery could feature a mouth-watering photo of its most decadent cake. The cake’s focal point is centred, ensuring it remains captivating when viewed on mobile.
B, Fitness Studio: A fitness studio might showcase a group of diverse individuals working out together. They’re enjoying the experience of being in your gym, or taking one of your classes. The studio’s logo could be positioned either off-centre or centrally, but not cut off outside the ‘Safe Zone’, and not obscuring the energetic action or people’s faces.
C, Travel Agency: A travel agency’s cover image could highlight a wow-factor destination. Perhaps even with two or three smaller images, to show varied views. Too many can be distracting and would reduce the impact, so strike a balance! Since the most picturesque part of the image(s) is/ are in the centre, the whole thing is still powerful on mobile screens and enticing for a traveller looking to make a booking.
Putting It All Into Action
Designing an optimised cover image doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are plenty of user-friendly design tools available, such as Canva, which can be used for free, that offer templates tailored to social media dimensions.
Or even without a template, it allows you to create a cover photo from scratch, by setting up a ‘canvas’ at the desired dimensions of 1640 pixels x 720 pixels and then to get creative in your own style.
Select a Template to begin with that aligns with your brand’s style and messaging.
Customise it, replacing the template’s images and text with your own. Change the colours to suit your brand palette and switch up the font choices and font sizes to suit the space. Remember to centre any essential elements for the ‘Safe Zone’ and away from the part that’ll be hidden by the circular icon.
Preview and Adjust. Most design tools such as Canva will allow you to preview how your image will look on both desktop and mobile. Make adjustments as needed to ensure it looks great on both.
Download to your device, ready to upload to Facebook and evaluate. Take a moment to view it on different devices and make any final tweaks if necessary.
Your Facebook page is an invaluable tool for engaging with your audience and showcasing your brand’s personality.
It’s the very first impression that you’ll be looking to make the most of, enticing a visitor to find that ‘Follow’ button straight away – leave no room for doubt, or pause for them to swipe back.
By crafting a mobile-friendly cover image that’s optimised to suit both desktop and mobile, you’re setting your business up for success in the modern social media landscape.
Remember the dimensions, keep it simple yet captivating, and embrace the ‘Safe Zone’ for maximum impact. With these strategies and practical tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making a powerful first impression on every visitor to your page.
Let me know if you have queries on this topic; I’m happy to try and answer them,