Social media posts and ads rely increasingly on visual content to attract engagement As photos and videos have become more important to social success, knowing exactly how to prepare your rich media for upload has also risen up the agenda for social marketers.
In order to get your images and videos just right for social, you should refer to an up-to-date social media image sizing guide. This article features reviews of three of the best guides online, from Sprout Social, SocialPilot and Hootsuite.
We’ve included details on which social platforms each guide covers, plus the time since the last update of each guide (correct at the time we wrote this article).
Publisher: Sprout Social
Social platforms covered: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr
Sprout Social’s social media image guide offers an ideal mix of basic guidance and up-to-date information.
The content walks you through the strategic purpose of each image type on each platform, from Instagram profile images (“Ensure [the photo]] is recognisable so users can find you easier through search or explore”), to Facebook events photos (“they help capture the attention of users and cut through the noise of Facebook.”)
In terms of image specifications, this guide offers particularly clear guidance, with each spec in the form of a written bullet point. There are details on image dimensions, aspect ratios, file sizes, and other need-to-know information such as image editing options where applicable.
This guide’s title urges us to ask: is it really always up-to-date? We researched the webpage’s change history using Wayback Machine, and we were impressed to note that the page has typically been updated several times per month since it was first indexed in 2014. While we can’t say for sure that the guide is up-to-date 100% of the time, it is certainly one of the most diligently managed we’ve seen.
Graphics are used throughout the guide to indicate how each image type will be incorporated into the relevant social platform’s user interface (UI).
Social platforms covered: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube
SocialPilot’s guide will appeal to readers who want colourful, evocative commentary on how social images should be implemented. While the writing could benefit from a spot of proofreading in places, it’s still a much more enjoyable read than your average image-sizing guide, with decisive interpretations of what each image type can achieve for an account.
The specifications in this guide are relatively select, compared to the others we’ve reviewed. For instance, the guide groups the many types of Facebook image into just two sub-points. This makes for lighter reading, suitable for those who are looking to learn about the image size guidelines for various post types at once. However, it does sometimes make it tricky to find specific details within the guide.
One slight concern we have with this guide is the frequency with which it is updated, which does not seem to be as high as was the case with Sprout Social’s guide. However, SocialPilot’s guide seems to have been published only this year, and it may be the case that the publisher starts updating it more regularly as it gains traction with the search engine algorithms and becomes more of a visit-driver for SocialPilot.
All things considered, SocialPilot’s guide is a useful primer on social media image sizing – but you may want to follow up by visiting the Sprout Social guide we reviewed previously.
Social platforms covered: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest
This is an exceptionally clear, authoritative guide to social media video sizes and specs.
It features up-to-date specifications on video file size, aspect ratio and width, along with other details such as supported file types and best practices.
We were impressed to note that some of the listings in this guide gave specifications on particular types of video on individual social platforms. For instance, the Facebook video specs are split into regular videos, 360 videos, in-stream video ads, Messenger video ads, carousel video ads, Collection cover videos, Instant Experience (IX) videos and slideshow ads. There’s an animated graphic accompanying the information for each video type, which makes it easy to relate the specifications to the corresponding video formats.
One of this guide’s greatest strengths is its simplicity. However, some readers may require more guidance on how to actually implement the specifications discussed. If that sounds like you, don’t give up on Hootsuite’s guide, as there are links to more detailed resources as part of each listing.
A quick search on Wayback Machine showed us that this guide has been updated frequently throughout 2020. Remarkably, the webpage for the guide was last modified just an hour before we wrote our review.
Social image sizing specifications are always changing, and as such, we recommend finding a guide that changes with them. To varying extents, the guides we’ve reviewed here all do well on this score.
If you’d like to check for yourself how often any sort of online guide has been updated, just type its URL into Wayback Machine, and compare the versions of the webpage which have been indexed over the weeks, months or years. A guide with a long track record of consistent change can usually be trusted to give you the up-to-date info you need.