Your Facebook cover photo is the largest piece of visual content and the first thing that people see when they visit your Facebook page. We all know that first impressions matter. That is why it is imperative to your business to get it right.
Your cover photo needs to represent your brand, be high-quality and be optimised to display properly on both mobile and desktop devices to make your business look professional.
There were over 2.01 billion monthly active users on Facebook worldwide for June 2017, a 17% increase year on year (Source: Facebook 26 July 2017). In December 2016, there were 1.15 billion daily active users on a mobile device, a 23% increase (Source: Facebook 1 February 2017).
However, it seems that many small boutique businesses and even global brands worldwide seem to ignore their mobile customers. With more than half of Facebook users logging in on their mobile device, it seems crazy to ignore this growing audience.
Here is an example we created to show what so many cover photos look like on mobile that we are seeing lately. As you can see, vital information is cut off on the mobile view (left). This is a rather subtle example, some are quite awkward to say the least.
On mobile, your cover photo will appear a bit taller proportionally to the long rectangular display on desktop most people are used to. If you don't use the correct dimensions, the sides of your cover photo may be chopped off when viewed on mobile – which could crop out important information.
Cover photos can be used to:
Drive sales/lead generation with relevant 'Call to Action' button
Advertise upcoming events/holidays/special occasions
Promote seasonal sales/special offers
Show off your product/service
Highlight your team as the faces behind the scenes
For cover photos with your logo or text, you may get a crisper result by using a PNG file. When you load your new cover photo, make sure you load it via your desktop device and adjust the positioning if required. If you upload your cover photo via mobile, the compression is not ideal and will end up making your cover photo look slightly blurry around the text/logo on desktop view.
According to Facebook, your cover photo must:
Display at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on your Page on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones
Be at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall
Load fastest as an sRGB JPG file that's 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes
That can all get a bit confusing as Facebook gives you 4 different dimensions. We have experimented with several different sizes and have researched what other businesses are using – with both successful and unsuccessful cover photos.
We have provided two size options below that could work well depending on the artwork you are using and the brand message you are trying to convey. The world isn’t one size fits all, so we have found that with our clients it’s good to have options.
Below are the first dimensions we recommend. The first set of dimensions seems to be becoming the preferred method as it works best on Facebook and doesn’t have too many artwork limitations (you only have to account for cropping on desktop).
Here are the alternate dimensions that we occasionally use if we don’t have too much flexibility in altering the artwork from our clients. With these dimensions, you do have to consider where the artwork will be cropped on both desktop and mobile.
Funny enough, many of the brands we looked at are currently using dimensions similar to this more rectangular shape.
We have gone through hundreds of Facebook business pages for large global brands as well as smaller boutique New Zealand brands to have a look at how well they have optimised their FB cover photo.
There are loads of great examples out there, many using the new video format (more on that below), however, we were so surprised to see a large number of big brands, even global brands that clearly haven't tested on mobile. In this day and age with the majority of social media users on mobile phones, that is nothing short of shocking.
While we could give you a long visual 'list' of what not to do, we'd rather focus on the positive and the brands that we think are nailing it. No doubt you will stumble upon those brands that aren't quite up to speed on your own.
And in no specific order, here are fourteen great examples of powerful cover photos that also work well on mobile. (Please note, some of these cover photos may have changed since our research phase, hopefully they are keeping up the great work!):
Pizza Hut. Pizza. New Menu. Yum! It really says it all.
Audi USA. Striking image + powerful tagline. A bold helmet sure does make me think fast!
Celebrity Cruises (AUS/NZ). Gorgeous photo highlighting the ship and the port of call as well as a timely update on the new season cruises coming down under. They have gone with the 820x462ish ratio layout as you can see below (it doesn't crop in on the sides on mobile).
Speight's NZ. New product promotion, excellent use of complementary colours, eye-popping graphics, great visual balance and a clear and concise message. Who's thirsty?
Bombay Sapphire. Speaking of thirsty, how beautiful is this cover photo? Simple and lovely, yet complex - just like the gin. And it ties in beautifully with their multi-series promotional video campaign highlighting the 10 botanicals in the spirit.
Nike. The iconic "Just do it" in powerful black and white. Enough said!
M&M's U.S.A. No tagline needed. No special deal. Just a colourfully delicious photo of the product to entice. Works great on mobile too with no important information to be cropped.
BAND-AID Brand. Clear product promotion with a strong visual - even if you don't do pointe dance, you can only imagine the blisters! BAND-AID to the rescue. They are clearly thinking about the mobile display here as well in the design which is great to see.
Target (USA). Strong visual impact to say the least. We love the replicating logo graphic in the background with the centre focal point. It certainly stops you in your tracks.
KitKat. This one stood out to use because of the clever design to work well on both mobile and desktop. It looks perfect on mobile, but those dark side panels would look rather empty without the cleverly placed, though not super important, info in the corners giving balance to the desktop version.
Z Energy (NZ). We like this example that highlights some of the team members which make Z Energy what it is. They are not just selling petrol and snacks, they are selling a pleasant experience in the every day.
Veuve Clicquot. Brand colour, nailed it. Product display, envious. No words needed. This makes us want an excuse to celebrate! And of course thoughtfully designed for mobile.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Here is another example of a company using the 820x462 ratio and it works well. Magical photo where you can imagine yourself and a punchy tagline.
Lewis Road Creamery. Light, bright and cheerful. Very on-brand for Lewis Road Creamery and a great display of their new product.
While this blog is all about helping people optimise their cover photo, it would be remiss of us to not mention that Facebook began testing cover videos back in April this year. The first video cover graphic appeared on the Facebook page for Narcos, a Netflix drama. And from there, Facebook slowly started rolling it out to more business pages.
In an official statement, Facebook said “By making the Facebook cover video available, we want to help you create more engaging interactions and drive a more rich experience for your audience by letting you spotlight your creative content in one of the most prominent spaces: your page cover.”
More about Facebook cover videos:
At least 20 seconds long, but no more than 90 seconds long
Recommended dimensions are 820px by 462px
Cover videos auto-play (muted) and auto-loop
There is an unmute option in the bottom righthand corner
Only available for business pages and not personal profiles yet
You must upload via desktop as the feature is not currently available to upload on mobile
Depending on your product or service, cover videos offer an amazing opportunity to tell your brand story in a much more engaging manner. Obviously fantastic for movies, TV shows, cars/motorbikes/boats, fashion, FMCG brands, photographers and videographers and so much more.
We have seen some really great examples of the cover videos so far even though it's very much in the early stages and still rolling out worldwide, here are some of the early adopters to have a look at: BMW, Air New Zealand, Red Bull, Disney, Express and Anytime Fitness.
One last piece of advice, make sure that your cover photo/video follows the Pages Terms. Cover photos/videos can't be deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone's copyright. It's not worth the risk to get your business page taken down for a silly mistake.
We hope you enjoyed this blog and hopefully you have gotten some valuable takeaways and inspiration as well.
Photo used for 'Travel Co.' example provided by Nathan McBride on Unsplash.