Imagine you’re on someone’s Facebook Page.
What do you notice first?
Let’s give you some hints:
- It’s a very specific visual content that sits right at the top of the page.
- It takes around a quarter of the screen on almost all desktop browsers.
Yes, you guessed it right! It’s the Facebook cover photo!
This 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall image is the first thing that everyone notices on a Facebook profile or page.
Knowing this, you probably realize why it’s so important to make a good first impression with your Facebook cover image.
Whether you’re using Facebook as an individual or you’re using it for business in order to generate leads, you should have some basic knowledge about cover photos.
Luckily for you, we have written down The Ultimate Facebook Cover Guide about the things you should and shouldn’t do in your Facebook cover photo.
1. Follow Facebook’s cover photo guidelines
We know that you already know this, however, we cannot point out enough how important it is to obey Facebook’s guidelines for your cover photo. Get familiarized with some of the basic rules by taking a look at the full Page Guidelines. This will give you a better idea on how this works.
Here are some very important details to keep in mind about your cover image:
- Cover photos are always public
- Cover photos cannot be misleading and/or deceptive of infringing on anyone else’s copyright.
- You cannot make people upload your cover on their timelines.
If Facebook catches you violating these guidelines, they can take some very serious actions against your profile or page. Keep in mind that Facebook doesn’t explicitly say what can happen if you disobey their rules, however, it is most likely that they will take down your Facebook Page over a cover image. Now that you know this, be careful! It’s not exactly smart to get shut down because of such violations.
2. Always Upload Images With The Right Size: 828 by 315 px and 640 px by 360 px
So you’ve spent all this time and put in so much effort in designing the perfect Facebook cover photo, and finally, the big day has come: you upload it!
However, out of nowhere, you notice it kind of looks weird! Why? Because you let one small but important detail escape: image size.
Make sure your cover photo has these exact dimensions: 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall for desktop, 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall for mobile.
Uploading smaller or bigger images than the above-mentioned size will make all photos look bad. If you upload something smaller, Facebook will stretch it to make it the right size. If it’s too big, you cannot upload it at all!
Avoid all this hassle by simply resizing your photos to fit your profile or page.
3. Don’t Overdo It With Texts On Photos
Facebook removed all of the announcements regarding the 20% rule on text in cover photos. Before 2013, Facebook did not allow its users to write down text which would take more than 20% of their cover photos.
Now that this rule no longer applies, it does not mean that you should overdo it with a lot of text in your cover photo. A lot of people thought that the 20% very restrictive for marketers, so when Facebook lifted that rule, they overflowed their cover photos with text.
This only made their Facebook profiles look bad. If you’re going to use text in your cover photo, make sure to keep it simple and to the point. Try to be informative and engaging at the same time.
4. Always Use Clear And Simple Images
Your cover photo is the first thing people notice when they visit your Facebook page. If this image is too distractive or has poor quality, people may lose interest in your page.
Some of the best Facebook covers out there use a single subject as their focal point. They also make use of the negative white, like empty spaces and CTA buttons to stand out. Take a look at the images below which demonstrate the perfect use of this space:
5. Watch Out For The Space Behind Your Profile Picture.
You might have noticed that a part of you cover photo doesn’t appear on your Facebook page because it is hidden behind your profile photo. This is because of the way profile photos and cover photos are featured. This means that people can see your entire cover photo only if they click on it.
Your page name and buttons on the bottom right (Like, Message, Sign Up) also cover sections of your Facebook cover photo. Check out how on how some of these parts aren’t immediately noticed by people who visit Facebook pages:
According to Facebook, the profile photo is located 16 pixels from the left edge of the cover photo, and 176 pixels from the top of the cover photo. You can make use of this hidden space to your advantage. For example, you could hide an Easter egg behind your profile photo for some sort of a contest. We personally think that keeping that space clear the best practice.
6. Pay Attention To The Bottom Of Your Photo As Well
The profile photo isn’t the only thing that can take up space from your Facebook cover photo. Keep in mind that your cover photo is not shown in full on your main page. This photo is not stretched-out which means that the bottom part of it does not appear to your others. Knowing this, you should avoid writing down important content or key information on the bottom of your cover photo. That part is also hidden by the CTA buttons.
To avoid doing this, it is recommended to imagine an imaginary line about halfway of the chosen profile photo in which you can write down key information. Take a look at the image below:
7. Always Put Focal Objects Of Your Cover Photo On The Right
Because your profile picture is positioned on the left corner, it is preferred that you put the focus of your cover design somewhere on the right side of the image.
Quick test! Which one of these do you think looks better?
Doesn’t the second one, the one with the focus on the right look so much better? All of the design elements are balanced out through the photo, whereas in the second one pretty much everything is on the left side. This sort of image can make you miss some very important details of the product because it is overloaded with images.
Balance is an essential factor of design because it makes your cover photo look more aesthetically pleasing and more effective.
8. Think About Your Mobile-Friendly Audience
More than half of Facebook users, 54.25% to be more precise, use this app only on their mobile phones. This is a very big number, which is why it’s so important to make sure you adjust your profile or page accordingly to the needs of mobile users.
Usually, a big part of your Facebook cover photo is hidden on mobiles from the profile picture and the name, which are both on top of the page. We will demonstrate this by taking a look at Adobe’s Facebook page on a desktop browser and on a phone:
You can clearly see how the sides of the cover photo are completely cut off on the mobile site. Remember that on the desktop site you cover size had different promotions compared to the mobile site. The PC display is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels, and on phones, it is 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall. Read Facebook’s guidelines regarding cover sizes right here.
Take a look at how the text from Adobe’s cover is completely cut off on the right side. Though it looks best to right-align your photo, pay attention to so you don’t get it cut off for mobile users.
9. Combine Your Cover Photo With Other Parts Of Your Profile
In order to make the most out of Facebook’s marketing platform for your business, you should combine its design with other parts of your Page. For example, you could try to integrate your profile photo and your cover photo in one big piece, or you could use some basic elements to focus attention on other functions of your business Facebook profile.
Integrate your cover photo with your profile photo
You can easily make your profile photo and your cover photo appear as if they’re two parts of only one canvas. You simply need to use your imagination and learn some design basics. Take a look at this example for illustration:
Reminder: Don’t forget that your profile looks different on a phone app than on desktop. Knowing this, you’ll have to decide which one you’re going to go for. Facebook cover photos are usually noticed more on desktops rather than mobile phones, which is why it might be better to prioritize your profile photo and cover photo for this sort of combination.
Get people’s attention to buttons
The buttons that appear on the right of the page are one of the most important things to keep in mind when designing your cover photo. Take a look here at how you can draw people’s attention to the main buttons- Like, Follow and Message-while at the same time giving you whole profile an aesthetically good view.
Reminder: Though a lot of people think that adding some sort of a clue, like an arrow, for example, to point out their main buttons, keep in mind that the site looks differently on desktops and differently on phones and putting such clues make confuse your audience.
10. Provide a Short Links And Add UTM Codes that align with your page CTA.
If you think that using your Facebook cover photo to show off your Call To Action buttons works best for your business then make sure that you write down some sort of text that also includes the CTA’s content and link to that offer. By doing so, people can look at your cover photo directly while at the same time having access to the download link.
Here’s how you can do this:
By having the short link and by tracking clicks, you can see what best works for your audience and you can better adjust to their needs. After all, your business Facebook Profile is made for your clients, so always find ways to understand what works best for them.
11. Pin Important Posts Right Below Your Facebook Cover Photo
Have you ever noticed how some people pin posts to their Facebook Page Timeline? You probably have. That’s basically the whole point of pinning. By pinning a post on your Facebook timeline, you highlight that post for up to seven days for people to see. These posts are pointed put by a small yellow flaw, usually on the top right. Here’s an example:
So what do this have anything to do with Facebook cover photo optimization? Well, it has plenty to do with that! If you’re already putting in the time to design the perfect cover photo with the right image and description, you should also make sure to actually place that same thing in a place where people can notice it. And this is where the pin feature comes in- you pin your post and it appears on the top of your Timeline for at least seven days.
By doing this you’re sending out a clear message to all people about your Call To Action buttons when they visit your page (whether it’s on a computer or mobile), and in turn get the conversations going. Pinning a post is very simple. After you publish something on Facebook, click on the arrow on the right corner of that post, choose “Pin to Top” and Voilà! You’ll see your post appear on the top of your page right there and now.