Facebook cover photos: a no-nonsense 5-point guide

Facebook cover photo display sizes:

  • Desktop: 820 pixels wide, 312 pixels tall.
  • Mobile: 640 pixels wide, 360 pixels tall.
  • Ideal file format: PNG

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Facebook cover photos are a great place to show off your brand. Even though most people discover your content on their newsfeeds, the cover photo is your Facebook page’s focal point. And everyone wants to look good, right?

The ideal cover photo should offer people a taste of your business that makes them want to scroll down or click ‘Learn More.’

Here’s our attempt:

Even if you consider yourself Facebook-familiar, the social media platform evolves faster than Taylor Swift’s identity. So there are probably a few scraps of cover photo know-how that have slipped under your radar—like Facebook cover videos, for example.

And if you’ve never chosen a cover photo for your Facebook page before, you’ve come to the right place. Prepare for some solid practical advice with a splash of inspiration.

Shall we?

1. Try your cover photo on for size

Okay, I’m going to clarify the size stuff a bit more. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

And you’ve got to get this stuff right, because after you’ve convinced Gary from HR to pose for the photo, you don’t want him to end up looking like Stretch Armstrong.

Don't stretch your Facebook cover photo

Luckily, Facebook does a pretty good job of resizing your photo to fit both desktop and mobile displays—in case you forgot, that’s 820 px by 312 px on desktop, 640 px by 360 px on mobile.

There seems to be some confusion over this, as personal Facebook profiles have slightly different cover photo sizes. But these Facebook business page sizes are straight from the book itself.

Also, you only get to choose one photo for both mobile and desktop. So someone smarter than me over at Buffer figured out the ideal size to fit both platforms: 820 px wide, 462 px tall.

My advice? Just make sure it’s pretty close to these dimensions and Facebook will do the rest.

But check that crucial parts of your image aren’t cropped out on mobile, so Gary from HR isn’t shaking hands with a floating arm.

2. Make your cover photo work with your profile pic

Unlike personal profile pages, your Facebook page cover photo and profile picture no longer overlap. So any fancy blending between the two like this is off the cards:

That’s not to say they shouldn’t compliment each other. Brand colors, fonts, and visual themes should be consistent across both images—whatever you choose.

And remember that your profile picture will appear to the left of your cover photo—so put the visual focal point of your cover photo slightly to the right for the ideal Facebook feng shui.

If your profile picture is your company logo, then feel free to go for something a bit more adventurous with the cover photo.

Need a solid source of free pics to work with? Here’s 25 of them.

But with that said…

3. Don’t go too crazy

You may have a lot of pixel-space to fill, but that doesn’t mean you should throw everything you can at it. More often than not, less is more.

For example, using text is fine—unlike some other instances where Facebook restricts the amount of text you’re allowed on a picture. Got a marketing campaign or promotional offer you want to shout about? Then maybe it’s time for your old friend HUGE BLOCK CAPITALS to visit.

But don’t pour word soup all over the top of your Facebook page. It’s distracting, and likely won’t leave the impression you’re after. Check out this verbal casserole:

Use different elements sparingly, and think about how they guide people’s eyes. Check out how Ironhack’s cover photo leads you naturally from left to right: the text contrasts with the vibrant image of people on the right, which emphasises the ‘Send Message’ CTA.

Cover photos aren’t the only thing Ironhack’s getting right: read about their push to tackle the tech gender gap here.

Another place you should think about adding text is in your cover photo description.

If you amaze people enough with your cover image choice, they might even click on it to get a closer look—this is when the description text shows up.

Use this as another place to drop a link to your site or maybe even a promotion. Not the most pressing thing to worry about, but it takes less than a minute, so why not?

4. Get creative

Facebook cover photos are a great place to show off your latest brand concepts, images, and ideas. Or if you’re selling burgers, just a massive photo of a burger. It all depends on what you want your brand messaging to express.

And you know your brand better than me. So I’m going to shut up for a minute and show you a selection of cool examples.

Target keeps it simple. Fun, human, and unapologetically red and white. Sometimes, just playing on your brand imagery is enough.

Beats are promoting their latest headphones with some neon. Cool and subtle, even though they’re selling something in the photo.

And Shopify has gone for an illustration, which gives their Facebook page a warm, friendly feel. If you have illustration skills at your disposal, don’t be afraid to use them.

Adidas, on the other hand, could probably do with adjusting their cover photo.

See how half the word is cropped out on the right? This is why you should check how your photo looks after you’ve chosen it.

Got a website you’d also like to add some photos to? Check out our top tips.

However you decide to approach your company page’s Facebook cover photo, it should feel like an introduction: a simple, punchy, and enticing snapshot of your business that makes people want to know more.

So that pretty much wraps things up, right?

Wrong. Because these days, a photo isn’t enough for some.

5. Facebook cover video tips

That’s right, you can now upload a video to head your Facebook page. Is this overkill? Well, all the cool kids are doing it. Check out MailChimp’s:

So peaceful. Want to be regarded as one of the ‘cool kids’ by onlookers like myself? Time to pick up the camera and start shooting your Facebook cover video. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Dimensions: Video display sizes are the same as for still images.
  • Length: Can be up to 90 seconds long.
  • Sound: There’s a good chance people won’t view your cover video with the sound turned on, so it should work just as well muted.
  • Pause-proof: People viewing your page might find it distracting and pause it—pause-proof your video by making sure it also looks great when not in motion.

But what about the actual content? With up to a minute and a half of video time to play with, you have a lot of options.

So grab some popcorn and take a look at these Facebook flicks.

Some companies have jumped at the chance for extra promotion with a fully-fledged video ad, like Hubspot. Their Spanish page’s Facebook cover video is a good example of combining subtitles and high production values to deliver a powerful brand message.

On the other hand, Buffer uses a friendly video to show their company’s human side. Shots of a team day out are a warm welcome to their slice of Facebook, presenting the company as a sea of smiling faces rather than just a brand.

And lastly, Hello Social has come up with a fun, yet subtle animation that acts more as an augmented cover photo than a proper video.

The global takeaway? Exercise restraint. Even the more elaborate Facebook cover videos in this bunch only last about 20 seconds.

So keep this in mind before you go all Steven Spielberg. It’s unlikely that people will want to watch a 90-second ad when they click over to your company’s Facebook page.

Personally, I think the more subtle, the better—MailChimp and Hello Social do a great job of visually complementing their pages’ content with their videos, rather than being distracting or overbearing.

Remember that people visit Facebook pages less and less as content gets beamed straight to their newsfeeds. So if they do decide to venture into your domain, try having a bit of fun rather than slapping them with an ad—that way they’ll be glad they stopped by.

That just about covers everything

Depending on your company’s Facebook page traffic, cover photos or videos may not be the most vital way to spend marketing resources.

But having a Facebook page is still ground zero for any social media marketing effort, and every page needs a cover photo. So you may as well get it right.

Feel like your page isn’t getting the attention it deserves? Check out our guide on how to get Facebook likes.