11 Best Practices for Your Facebook Cover Image
1. Do abide by Facebook's cover photo guidelines.
It seems like a no-brainer, but obeying Facebook guidelines is crucial to your Facebook Page existing in the first place. I'd highly suggest reading through the full Page Guidelines, but here are a few important things to keep in mind for your Facebook banner:
- Your cover is public.
- Covers can't be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else's copyright.
- You can't encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
If you get caught violating the above terms, Facebook could take action against your Page. And while Facebook doesn't explicitly say what will happen if you violate their Page guidelines, it's probably not smart to get your Facebook Page taken down over a cover photo infraction, so read the guidelines in full and adhere to them.
2. Do make sure your Facebook cover photo size is right.
As stated at the beginning of this article, the best Facebook banner size is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall for computers, and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on mobile devices.
You don't want to spend all this time designing a cover photo only to have it look weird when you upload it to Facebook.
If you upload an image smaller than those dimensions, Facebook will stretch it to fit the right size, as long as it's at least 399 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.
If you want a no-hassle way to make sure your cover photos are the right size, download our pre-sized template for Facebook cover photos here.
3. Don't worry about the old '20% text' rule, but still try to stay visual.
Back in 2013, Facebook removed any reference to the 20% rule on text in cover photos ... but that doesn't mean you should go wild with using text in your cover photo. The previous rule said that only 20% of your cover photo could be text. Personally, I thought that was way too restrictive for marketers, but the sentiment behind the rule was a good one.
If you're going to use text in your cover photo, keep that text concise. Your photo will be much more informative and engaging. You can see how we've tried to strike that balance on HubSpot's Facebook Page below.
4. Do give your cover image a focal point and colors that match your brand.
Think of your cover photo as the portion of your Page that's "above the fold." If it's distracting or confusing, people will be more likely to click off the Page.
Many of the best Facebook cover photos include a centerpiece to focus visitors' attention, along with a color scheme that aligns with the rest of their brand. Remember, your social media accounts are extensions of your business, and should give that impression to visitors right away.
They also use negative white (i.e., empty) space as an advantage to make the subject, any copy on there, and other elements unique to Facebook (like the CTA button on Facebook business Pages) stand out even more.
Here's an example from Makr:
And one from social media management platform Sprout Social:
5. Do consider publishing a Facebook cover video.
You read that right. Facebook Business Pages now have the option to add a video in lieu of a static cover photo, provided they meet certain requirements -- which we dug up for you:
How to Make a Video Your Cover Photo on Facebook
Post a Facebook cover video by saving a video file at 820 pixels wide by 426 pixels tall to your desktop. Open your Facebook Business page, click "Change Cover" at the top-left of your cover photo, and select "Upload Photo/Video." This allows you to format and publish the desktop file to your Facebook page.
Facebook currently supports cover videos that are between 20 and 90 seconds long, and a minimum of 820 pixels wide by 320 pixels tall.
Once you pull the file from your desktop, you'll click "Next" where you'll be asked to select from 10 thumbnail versions of your video. The thumbnail you choose will display for users who hover their cursor over your profile photo before visiting your full Business Page.
Cover videos are a terrific option for the video-inclined, and brands across numerous industries have already taken advantage of it to hold their visitors' attention. Brooks Running, Brightcove, and the New England Aquarium all have great cover videos to inspire you.
As you can see from these examples, your video should be just as simple as a cover photo. Keep in mind the same guidelines outlined in best practice #1 apply to cover videos as well.
6. Don't try to blend the contents of your cover photo with your profile picture.
With some clever design tweaks, you used to be able to manipulate your profile picture and cover photo so they appear as if they're two parts of the same canvas. You can still do this on your personal profile, but Facebook no longer sets up Business Pages this way.
One of Paris' former cover photos did this nicely:
Now, as shown in the examples earlier in this article, the profile picture is completely separate from the cover photo.
We admire your creativity, but don't prepare your design this way if you haven't yet launched a Business Page -- you'll be disappointed.
7. Do draw attention to the action buttons on the bottom right.
You might've noticed in a few of the cover photo examples above that their primary call-to-action (CTA) buttons were different. Makr's says "Shop Now," while Sprout Social's says "Sign Up."
Depending on your business, you can launch a Page on Facebook with a unique CTA button to the bottom right of your cover photo. Take this button into consideration when designing your cover photo, and make it clear in the photo that this is a visitor's next step.
Hotel Urbano does this is a charming way below, using the girl in goggles to draw your eyes toward the buttons she seems to be swimming toward ...
Note: While it might seem like a good idea to add directional cues like an arrow to get people to click on the CTA buttons, note that those CTA buttons don't appear the same way on the mobile app. In other words, it might be confusing to mobile users if you directly integrate the cover photo design with the buttons.
I'll show you how Business Pages look on mobile devices in just a minute.
8. Do right-align the objects in your cover photo.
Since your profile picture is on the left, you want to add some balance to your Facebook cover photo design by having the focus of the image be on the right.
Take a look at these cover photos. Which one looks more aesthetically pleasing?
Doesn't the right-aligned cover photo look better? The biggest design elements (the profile picture, the text, and the Statue of Liberty) are evenly spaced. In Samsung's old cover photo, your attention goes immediately to the left side of the page, completely missing the name of the product on the upper-right side.
Not only is adding balance a crucial element of design, but it also allows for your cover photos to be more visually effective on mobile. Which brings me to my next point ...
9. Do keep mobile users in mind.
In April 2016, Facebook reported that over half of its user base (54.2%) access the social network exclusively from mobile devices. That's huge -- and it's exactly why it's so important to keep mobile users top-of-mind when designing your Facebook cover photo.
On mobile, a much larger portion of your cover photo is blocked out because the profile picture and the Page name are on top of the cover photo.
Image Credit: Twelveskip
Let's take a look at a real-life example. Below, take a look at what Cisco's Facebook Page looks like in a desktop browser versus on Facebook's mobile app.
Notice that the sides of the photo are cut off on mobile. Whereas your cover photo displays at 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall on desktop, it displays only the center 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones. Take a look at this Facebook help document for more information.
Notice, by the way, how the text in Adobe's cover photo is cut off on the right-hand side. While it looks best to right-align your visual elements, be careful not to put important content so far to the right that it gets cut off on mobile.
10. Do include a shortened link in your cover photo description that aligns with your page CTA.
If you want to use your cover photo to support a Page CTA, make sure your cover photo description also includes a text CTA and link to the same offer. This way, any time people view your cover photo directly, they can access the download link.
Here's this practice in action on Adobe's Facebook Page:
(If you want to learn more about how to write effective call-to-action copy for your cover photo description, click here to download our free ebook on creating compelling CTAs.)
11. Do pin a related post right below your Facebook cover image.
Have you ever "pinned" a post to your Facebook Page's Timeline? Basically, pinning a post allows you to highlight a typical Facebook post on the top of your Timeline for seven days. It's signified by a small blue push pin on the top right of the post, like on Fashion Nova's Page below:
How does this relate to optimizing your Facebook cover photo? Well, if you're spending time aligning your Facebook Page CTA, your cover photo design, and your cover photo description copy, you should also make sure to post about the same thing directly to your page, and pin that post to the top of your Timeline.
That way, you're giving people one very clear call-to-action when they arrive to your page (albeit in several different locations) -- which should help conversions.
To pin a Facebook post: Simply publish the post to Facebook, then click the three dots on the top right corner of the post and choose "Pin to Top."
Want to see how HubSpot uses Facebook? Like our Facebook Page here.
Originally published Apr 1, 2018 7:09:00 PM, updated January 30 2019