What size of image should you put on social media?

Different social media accounts need different sizes of images for profile and banner areas. Generally speaking, the trend is to have a small profile picture of square shape and a wide picture for banner. In addition, images of various sizes are allowed to be uploaded as part of posts / tweets; here too the trend is to accept all types of images - but it always helps if the images are made in optimum sizes and then posted rather than let the social platform to do that for us.

More on the logic of pre-sizing photos for social media...

We found on the web that a number of sites have given info on what are the best sizes of photos for different social entities. Many times, the information is either obsolete or downright wrong. Part reason for information getting old is that social platforms keep changing their specs. The good part is that modern social platforms allow bigger sized images and allow you to crop the images at the time of upload. However, if the sizes are not in right dimensions or are smaller than optimum, final images do not appear the way you want them to be. So, it is better to start with images that are right sized and have the required aspect ratio (=width x height).

Photo sharing platforms (e.g. Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr) allow photos in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. 

We have given below the optimum sizes and dimensions of images needed on different platforms.

These sizes are as of February 2016 and will be updated as we notice changes in future. We have maintained a standard width x height notation format throughout the post. The measurements are in pixels.

Image sizes for blogs and websites

  • Favicon: w 16 x h 16
  • Wordpress and Blogger allow different sizes of banner images. However if the image is lower than about 1000px width, it might not show up full on larger desktop / laptop screens or will get distorted. 

  Image sizes for Twitter

  • Header image: w 1500 x h 500 [max 2mb]
  • Profile image: w 400 x h 400 
  • Photos to be uploaded on timeline: below 5mb 
Twitter used to crop images to a particular width, but of December 2015, decided not to crop images. Twitter now squeezes the image and allows its height to adjust (pic 1)

Image sizes for Facebook

  • Page cover image: at least w 399 x h 150 but recommended for best performance: w 851 x h 315 [max 100 kb]
  • Page profile image: w 180 x h 180 minimum [help here]
  • Profile [not page] cover image: at least w 720

Image sizes for Google Plus

  • Banner image: w 480 x h 270 [dimensions other than 16:9 are cropped to this ratio]
  • Profile image: w 250 x h 250
  • Google Plus changed to a new display style in November 2015. As on date, both classic and new styles are visible depending on whether the viewer has installed new style or not.

Image sizes for LinkedIn

  • Background image: w 1400 x h 425 under 8mb
  • Profile image: around w 160 x h 160

Image sizes for YouTube

  • Channel banner image: w 2560 x h 1440. maximum size 4mb [YouTube calls it channel art and allows a lot of editing then and there.]
  • Channel icon comes from your Google Plus ID photo.
Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram have a provision for a profile photo which needs to be of square shape. Their requirements are slightly different but about w 180 x h 180 dimension photo suits all. Livejournal allows userpics that need be of about the same size. 

Resizing photos for social media

You do not need to know Photoshop or such other high-end professional graphic editors to resize images or create new images for social media from backgrounds / stock shots available with you.

There are quick and easy solutions available for free. Gimp is almost as good as Photoshop for most editing work but it needs a bit of learning. 
Forget even that. Canva and Fotojet, two browser based tools are great for social media as they have predefined templates in sizes suiting Facebook, Twitter etc.

Start with this post in the ITB series on basics of using images on the web if you are interested to read further on the subject of image editing etc.