In addition to creating highly engaging images for your Facebook Timeline, it’s important to consider how those images will be displayed in a mobile setting. CNN recently reported that 157 million people access Facebook from their mobile phones every day. That’s a lot of people. As marketers, we need to pay attention to this growing audience. One way to cater to them is to optimize our Timeline images for mobile consumption.
The Nuances of Timeline Images on Facebook Mobile
As I blogged about previously, the ideal size for a Facebook image is 403 pixels tall x 403 pixels wide. This is the size that your image will appear on your Timeline regardless of how you create it. Using this size for images, you will avoid any cropping or blurring that may occur when Facebook displays your image.
Facebook Mobile, however, displays images slightly different on your Timeline than the desktop browser version does.
Let’s take a look at an example of an image on the full Timeline versus the Facebook Mobile Timeline:
The image on the left is from the desktop browser version of Facebook Timeline. The image on the right, which has the top and bottom cut off, is from a Facebook Mobile Timeline.
In this specific image, part of the text and the watermarked URL are invisible to the mobile viewer unless the user touches the screen to enlarge it. This isn’t ideal. So how can I fix it?
How to Optimize Facebook Mobile Images
The big question is exactly how much of my photo is actually chopped off? It appears that Facebook crops out the top and bottom 67 pixels while scaling the width to fit in the mobile browser. Remember, this is based on an image that is 403 pixels tall x 403 pixels wide.
Another way to look at it is that Facebook’s mobile site and apps show only 269 pixels of the horizontal center of the image from top to bottom.
It may seem smart at this point to say, “Great! I’ll tell my designer to leave 67 empty pixels on the top and bottom of my image and place the text in the horizontal center!”
Not so fast. Do you really want your text bumping up against the very edge of the viewable part of the image? Probably not. I recommend leaving no less than a 10 pixel buffer around all of your text. This means that you should have your designer leave 77 empty pixels at the top and bottom of any image placed on Facebook.
For visual learners, I created this image to help you understand. Please feel free to download this image as a template for your personal or business use.
Let’s Keep This in Perspective
Facebook does not crop images in the news feed, which is where the majority of people will see them. This means that it does not matter if your images are 403 pixels tall by 403 pixels wide. However, when a user visits your Timeline, whether it be from their desktop browser or mobile phone, they will potentially see a cropped version of what you originally shared if it is not these exact dimensions.
If you want to have a professional, clean Timeline both in the desktop browser and on mobile devices, then implement this method of creating images on Facebook.