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The Ideal Social Media Image Ratio

Ideal Social Media Image Ratio

One of the most aggravating things to encounter with your social media posts is the image being outside the proper ratio for a given platform.

This post details what the ideal social media image ratio is regardless of platform.

What Is an Image Ratio?

An image’s ratio should not be confused with an image’s size. Image ratios are written as 1:1, 16:9, 3:2, etc.

Image sizes are written as 1600 x 1000, 1000 x 1000, 900×400, and so on.

For social media, the image’s size usually does not matter. What matters is the file size (a different topic) and the image’s ratio. If you have an image that’s 1000 x 1000, its image ratio is 1:1. The same goes for an image that’s 2000 x 2000.

In short, an image’s ratio is its shape. If it’s a square, it has a ratio of 1:1. If it’s wide, it probably has a ratio of 16:9.

Ideal Social Media Image Ratio

The Standard to Follow for Image Ratio

Where does the ideal image ratio come from? Currently, Meta is the market leader for social media. The top five social media apps by active users are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat (TikTok is a close and growing 6th). 

Out of these five apps, one is video-based (YouTube), two are chat-based (WhatsApp and WeChat), and two are driven by images (Facebook and Instagram). Without a doubt, Meta is leading the social media world, since they own Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. For this reason, they set the standard for image ratio on all social media platforms. 

The Image Ratio to Rule Them All

The best image ratio to use across social media is 1:1, or the square ratio. Square images are displayed properly on both Facebook, Instagram, and various other smaller platforms like Pinterest. 

This ratio works regardless of how large the dimensions of the image are (ex. 4000 x 4000). However, you still must abide by the file size limitations of the respective platform you’re trying to post on.

A Bonus Image Ratio Tip

An aspect ratio of 3:2 is worth considering for use on Instagram. The 3:2 ratio is taller than a 1:1 image. The additional image height makes it take up more of an Instagram user’s screen, which puts it in front of them for a longer period of time as they scroll.

This ratio may work for Facebook posts, but it isn’t guaranteed. In the past, I have tried using memes formatted in the 3:2 format and parts of the image get cut off, usually at the bottom. A 1:1 ratio, regardless of image size, has always worked on other platforms.

Overall Best

The 1:1 ratio offers the best versatility and is the ideal starting point if you’re struggling with content creation. It’s a universal ratio that’s accepted on all platforms. 

If you need help with content generation for social media marketing, reach out to The Coutts Agency!

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