Category: Social Media

Posts having to do with social media, including (but not limited to): Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, blogging and any other hot social networks worth writing about.

  • Twitter Image Sizes & Dimensions 2022

    Now that the “Twitter crop” is gone (or is it?) people are wondering: what are the perfect Twitter image sizes in 2022? Knowing this answer will help you stand out in a sea of image-challenged tweets.

    Not too long ago Twitter also unveiled a massive redesign for its desktop app. That means it’s a great time to learn everything you need to know about image sizes in this new interface.

    Once referred to as a micro blogging, Twitter has become a staple in the world of social media networks. It is a favorite among journalists and public figures who want to connect with an audience in the most accessible way possible.

    Since Twitter is a fast-paced, high-volume content platform, visual media is a huge part of standing out.

    As with my Facebook Image Sizes, and Instagram Image Sizes articles, I wanted to spend some time breaking down every Twitter image size possible. This way those of you savvy visual content creators can take advantage of Twitter’s visual marketing capabilities.

    Table of contents:

    Alright, let’s get into it!

    Some Basic Image Recommendations

    In this article I’ll be giving you the recommended image sizes to use. I say “recommended” because Twitter allows you to upload any size image you want (some limitations apply).

    However, uploading an image that is too large can lead to poor upload quality, or undesired cropping. So knowing the recommended best sizes, and sticking to them, can ensure your uploaded photos look as good as they possibly can.

    All the recommended sizes will be in pixels. The reason for this is that’s how Twitter sees them. For those who are used to designing images for print, this will be slightly different from what you are used to.

    Additionally, if you’re accustomed to working with print quality image sizes, just note that my recommendations are measured in pixels. All resolutions are based on 72 pixels per inch. Or in other words, 72 dpi.

    You do not need a higher resolution than 72 dpi. Despite huge advancements in screen resolution, 72 pixels per inch is still the lowest common denominator. As such, this is the resolution all social platforms will convert to.

    Now, technically the resolution doesn’t even matter when it comes to images made for web. All that matters is the pixel dimensions. But, you have to set your graphic design software to something, right? Just use 72 DPI/PPI for smaller files sizes.

    Okay, that being said, let’s talk Twitter image sizes. But first…

    Let’s Talk About the Twitter Crop

    On May 5, 2021, Twitter announced “bigger and better images on iOS and Android” in this tweet:

    As per usual, Twitter was in a frenzy with reactions to the news. Most people assumed this meant that Twitter was no longer cropping tall images. “No crop” and “Twitter crop” was trending throughout the next 24hrs.

    However, the crop still exists. It’s just changed to a taller crop.

    After some rigorous testing—like four whole tweets worth—I found exactly where the crop happens.

    As I demonstrate in this tweet thread, Twitter will crop your tall images at a maximum of 3:4 aspect ratio.

    They had to draw the line somewhere, right? All it would take is one joker uploading a mile-long infographic. It would effectively take up your entire Twitter feed and we’d all be yelling, “bring back the crop!”

    So it was an obvious and wise choice to draw the line they did with a 3:4 aspect ratio crop.

    Now, let’s get into actual Twitter image sizes and optimal dimensions.

    Twitter Image sizes: Uploads

    Now let’s get into the various Twitter image sizes when adding images to your tweets. This can be tricky, but have no fear. We’ll get through this together.

    Basically, Twitter will display your uploaded images in the tweet in different ways depending on:

    1. The aspect ratio of the image
    2. How many images are uploaded

    So I’m going to break down all the possible twitter image sizes scenarios in painstakingly meticulous detail.

    Single Photo Upload

    Far-and-wide the most recommended Twitter image size is 1024px by 512px. The supported image formats include JPEG, PNG and GIF formats. Twitter will support image file sizes up to 5 MB. For animated GIFs the file size limit is 3 MB.

    However, now that Twitter has updated its crop on uploaded photos, I recommend taking full advantage of it to capture more screen real estate. More screen real estate equals more attention.

    My highest recommendation is to use a full 3:4 aspect ratio on your Twitter image uploads. I’ve found the best pixel dimensions for this to be 1080 by 1440 px.

    Twitter Portrait Image Template

    You can download the image above, or get all my templates below to have an easy-access reference point.

    “But Dustin, what if I upload a super wide image?”

    Great question. And don’t call me butt Dustin.

    After a bit of testing, I found that the crop on wide images also has a limitation.

    Basically, if your image has an aspect ratio of >16:9, the sides of the image will get cropped to fit a landscape box. The aspect ratio is not clean, but just eye-balling it I’d say 16:9 is the closest.

    A shame… I had some fun ideas for super wide images.

    Multiple photo upload

    You can upload a total of four images in a tweet. Depending on how many you upload, they display differently.

    Twitter seems to default to landscape orientation crop. Uploading 2 or more images will always result in a cropped landscape display in the feed. If a user taps (or clicks) to expand an image, it will show in its original size/ratio.

    Uploading two photos results in a 50/50 split between the images.

    If you have three photos, the first photo will take up the left half. The other two will be vertically stacked on top of each other in the second half of the display area.

    If you have four photos, they will all take up four equal parts of the image display area.

    Unlike Facebook’s various multi-photo configurations, Twitter decided to keep things super simple.

    Twitter Profile Picture Size

    There’s no better place to start than with the one image that will accompany you everywhere on Twitter–your profile picture.

    Profile pictures display in a range of sizes. Yours will be shown everywhere that one of your tweets is shown.

    Your profile picture is going to be how people put a face (or a logo) to your brand. So take special care to make this a clear and accurate brand representation.

    The standard image size for a Twitter profile picture is a 400 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall square image. You are also limited to a maximum file size of 2 MB.

    Once uploaded, the image is automatically resized and cropped into a circle. If you upload a picture with a smaller dimension than the standard image size, Twitter does not allow resizing. Instead, it will show the image at its original size.

    Make sure that the profile picture you choose does not have any important elements around the corners or edges. This way when it gets cropped into a circle, you won’t lose anything.

    Your profile picture that is displayed on your profile page just above your bio is much smaller. It measures 134 pixels wide by 134 pixels tall.

    The third profile image size is the profile image that is visible in your streams. Every time you tweet, your profile picture will appear right next to your tweet. In these instances it is a very small 49px by 49px picture.

    The supported profile picture formats that are compatible with Twitter are PNG, GIF and JPEG image formats.

    The important things to note here are:

    1. Your profile photo will be cropped into a circle
    2. Profile photos will be displayed in the app at a maximum of 134px by 134px
    3. The minimum display for your Twitter profile photo is 49px by 49px.

    So make sure that whatever photo you choose for your Twitter profile that it looks good cropped and resized to the aforementioned dimensions.

    Bonus Tip: Use my Twitter Profile Photo Template (grab it at the bottom) to make sure your face is centered in the circled crop area. Extra credit if you place a colored border around the edge as it is a real attention-getter.

    Twitter Header Photo

    Cover photos are one of the best ways to make a strong impression for your brand. If someone takes the time to visit your Twitter profile page, you better make sure to take advantage of the giant header photo.

    Now, let’s be clear–this header photo is not to be treated as a billboard. It is an opportunity to showcase your brand. Show your personality and make your profile page stand out.

    If you only think of it as “free advertising space” you’re missing the real opportunity. People see banner ads all the time, and they’ve become numb to them. If you want your profile page to stand out–use this header photo to showcase your brand, not your latest sale.

    Header Photo Size

    The recommended image size for a header image on Twitter is 1500 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall.

    This header photo will get resized and can become pixelated. Depending on the screen size, your profile header will get resized and cropped in different ways. Due to the vast amount of screen sizes, it’s hard to nail down the exact crop dimensions for all of them.

    It’s important, therefore, to ensure that the most important part of your image is in the center, away from the edges. This will prevent things getting cropped out on different screen sizes.

    You should also note that your profile picture is going to cover up a small section of the header image. The amount of space it will take up, again, depends on the device and screen size.

    Lastly, inside the Twitter app there will be two interface elements that are laid on top of your header. Take this into account when creating your header image as well. The placement of these elements can vary depending on the device being used.

    So I’ve created this template to help you keep all important items inside a “safe area.”

    Twitter supports both PNG and JPG formats for your header photo. And the maximum file size for y our header photo cannot exceed 5 MB.

    Twitter Card Photo Size

    Most social networks have a way of displaying a preview of links shared on their platforms. Twitter is no different.

    In most cases it will crawl a web page looking for the OG:image code in the page’s metadata. If it doesn’t find that metadata, it will attempt to use the first image it finds. The image must meet certain size specifications, though, in order to be used.

    So let’s take a look at all the Twitter image sizes for cards.

    Summary Card with Large Image

    The minimum dimensions for a Summary Card with Large Image is 300px by 157px. However, Twitter recommends a 2:1 aspect ratio. The maximum allowed resolution is 4096px by 4096px and must be less than 5 MB.

    The photo formats supported include JPG, PNG, and GIF. Don’t get too excited about GIF support though. If you hope to use a GIF for your Open Graph image, Twitter will only show the first frame.

    Jimmy Fallon thumbs down gif
    Jimmy no like.

    This large image format is basically the default at this point. In order to not make it show up you’d basically have to only have a very small image on the page. And in that case you would have the following…

    Summary Card (Small Image)

    If Twitter doesn’t find an image that meets the 2:1 aspect ratio it may choose to display a small image card. The small image card will crop the image it finds to a 1:1 aspect ratio.

    If visibility is what you are looking for, you definitely want to make sure you’re using the large image size on your websites.

    Twitter Image Size Tips

    There’s more to great Twitter images than just knowing the pixel dimensions. Here are a handful of tips to optimize your image use even further.

    “Open for Surprise” Meme

    Despite what a writer from The Verge thought, it’s still possible to do the “Open for Surprise” tactic with Twitter images. All you need to do is make the “surprise” part of the image outside the 3:4 aspect ratio center.

    For example:

    As you can see, the “Tap for Surprise” meme is still highly effective if you know where the Twitter crop is.

    File Sizes

    Twitter usually applies file size compression on the images you upload. This leads to an uploaded image with a lower quality than the original picture.

    One way to lessen the effect of Twitter’s image compression is to optimize your images as much as you can before uploading them. Obviously keeping the dimensions as small as possible will help a lot.

    Another way to reduce the image compression effects is to reduce the amount of gradients and colors. Gradients are typically more “heavy” in terms of their effect in file size.

    The more colors you have, the more “weight” it adds to the file size as well. So keeping colors to a minimum helps reduce file size and therefore less compression is needed.

    Twitter Image Templates

    Oh, that’s right. You know I couldn’t do an entire article having to do with recommended image sizes and not offer free templates.

    I’ve got an entire set of Twitter image templates that you can use as a blueprint. Just enter your email below, and I’ll send them straight to your inbox!

    Free Twitter Image Templates

    Have an easy starting point for all your Twitter image needs. Includes 3 upload image sizes, header, and profile picture templates.

    Oh, and since I just love creating visual cheat sheets for my image templates, here’s my Twitter image sizes infographic.

    twitter image sizes infographic

    Embed this infographic on your website—just copy/paste the code below:

    <a href="https://dustinstout.com/twitter-image-sizes/"><img src="https://dustinstout.com/free-resources/twitter-image-sizes-inforgraphic.jpg" alt="Twitter Image Sizes Infographic" /><p>Image courtesty of <a href="https://dustinstout.com">Dustin W. Stout</a>.</p></a>

    This infographic will always stay as updated as this blog post. If there’s a change to Twitter’s image sizes, you don’t have to worry about it. This infographic will update automatically.

    Final Thoughts On Twitter Images

    Every tweet is an opportunity to connect with your audience, grow your community, and build your brand. If you’re not taking the time to craft content that serves that purpose, then you’re wasting your time.

    Use your Twitter profile to showcase who you are, what you do, and who you serve. And do it in a way that is visually engaging. We don’t need another boring social media account that only talks about their products and services.

    I hope you found my Twitter image sizes recommendations useful. Now go out there and created some amazing Twitter images! And be sure to tweet at me with what you created after reading this!

    Also, don’t miss my top Twitter tips for beginners, as well as how to maximize Twitter lists for your marketing.

  • Your Content Calendar Strategy for 2021: Brilliantly Simple to Use

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have your entire content calendar done for the next 365 days? Wouldn’t you love to have a well-thought-out plan for your 2021 content marketing?

    Instead of stressing daily over what you’re going to post, you can sit and watch your masterfully crafted plan unfold.

    Can you imagine the joy that comes with knowing that you’ve created a solid content marketing strategy?

    Wouldn’t it be great to know you don’t have to start from scratch with every piece of social or editorial content?

    That’s what you’re going to feel when you’re done putting this article into practice. Master it, and you’ll be a content planning machine.

    Tools to Start With

    For the sake of this article, I’ll be using ContentCal to illustrate a lot of my examples. ContentCal is an app that makes planning and scheduling content a breeze.

    DISCLOSURE: This article is sponsored by ContentCal. I have received compensation to write this article, but that does not affect my views of the product. The opinions and recommendations written are entirely my own.

    Now, you don’t need ContentCal to put the principles and methods to work. You can use a simple spreadsheet to do it instead if that’s easier for you. In fact, I’ll even give you a free sample spreadsheet at the end of this article to get you started.

    ContentCal offers a great alternative to creating content in a spreadsheet, though. With it, you can shortcut a lot of your planning/scheduling steps because you can do it all from the same app.

    In previous years I would have recommended CoSchedule for this same reason. Due to CoSchedule’s “evolved” pricing and complexity over the years, ContentCal is a much more accessible choice for most content creators.

    All that being said, let’s dive into the process of creating your yearly content marketing plan.

    Know Your Audience

    It’s safe to say that if you don’t know your target audience, you’re doomed to fail. You can create the best content in the world, but if your core audience isn’t interested in it, what good is it?

    The best marketing is the marketing that knows precisely who it’s made for. This is especially true with content marketing.

    It’s not as simple as, “well, my audience is Millennials, and they like funny memes.”

    It’s worse to lie to yourself and think, “my target audience is men and women ages 25-65.” If that’s what you think your target audience is, you’re wasting your time.

    The old saying goes, “a mile wide and an inch deep.” If you’re aiming at a target that encompasses that much generational and cultural interest, you’ll never reach a single one of them effectively. Your marketing efforts will be shallow at best.

    To reach your target audience, you need to know them deeply. And to know them, you need to understand:

    • Pain points: What do they struggle with on a day-to-day basis?
    • Interests: What are their hobbies and sources of entertainment?
    • Motivations: What makes them tick? What do they get passionate about?

    Once you understand those key traits, you need to think through how those pain points, interests, and motivations align with your brand. And not just in a “things we sell” kind of way…

    You need to think in terms of where you can add value to your audience. And you need to approach it in a way that’s aligned with what your brand stands for. Ask yourself:

    How can we leverage our brand’s specific knowledge to entertain, inform, or inspire our audience?

    Marketing that provides utility to the audience will bring the most significant return on investment.

    This is not easy to do. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do. As a result, most of you reading this will not go through this exercise. And for that reason, much of your content will fail to reach its full potential.

    But, I promise if you do this hard work of knowing your audience—intimately—you will create content a million times better. What’s more, it will be much easier to create that content because you’ll have a strong direction behind it.

    Know your audience, and know them well.

    Three Things People Want From Your Content

    We’ll get into the individual nuance of what kinds of content you should create. But before we start to dig down, I wanted to give you a secret I’ve learned over a decade of creating content.

    No matter the platform, medium, or delivery method, people are consuming content for the following three reasons:

    • Entertainment
    • Inspiration
    • Information

    That’s what it boils down to. Always keep these in mind.

    Most people want to be entertained by content. Whether it’s funny or interesting, entertainment is what people spend a massive amount of time and energy seeking out.

    Inspiration is similar yet distinct from entertainment in that it moves us emotionally. Heck, Pinterest itself is mostly about finding, saving, and categorizing inspiration. Whether it’s creative, motivational, or sentimental, people want to be inspired.

    And it’s no surprise that people are spending a lot of time online looking for information. Whether it’s recommendations for a great sushi place or a how-to for DIY Halloween costumes—people need information.

    So make sure your content sets out to give people one of those three benefits.

    Create “Buckets” of Content

    When creating a content marketing plan, you want to make sure you include enough variety in your content types, so people don’t get bored. You want consistency in the kinds of content you produce. However, you don’t want it to feel like the same type of thing over and over.

    I like to think of our editorial calendar in terms of Buckets. Each Bucket is a category or type of content with a unique purpose and style. For bloggers, this is something you’ve probably done with your articles in the past. You may have never thought of it in terms of your social posts.

    It’s not so much about splitting things up by “topic” as much as it is about the format with social content.

    For example, when creating content for our SoVisual.co packs, we create for the following buckets:

    • Questions: Ask the audience something they can easily answer in the comments or replies of the post
    • Prompts: Things such as “tag a friend who” or “give a thumbs up if you love.” Any call to action that is easy to do on a given social platform
    • Quotes: Sharing famous quotes may seem cliché, but psychologically it connects you and your audience on multiple levels. (Shared experience, ideological validation, nostalgia, to name a few.)
    • Days: When you want to make sure your content is hyper-relevant to a specific day of the week (i.e., #ThrowbackThursday, #MondayMotivation, etc.)
    • Holidays: It’s great to acknowledge relevant holidays—big, small, or even obscure ones too
    • Promotional: you’re going to have to promote something at some point—a blog post, a product, etc.—so this is an obvious bucket.

    Your buckets might look different depending on your audience and your brand. Take some time to think through what buckets you need to fill to create a variety of content for your audience.

    6 Steps to Create Your Content Calendar

    planning calendar on desk with coffee

    Up to this point, we’ve been talking about the mindset necessary to do the work of planning. We’ve covered the frameworks that will help us create effective content. Now we come to the action part.

    The following are the steps you need to sit down and knock out your content creation like a boss.

    Step 1 — Schedule a Time to Do It

    Be intentional about sitting down and planning your content. It will take time, so make sure you dedicate a specific time and date to the task.

    Do not put off or procrastinate on doing it. If you wait until the last minute, your content will be sloppy and lackluster.

    For a full 30 days of content planning, I block out _ one hour_. You may need more or less depending on how you work and how much content you plan on cranking out. Start with an hour and see how that goes.

    Put it on your calendar like a mandatory meeting with the President (or Prime Minister). Let nothing interfere with that meeting time.

    Step 2 — Start Filling Buckets

    Depending on what tool you’re using to plan and write out content, start laying out all your predefined Buckets.

    If you’re using a spreadsheet, here’s what that Buckets sheet might look like.

    content calendar buckets spreadsheet

    You might also want to create an additional sheet with a calendar template.

    content calendar spreadsheet template

    You can grab this free spreadsheet template below.

    If you’re using ContentCal, you can create each Bucket as a template post in your Content Hub Library.

    contentcal content hub screenshot

    The brilliance of this is you can put little reminders and prompts for yourself to help make the creation process easier. This makes it easier when you have a team and want to delegate some (or all) of the content creation process.

    I like to keep things super simple, so each of my Buckets placeholders has a description of what that Bucket’s purpose is.

    Focus on filling one Bucket at a time with as much content as you can. This is a mind dump—don’t edit yourself, write piece after piece until you’ve exhausted your creativity for that particular Bucket.

    You may want to give yourself a time limit, though, since you do have other Buckets to get to in your scheduled timeframe.

    Some content you’re creating may require additional media—images, video, or other things besides text. Don’t worry about the additional items right now. Annotate any creatives or additional media that needs to be added, and we’ll worry about those later.

    contentcal annotated media screenshot

    Also, don’t worry about when this content will get published; we’ll take care of that later. Just worry about filling the Buckets with good stuff that your audience will love.

    I recommend trying to put ten pieces in each Bucket. You may not use them all right away, but it’s a good goal to start with. If that’s too much, start with three pieces per Bucket and work your way up.

    Once you’ve got plenty of content in each Bucket, it’s time to move to the calendar.

    Step 3 — Fill Out the Calendar

    For your first planning session, I would recommend doing a high-level look through the entire year. This is to identify key holidays in advance, so you’re not caught off guard and can plan campaigns more seamlessly. We all hate that feeling when we suddenly realize,

    “Oh shoot… Groundhog Day is tomorrow, and I have to come up with something quick!

    Bill Murray smashing clock gif

    It happens on the same day every year, yet it still sneaks up on us because we fail to plan ahead.

    Once you’ve accounted for any holidays or special occasions relevant to your audience, you can begin placing content on the calendar. You may have already created some day-specific content, so start by placing those first.

    Remember to mix things up from day to day. In other words, try not to put too much from one Bucket without adding some other Bucket content in between.

    content calendar with posts planned out

    This top-level view will allow you to make sure you don’t have too much of the same thing grouped together. Make sure your content is varied from day to keep things as interesting as possible.

    It’s best to have a tool that will allow you to drag/drop things around. You will undoubtedly have to arranged and rearrange as you add items. Again, ContentCal makes this incredibly easy.

    Step 4 — Additional Media and Creatives

    Some content you create may not need anything other than the text you’ve written. But some content may require photography, graphics, video, audio, or some other kind of secondary media to support it.

    Obviously, if you’re scheduling an Instagram Live, you’ll be creating that content in real-time, so there’s no work needed. Or, if it’s a YouTube video, you may need to do that at a different time to get your setup right.

    But for those items that simply need photography and/or graphics, this is something you should definitely create in batches.

    This is where having a go-to set of visual templates can come in really handy. It’s merely a matter of adding your text to a template and swapping out any stock photography that might enhance the message.

    Instead of starting the graphic design process from scratch every single time, you instantly have something ready to customize.

    You may want to do this in a separate session from your planning for the sake of time. Definitely do design in batches, though, as it can be much more challenging and slower to do one at a time.

    Step 5 — Get Your Content Scheduled

    The best way to ensure your content calendar is executed flawlessly is to schedule your content in advance. Again, you may not be able to schedule all of it in advance. You should try to schedule as much as you can, though.

    “But Dustin, isn’t automation bad?”

    Not really. And don’t call me “butt Dustin.”

    Look, I’m a huge advocate of being authentic and engaged with your audience. Nothing is worse than being excited about a brand and then having a crappy, robotic experience with them on social media.

    You want to personally interact with your fans, followers, and customers as much as possible.

    That’s why scheduling content in advance is so important. When you schedule things to publish automatically, you have more time to personally engage.

    Copying content, pasting it into the social platform, and trying to tick all the right boxes to publish it takes time and energy. Spend less time doing that. You will have more time and energy to actually be engaged in conversations with your audience.

    My team and I use Agorapulse for all of our social content scheduling. Since it is how we monitor all of our comments, replies, and mentions, it makes sense to keep everything in one place. But there are certain things like blog posts, newsletters, and other types of content that Agorapulse doesn’t do.

    ContentCal’s versatile ability to plan any type of content is a huge help. Being able to see every little piece of content really helps us keep a handle on our overall strategy.

    ContentCal planning channels screenshot

    ContentCal will also allow you to schedule content for the following platforms:

    • Facebook: Connect a personal profile, page, or group.
    • Instagram: Connect a personal profile or business profile. Direct publishing is only available for business profiles.
    • LinkedIn: Connect to a LinkedIn Profile or page
    • Twitter: Connect any account
    • Google My Business: Available for custom plans only

    ContentCal is a great scheduling tool. It will make integrating all your content planning very easy.

    The other great thing is that if you’re working in a team, ContentCal has team workflows for multiple contributors and approval processes built-in.

    If you’re creating content for clients, you can let them view what you’ve planned inside ContentCal easily. Clients can also comment on and contribute items as needed. It really makes for a great collaborative environment.

    Step 6 — Do Not Set It and Forget It

    Look, not every piece of content you create is going to go viral. Some posts are going to flat out flop.

    But how will you know which ones were winners if you’re not monitoring their performance? Answer: you won’t.

    So make it a point to regularly go back and view how your content is performing. ContentCal makes this easy with their Analytics feature.

    ContentCal Analytics screenshot

    You’ll know what content you should be creating more of by how much your audience engages with it. Yes, vanity metrics are mostly useless, but they can be indicators of what your audience wants more of.

    Of course, the best way to know what kinds of content your audience wants more is to talk with them. The comments and replies are where some of your most valuable data will be. And if you’ve taken the time to plan and schedule your content, you’ll have much more time to participate in those conversations.

    Content Calendar Template

    To help you get started, I’ve created a simple spreadsheet that will get you started with your first content creation session. Just add your email below, and I’ll send you a link to download the free editorial calendar template.

    Content Calendar Strategy 2021

    Free Content Calendar Planning Template

    Just add your email below and you’ll get my free Content Planning spreadsheet delivered straight to your inbox.

    Once you’ve signed up, I’ll sent the Content Calendar Template straight to your email inbox. The template is in .xlsx format and can be easily imported to your spreadsheet tool fo choice. It even works great in Google Sheets (my preference)!

    Conclusion

    Creating content doesn’t have to be a daunting daily task. You don’t have to grind it out 365 days per year. If you take the time to implement a simple content creation system, it can be a breeze.

    You will save yourself thousands of hours just by creating space for yourself to plan content in advance. You’ll be able to generate more ideas when you’re cranking ideas out categorically. And you’ll have more time to cultivate those valuable conversations to feed you even more ideas.

    Now go get started on your 2022 content calendar and crush your marketing goals this year.

  • Social Media Cover Photo Templates for the Most Popular Social Networks

    Your one-stop resource for always-updated cover photo sizes (and templates) for Facebook profiles, Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.

    Social media is becoming more and more visual every day. Ever since Facebook revealed its timeline cover photo, people have really taken to it this idea of a large header and/or cover images.

    It’s a lot of work though to create a good cover photo for your profile– especially when the dimensions for these cover photos are so hard to find. Well, you’re in luck! I’ve gathered the cover photo dimensions from the top social networks that incorporate them, and put them all in one place for you.

    I also promise to always stay on top of social network changes, and update these templates accordingly.

    Download all JPEG templates instantly by adding your email below!

    The primary social networks that I have included for you to download are as follows :

    Each template showcases the maximum display dimensions. I’ve also marked out where certain interface obstructions or cropping may occur. The grey areas are what will be seen, the dark areas are what will be covered up.

    Make sense? Cool, let’s get started.

    A Brief Word of Advice

    One thing I tell all my clients when crafting these for them is that they should not look at it as a billboard or a marketing opportunity. It should be used to showcase the person or brand– not to sell something. It is a means of visually enriching your online story.

    Too much text is unattractive and people won’t read it anyways. Trying to communicate too much ends up communicating nothing at all. So keep your cover photos high-quality and simple.

    Lastly, I always recommend that you keep your cover photos consistent across all your social profiles. They don’t have to be the exact same photo, but consistency builds brand recognition and trust. Just something to keep in mind.

    Facebook Cover Photo Template (Profile)

    facebook profile cover photo template

    Over the years there have been a lot of changes to the many Facebook image sizes. Currently, your Facebook profile cover photo is a maximum resolution of 2,048×758.

    Make sure you look out for the areas that will be covered up by your profile picture, your name, and a row of action buttons. While these obstructions are annoying at times, you can also get creative and make them a part of your background if you want.

    For example:

    example facebook cover photo

    Notice how the profile photo is seamlessly a part of the cover photo. Very creative.

    Facebook Cover Photo Template (Page)

    facebook page cover photo template

    If you have a Facebook Page, your cover photo gives you 100% of the space to work with. The maximum display dimensions are 2,048×779.

    There are no interface elements or obstructions of any kind.

    Just keep in mind that your Facebook Page Cover Photo is not a flyer. It’s also not a billboard. Don’t try and put a ton of information all over it because people don’t want to sit and read through it.

    Use your Cover Photo to showcase your brand as visually as you can with color, photography, and/or illustrations that show your audience what your about without using words.

    Facebook Group Cover Photo Template

    facebook group cover photo template

    If you manage a Facebook Group, the Cover Photo is also unobstructed. You have 2,048×830 to tell the visual story of your group.

    Since groups tend to get a lot more visits than a Facebook page, the group Cover is something you might consider updating frequently to showcase updates or upcoming events for the community.

    Twitter Header Template

    twitter header template

    Since the day it was introduced, the Twitter Header has not changed it’s dimensions. It still sits at a maximum resolution of 1,500×500.

    Like your Facebook profile, there is an obstruction to be aware of from your profile photo. It’s a much smaller area than Facebook’s photo obstruction, but still enough to have some fun with if you want.

    LinkedIn Background Image Template (Profile)

    linkedin profile background image template

    If you want to pretty-up your LinkedIn Profile, the background image is a nice touch. You have a very narrow area, however, maxing out at a resolution of 1,584×396.

    Since LinkedIn is a more professional environment, I highly recommend keeping your Background Image a photo or illustration. Leave the text off of it–especially since it’s such a small area to work with.

    Just like Twitter, LinkedIn also places your profile photo over top of a portion of the Background Image.

    LinkedIn Background Image Template (Company)

    linkedin company background image template

    If you manage a LinkedIn Company Page, you also have the ability to upload a Background Image. The maximum display resolution is 1,536×768.

    This maximum resolution is deceiving, however, as most of it ends up getting cropped out. There is only a very narrow sliver of the uploaded photo that will actually display.

    On top of that, there is also a portion of the Background Image covered by your company profile photo. Yikes!

    I have no idea why LinkedIn decided to make this so complicated. I’m hoping it changes soon so it doesn’t feel like so much of our photo is wasted.

    Pinterest Cover Photo Template

    pinterest cover photo template

    Pinterest was one of the last big platforms to allow for a cover photo. You can upload one for yourself at a maximum resolution of 1,600×900.

    Again, a small portion of the photo will be covered up by your profile photo.

    If you choose not to upload a cover photo, Pinterest populates a dynamic one which displays your latest pins. I think this was a brilliant (and beautiful) move by the Pinterest team.

    YouTube Channel Art Template

    youtube channel art template

    Now we come to the last, and most complicated of all the social media cover photos-the YouTube Channel Art.

    YouTube requires you to upload a photo with a minimum resolution of 2,560×1,440. You can upload one that is larger, but it will get reduced in size (and quality).

    The challenge with YouTube Channel Art is that there are 3 different display possibilities–Desktop, Mobile, and TV. Each of the 3 display environments will show your Channel Art in a different crop.

    In my template above, the white area is what will be displayed on most mobile screens. The extended grey areas to the left and right of that white area is the additional space that will be seen on desktop, laptop, or some tablet devices.

    Everything else is what will be seen when your YouTube channel has gotten so popular that people are browsing it from their television set. And even then… I have no idea how they would even see your channel art.

    Quick Reference Infographic

    In case you need a quick reference guide, I’ve put this simple infographic together so you can get all these dimensions at a glance. Simple, lite, effective, and highly sharable.

    cover photo templates for popular social networks

    Share this Image On Your Site

    Copy the code below and paste it into your website!

    <a href="https://dustinstout.com/social-covers/"><img src="https://dustinstout.com/free-resources/social-covers/social-cover-templates-reference.jpg" alt="Social Media Cover Photo Templates" width="600px" border="0"/></a><em>Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustinstout.com">dustinstout.com</a></em>

    You can save each one of the photos above and use them at your leisure. Of course proper credit is appreciated, but not required. Make your cover photos beautiful, be creative, and always have fun.

    What are some of the best cover photos you’ve seen online? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Instagram Image Sizes and Dimensions 2022: Everything You Need to Know

    What are all the Instagram photo sizes and dimensions you need to know for 2022? How about Instagram video resolution and size ratios? Sit back and relax, because this post has it all covered.

    After plenty of years of only standard square images and videos, Instagram opened up their platform to allow for portrait and landscape orientations. What?! That’s right! Life just got a little bit sweeter. These new Instagram sizes are a huge deal!

    While most users don’t really care about their Instagram picture size, for those of us using Social Media to grow our business or brand, this makes repurposing content a lot easier. On top of that, the added variety makes Instagram a lot more interesting, more appealing, and more of a competitor to other platforms that we use.

    First of all, I am personally excited about this development. In the past, I have felt constrained by the limitations of the standard square option and this change will affect the way I personally use Instagram.

    So like usual, as soon as this Instagram change was live, I went to work dissecting and analyzing it to make sure I understand all the angles. Here is what I found…

    Bonus: Are you in a hurry? Just grab my downloadable Instagram Image Templates at the bottom of this page.

    The New Instagram Sizes

    Just like my social media image templates, Instagram now has 3 image orientations:

    • Square
    • Landscape (horizontal)
    • Portrait (vertical)
    • Story (also vertical)

    These 4 image orientations allow for greater versatility in creating all of your images. That is always a good thing, but it also means that you have to understand the constraints that are given.

    Don’t worry though. Like I said, I went to work picking everything apart so you don’t have to. Keep reading to get the scoop.

    Downloadable Templates

    As I have consistently done in the past with my social media image templates, I’ve gone ahead and created a template for those of us looking to create custom graphics for Instagram. Feel free to add your email below and you can download my templates for free!

    instagram image templates

    Download the Instagram Image Templates

    Just enter your email and the download link will be sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also be added to our email list and be the first to hear when new resources are available.

    The templates include all of the sizes noted in the infographic at the bottom of this post. Use them as a starting point (like a blueprint) for all of your custom Instagram graphics.

    Related: Get all the templates you need with my Facebook Image Sizes: Everything You Need to Know article.

    Square Photos and Videos

    The standard square image on Instagram remains to be shown at a maximum of 600×600 pixels. This has been pretty much the same since day one.

    It should be noted though that Instagram stores a version as large as 1080×1080 pixels. However, even on the largest of screens it seems they still display a maximum of 600×600.

    My highest recommendation is to create images that are a minimum of 1080×1080 as they will give you the highest resolution asset for reuse on other platforms. Additionally, as more and more screens become higher in their pixel density, you will be future-proofing your images from being too small.

    It’s also worth noting that square video has been found to be the most successful video size ratio across social networks.

    Landscape Photos and video

    This is another test… just move along here folks.

    A post shared by Dustin W. Stout (@dustinwstout) on

    For Instagram landscape images, the smallest I have tested on was at 1920×1080 which Instagram then displayed at 600×337. As it turns out, though, Instagram ended up storing a version that is 1080×607.

    So the trend here is that no matter what size image you upload, Instagram is resizing it to a maximum width of 1080px and displaying a version with a maximum width of 600px.

    Landscape videos also have a maximum display size of 600×336.5 (or 1200×673 in full view or retina display). This is very close to a typical 16:9 ratio that we see as the current cinematic standard in film & television.

    Portrait Photos & “Vertical” Video

    Vertical images (or portrait) will display at a maximum of 480×600 (or 960×1200 for retina display). However it looks like Instagram is storing the photos at a maximum of 1080×1350 on its servers. The aspect ratio is 4:5.

    This is a pretty standard aspect ratio for photography, but video is a completely different animal.

    Vertical videos on Instagram are roughly the same aspect ratio as vertical images. While the exact pixel resolution is a bit off, it’s not enough for anyone to notice. So when uploading a vertical video, just make sure it’s a 4:5 aspect ratio.

    It’s not a pretty adjustment to make if you’re used to shooting 16:9 video, but for the added screen real estate you get, I think it’s definitely worth it.

    Instagram Stories Size

    Instagram Stories has ultimately been a wild success. Although it’s basically a Snapchat clone, people have taken to it like wildfire.

    As such, once Instagram released the ability to upload images to your Stories, people started getting very creative with the graphics they used in them. Now, the problem with this is that the dimensions are dependent on the device that the Story is being viewed on. So this makes it rather difficult to standardize.

    However, my highest recommendation is to take a portrait 9:16 ratio approach (a.k.a. landscape 16:9 rotated 90 degrees). In pixels that would mean 1080×1920. As long as you give enough whitespace around the edges, you should be fine.

    IGTV Video Resolution

    When Instagram introduced its new video-centric app, IGTV, it was met with both excitement and skepticism. For a brief moment, however, it was a very exciting new direction for Instagram.

    Videos on IGTV show only in portrait orientation. So a 9:16 aspect ratio is ideal. This means your videos need to be a minimum of 1080×1920 resolution.

    With the excitement around IGTV fading, Instagram decided to start showing previews of your IGTV videos in the main feed.

    instagram mockup of igtv video

    They looked like all other video inside the Instagram feed, but had a small message in the bottom-left corner, “Watch full IGTV video.” After a few seconds, this message shrinks down into just being an IGTV icon.

    The other small caveat is that these IGTV videos will only show 60-seconds of the full video, forcing you to click the icon to view the full video.

    What this signaled is that Instagram wants IGTV to continue to grow, and they’re willing to disrupt their main app experience to make it happen.

    So, naturally, since a 9:16 ratio video won’t work in the feed interface, there is a bit of cropping that happens when an IGTV video is displayed.

    IGTV video template explanation

    When an IGTV video is shown in the main Instagram feed, it is cropped to the same 4:5 aspect ratio as portrait photos and videos uploaded natively.

    This means your 1080×1920 resolution video gets cropped at the top and bottom and becomes a 1080×1350 resolution video.

    I’ve added this video template to my download package for your convenience.

    What does this mean for Instagram?

    Personally, I think you’re going to see two kinds of users: the traditional and the people who like new things.

    The traditional users will stick to their square photos and be fine with that. They have gotten used to it and want to maintain their purist culture.

    The people who like new things will embrace these new dimensions and create a more diverse stream of visual content. Things will definitely be a bit more interesting.

    If I were to bet, I would say that much like Pinterest we will see the taller images and videos (portrait) getting much more love than the square or (especially) landscape photos. The reason for this is that Instagram is still a mobile network, by a long shot.

    Being a mobile dominated network this means that people’s habit of holding their phone in portrait will give the portrait images/videos a much better viewing experience. They will naturally cover more screen real estate garnering more attention.

    So don’t be surprised if you see me update my Social Media Image Templates soon to include a new template or two. Be sure you’re subscribed to my Insiders list to make sure you’re notified when they’re updated.

    Bonus: Instagram Sizes Infographic & Templates

    Ultimately it is a wonderful thing that Instagram is switching things up by providing more options for users. I think it is a change for the better and reveals a lot about how Instagram listens to its users. They not only listen but deliver.

    Because you read all the way to the end of the post (Woohoo!), I wanted to thank you (for real) by giving you this easy reference infographic of all the Instagram sizes.

    Use it as a guide for when you’re creating images for Instagram from outside of Instagram so you can pull them in without worrying about cropping.

    And FYI, you can easily save this in Pinterest by hitting the Pin button floating on this page. 😉

    instagram image sizes infographic

    Use This Image On Your Site

    Simply copy the code below and paste it into your website to share it with your readers.

    <a href="https://dustinstout.com/instagram-sizes/"><img src="https://dustinstout.com/free-resources/instagram-sizes-infographic.jpg" alt="Instagram Image Sizes" width="600px" border="0" /></a><br />Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustinstout.com" title="Dustin Stout | Social Media Resources and Insights">Dustin W. Stout</a>
    

    Lastly, just in case you missed it, don’t forget to download my free templates before you leave. They’ll give you easy access to the latest dimensions and blueprints to create great imagery.

    Save Time With Ready-Made Instagram Posts

    Many of you reading this are probably capable of creating your own Instagram images. And that’s totally fine.

    But some of you just don’t have the time. You’re thinking,

    These templates are great! Now, if I could only find the time to create a bunch of perfectly sized Instagram content…

    And I feel your pain. Running a business, an agency, and all the demands of a typical day make it hard to find time to create content.

    That’s why I created SoVisual.co—for those of you who want great Instagram content, but don’t always have the time to create it yourself.

    sovisual.co social media images

    Our huge library of customizable templates are fast and easy to customize. And we’ve also created “collections” of designs which allow you to create multiple pieces of content with similar styles giving a unified look.

    Just pick a template, fill in the fields, and click “Create.” It’s as easy as that.

    So what are your thoughts about Instagram’s various post sizes? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Custom Short URLs for Social Media: What, Why, and How

    Back when your social media posts had strict character count limitations, sharing links to web pages was a bit stressful—especially on Twitter. That’s when short URLs became a necessity. Without them, you could share one link in a tweet and not have enough space to say anything meaningful about it.

    To solve this problem, URL shorteners were a great solution. Free services like Bitly, Tinyurl, Is.gd, and many others started popping up to help us shrink our long, ugly URLs into short ones.

    These days, character counts aren’t much of a concern. Twitter has not only extended its character limit to 280 (up from 140). On top of that, Twitter automatically adds its own branded link shortened to links.

    And if that’s not enough, Twitter has also decided it doesn’t count links against your character count.

    So why use short URLs at all anymore?

    willy wonka so glad you asked gif

    Furthermore, why go through all the trouble to set up custom short URLs with a branded (vanity) domain?

    Well, my friend, that’s what I’m here to talk about. There are many more benefits to using short URLs in your social media posts. Smart marketers know they’re an essential piece of their day-to-day.

    In this post, I’m going to give you all the angles to using short URLs in your social media posts. First, I’ll talk about generic short URLs and URL shorteners (such as Bitly and TinyURL). Let’s dig in!

    Why Use a Short URL?

    There are a handful of reasons you’d want to use a URL shortener (aka link shortener) instead of just pasting the long link into your social messages.

    1. Less Cluttered Reading Experience

    Website URLs can belong, sometimes obscure looking, and take up a lot of space. Depending on the link, it could completely ruin a smooth reading experience.

    Additionally, if they website whose link you’re sharing has hideous URL structure, it may even come off as spammy or disreputable.

    Shorter links take up less space and are easier to add in-line while not obscuring the reading.

    In addition to the aesthetic though, most URL shortening services add analytics tracking into the links so you can monitor metrics such as:

    • Number of clicks on the link
    • Timeline of clicks
    • Where the link was shared/clicked most
    • Who shared the link

    By tracking these metrics, you can gain valuable insight as to what your audience is responding to, where they’re responding to it and who it is that is responding.

    If you’re not measuring how well your content is performing, you can’t effectively improve it.

    Sometimes when you have a link that you want to share, it’s nice to be able to remember it for later use easily. Or, maybe you want the people who see it to have an easy way to remember it if they can’t type it in right away.

    Most link shorteners offer a way for you to customize what is referred to as the “slug.” The slug is what appears after the final slash in the URL. So, for example:

    https://dustn.xyz/youtube

    The slug portion of that URL is youtube. This makes it super easy to reuse these URLs and even share them when people can’t click on them—like in a slide presentation. Many speakers have used this strategy to give their audience an easy way to jot down links during a presentation.

    4. Easy Specialized Tracking with UTM Codes

    Okay, so this is mostly for more advanced use cases and those who want to track specific campaigns in their website analytics program (such as Google Analytics).

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to know which social networks are sending you the most clicks? Or maybe you want to know if a specific kind of message performs better than others. Google Analytics doesn’t always show you this information in an easy way (or with 100% accuracy). In this case, you’d want to add a what’s known as UTM tracking codes at the ends of your links.

    UTM tracking allows you to pass specific information into Google Analytics (or other analytics software) to measure the results of each particular link you’ve shared across the web.

    Here is an example of what UTM tracking would look like at the end of a URL:

    https://dustinstout.com/find-free-images/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ShortURLs

    Starting with the question mark, this is what’s known as a UTM string. Here’s a breakdown of what that string of text after the last / is going to record in Google Analytics:

    • utm_source = Shown as “Source” in GA, this tells us what website or social network the link was shared on
    • utm_medium = Shown as “Medium” in GA, this tells us what type of “medium” the place we share this link was (examples: social, email, messenger)
    • utm_campaign = Shown as “Campaign” in GA, this is used for when you’re running different types of campaigns (such as ad campaigns, influencer campaigns, email campaigns) so you can see which campaigns are the most successful.

    Some services (such as Agorapulse, Buffer, and CoSchedule) will automatically add these UTM tracking codes to shortened links making the process extremely efficient. You don’t need to go through any extra trouble to create the UTM codes, they’re just automagically added.

    Basically, adding these UTM parameters to your shared URLs makes them even longer and less attractive. But if you’re using a URL shortener, these parameters are shortened along with the link and are invisible to everyone.

    You get the benefit of advanced tracking for your analytics without the risk of making your links look spammy.

    For more on the subject, my friend Robert Nissenbaum has written a comprehensive article on using UTM codes to improve your marketing.

    Over the years there have been tons of link shortening services that have popped up. Honestly, most of them don’t bring much to the table as far as differentiation.

    At the end of this article, I’ll tell you who my number one pick is (and why). Until then, here are the most popular URL shorteners:

    bitly.com homepage

    Bitly is probably the most popular of all the stand-alone link shortening services. They paved the way in the industry with their extremely short domain, bit.ly.

    They further solidified themselves in the marketplace by integrating with third-party services via their API, so you didn’t have to visit their website to shorten your links. Social Media Management tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, and others were among the first to jump on the Bitly API and allow their users’ links to be shortened automatically when composing a message.

    Their analytics and tracking are pretty great also. The dashboard is beautiful to look at, and you can see lots of information about how your links are spreading across the internet.

    Bitly’s downfall, however, has always been its business model. Because it started with such a generous free offering, they really struggled to find the right price point to make revenue. Over the years, this has resulted in a steep decline in how many links free users can create.

    Despite its pricing woes, it still remains one of the most popular link shorteners around.

    Pro tip: If you ever see a Bitly link that someone else has shared, and you want to know how many clicks it’s gotten, just add a + to the end of the URL and enter it. You’ll be able to see all the analytics for that shortened link.

    Now, if you don’t want people seeing your link stats, this may be one reason not to use Bitly.

    2. TinyURL | Shorten that long URL into a tiny URL

    tinyurl.com homepage

    This site has been around for as long as Bitly, if not longer. Links are shortened with the domain name tinyurl.com which is by far the longest domain name of all the link shorteners out there.

    Not to knock them too much, though, because one thing they’ve mastered is simplicity. Enter a link, click the “Make TinyURL” button and you’re done.

    It’s a free service with no limitations on how many links you can shorten. The drawback, however, is that’s absolutely all you can do with it. No analytics, no click tracking, no help with building UTM parameters.

    Nothing. Just shorten your link, and you’re on your merry way.

    3. Is.gd | A URL shortener

    is.gd homepage

    This is probably the most basic of all the URL shorteners. Is.gd has been around for a long time and is one of the shorter domains for shortening your links.

    You can customize the slug of your short links, and you can even activate tracking on your links—you have to manually open these advanced settings before shortening your link, though.

    If you’ve checked the box to log statistics for your link, you just need to add a - to the end of the short URL to see the stats. But, of course, just like with Bitly, this means anyone can see your stats too.

    4. YOURLS | Your Own URL Shortener

    yourls.org homepage

    For those who don’t want to place their URL shortening on someone else’s server, there’s YOURLS. It is free, open-source software that you can install on your own web server.

    It gives you 100% control of your URLs, which domains that you use, and the data that your shortened URLs gather.

    For the less tech-savvy, however, this is definitely not the best option as it requires PHP knowledge and knowing a good amount of web development practices. There are a lot of deeply geeky features that you can take advantage of, however, so if you have a developer, this may be an attractive option for you.

    bl.ink homepage

    Now, BL.INK is the first link-shortener on this list that allows you to actually purchase and manage your short domain names through its platform. This makes it super easy to do what we’ll talk about in the next section—custom short URLs.

    In addition to buying and managing custom domains, BL.INK also offers advanced features such as being able to dynamically redirect links based on the device, language, or date in which your links are being clicked.

    Lastly, BL.INK offers advanced analytics and will integrate with Google Analytics (and other analytics as well). I haven’t actually used BL.INK, but I expect that this Google Analytics integration is along the lines of UTM tracking as I mentioned previously.

    rebrandly.com

    By far, my favorite link-shortener of them all is Rebrandly. It’s the most powerful, most comprehensive, and full-featured link shortener I’ve found.

    Rebrandly offers the same level of link-shortening, customizing the slug (or “slashtag” as they call it), and analytics of the previous services. They also offer the ability to buy and manage custom short domains right on their platform, so there is no technical setup to getting your own branded short URLs.

    But unlike any other link shortener I’ve tried, Rebrandly offers a few powerful features that were total game-changers for me.

    Built-in UTM builder

    If you’re not a pro at building UTM strings, Rebrandly will help you build them into your links when you go to shorten them.

    shortening a URL with rebrandly
    This is what the Rebrandly Chrome extension looks like when you click to shorten a link.

    Click on the “UTM” icon and fill in the fields. You really only need Source, Medium, and Campaign. The Term and Content fields are optional.

    click to add UTM
    fill in UTM fields

    You can also save this as a preset to save time the next time you need to create the same UTM string.

    create new UTM preset
    Create and save your new preset.
    saved UTM presets selection box
    Easily access your presets to save time shortening links in the future!

    Some examples of how I use presets are:

    • Links added to my Instagram profile
    • Links added to YouTube video descriptions
    • Links for Facebook ad campaigns

    I absolutely love this feature, and it’s saved me so much time in the long run.

    If you want to add an internal memo about a particular link, Rebrandly gives you that ability. This can be super helpful, especially if you’re working in a team and you need to pass along additional information about links.

    add note to shortened link
    Once you’ve created a short URL you get the “Add options” option.
    type your note
    Once selected, just start typing your note in the box and click “Save.”
    note saved to shortened link

    I don’t use this feature much with my small team, but it’s nice to know I have the ability when I need it.

    If you’re an organization nut like I am, you’ll love the ability to tag your links. This is a great way to group specific types of links so you can find them easily later on.

    add tags to short URL
    Click “Tags” to begin added them to your short URL.
    select tags for short URL
    You can select from your list of tags, or create a new one.
    create a new tag in Rebrandly
    Give your new tag a name and a color then click “Create tag.”

    You can also build custom analytics reports of links based on tags, making reporting super intelligent.

    If you’re a super savvy marketer and you want to create rules based on things like country, device, language, date, day of the week, or hour of the day you can!

    So if you have both an English and a Spanish version of a link you want to send people to, you can easily set a routing rule based on those parameters.

    rebrandly short URL routing rules
    add routing filter in Rebrandly
    Click to add a filter to route your short URL through.
    routing by date example
    For example: route the URL based on the date.
    choose routing rule in rebrandly
    Then choose the “rule” for the filter.
    choose date for routing
    And this is what it looks like to choose the date.

    This is great for time-sensitive links.

    For example, let’s say you’re running a giveaway (which I’ll be doing for the post), and that giveaway ends on a specific day. You can set the link to go to your giveaway landing page up until the day it ends, and then after that, it will go to a different landing page.

    Amazing, right?!

    Oh, but that’s not the most significant game-changing feature for me. This next feature is what has me hooked on Rebrandly.

    Let’s say you’re sharing a link to Social Media Examiner’s latest Facebook marketing article. Your followers will click the link, read the article, and that’s the end of it.

    Since you don’t own Social Media Examiner (unless you’re reading this and your name is Michael Stelzner... hi, Mike!), you can’t retarget the people who are interested in that article. Since it’s not your site, you can’t place your Facebook retargeting pixel on the site.

    Unless you’ve used Rebrandly to shorten the link and add your Facebook pixel in the link! What?!

    add retargeting to short URLs
    Click to add your retargeting scripts such as Facebook pixel, Twitter pixel, or other marketing script.
    paste your retargeting script

    Yes, that’s right—every link you shorten with Rebrandly gives you the ability to attach your own marketing pixels to the short link. And once you’ve added your scripts to Rebrandly, they are always there for easy access—just one click to add it to any short URL.

    select saved scripts

    This feature was a total game-changer for me. It meant I can curate other people’s content and use that content to actually retarget my audience based on their interests.

    Okay, so you clearly see I have a personal favorite when it comes to link-shortening service. So let’s move on to talk about custom short URLs and why you should be using them instead of generic ones.

    Take it to the Next Level with Custom Short URLs

    custom short urls increase click-through rate quote

    There are plenty of reasons you should ditch using generic short domains such as Bit.ly or any of the default link shorteners built into tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. But first, let’s clarify exactly what a custom short URL is.

    A custom (or branded) short URL is when the domain on the shortened link has some sort of relevance to you or your brand. For example:

    • Mashable uses on.mash.to
    • New York Times uses nyti.ms
    • Huffington Post uses huff.to
    • Google uses its own goo.gl
    • Warfare Plugins uses wfa.re

    Having your own custom short URL has a more professional appeal to it. It also tells your audience that you’re slightly more sophisticated in your marketing.

    anchorman big deal gif

    Additionally, a study by theBitly team found that:

    “branded short domains drive up to a 34% increase in CTR when compared to unbranded links.”

    That means that just having a custom branded short URL you could be getting 34% more clicks on your shared links. That’s a big deal.

    But there’s one last benefit to having your own branded short URL that I think is not to be overlooked.

    A branded short link shows that you have personally shortened it. The shortened link was not just shortened anywhere by anyone because nobody holds the keys to your custom short domain but you.

    One of the biggest problems with public URL shorteners is that they’ve been so widely abused.

    Since anyone can shorten a link through Bitly or goo.gl (R.I.P.), for example, that means that they can easily disguise malicious links and people will unknowingly click-through to something they aren’t expecting.

    This was such a widespread epidemic for a while that people have begun to mistrust any Bitly link.

    With a custom short URL you’re lending your name (or brand name) and your seal of approval to whatever that link forwards to. It’s an added layer of trust that cannot be overlooked.

    How to Set Up Custom Short URLs

    Okay, Dustin, you’ve convinced me that I should totally be using a custom domain when shortening my links. So how do I do it?

    I’m so glad you asked, dear reader.

    There are three primary ways you can go about setting up your own branded link shortener.

    The hardest way to set up custom short URLs

    If you read about YOURLS above, then you know that by default you’re using your custom domain name to shorten links. However, that is a very technical route to go just for having a boost in branding.

    But if you love fiddling with Open Source scripts, and know your way around your own server, get YOURLS installed and you’ll be all set.

    The easier way to set up custom short URLs

    If you use Bitly and want to continue using it because it integrates with all of your social media tools and apps—that’s totally understandable. They do offer the ability to use a custom short domain in your account.

    The only limitation with using a custom domain with Bitly is that the domain must be 15 characters or less (including the dot).

    First, you’ll need to purchase the short domain with a domain registrar. Setting it up to work with your Bitly account will then require you to make some changes to your domain’s DNS records on your domain registrar.

    If that sounds a bit too technical for you already, don’t worry—my friend Dave Shrein has created a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through the process.

    The easiest way to set up custom short URLs

    If you want to completely avoid the complexity of buying a domain name and then managing the DNS records, Rebrandly makes it much easier.

    As I stated previously, Rebrandly allows you to purchase short domains right within your account. That means once you buy the domain, it’s ready to be used immediately without any further configuration.

    buy and manage short domains in rebrandly
    Buy and manage your custom short domains with Rebrandly.

    I currently have 4 custom domains registered through Rebrandly. It’s a bit of an addiction at this point.

    I still use another custom domain through my Bitly account, however, because there are many apps I use which integrate with it and don’t integrate with Rebrandly (yet).

    Downside to Using Short URLs

    hold up, hold my phone

    There are also some cons to using a custom branded short URL that I was recently made aware of.

    There still exists a degree of trust issues that people have with any shortened link. Since the primary link is hidden, it’s very easy for spammers and scammers to get people to click on potentially shady links.

    This means some people just won’t click on a shortened link. But if you’re a trustworthy person and people know that, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

    Best Practices with Short URLs

    Short URLs, whether branded or unbranded, are great for specific contexts. There are, however, certain instances where you do not want to use them. So here’s a short list of short URL best practices:

    • Never in anchor text or hyperlinks. Or in other words, not on web pages or in blog posts. There is speculation that placing short URLs in HTML links can result in bad SEO mojo.
    • Never use them on Pinterest for pins. Pinterest began removing pins with affiliate links and shortened URLs back in 2015. Best to just avoid using short URLs entirely on Pinterest.
    • Never shorten an already shortened link. Not only is it redundant, but it can also get flagged as an error by web browsers for having too many redirects. If this happens, the link will essentially be useless.

    Most of these are just good sense. A shortened link’s primary purpose is to improve the user experience. If you’re looking at using a shortened link for an instance where that purpose doesn’t apply, you probably don’t need to shorten it.

    Final Thoughts

    Using short URLs on social media can help your messages have more visual appeal, higher click-throughs, and give you extra insight into the effectiveness of the content you’re sharing.

    To me, the positives far outweigh the potential negatives. As a professional in the world of content marketing and social media, I need to know what’s working and what’s not working so I can teach and apply that insight to my clients and customers.

    So are you using short URLs in your social posts? What URL shortener are you using? Share your thoughts in the comments by clicking here.

  • Social Media Statistics 2022: Top Networks By the Numbers

    Looking for the latest social media statistics? Want to know which social media networks and apps are the most popular in 2022?

    Whether you’re building a presentation, a pitch, or you’re just plain curious, I’ve done my best to search the entire internet for all the juicy social media statistics you could possibly need.

    All in one place, always updated so that you know exactly where to go to find the latest and greatest stats about popular social media platforms.

    Based on the findings, I’ve also ranked each network (1-10) according to the active user base and usage data.

    You can use this information to help guide your marketing efforts, determine which social channels to focus on, and inform your social media strategy.

    Bonus: Grab the full infographic at the bottom of this post to share on your site!

    To make it super easy for you here’s a convenient Table of Contents so that you can quickly navigate to the stats that you’re looking for:

    If you find anything in this article that is outdated or inaccurate and you can provide a credible source, please use the comments section to let me know!

    Now, without further ado, lets get into it!

    Facebook Statistics

    facebook statistics

    Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and launched in 2004. During creation, Facebook was only limited to Harvard students but was later available to everyone above 13 years old as long as you had a valid email address.

    Now, after 15 years of existence, Facebook has become, by far, the largest social network in the world.

    It has also become the most important social media site for marketers despite declining organic reach. Facebook marketing takes up a significant amount of digital ad spend in 2022.

    And when it comes to social media statistics, Facebook tends to be the standard that all other networks are now compared to.

    With that said, here are some of the most current Facebook statistics:

    • As of June 2019, Facebook reports an estimated 2.4 billion Monthly Active Users.
    • Facebook also says it has 1.6 billion Daily Active Users.
    • 88% of Facebook’s user activity is from a mobile device.
    • The average amount of time a users spends on Facebook every day is 58 minutes.
    • There are over 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day.
    • On average, 5 Facebook accounts are created every second.
    • Approximately 30% of Facebook users are aged between 25 and 34 years.
    • Facebook video is still in high demand with approximately 8 billion video views per day.

    Most of these stats I found while reading through Facebook’s quarterly reports. I’m also constantly keeping my eye on the Facebook Newsroom for any breaking news and statistics announcements.

    It’s worth noting that I could have added Facebook Messenger to this list, but due to the fact that most users still believe the two platforms to be the same, I decided to leave it out.

    YouTube Statistics

    youtube statistics

    YouTube was created by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim (former PayPal employees) in 2005. It’s considered the 3rd most popular website worldwide.

    As far as social networks go, it’s ranked number two.

    After 14 years of existence, here’s a look a some mind-blowing YouTube statistics:

    • Currently YouTube has more than 1.9 billion logged-in visits every month.
    • 149 million people login to YouTube daily.
    • The average duration of a YouTube visit is 40 minutes.
    • Viewers are spending an average of 1 hour per day watching YouTube videos.
    • On average, 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube.
    • There are over 5 billion video views each day.

    Many of these stats came straight from either the YouTube Blog or their Press page.

    WhatsApp Statistics

    whatsapp statistics

    WhatsApp is an instant messaging application for smartphones that comes with an end to end encryption. It was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009 and later bought by Facebook in 2014.

    While some may mistakenly leave it out of the social media statistics studies, it’s absolutely one of the social networking titans, IMO.

    In the 10 years since its inception it has achieved the following stats:

    • WhatsApp is estimated to have approximately 1.5 billion monthly active users.
    • There are now over 1 billion daily active users on WhatsApp.
    • On average, 1 million people register on WhatsApp daily.
    • Approximately 60 billion texts daily are sent.

    Since WhatsApp doesn’t divulge any statistical data publicly (that I could find), all of these stats were found through third-party research.

    Instagram Statistics

    instagram statistics

    Instagram was created Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom in 2010. It was mainly meant to enable sharing of pictures and videos, both publicly and privately. It had been since acquired by Facebook in 2012.

    After 9 years of its existence, take a look at some of these fascinating Instagram statistics:

    • Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users.
    • There are more than 600 million daily active users.
    • There are now 500 million daily Stories users.
    • Since its creation, more than 40 billion photos have been shared.
    • On average, 95 million photos are uploaded daily on Instagram.
    • There are approximately 4.2 billion likes per day.
    • Most Instagram users are between 18 to 29 years of age with 32% of Instagram users being college students.

    Some of these statistics were found on the Instagram Press page while others were found through third-party demographic research.

    Bonus: Are you creating Instagram content? Make sure you grab my free Instagram Image Templates.

    Twitter Statistics

    twitter statistics

    Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in March of 2006. It was an experiment that quickly became a messaging addiction for many.

    It’s one of my personal favorite social networks. And, if you know how to use Twitter right, it can be a big contributor to your social media success.

    What started as a simple way to post status updates via text message has become one of the most popular go-to sources for what’s happening in the world in real time. In Twitter’s own words:

    Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.

    In its 13 years of existence, here are some of the noteworthy Twitter statistics:

    • Nowadays Twitter has more than 330 million monthly active users.
    • There are 134 million daily active users or at least that’s how many “monetizable” daily active users (mDAU) according to Twitter.
    • Of their monthly active users, 68 million MAU are form the United States.
    • The number of mDAU from the US is 26 million.
    • Close to 460,000 new twitter accounts are registered every day.
    • Twitter users are posting 140 million tweets daily which adds up to a billion tweets in a week.
    • Each twitter user has on average 208 followers.
    • 550 million accounts are reported to have at least sent a tweet.

    I have dug through countless (and insanely boring) earnings reports to find these stats. Most recently the Twitter Q1 2019 Earnings Report was what informed most of the above data.

    Now, even though Twitter is actually tied (so far as we know) with Reddit for Monthly Active Users, I’ve decided that Twitter should take the higher spot on the list because of mainstream adoption. I’d love to see some Daily Active User stats for Reddit though to see if they pull past Twitter.

    Reddit Statistics

    reddit statistics

    Reddit is a discussion and web content rating website. It was founded by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman from the University of Virginia in 2005.

    And while it isn’t receiving anywhere near as much press buzz, it is a thriving and vibrant community of people. Many of them total trolls, but hey, trolls are people too.

    It’s also been known to completely tank websites by sending enormous, and unsustainable amounts of web traffic when things hit the front page. So, be sure to use it for your own blog posts with caution.

    In the 14 years it’s been around, it has accomplished the following:

    • Reddit has approximately 330 million monthly active users.
    • It’s estimated that Reddit gets over 14 billion views per month.
    • There have been more than 853,000 subreddits.
    • It has more than 138,000 active communities.
    • On average, there are 25 million votes on Reddit daily.
    • The average time length of reddit visit is 13 minutes.

    A lot of these statistics can be found if you search through their advertiser or press pages.

    LinkedIn Statistics

    linkedin statistics

    LinkedIn is a professional networking service that was founded in 2002 but later launched in 2003.

    It is officially the oldest social network on this list.

    And although it is the oldest, it’s definitely struggled to grow its user base over the years. This is mostly due to the professional nature of the network.

    It started as a place to simply keep your resume updated and didn’t really turn into a full-on social network until Facebook was well into its prime.

    Since launching 16 years ago, it can boast the following user stats:

    • LinkedIn has over 560 million registered users.
    • It is estimated that LinkedIn has approximately 303 million monthly active users.
    • 5.3 million new accounts per month are created on LinkedIn.
    • There are over 30 million company pages.
    • The average visit duration is about 10 minutes.
    • Of all the users, 57% are male whereas 43% of the users are females.

    LinkedIn has always been a bit cryptic in releasing usage statistics, but a few of the above points can be found on their About page.

    Snapchat Statistics

    snapchat statistics

    Snapchat is a multimedia mobile application which was created by Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown in 2011.

    It started as a private messaging app that gave users the ability to create “snaps” or messages that would self-destruct (be automatically deleted) after being viewed. Unlike all the other social media apps and networks in which you had to manually delete posts you’ve shared.

    For many, this was empowering because they didn’t have to worry about sending something that they’d regret years down the road.

    For others, it just seemed like a breeding ground for sexting and “unscrupulous” behavior that people wanted to hide.

    When Snap, Inc. became a publicly traded company, it decided to evolve into calling itself a “camera company.” Very few people understand that decision.

    In that short 8 years, here’s what the mobile messaging app has accomplished by way of user stats:

    • Snapchat has approximately 301 million monthly active users.
    • Snapchat also reports 109 million daily active users (a downward trend).
    • Of those daily active users, 77 million are from the United States.
    • 60% of these snapchat users are aged between 18 and 34 years.
    • Snapchat is competing closely with its rival, Facebook, by reporting more than 10 billion video views daily.
    • Approximately 3 billion snaps are created every day.
    • Snapchat users aged 25 years and above spent an average of 20 minutes on snapchat daily while those below 25 years spent on average 30 minutes.
    • It’s estimated that it would take you more than 950 years to watch all snaps made in a day.

    Most of the data was found digging through Snap Inc. quarterly earnings reports. I wouldn’t recommend it–unless you’re literally read everything else there is to be read on the internet first.

    Pinterest Statistics

    pinterest statistics

    Pinterest is a mobile application that enables you to find information on the World Wide Web. It was founded by Evan Sharp, Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra in 2010.

    And Pinterest will be the first to tell you that it is not a social media platform. However, 99% of the people you talk to about with will consider it one. Sorry, Pinterest.

    It took some time for Pinterest to get on the social media marketing map, but it eventually showed itself to be a very powerful traffic driver.

    And although it took Peg Fitzpatrick a couple years to get me on Pinterest, once I finally took her advice, I was a firm believer in the power of the platform. While it may not have the highest number of active users, the website traffic potential is through the roof.

    While it developed a strong reputation for being mostly used by women, men have begun flocking to the network, probably thanks to Jeff Sieh at Manly Pinterest Tips.

    In its 9 years, it has achieved the following milestones:

    • Pinterest has 291 million monthly active users.
    • 70 million of it’s active users are from the United States.
    • The average Pinterest user visit lasts 14 minutes.
    • The total number of Pinterest pins is more than 175 billion.
    • The total number of Pinterest boards are approximately 1 billion.
    • In a day, Pinterest is visited by 2 million users who save shopping pins on their boards.

    Some of these stats were found on the official Pinterest Blog while others had to be sourced through third-party data studies. And now since Pinterest is a publicly traded company, they also have quarterly earnings reports that anyone can view.

    Tumblr Statistics

    tumblr statistics

    This is a micro-blogging and social networking website which was launched in 2007 by David Carp.

    You won’t typically see Tumblr included in social media statistics because many people may think of it as a “blogging” platform. However, I believe it absolutely fits into the realm of social networks and should be counted among the top social media sites.

    It’s gone through a lot of evolutions, acquisitions, and changes, but it has stuck around for a long time. It’s also developed a unique culture of users.

    In its 12 years, it has accomplished the following user milestones:

    • Tumblr has a total of over 452 million blogs.
    • There are approximately 371 million monthly visits.
    • Tumblr has more than 166 billion published posts.
    • There are approximately 7.2 million new blogs created each month.
    • Approximately 46% of Tumblr visitors are aged between 18 and 34 years.
    • Of all the visitors, 52% are male and 48% female.

    Of all the listed sites, Tumblr seems to be the most transparent as this data was pretty easy to get.

    Bonus Reading: Check out my list of the best Social Media Tools for professional social media marketers.

    Other Social Networks

    This section contains social networks that were previously a part of the primary list. I wanted to preserve these for historical purposes even though they no longer are included in the primary list.

    Google+ Statistics

    Google Plus statistics for 2018

    Google plus is a social network owned by Google. It was launched in 2011 and was meant to be a social layer across all of Google’s products. The purpose and objective of the social network has changed a lot over the years, and in early 2019 has been officially sunset.

    In its eight years of existence it had accomplished some interesting milestones:

    • At its high-point, there were approximately 395 million monthly active users on Google+.
    • Google+ was estimated to have over 2 billion registered users world-wide.
    • 28% of Google plus users were aged between 15 and 34 years.
    • United States alone made up 55% of all the users.
    • 73.7% of the users were male while 26.3% were female.
    • It is estimated that on average, a Google+ user will spent 3 minutes and 46 seconds per visit.

    Some of this info was gained through reading the official Google Blog (before they got rid of the Google+ blog) as well as many other third-party research and data studies.

    Unfortunately, it seems Google was in no way interested in the social media statistics game and has kept much of its data private.

    Periscope Statistics

    Periscope statistics for 2018

    Periscope is a live video streaming app that was created by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour and before even launching was bought by Twitter in 2015.

    It quickly dwarfed its predecessor, Meerkat, and became very popular among live-streaming apps. I even tried it for a while and came up with a handful of Periscope pro tips that you might want to check out.

    In its short 3 years after launch Periscope has accomplished the following milestones:

    • There are over 9.3 million live streams monthly on Periscope.
    • Periscope has over 10 million registered users.
    • Daily active users are approximated to be 1.9 million.
    • The number of active users on Periscope using android is 1.2 million.
    • There have been 200 million broadcasts on periscope to date.
    • On average, 350,000 hours of videos are streamed every day.

    Twitter doesn’t reveal many of Periscope’s usage stats, but you can dig through their quarterly reports and get some interesting info.

    Social Media Statistics Infographic

    What’s that you say? You wish there were a giant infographic that you could share out to your social networks and embed on your own blogs?

    Well, didn’t I just think of everything when I created the following for you?

    Social Media Statistics Infographic

    If you’d like to embed this infographic on your own website, just copy the code below:

    <a href="https://dustinstout.com/social-media-statistics/" target="_blank"><img src="https://dustinstout.com/free-resources/social-media-statistics-infographic.jpg" alt="Social Media Statistics 2018 Infographic" /></a><br /><em>Image courtesy of <a href="https://dustinstout.com" target="_blank">Dustin Stout</a></em>

    Final Thoughts On Social Media Statistics

    It’s taken me a long time to track down these social media stats. I’ve spent countless hours trolling through quarterly earnings reports, advertizer informational documents, platform about pages, and every official documented record of stats I could.

    However, some networks just don’t care to give any statistics out anymore. So I turned to other third-party data sources. If you find anything listed above to be a bit off, do let me know.

    But I wanted to take a moment here and say one very important thing:

    It doesn’t really matter how many users any social network has.

    You know what really matters?

    How many people are you able connect with in a relevant way?

    If there are 2.4 billion people are active on Facebook, but none of them have any interest in the stories you’re telling (or you can’t reach them)— there is zero value in that network.

    If there are 300 people using MySpace and every single one of them are interested in your story— it’s suddenly more valuable than Facebook.

    I’m just using these as extreme examples, and, of course, they’re not accurate. There’s no way Myspace has 300 users.

    The point is this— don’t get caught up in the “who has the most active users” game. It’s even more meaningless than your follower count. Your social media presence is about serving your target audience, not everyone in the world.

    Bonus reading: Don’t just “boost” your social media engagement, learn how to scale it. That’s where the real power of social media channels and influencer marketing lives.

    If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with a diverse set of clients, it’s this— target market trumps mass market.

    So when you’re considering putting time, energy and resources into your social media marketing don’t get caught up in the big numbers. Do your market research and know which networks your target market is actively engaging on.

    If you need help deciding where your time and effort is best spent on social media, you can always drop me a line.

    And also, if you have any interesting social media statistics you’d like to add, just throw them in the comments along with your source and I’ll take a look at adding them.

    Feature image courtesy of SFIO CRACHO via Shutterstock.