How To Optimize Your Facebook Cover Photo

By Ramon Thompson

Facebook is a very visual platform; their re-design is even more focused around imagery. It’s known that images on Facebook drive 94% more total views, and there is a 37% higher engagement rate for photos over text. Let’s look at one way we can consistently create visually interesting imagery that we can use to drive user engagement on your Facebook page.

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a principle used in photography to enable the creation of visually interesting images. We take the image area and divide it into 9 parts using vertical and horizontal lines:

This creates 4 points that are regarded as the most interesting areas of the image; the eye will naturally be drawn to those points, and this tendency is used as a way to guide the viewer around the image by placing the subject at or near them:

Our subject is placed along 2 points of the grid.
Source: Digital Photography School (

Many of today’s cameras and camera apps have the rule of thirds grid built in, so check your camera or app settings to enable it if it is not enabled.

Selecting Photos

When selecting photos from imagery that’s already been created, try to choose those that have a clear subject, as this makes it easier to use the Rule of Thirds when placing the image as a cover photo.


Let’s see the Rule of Thirds in action when applied to creating a Facebook cover photo. Here are a few examples that really illustrate the technique:

Extra Space Storage (client)

Things Remembered (client)

Nike Football

These are only a few examples of how brands create visually interesting and engaging cover photos using the Rule of Thirds.

Now that we’ve revealed a technique for creating visually interesting and engaging cover photos, how will you use this tip to create your own cover photo? Which of your favorite brands has a great cover photo in which you can see that this technique is used? Share in the comments below!


Lindsay Smith October 23, 2012
I think this is a great feature story for individuals and companies alike. Not only is it important to understand how to utilize every aspect of a company's Facebook page but individuals can use their cover photo to improve their personal brand. I think cover photos are defeinitely a great use of space!
Ramon Thompson October 10, 2012
I really like the Starbucks cover photo; the colors and the depth of field really help focus the eye on different parts of the image. Also, notice how it doesn't explicitly say "Pumpkin Spiced Latte"? Yet we're able to infer that that is what is in the cup. A great example of how to use a cover photo! Thanks for sharing.
Ramon Thompson October 10, 2012
Great question, and it's something we've been working on figuring out as well. We've found that the png format works best, but the jury is still out on the ideal file size. The compression seems to be really strong, especially for images on the timeline. As you noticed however, when viewing or saving the image, you get the untouched version. So, I'd say that the best thing to do is to use the png file format when saving for web and not worry about the large file size as it will be compressed.
Ramon Thompson October 10, 2012
Great cover photo, and I agree that it's a great use of the space.
Terrie Marcoe October 9, 2012
My tag line, "Coaching and Resources for Entrepreneurs" does seem to follow the grid... "Coaching" at upper left point, and "Entrepreneurs" at upper right. But I just happen to have a natural eye for composition.
Ramon Thompson October 10, 2012
In the article I only discussed imagery, but as you've pointed out this also works with typography! In fact, placement of any element on a page can benefit from use of the Rule of Thirds. Thanks for sharing!

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