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Image Or Thumbnail: Which One Gets You Better Reach?

Most marketers have been around the block enough times to know that when you post an update on a Facebook business page, you always need to attach an image. However, this practice might be doing more harm than good as marketers are now seeing a reduction of interaction with these posts. In this blog post, I'll explain the differences between publishing a Facebook post with an image and publishing a Facebook post with just a generated thumbnail. I will then tell you about the pros and cons each one has and how a marketer can use these to their advantage.

1. Appearance

As you can see both look pretty good, especially if you've got a nice image on the thumbnail. Both images are around the same size, the image should be around 476px by 316px and the thumbnail image will come out at 450px by 235px. Typically you can get more information on the image, however, the more text you have on an image the less attractive it is. A good rule of thumb is that an image should only contain around 20% of text.

2. Reach

One of the big differences between a Facebook post with an image and one with a thumbnail is the reach each one gets. Over the last few years, image based posts have been able to reach far more people than thumbnail based ones and this is because of one factor ... the ever changing Facebook algorithm. In 2016, Facebook announced that it would be analysing which types of content people interact with the most. It was found that video ranked first, images ranked second, status updates ranked third and posts with thumbnails ranked last. At the time, posts with images tended to get 34% more reach than posts with thumbnails, however, since the 2018 algorithm change this has dropped to around 21%.

3. Interaction

Here's the most important metric for marketers ... interaction. Typically they're two types of interaction what a post can get, the first is comments, likes and shares. The second is post clicks which counts as clicks on images and links. The latter is the type of interaction what marketers should be aiming for, however, a lot of marketers today have tunnel vision and tend to aim for likes, clicks and shares as this gives the illusion that the posts are performing better than they are.

When analysing which type of post gives marketers the best interaction statistics, the data reveals that thumbnail based posts are best. This is because posts with images just have a link to click, whereas on posts with a thumbnail attached they have a whole image to click on.

So to recap:

  • Both types of post are visually appealing, unless the image being used is text heavy.

  • Image based posts are good if you're just aiming for reach, however, video is even better. It should be noted though due to the Facebook algorithm change in 2018, businesses have noticed a drastic reduction in organic reach. To counter this, businesses either need to be more human or they need to increase their Facebook Ad activities.

  • Thumbnail based posts get the best types of interaction and this is link clicks to your website.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my past blog post which are listed below.


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