Last week, Facebook started testing new link previews on selected Facebook accounts—and it could cause some trouble for social media managers.
FACEBOOK TEST— Filip Struhárik (@filip_struharik) October 4, 2018
A small percentage of people are seeing some images in News Feed in a 1x1 format. "It’s too early to say whether we will make this change more broadly," a Facebook spokesperson said.
Image: Normal post (left) and post in new 1x1 square format (right) pic.twitter.com/BXzJ5zF9pE
The limited test changes Facebook link preview image sizes from the classic 16:9 aspect ratio, to a more Instagram-like 1:1 image ratio. In other words: this changes link image previews from a rectangle to a square. See the Tweet above for a look.
Facebook acknowledges the test, and has said it's only rolled out to a small number of users at this time. Further, the social media giant said it has no plans to roll out the change to a wider audience...yet.
But remember, if this is anything like past, the test may quickly move into a production version of Facebook in the near future. Only time will tell.
What does this mean for Instagram?
This test shows that Facebook is working towards more unified experience across its Facebook and Instagram platforms. Using a 1:1 aspect ratio for image previews means that companies posting to Facebook will have to adapt to an Instagram-ready image sized.
Additionally, this means that more brands will post to Instagram. Because, after all, if brands are already making the content for Facebook, why not crosspost it to Instagram?
However, this poses one major problem: if Instagram is more widely accessible for marketing content, it may reduce the amount of high-quality content on Instagram. What used to be a feed of pretty pictures and user-generated content may turn into product promotions that were used to catch attention on Facebook.
Other concerns for social media managers
Instagram switching to a 1:1 format—especially with a limited rollout—will reap havoc on social media managers. SMM's will have to adjust to the new image size, and may even need to post both 16:9 and 1:1 images for a time.
When the time comes, you can use Social Report's built-in image editing tools to edit your link preview images down to size. Additionally, you can use the Social Report composer window to quickly and easily switch the preview images for all content you post to social media.
However, social media managers shouldn't worry about the changes yet. Remember, it's only a limited rollout as of now, so don't start posting 1:1 link previews just yet. We'll let you know if or when this changes.
What do you think?
Now we'll turn the mic (well, keyboard) to you: do you agree with the change from 16:9 to 1:1 for Facebook link previews? Are you worried about it diluting quality of the Instagram feed later down the line? Let us know in the comments below.
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