The Wrong Dimension

How to Get Out of ‘The Wrong Dimension’

You’re ready to start your ad campaign. You’ve got a perfect strategy in mind. You know exactly who you want to sell your brand to. You even have a beautiful set of photographs and video that you believe will sell your brand to everyone who needs to see it. Everything is perfect. You slide right through the first few steps of the Facebook Ads Manager as though you are an established expert. Then, it is time to upload your images or videos and that’s when it hits you. You have left the safety of your ad campaign and slid The Wrong Dimension.

How did I get to The Wrong Dimension? 

The Wrong Dimension can find anyone at any time. With so many means to take a picture or shoot a video, they are not guaranteed to be shot with the proper advertising dimensions in mind. It’s infested with pesky pixels which have made your image blurry, skewed it until it’s practically beyond recognition, and made your beautiful image into something out of Gothic Horror.. It’s terrible, frightening, and may seem to be an inescapable disaster area, but don’t let The Wrong Dimension suck you in. It’s not an inescapable prison, but a minor nuisance, and this minor nuisance can be easily combated with the proper tools and know-how.

Can I escape from The Wrong Dimension?

The Wrong Dimension can sneak up on even the most experienced advertiser, and with a proper understanding of Facebook’s standard photo and video dimensions, you can combat The Wrong Dimension before it becomes a problem. With hundreds of image and video editors on the market on the market for your computer, phone, or tablet getting from The Wrong Dimension to The Right Dimension only takes some software, some patience, and a little bit of know how so that you can know exactly what you need to make your advertising image work! 

What is The Right Dimension? 

Facebook’s ad images take into account the different contexts which it will be seen in. Whether you are focusing on video, presenting an ad-campaign inside your Instagram Story, or showing a simple photograph or video, it is important to know the proper dimensions for any image you want to use, and it’s important to know that different ads require different sizes. Pixels are not just a fancy word for little boxes of color, but a measurement that’s akin to the square footage of your house. You wouldn’t try to fit 50 square feet of carpet in your 100-square-foot guest room, so don’t try to fit a 50 pixel image in a 100 pixel space. Get to know The Right Dimensions and plan your use of images accordings. The Right Dimension changes depending on the type of ad you’re trying to use, so what’s right for one is certainly not right for another ad.

Whether you are using Photoshop or Microsoft Paint, all of them have indicators which tell the dimensions of their current projects. When taking or designing a picture, remember that you can trim away the excess as long as you aren’t too close or too far from the image’s subject, so keep this in mind if you are shooting, designing, or brainstorming your ad space. By keeping Facebook’s recommended dimensions in mind, you greatly decrease your chances of ending up in The Wrong Dimension, and if you are in The Wrong Dimension, your ad cannot perform to its most optimal state.

Facebook Image – 1,200 x 628 pixels

These are your simplest, most standard image files. Think of it as a 16:9 widescreen movie, although you can flip it on its side and do an ad in portrait mode. Just know that a photo that is done in portrait mode is more likely to be cut off if you include a link with your image.

But, be careful! If you are shooting on an older or cheaper phone or camera, it may shoot in lower quality and you may find yourself back in The Wrong Dimension. Also know that text should not cover more than 20% of your ad photo–that’s what the description is for. 

Facebook/Instagram Stories – 1,080 x 1,920 pixels

Remember that these stories are designed with smartphones in mind, and as such they are best displayed in portrait mode. The standard dimensions of a Facebook or Instagram story reflect this, and while a widescreen (or landscape)  photo may be ideal for a standard ad, these will be presented with the way that most people hold their phones in mind. 

This doesn’t mean that smaller photos are prohibited, but keep in mind that the empty space could be used for any text or additional information, and using all of the space provided is not only smart, but efficient and effective. 

These also have limited opportunity for text, so put as much information in your story in as concise a language as possible, as stories are meant to be just a few seconds long. 

Facebook/Instagram Video – 16:9 to 9:16 ratio

With studies showing that video is among the most effective means to get your brand out there, more and more companies are pivoting there to get their product out there. Videos allow more information to be presented, a flashier means of getting across, and  an increased chance that viewers take in the information that they’d otherwise see or read. 

Videos are not immune to The Wrong Dimension, however. Just as your photograph might be improperly fit for your intended ad, so can videos, and with the added complication of cropping a moving image, make sure that you know these dimensions before hand.

Lucky for you, 16:9 and 9:16 are pretty standard video sizes, but remember that you can also do ratios in between. 1:1 is a square video, which can be used on Facebook, and is even standard on both Instagram and Twitter videos. 4:5 and 2:3 are more rare, with the latter being compatible only with Facebook. 

Also, it is important to remember that Facebook has limits. A video cannot be more than 4GB and its length cannot be longer than 4 hours. These aren’t likely to be an issue for most users, but keep them in the back of your mind. Like stories, these have limited space for headlines and ad, so be concise. 

Facebook/Instagram Carousel – 1080 x 1080 pixels

It’s hip to be square with carousel photos! Picture a carousel as a bunch of photos on a clothesline moving in front of your face. The 1080 x 1080 is the same as a default Instagram post, so if you are unsure, keep this in mind. 

Carousels have a variety of benefits, and allow you to upload anywhere from two to ten images, photograph or video, that potential customers can scroll through. They even let you link to a different page, if necessary. 

The main way to keep out of The Wrong Dimension here is making sure that if you are editing a larger photo into the square shape that you aren’t cutting off anything important, and if you are shooting or designing for a standard photo, remember that a square-shaped portion will be used if you are using this feature. 

Once again, ad, description, and link space are limited, so let the photos or videos present the bulk of the information. 

Facebook/Instagram Instant Article – 1,200 x 628 pixels

Think of this as a video that allows you to link to a larger canvas. Ideal for portrait mode, this takes advantage of the extra space that a widescreen video or picture offers by expanding from a small Facebook ad to a larger article. Like standard images, this means that while you can upload images in portrait or landscape, it is important to remember that a 9:16 photo will have quite a bit cut off when the article is up. 

This allows you to expand from the limited space provided for description in the other modes while also allowing you to reap the benefits of the visual medium. Let the text and video feed off of each other and work in tandem to sell your brand. 

Google Display Ad Sizes

If you are looking to expand past Facebook, remember that Google ads have their own dimensions, and these dimensions are typically smaller and much different in scope than the Facebook ones. They entail:

300 x 250 pixels- a small, but wide rectangle that is slightly wider than it is tall

336 x 280 pixels- a larger rectangle, slightly bigger area

728 x 90 pixels- leaderboard. Think of this like a banner that is much wider than it is long. Typically will be for a designed graphic, not a photo or video. 

300 x 600 pixels- half page advertisement, rectangle that is double the length than it is the width

320 x 100 pixels- a banner on a mobile phone. Not as short as a banner for a desktop, but still more than three times as wide as it is tall. 

With all of these options, it is important to think about how your images will fit within Googles dimensions, and remember that The Right Dimension in Facebook is The Wrong Dimension in Google (and vice versa).


Thousands have found themselves within The Wrong Dimension, and getting out can seem overwhelming. However, with proper planning, a basic understanding, and a plan to implement the images inside your ad, you will not be stuck inside The Wrong Dimension for long. 

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