It’s a story all too familiar to content marketers: Your asset has passed QA and is ready to be sent through promotions. You get a bite from an editor who absolutely loves the campaign but everything comes screeching to a halt: Your asset doesn’t fit on the publisher’s site.
During the production of a campaign or when you’re crafting the perfect pitch, it’s easy to overlook unique publisher restrictions. These restrictions can range from only offering a “nofollow” link to not being able to include third-party graphics. Arguably the most common promotions issue is a publisher that requires a certain width for its on-site graphics.
However, these size requirements are not always readily available from publishers, and depending on the turnaround time, adjusting an asset to fit a site can put you at risk of losing a placement. Producing an asset that multiple sites can’t host is one of the worst ways to begin a promotions cycle. With that in mind, Fractl and BuzzStream looked at the main (or featured) body tag images for 35 of the top publishers to determine the most popular widths. We also looked at any larger layouts and pop-ups to determine a maximum width for each publisher when available.
Here are three insights to keep in mind when producing your next campaign asset to ensure a placement won’t fall through due to sizing again:
1. The two most popular image widths are 600 and 800 pixels.
It would be unrealistic to design and resize your campaign graphics for each publisher. However, it’s good to know that the image sweet spot includes those between 600 and 800 pixels wide. More specifically:
- More than 90 percent of publishers support an image that is 600 pixels wide or larger.
- When looking at alternative layouts and pop-up images, more than 95 percent of publishers can support a width of 600 pixels.
- Only 14 percent of publishers’ main images are 800 pixels or larger. (However, the occurrence of larger graphics jumps to 80 percent when you include alternative layouts and pop-up images.)
In other words, producing an image 600 pixels wide is a safe bet for ensuring placement with multiple publishers. Still, certain situations – like designing a map for a campaign – will make that width overly constrictive, so remember: Most major publishers can still embed images up to 800 pixels wide without any additional cropping.
2. Main image widths can vary significantly from the maximum image widths for all other graphics on the site (e.g., pop-up images, non-featured images, etc.) for most publishers.
We were surprised to learn the extensive image width range that exists for most publishers in terms of their main image and its maximum width. A detailed analysis revealed:
- The median main image width is 644 pixels; the median width for maximum images is 940 pixels.
- The largest image size available is 1920 pixels and is publishable on Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Rolling Stone, and NBC News.
- US Magazine has the smallest main image size available at 467 pixels – more than four times smaller than the largest size available.
- NPR has the largest main image width available at 948 pixels.
Designers should keep in mind that with some of these smaller widths, one of the most important things to monitor is whether your text is legible under 600 pixels. You can do this by designing two different assets initially or simply working with the lowest width from the start.
3. Exactly 40 percent of publishers offer a maximum width of 1000 pixels or more.
Although most publishers’ main image widths fall between 600 pixels and 800 pixels, a large number of publishers offer additional layouts that can accommodate images larger than 1000 pixels. What does this mean for your designers? There’s an opportunity for high-resolution photographs if they will elevate your campaign. Further analysis revealed:
- At 1284 pixels, Lifehacker and Gizmodo each have the greatest differential in terms of main image and the largest available image width.
- NPR has the largest main image at 948 pixels, whereas its maximum image width is 1240 pixels – only 292 pixels larger.
- USA Today and Business Insider offer a maximum width of 1000 pixels.
Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all width when designing a campaign asset. No one likes to look at anything that’s pixelated or blurry, so optimizing your asset’s height and width is essential if you want to secure a placement. Consider these widths when producing your next campaign, specifically if you have a set list of publishers you plan to target.