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Nov 25 2012

How you can use Twitter to improve branding

  • Deloitte Digital
Twitter backgrounds can provide an opportunity for branding and promoting your other profiles or websites. The amount of usable background space has changed over the years, and this post will help you stay current with Twitter’s background changes.

This post was originally published on September 27, 2010 and has been updated. Last update was November 26, 2012.

Why are background images so important?

It’s all about the branding opportunities. Whether you’re an individual or a business, Twitter backgrounds help you communicate your personality, as well as information such as URLs to other properties. It’s important to make sure you have a good background!

1) Pick your alignment.

Twitter allows you to align your background horizontally. To maximize the branding opportunities for your background, choose CENTER aligned. 

Centered alignments allow you to easily place content in a constant position on both sides of your profile, instead of just one side (when using left or right alignment). Twitter backgrounds used to be only left-aligned, which meant that the background was fixed to the left of the browser, and when a user made their browser window wider they may not have seen content on the right side of the background.

2) Know your sizes and visible limits

Twitter.com’s content has a fixed size in the middle of the screen, and leaves the rest for backgrounds.

With a centered background, you can use 194px wide on the left and right sides of your profile, and 85% of all Internet users will see that content.

I strongly recommend uploading a background that is 1920 x 1080px as this will be the maximum size anyone will view your background at. Here are how many pixels wide you can use on the sidebars of your profile to reach X% of Twitter.com visitors:

  • 66px for 98% of visitors (1024px wide resolutions)
  • 194px for 85% of visitors (1280px wide resolutions)  
  • 238px for 56.1% of visitors (1366px wide resolutions)
  • Up to 520px for 42.3% of visitors with resolutions wider than 1366px.

Note: Percentages of visitors above are using average screen resolution sizes via data from W3Schools, as of Jan. 2012. 

3) Make your background consistent with your branding.

Some of the best ways to keep your branding consistent is to use your company’s color theme and logos in your background and profile picture.

  • Text on your background will distract from the text on your profile. Keep background text to a minimum.
  • Keep it simple! Clear branding with your logo and colors will let visitors quickly associate your Twitter account with your other properties.
  • Instead of including a lot of URLs in the background, you can Tweet about your other web properties!

This increases the likelihood that all your Twitter users have a chance of seeing it, instead of just the users visiting your full profile page.

4) Match your Twitter.com profile background color to your image’s color.

When your background color and image color are the same, you can have a shorter background image that blends right into the background color. It helps to start your background image with one color that matches the color you want in your Twitter design settings.

5) Use .PNG to save your background image.

The JPG image format is a “lossy” format, meaning you sacrifice picture quality to save file size. PNG files will be slightly larger, but will keep your details intact; which is very important if you will be using small text in your background.

6) Upload your creation and test it live.

You will only be able to see how good your background is once you test it. If you don’t want to make changes on your account until the background is final, create a new Twitter test account and upload your background there first.

Updated 11/26/12: Twitter Backgrounds now have a setting for horizontal alignment!
Updated 10/5/2012:The size for the “Profile Banner” behind your avatar is 1200 x 600 pixels.
Updated 1/06/2012 for the newest Twitter redesign! Twitter named this latest redesign the “Let’s Fly” update.