How I Optimized My Featured Images For Social Media And Increased Social Traffic by 30.9%

Optimize Social Media Images

Late last November, I decided to test out optimizing my featured images for social media to see if it would have any benefit. If you’ve been a reader or subscriber for some time, you know that I’m constantly utilizing my site for my own experiments.

Designing a more compelling image that’s shared on social media adds 5 or 10 minutes to my preparation of the article so it’s not a huge investment of time… but the minutes always add up and I want to be careful that I’m investing my time wisely when it comes to Martech Zone.

While I used to just grab some stock photos that were representative of the content, I deliberately built a featured image that has the following:

  1. Size – I built a template in Illustrator that’s 1200px wide by 675px tall. I also modified my theme to display the images at this optimized value.
  2. Branding – I’m not including the name of the site but always including the logo so that it’s consistently recognized in my social media updates.
  3. Title – A compelling title that doesn’t always have to match the actual text on my article. I may optimize the post title for search but rewrite the title on my image to try to drive more clicks.
  4. Image – I have a subscription to Depositphotos where I can easily search and find great illustrations that I can download and incorporate.

I then use FeedPress to automatically publish my articles to my social channels. the result is a tweet or Facebook update that really stands out. Here’s how it looks on Twitter:

Here’s how one looks on Facebook:

And on LinkedIn:



Because the titles are written in English, I did an analysis of the last few months, removed any viral posts, and limited the audience to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The results were quite startling…

Within Google Analytics, a period-over-period analysis of my social media referrals resulted in a 30.9% increase in page views that coming from social media where my featured images were optimized.

Interestingly enough, the social media channel that I spend the least time working on… the Facebook page, had the most dramatic increase… 59.4% increase.

It’s not all perfect… I did notice that my average time on page and the pages per visit of these new visitors was down (less than 10%) so while I’m attracting more visitors, I’m still not doing a great job in keeping them here.

I am continuing to work and optimize the site in other ways, especially going through hundreds of old articles a week, updating some, removing some, redirecting many, and working on the site’s overall quality. I also implemented an automated translation service which has seen the number of visitors skyrocket from non-English speaking countries.

The efforts are paying off considerably in acquisition… year-over-year stats for the last 30 days:

  • Direct Traffic is up 58.89%
  • Organic Search is up 41.18%.
  • Social Media Traffic is up 469.70%

Overall, my site has about doubled its traffic… which I’m pretty happy about!

Need Help With Your Digital Marketing?

If you’d like an audit of your site with some specific strategies that can improve your acquisition, feel free to contact me at DK New Media. I can do an audit for you, provide your team training, or even take you on as a client to help you improve your digital marketing results. I’m also very well-versed in WordPress site optimization if you need actual infrastructure and development assistance.

Contact Douglas Karr

Disclosure: I am using affiliate links for various services in this article.

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