What is an Open Graph Image?

It is a moment of relief when you finish up a blog post you are proud of and have found a perfect feature image that goes with it. Now, all you need to do is share your work with your network on your socials, sit back, and enjoy the engagement that ensues.  

But wait, there’s this one problem that always halts you in your steps.  

That amazing feature image that you attached to your blog? It is not being pulled up by the social media networks, and instead, all your audience sees is a repelling gray placeholder for a thumbnail. 

Facebook noticed that little hitch soon enough and came up with a solution called Open Graph Image. What is it, how to use it, and is there a need to use it? 

Let’s get some answers. 

What Happens If There’s No Image on The Social Media Post? 

Learning about Open Graph Image might seem like too much trouble to go through, just to put up an image on a social media post. So, what if we just skip past it and post the blog whether the feature image shows up or not? 

If you do that, your blog will fail to achieve its primary goal – to reach the audience. The sole purpose of putting content on social media is to share it with others. If your audience is one or two people, then a no-show image might not be a problem. On the other hand, if you reach out to a larger network, a lack of preview images on the social media post will decrease your web traffic and conversions. 

A random gray banner is unattractive and disconnecting, and the internet users are most likely to scroll past it and then stop and click. Contrarily, Tweets containing images receive 18% more clicks and 150% higher retweets than those without images. Facebook posts that have images get over 3.2x higher engagement than the posts without images.  

Lack of image leads to lack of engagement, which is why Open Graph Image is an essential tool for marketers to generate more likes, shares, comments, etc.

What Is an Open Graph Image? 

Whenever you share a link (of a webpage or video) on a social media platform, an accompanying image shows up on the post without you doing anything. This associated image is called Open Graph Image, and it appears there because the web developers have diligently used a design method called open graph protocol. 

This protocol turns images into objects that are easy for social media to pull and display on their posts. As a publisher, you can take full advantage of this protocol to control how your content appears online. 

What Is an Open Graph Protocol? 

In 2010, Facebook created an internet protocol, called an open graph protocol, as a standardized method for social media posts to display images extracted from within the web pages. 

The protocol enabled the social networks not only to extract images but also the exact title, URL, and meta information from the webpages to be displayed on the social media posts.  

In addition to providing a solution to the initial problem, the protocol became a gateway to various possibilities. With open graph protocol, web developers and publishers got complete control over how their posts should appear on the social media network. From the size of the image to the duration of a video, everything became controllable. 

The protocol was a quick success and was soon adopted by Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks with their variations, to make their posts more engaging and their platform more effective.

Using Open Graph Protocol to Make your Posts Stand Out

Open Graph protocol is godsent for publishers, as it allows them to get creative and innovative with the posts and make them stand out in a way that the network connections have no choice but to click – if the content is good – and share. 

When your network is just surfing through the internet, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention.  For that, you can use the open graph protocol to display the most captivating images, which will provide visual context to your content and convey to the readers what the post is about in just a few seconds. 

You can do the same for titles, videos, and any other medium that will draw your target audience towards your post. In theory, that sounds amazing, but to use open graph protocols as a marketing strategy, you need to understand how it works in practice. It is all achieved through open graph tags or OG tags. 

What are Open Graph Protocol Tags?

OG tags allow the developers and publishers to specify which attributes from the websites they want to display on the social media posts. 

The developers add OG tags to their web page’s HTML to achieve this. These tags are like directions and guidance, telling the social media page, the specific title they need to be displayed, the video that needs to play, how long it needs to play, etc. 

Basic Tags to Include in Open Graph Protocol 

You can go as detailed as you want with OG tags. The possibilities are limitless. However, there are a few basic OG tags to allow the social media platforms to extract relevant and associative details from the web page into the post.  

The basic OG tags include:

Og: title 

This tag allows the developers to choose the title of the article or webpage they want to display on the social media post.

Og: type

This tag allows you to specify the type of content you are posting, such as an article, blog, video, etc. 

Og: image

This is where you attach the URL of the image you want to display on the post and represent your content accurately. A good quality, high-resolution image is recommended.

Og: URL

This is the URL of the actual page where you want to redirect the user once they click. 

Final Thoughts

What convinces the audience to click on your post is a combination of strategy and design; the blog title must be engaging, the topic must be trendy, and the preview image has to be eye-catching. Open Graph Image and Open Graph Protocol allow you to achieve this and more. 

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