Thanks Tips! The Facebook thumbnail fix.

Justin, Leslie, Erica and I run into roadblocks everyday that although seemingly minor and annoying can in reality turn your day upside down for absolutely no reason. In this ongoing series, that we’re creatively calling: “Thanks Tips”, we’re going to share little gems, tricks and “hacks” we’ve come up with that may not save the day but will definitely reduce the amount of swearing going on around your office.

Facebook won’t update the post thumbnail

One word for this: annoying. The fix? Easy.

You can (and should) of course be defining your Open Graph meta data in each of the main elements of your content so it’s properly formatted at all times when shared. Naturally Facebook will try to figure it out but that’s the tiny tot talent time approach, we’re all grown up so we do the right things.

The scenario:

  1. You edit your post and you’re in the final stages of testing for either it’s release or scheduling. You go to Facebook, drop in your fancy link to test and it looks good. Title, Description and Thumbnail image all look perfect.
  2. You go back to your post, make a few final tweaks and decide to change up the image.
  3. You (hopefully) go back to Facebook to test it out and there’s the old thumbnail, hanging around when it’s not wanted. #$!^#$!^%$!

What to do? What a few days before Facebook decides to update it cache of your content? Unacceptable. But there is a neat little trick and it lives at the Facebook Debugger:

If you’re not a developer, don’t be scared. Just copy and paste your URL into the box there and press the happy “debug” button. You’ll see all sorts of magical voodoo language but what will happen is you will force an update of your page in Facebook’s cache.

End result: updated thumbnail image.


Facebook open graph cache thumbnail update



Note: if you’re a “social media guru” (I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit) and you can’t read the results of the Facebook debugger then you should grab a little HTML class and do some reading. We believe it’s important for marketers to understand how these platforms function to some degree, the days of the technically challenged marketer are over.

The analogy? Not understanding how the platform works and being a social marketer is much like saying you’re really good at watching movies, Stephen Spielberg is really good at making movies (that’s an extreme analogy), but you’re probably not very good at making them because you don’t know how to hold a camera let alone create something magical with it.

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7 Responses to “Thanks Tips! The Facebook thumbnail fix.”

  1. Len July 28, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Thank you so, so, so, so MUCH! I was just about ready to destroy a wall with my face. Deep breaths. Deep breaths..

    • Dan Nedelko July 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      Well, we’re glad you saved your face! :)

  2. Michael Bolé June 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    I tried, it doesn’t seem to work. I put the address you provided in the titlebar on the debug page

    • Dan Nedelko June 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Hey Michael, not quite sure I understand but I’ll try to help. You need to put the URL you are looking to debug into the object debugger address bar and it will give you the results for that page. Like so:

      Facebook Open Graph Object Debug Tool.

      • Daniel December 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

        You may also need to click the “Fetch New Scrape Information” button, if you see one.

  3. Kirk January 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

    Hey Daniel, I did all this, shows the correct share image in the scrape but FB still shows the old image when I share. Drives me nuts.

    • Dan Nedelko January 12, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

      Hey there Kirk. This shouldn’t be an issue but did you try clearing your own cache? Once the scrape is complete Facebook’s cache *should* be forcibly refreshed, also you may simply need to wait a few minutes.

      One last thing: are you getting any og:thumbnail errors from Facebook? If you accidentally have two og:thumbnails Facebook could be easily confused and will just pick the first of the two listed in your meta-data.

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