Put Your Twitter Cards on the Table

You see a lot of cards decorated with red hearts this time of year. But businesses may be more interested in the type of cards that can optimize their Twitter results.

Twitter Cards take tweets to a whole new level — and enable them to express more than 140 characters ever could. It's a way to capture more attention and engagement, even on mobile. Twitter introduced the cards two years ago, but just last month it added something new that should make this feature even more intriguing to marketers.

Twitter is providing analytics to let users understand how the cards are performing and analyze the impact the cards are having on their key metrics.

Shuffling the Deck

There are seven cards options, and what the overwhelming majority have in common is some kind of visual component:

  • Summary Card: Default Card, including a title, description, thumbnail and Twitter account attribution
  • Summary Card with Large Image: Similar to a Summary Card, but offers the ability to prominently feature an image
  • Photo Card: A tweet sized photo card
  • Gallery Card: A tweet card geared toward highlighting a collection of photos
  • App Card: A tweet card for providing a profile of an application
  • Player Card: A tweet sized video/audio/media player Card
  • Product Card: A tweet card to better represent product content

They can be extended with App Installs and Deep-Linking: An extension to any Card that provides app download and deep linking.

The focus on allowing images into Twitter is not surprising in light of what we’ve seen of the measurably increased impact of visual content on social media. The studies cited in Just Show Me: Customers Like Google Product Listing Ads prove adding images of products to text make them more far more effective for retail ads than standard web searches.

Images are Important

In fact, as social media networks proliferate, we see the visual gaining even greater prominence. That is evidenced by the increasing popularity of Instagram, Pinterest, and the huge number of pictures shared on Facebook. Social Bakers recently revised its report that 85 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook were photos upwards to 93 percent. It’s abundantly clear that visual is the way to go to get people’s attention.

Thumbnail image for twitter card web product

What may not be clear to a business is the way to most effectively leverage that impact into their tweets. That’s what Analytics for Twitter Cards is intended to show, tracking the performance of each type of Card used to see which generate the most activity.

Before it was introduced to the public on Jan. 23, Twitter Cards analytics was tested on select Twitter accounts — BuzzFeed, NBC News, Time Inc., ESPN and Etsy. Like Etsy, eBay is now using Product Cards to better represent items for sale in tweets.

Twitter shows the difference between the tweet alone and the one with the attached Card, which shows up on mobile devices as well as the web, in the example on the left.

Mining the Data

If eBay chose to also use a Player Card that incorporates a short video or audio, Twitter’s Analytics would reveal which of the two cards proved more effective. It would also provide network averages for each card type, to show how a particular card performs against others in the same category.

Tracing the trajectory of individual tweets also shows which accounts’ sharing has the most impact to identify a brand’s top influencers and which platforms, apps or widgets they use to tweet.

On the basis of that data, Twitter Card Analytics can offer personalized direction for improved performance for everything from an information site looking to reach a wider audience to an online seller like eBay who wants to sell more products. Do you find the built-in analytics an inducement to implement Twitter Cards for your own brand? If you need more information, take a look at the tutorial, below:

Title image is an actual Twitter card produced by Nokia.