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How to Drive Greater Social Engagement with Twitter Cards

We all have the same 140-character limit for our tweets so how do we make our content stand out above others? Quality content is key but there is another tool that is here to help called Twitter Cards.

Twitter Cards add extra content, context, media, and calls to action to your content. These help to increase engagement from your audience. Per Twitter Media Blog, posts with a photo URL increased engagement by 35% over standard tweets and those with a video URL had a 28% increase. Facebook has seen the same trend with visual content driving much greater engagement. The takeaway is that users prefer to interact with visual content more than non-visual content.

So how do Twitter Cards work? When a user posts a tweet with a link to your content, Twitter crawls the source for specific metadata to determine which card to use. If no metadata exists, no card is displayed with the tweet. Adding the metadata to your site or application is simple and explained at the end of this article.

Twitter Cards have been around for a couple of years now and have gone through some evolution since their conception. Before, there were eight types of cards available for different types of content.

They were:
  • Summary Card
  • Summary Card with Large Photo
  • Photo Card
  • Gallery Card
  • App Card
  • Player Card
  • Product Card
  • Lead Generation Card
  • Website Card

Today, the Photo Card, Product Card, and Gallery Card have been deprecated and mapped to one of the new formats. Let’s take a look each of the available card types:

Summary Card

The Summary Card is a good card to use when you want to give your audience a preview of the content before they click through to your website. It consists of a title, some preview text, a small photo, and a link to the content. This card will show up below your tweet. Below is an example of a Summary Card from SitePoint.

twitter summary card
* * The deprecated Product Card now maps to the Summary Card.

Summary Card with Large Photo

The Summary Card with Large Photo is the Summary Card with a more prominent photo. Larger photos stand out more and thus grab more attention. Large images can overpower content so it is good practice to make the image relevant to the content being shared. Below is an example of a Summary Card with Large Photo from Inc. Magazine.

twitter summary card with large photo
* * The deprecated Photo and Gallery Cards now map to the Summary Card with Large Photo.

App Card

The App Card shares a link and info about a mobile app with your tweet. It consists of the app name, description, icon, ratings, and a link to download the app. The App Card is best used to promote your app from your website. Like most of the other card types, the App Card displays beneath your tweet. Below is an example of the App Card for an app called Shots.

twitter app card

Player Card

The Player Card is a rich media card type that allows a video or audio stream to play with your tweet. The Player Card displays the media player with your tweet and plays when the tweet is in focus. Unlike the other card types, this one requires more development effort. Also, you must get approval from Twitter before they will display the Player Card with your tweet. For more information on creating Player Cards, visit the Twitter Developers website. Below is an example of a Player Card from Sea World:

twitter player card

Lead Generation Card

The Lead Generation Card is available through Twitter Ads. It allows you to collect contact information from users without them leaving Twitter. These cards include the reason the user should opt-in to your offer, an image, and a call-to-action button. Twitter collects and stores the user’s name, email address and Twitter handle in the Twitter Ads area. You can view and export the data from there. You can also set it up to integrate with many popular CRM and email marketing platforms. Below is an example of the Lead Generation Card from Twitter Small Biz.

twitter lead generation card

Website Card

The Website Card is also offered through Twitter Ads. It allows you to promote your website with an image, a title, brief content, and a call-to-action button. Website Cards drive 43% more clicks than standard tweets according to data collected by Twitter. Below is an example of a Website Card from Google Cloud.

twitter website card

How to Use Twitter Cards

All but the Lead Generation and Website Cards need specific metadata tags in the code of your web page. These tags tell Twitter which type of card to use and provide the data for Twitter to display in the card. The tags must go within the <head> section of the HTML of your web page. Talk to your web developer if you are using a CMS and/or are not comfortable editing HTML.

Here is an example of what the metatags look like for a Summary Card with Large Photo for this blog post: 
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@boamarketing">
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@mike_whalen">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="How to drive greater social engagement with Twitter Cards">
<meta name="twitter:description" content=" We all have the same 140-character limit for our tweets so how do we make our content stand out over others? Quality content and carefully written verbiage are key but there is another tool that should not be ignored called Twitter Cards.">
<meta name="twitter:image" content="">

Take a look at the example of the Summary Card with Large Photo above. Can you see how this blog post will be shared?

The Player Card requires a bit more effort. There are extra steps when creating the page for the content that will play in the player. Also, you must go through an approval process with Twitter before your card will display. For more information on this, check the Twitter Developer site.

The Lead Generation and Website Cards are specific to your business. They are not driven by content that comes from a web page. These cards can only be created through Twitter Ads. Step by step instructions are provided to guide you with creating your cards.

Twitter is a platform that should be a part of your marketing strategy. There are over 300 million active monthly users and over 500 million tweets sent each day. You have to do your best to get your content to rise above the noise and get the attention it deserves. Twitter Cards are a great tool to help you achieve just that.  


Wiz E. Wig, Mascot & Director of Magic
Wiz E. Wig

Director of Magic