How To Use Twitter Cards to Increase Engagement

If you’re creating Tweets within the restrictions of 140 characters, you are behind the times.

Twitter enables users to add bonus, rich media to Tweets to help messages stand out and better promote content, products, apps, and special offers.

The bonus material is added through the use of Twitter Cards, and if you aren’t utilizing this bonus data, you could be missing out on boosting engagement and collecting valuable leads.

What Is a Twitter Card?

A Twitter Card is a rich media add-on that may include images, videos, buttons, and/or text and usually appears below a 140 character Tweet.

There are three main ways that Twitter Cards are generated.
  1. Through Data on a Web Page — Code or a plugin is added to a website that enables cards to be automatically generated when a URL from that website is used in a Tweet.
  2. Through Twitter Ads — A user creates a card in Twitter Ads then attaches the card to a Tweet.
  3. User Upload  A user uploads rich media while creating the Tweet.

The Types of Twitter Cards

Twitter Cards come in a variety of styles and are used for unique strategies.

Summary Card
  • Description: displays the title, author, and summary of a web page with a thumbnail image (Other types of cards, such as lead gen cards and app cards, are basically different variations of a summary card.)
  • Good For: increasing the click-through rate on blog posts as the user is able to see more details about the web page
  • Created By: data on web page
Summary Card with Large Image

Twitter summary card large image

  • Description: a summary card with a full size image instead of a thumbnail
  • Good For: increasing click-through rate on a blog post that has a compelling image (If you frequently use a high-quality image with your blog posts, use this option. If images are not a priority in you content strategy, a regular summary card is probably best.)
  • Created By: data on web page
Photo Card
  • Description: displays one large image
  • Good For: images that have call-to-actions, titles, or a strong visual appeal
  • Created By: data on web page or user upload

BONUS TIP: Twitter resizes images to fit their standard aspect ratios. If an image is not at least 280px wide by 150px tall, it will not show in the Tweet. Images smaller than 1MB in size will also not display.

Gallery Card

Twitter Gallary Card

  • Description: displays up to four large images along with a summary of the web page
  • Good For: articles wherein images are the primary content
  • Created By: data on web page (There is a variation of a gallery card that is created when a user uploads up to four photos to a Tweet.)
Player Card
  • Description: displays a video or audio clip users can play without leaving Twitter
  • Good For: showing Vine or YouTube videos that are embedded in a page
  • How to Get It: data on a web page
Product Card
  • Description: showcases information about a product with a button to purchase
  • Good For: increasing sales on online items
  • Created By: data on web page
Website Card
  • Description: displays a description of the page with full size image and a call-to-action
  • Good For: drawing extra attention to a web page by using a bold call-to-action
  • Created By: Twitter Ads
Basic App Card
  • Description: displays information about a mobile app and a button that enables users to easily download the app
  • Good For: increasing app downloads
  • Created By: data on a web page or Twitter Ads (easier set-up)
Image App Card
  • Description: displays a basic app card with full size image
  • Good For: increasing app downloads by using a large image with a call-to-action, feature highlight, or visually interesting image
  • Created By: Twitter Ads
Lead Generation Card
  • Description: displays an offer and enables users to claim the offer by clicking a button — the user’s email address and name tied to their account is then sent to the user who posted the offer
  • Good For: collecting leads directly from Twitter (If you are going to try one Twitter Card, try this one!)
  • Created By: Twitter Ads

How to Create a Twitter Card By Adding Data to Your Website

It’s a good idea to optimize your website so that Twitter Cards are automatically generated when URLs from your site are shared. You can enable this by adding data or plugins to your website.

There are a few ways to get Twitter to recognize the data on your web page and create your desired card (similar to the way Facebook automatically generates a tile when a URL is added to a status update).

Twitter offers full directions for adding code or plugins to the following Content Management Systems (CMS). Some processes are more complicated and require code, while others are fairly simple.

WordPress CMS (Self-hosted or Third Party) is not automatically optimized for Twitter Cards. If you use WordPress as your CMS on a self-hosted or third party website, the easiest way to optimize your site for Twitter Cards is by installing one of the following plugins as they require little or no code.

  • Jetpack Plugin (Sharing) – requires some code
  • JM Twitter Cards Plugin – requires no code
  • Yoast SEO Plugin – requires no code

WordPress (Hosted on is enabled for Twitter cards by default (requires no code).

Tumblr is enabled for Twitter cards by default. Twitter will use “smart suggests” to determine card style based on post type. If you want to control the card type, you can adjust the settings (code required).

Blogger is not automatically optimized for Twitter Cards (code required).

Test With The Twitter Card Validator

Once you set up your website for Twitter Cards, you can check to see if it is working by using the Twitter Card Validator Tool.

Simply enter the URL and Twitter will preview the card’s display capabilities.

Card Validator

How to Create a Twitter Card In Ads

Before you can create cards in the Twitter Ads section, you need to set up an advertiser account.

When you haven’t entered your credit card information, your Twitter Ads homepage will have a limited menu with an alert to enter your credit card information.

Without Credit Card on Twitter

When you have added your credit card information, you will see more options. To create a Twitter Card from this menu, select Creatives > Cards.

With Credit Card on Twitter

You do NOT need to pay for anything yet. You will have options to set up paid or free cards later on.

From there you will be able to create Lead Generation, Website, Basic App, and Image App Cards which you can later attach to Tweets within Twitter Ads.

Any business, brand, or individual looking to increase engagement on Twitter should try incorporating Twitter Cards into their strategy. The results could be more traffic, more downloads, and more leads.

Try out Twitter Cards for yourself and let us know what strategy is working best for you in the comments below.

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