Last year Twitter introduced a new way of presenting tweets in a more engaging way. It allowed partner websites to display tweets that when expanded revealed content previews, images videos and more. These are called Twitter cards and were at first only available to partners. Now Twitter Cards are open to anyone with a twitter account and their content.

Anatomy of a Twitter Card
At launch there were three types of twitter cards:

  • Summaries
  • Images
  • Videos

The Summary Card contains a title, then the description and also a thumbnail.

In this example we have a screenshot from the iPad application of Twitter displaying one of our tweets using the twitter card.
The tweet itself reads: ‘Platform Updates’ – This is all that would show if it were an ordinary tweet. The twitter card feature then allows us to have a Title, a by-line is included and below that a description. A thumbnail image sits to the right of the description.

Since twitter cards have been released to the public they have introduced new types of twitter cards:

  • Product
  • Summary Large Image
  • App
  • Gallery

One in particular that would be of great use and benefit to our clients and their readers and users: The App twitter card.

Imagine being able to have a direct link the app store listing of your content from your tweet. This Twitter card allows you to do that and more.

When we at tweet about new releases for certain magazines, we use twitter cards so that individuals can quickly and easily get to the app and download them. Here is a short video of this in action on the iPad version of the official Twitter app for iOS.

In the above video you see a user tap on the tweet to expand it where they are then presented with detailed information about the app including the applications icon. A button at the bottom of the expanded tweet suggests to the user that they can download this application. Without any app switching the user is presented with a view of that item from iTunes complete with the iTunes store screenshots of the app. Please note that the twitter card is the only type of twitter card that is not visible on the desktop or web and only visible on iOS and Android versions of the twitter app.

So how do you make use of twitter cards when you tweet? Head on over to the twitter development site to find out more. You will need to go through a process of validation which could take between a few days to a week. From there you can test your links and the meta tags.

For example this very post has been tweeted using the “Image” twitter card. See the tweet here.