Of Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users, 80% are on mobile. That’s 227 million users scrolling through tweets on their mobile device each day, probably flipping right past your witty update. Get yourself some breathing room!

When it comes to creating Twitter Ads, marketers have traditionally only had a few creative elements to work with: copy, links, photos and hashtags. But with Twitter growing in popularity (and as a public company) there are far more ads (especially on mobile) than ever before, and what used to work for ad buyers isn’t cutting through to Twitter users like they used to. Thanks to an expanding creative library of Twitter cards, news organizations, apps, and other social networks now are able to embed their content directly in Twitter timelines as interactive, responsive units.

Card technology supercharges mobile marketing on Twitter: you’re taking up far more real estate in a timeline than the average tweet. As you can see below this promoted tweet from Yesware (using a photo card, explained below) takes up practically my entire phone screen, nearly the space of three “basic” tweets.

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Wouldn’t you like your brand message to take up 80-90% of a potential customer’s screen?

For marketers who regularly use Twitter ads to promote their content, this is a game changer because you’re able to amplify more than just a text or link-focused message, but valuable rich media. You can even drive purchases and collect leads directly from the timeline. Additionally, because Twitter cards consolidate photo and link into one media unit, they should be more ad spend efficient compared to a traditional link + pic.twitter.com photo tweet. That’s because cards draw less non-click-through engagement compared to a tweet with a photo link, where a lot of budget-consuming “clicks” are just users expanding the image.

In preparation for our upcoming webinar with AdStage, Creating and Promoting Content in 2015, we’ve pulled together a primer on card types, along with some of our favorite creative uses of Twitter cards.

Let’s dig into our options.

Official Twitter Cards

There are a few basic card types that Twitter officially categorizes as rich media, and about a million different sites that build amazing things on top of them.  But before we list some of those platforms, let’s review Twitter’s taxonomy of cards. These are the “building blocks” of Twitter’s interactive layer that pretty much anyone can use through Twitter’s Card Creator in the Ads Manager.

1. Twitter Summary Card

This is the standard card that Twitter uses for most links shared, adding a “summary” of the link’s contents below the tweet. You’ll have to add a bit of code so that every link you share embeds with a summary card, directions here.

2. Summary Card with Large Image

This is just like the Twitter summary card, but it has a giant image that takes up the place of where you might normally attach an image along with your link. This makes it easy to share more context around your link while being more character-efficient than including a photo URL. To use the summary card you’re going to have to add some code to your site. Twitter gives some easy tips in their developer forums but you may want to ask your developer to do this for you.

3. Photo card

Most people have used the photo card before, it’s what a tweet looks like when it contains a photo. Clicking on the photo expands it to a richer, detailed view. When you’re running ads, especially on mobile, visuals really help your creative stand out.

4. Gallery Card

Twitter’s Gallery Card makes it easy to display multiple photos in one tweet as a gallery, either natively or with a preview of your photo galery (if it’s a link). You can upload up to four photos per tweet, which leaves creative folks plenty of options to tell neat stories without ever leaving Twitter. Check out Naked Juice’s example above and you can see they’re using multiple photos to teach a mini “how-to” to their followers.

5. Lead Gen Card


Convert more users and gather more leads by making it easy for anyone to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for a contest. Twitter’s lead gen cards sync up with your preferred email or CRM provider to seamlessly move leads from Twitter right into your sales system for nurturing campaigns.

One warning for B2B and enterprise marketers however is the majority of Twitter users create profiles with their personal email address — most commonly a gmail. As a result, running Twitter direct response campaigns with lead gen cards typically won’t net you a high percentage of corporate emails. If corporate email addresses are an important aspect of your sales funnel, you may need to convert or enrich lead gen cards leads with a service like FullContact.

6. App Card


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Have a mobile app you want people to download? Twitter’s app card shows off a summary of your app and uses deeplinking to drive users right from the tweet to their appropriate app store to download the app. Twitter even provides conversion tracking for your mobile app to track how many people actually downloaded and opened the app from Twitter ads.

7. Player Card


The Twitter Player card covers pretty much any type of streaming audio, video or other multimedia that you’d want on Twitter. This includes Soundcloud, Youtube, native video players, Storify, Slideshare, and a whole host of other “player-type” experiences.

8. Product Card


Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to show off some prducts that your followers can buy NOW? Twitter’s Product Card showcases your products with an image, a description, and allows you to highlight two other key details about your product. This is another Twitter card that requires adding some code, but when used correctly in combination with Twitter ads, you’re delivering a mini e-commerce store right within a Twitter media unit.

9. Website Card


They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t always make it drink. The same goes for Twitter, you can tweet a reader a link, but you can’t make them click.

Twitter website cards combine the summary card with a larger button that encourages more click-throughs to your content. This is great for whitepaper landing pages and blog posts, but many brands have gotten even more creative. Dunkin Donuts used the website card to drive users to another tweet’s URL where they used an interactive Polling Card to promote social voting (as you’ll see below).

Creative Uses of Twitter Cards

Twitter’s card technology makes it easier for any marketer to create posts that will capture attention in their audience’s feed. And while you can do much with just their cards and your own development alone,  there are no shortage of tools and other social networking sites that have built interesting content experiences on top of that technology. Here are a few of our favorite examples that allow you to really get creative in your Twitter ads.

10. Storify

Storify recently made a number of new updates turning them into a social content powerhouse for marketers. Storify stories embed inside of cards when you share them to the Timeline. This means anyone can flip through your original content alongside curated Tweets, Photos, Videos, GIFs and more. You can put links inside of your storify, so in addition to rich social media content, you can include trackable links to drive users to a particular action, such as a downloadable white paper, eBook, or more. Thanks to Storify, you can pretty much create your own Buzzfeed-style stories on your own sites in no time.

10. Soundcloud

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 3.33.04 PM Late last year Twitter announced that they were rolling out audio cards, enabling people to listen to files from Soundcloud (and others) without leaving Twitter. For businesses, this is huge for podcasting. Instead of just having your audio file on your podcast site, you might want to start posting to Soundcloud and sharing to Twitter so anyone can listen on the go and still engage with you on Twitter at the same time!

11. Slideshare


Slideshare is one of the leading sites for content marketing today, and with their Twitter Card integration, marketers are able to take advantage of the amplification value of promoted tweets without requiring people to click off Twitter. Use Slideshares inside of promoted tweets to amplify your presentations and along with Slideshare’s premium lead capture options and allow people to interact without leaving the timeline.

12. Vine


The Twitter-owned short form video app allows you to create looping videos and share them directly to Twitter. Vines autoplay in the feed without sound, and since you can upload your own videos to their platform, you can get pretty creative. Vines have been promoted by a number of brands, and that trend should increase this year. Check out the example of a “living GIF” from the Green Bay Packers above. Are you trying to drive in-store action? Try adding a promotional code to the end of a vine or in your description and track how well it performs.

13. Polling Cards

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One of the most unique vendors out there building custom Twitter card experiences is Wayin. They’ve done something that I personally haven’t seen by anyone, daisy-chaining Twitter Website cards with interactive social polling cards to create a seamless voting experience.  Check out the example from Dunkin Donuts above, users see an ad click into another Tweet without leaving the app, and is prompted with an easy visual voting system that shares their pick to Twitter. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

14. GIFs


Come on you don’t think I could leave GIFs off of this list could I? Twitter added support for GIFs in the summer of 2014, easily uploadable as a photo (note GIFs have to be under 3mb to work). These have been a staple on Tumblr for years, but they work awesome on Twitter too. Experiment with using GIFs in your posts, and also as replies to your customers. There’s nothing more satisfying than a well-timed GIF.

Want to learn more about how to build and promote great content in 2015?

I’m hosting a webinar with Sahil Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of Adstage, an all-in-one online advertising management platform for Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn Ads at 2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM PST on Thursday Jan 29th 2015.

The webinar covers why content topics will make your editorial and media planning twice as fast, how to recycle and personalize content across channels and platforms, best way to use custom audiences on Facebook and Twitter to reach your customers and much more.

Hope to see you there, register here before it fills up