In previous blogs, we’ve discussed at some lengths newer ways of embedding rich meta-text and functionality into your existing webpages and Facebook posts. Today, we’ll take a look at Twitter’s version of the same idea: Twitter Cards.
Twitter Cards aren’t as complex to learn and implement as either of the other two, which fits a platform which is deliberately non-complicated. Twitter Cards are limited to six basic types (at the moment) which makes it easy for even smaller organizations to get started.
How Twitter Cards Enhance Your Basic Tweets
As with Schemas and OpenGraphs, the heart of Twitter Cards lies in Markup Tags which are added to the webpage\content you’re linking to. They are very similar to OpenGraph tags and, in some cases, even accept OpenGraph tagging in lieu of Twitter-specific tags. This makes it easier to implement both OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags on the same piece of content.
These are then matched up to a Tweet, which is pre-set to one of six basic content types:
- Summary Cards: These provide links to web content, with a small preview image and pre-written summary of the content. This can be anything from blog posts to app download pages.
- Summary Cards With Large Images: You can embed a larger eye-catching picture, but with relatively little text accompanying. These are now also used when linking to an image gallery, rather than the now-depreciated “Gallery Card.”
- Photo Cards: These embed a full-size picture which is downscaled on devices and zooms to full size with a touch.
- App Cards: Your Tweet can link directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play store for immediate download of an app. It can also be set up to send desktop browsers to your website, and mobile users straight to the appropriate app store.
- Player Cards: These are arguably the most impressive, but also hardest to implement. When done properly, they allow live audio/video streaming in the Tweet. However, they require extensive tagging and testing on your end to ensure they work properly on five separate target platforms across desktops and mobile devices.
- Product Cards: This Twitter Card displays a picture, price, and a short summary of a single product, with a link to its source. This can be used for self-promotion, or for showing off products on other sites.
The Validation Process
Once you have the code on your site, and have selected the proper Twitter Card type within Twitter, it’s time to Validate. You send the Twitter Card through Twitter’s Validator, which checks the code for errors and then submits them for whitelisting.
This is the downside to Twitter cards: Because Twitter is dedicated to providing a quality experience -and keeping adult-related materials off the site- cards linking to external content have to be individually approved. Depending solely on workload and content type, this can be anywhere from a few hours up to three weeks.
Player Cards specifically take longer, since the material has to be reviewed in full. If you link to an hour-long podcast, someone has to sit down and listen to all of it and verify functionality on the five target platforms. So we can’t recommend Player Cards for time-sensitive materials. Twitter has a full Player Card Approval Guide which we’d strongly recommend interested developers read carefully.
Take Your Tweets To The Next Level
Twitter Cards are an excellent way to make your Twitter feed more engaging, with content specifically designed to catch the eye. The ease of implementation of most types of Cards makes them a good way to quickly boost response to your Tweets, with a minimum of extra effort.
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By: Charmon Stiles, Tempo Creative