The Definitive Guide to Twitter Cards

Twitter cards allow you to attach almost any type of media to your tweet to create engaging and rich content that goes beyond 140 characters of text. These come in many forms, all with different creative and copy requirements. Furthermore, the same card can be used for multiple objectives. Knowing when to use Twitter cards, understanding which one is most suitable for your objective, and following best creative practices are critical for achieving success.

When to Use Twitter Cards

We recommend A/B testing Twitter cards against traditional tweet creative for all campaigns. Most Twitter cards are designed for one specific goal, but some can be used for multiple objectives. Regardless, these cards need to be created first, and then referenced via URL into the tweet copy itself.

In all instances, Twitter cards will use some—but not all—of your 140-character limit, so make sure you account for this. It’s highly recommended to combine your cards with captivating copy to create the most memorable and engaging promoted tweets.

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about Twitter Cards into a new reference guide, which improves upon and supersedes the wildly popular guide AdParlor published in August 2014.

Image Card

The Image Card puts your picture front and center in the tweet. Clicking on the photo expands it to a richer, detailed view; it’s mostly used for tweet engagement campaigns.

Specs for Image Card

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for image URL, although this is not shown in your Tweet)

File type: PNG or JPEG

Image width/height:

  • Desktop: Minimum width of 600 pixels is recommended. Any height is acceptable. Note: If the height exceeds the width, the image will be cropped to 1:1
  • Mobile: Minimum size is 600 x 335

Aspect ratio: Between 2:1 and 1:1 aspect ratio on desktop, 16:9 on mobile. Otherwise, the image will be cropped.

Note: If running on both desktop and mobile, Twitter recommends following the mobile specs to ensure the image will be displayed properly on all devices.

Multi-Image Card

The Multi-Image Card is the newer, more interesting enhancement to the Image Card. This product allows you to choose up to four images, and similar to the Image Cards, clicking on any photo will expand it. In addition, you can cycle through the images from this expanded view. It’s also used primarily for tweet engagement campaigns.

Specs for Multi-Image Card

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for image URL, although this is not shown in your Tweet)

File type: PNG or JPEG

Image width/height:

  • Desktop: Minimum width of 600 pixels is recommended. Any height is acceptable. Note: If the height exceeds the width, the image will be cropped to 1:1
  • Mobile: Minimum size is 600 x 335

Aspect ratio: Between 2:1 and 1:1 aspect ratio on desktop, 16:9 on mobile. Otherwise, the image will be cropped.

Note: If running on both desktop and mobile, Twitter recommends following the mobile specs to ensure the image will be displayed properly on all devices.

Promoted Video Tweet

Videos are a powerful way to convey a message. Since videos on Twitter autoplay, there is a frictionless experience for the user. But you should expect below average engagement rates, since video views are not counted towards overall engagements; many users might watch your video but not take any further actions before scrolling to the next tweet. That being said, strong video creative can garner better engagement rates and ad recall than standard images, and can help drive conversions. This product is mainly used for video views and tweet engagement campaigns.

Specs for Promoted Video Tweet

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Title (under video): 70 characters

Description (under video): 200 characters

File type: MP4 or MOV

File size: No limit, but recommend under 1gb

Max time: 10 minutes

Note: we recommend using high quality creative that tells an emotive story, preferably between 10 seconds and 30 seconds in length.

GIFs

A GIF is usually a short video that loops continuously without sound. Similar to video cards, GIFs autoplay and views don’t count towards the overall engagement rate. GIFs are typically comical in nature, utilizing animation techniques such as stop motion, and are designed for mass sharing. They’re used primarily for video views and tweet engagement campaigns.

Specs for GIF

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Image width/height:

  • Desktop: Minimum width of 600 pixels is recommended. Any height is acceptable. Note: If the height exceeds the width, the image will be cropped to 1:1.
  • Mobile: Minimum size is 600 x 335

Aspect ratio: Between 2:1 and 1:1 aspect ratio on desktop, 16:9 on mobile. Otherwise, the image will be cropped.

Vines

Vines are the short-form video taking over the Internet; they’re at most six seconds long, contain sound, autoplay, and will loop after completion. Vines are usually recorded from a first-person point of view and can be edited to produce a unique viewing experience. They’re also mostly used for video views and tweet engagement campaigns.

Specs for Vines

Max time: 6 seconds

Aspect ratio: 1:1

Caption length: 110 characters

Image App Card

An Image App Card enables you to use a highly engaging image to send users to your App store, or into the app if they already have it installed. This product is mostly used for mobile app install or app engagement campaigns.

Specs for Image App Card

iOS and/or Play Store app ID: the same card can be used for targeting both operating systems

Deeplink: used to drive users to specific parts inside the app if the app is already installed (optional)

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Headline: Automatically populated from App store

Price: Automatically populated from App store

Image size: Minimum 800 x 320 pixels (max 3 MB)

Aspect ratio: 2.5:1. Otherwise, it will be cropped to this ratio

Call to Action: Install, Open, Order, Play, Shop, Connect or Book (optional, but highly recommended to use this to further entice users to take action)

Video App Card

This card functions the same way as the Image App card, but utilizes a video instead of an image. The video will auto-play once the entire video appears in the users’ timelines. Users can click on the tweet at anytime to be directed to the App store or into the app itself if they already have it installed. They’re best used for mobile app install or app engagement campaigns.

Specs for Video App Card

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Title (under video): 70 characters

Description (under video): 200 characters

Call To Action: Install, Open, Order, Play, Shop, Connect or Book.

File type: MP4 or MOV

File size: No limit, but recommend under 1gb

Basic App Card

This product is a much simpler offering than the two preceding options, featuring the app description, name, and rating as text. This is useful for advertisers who have no access to images or who want to begin advertising with minimal set-up. It’s also mostly used for mobile app install or app engagement campaigns.

Specs for Basic App Card

App card description: 100 characters (this can be customized and does not default to the description from the app store)

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Custom icon image size: Minimum: 144 x 144 pixels. Ratio must be 1:1 or will be cropped to this ratio (this does not have to be the same icon as from the app store).

Lead Generation Card

Lead generation cards incentivize users to share their information with you. When they come across a Lead Generation card, their name, username and email address will be automatically populated based on information from their Twitter account. This information will be stored and available for the advertiser to download. This product is best for lead generation campaigns.

Specs for Lead Generation Card

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Short description: 50 characters (only appears on desktop)

Post submit message: Text after lead is submitted, 100 characters

Image size: 800 x 200 pixels (max 3mb)

Call to action options: Custom, 20-character limit

Note: A URL to your privacy policy must be provided.

Website Card

Website Cards are similar to Image Cards, but with the added ability to drive users to a specific offsite URL. They’re primarily used for website click or website conversion campaigns.

Specs for Website Card

Tweet copy: 116 characters are available (24 characters are used for images)

Website title length: 70 characters, but only the first 46 characters display on mobile

Minimum Image size: 800 x 320 pixels (max 3mb)

Aspect ratio: 2.5:1. Otherwise, will be cropped to this ratio

Call-to-action options: Read more, Shop now, View now, Visit now, Book now, Learn more, Play now, Bet now, Donate, Apply here, Quote here, Order now, Book tickets, Enroll now, Find a card, Get a quote, Get tickets, Locate a dealer, Order online, Preorder now, Schedule now, Sign up now, Subscribe, Register now.

URL: Leading to your offsite website

Note: If using Google Analytics or other URL tracking tags, the tags must be included in the specified URL.

That’s Everything

There’s a Twitter card for almost everything; choosing the right one, and using the right creative is what counts. As always, we recommend testing variations of creative in these different formats so you can learn, refine, and optimize.

A tweet is limited to 140 characters, but the right card is worth a thousand words.

Get more for your next twitter campaign
Jeremy Vincent

About Jeremy Vincent

Jeremy Vincent is an ad operations specialist at AdParlor. He enjoys many fine pastimes, such as reading, cooking, traveling, and being perennially disappointed by his favorite sports teams (looking at you Toronto Maple Leafs). He has a passion for staying active, being fit, and destroying his fellow colleagues's egos with his ping-pong skills. Jeremy is based in the Toronto office.

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