Twitter Cards are a growing new opportunity for mobile marketers

Twitter Cards

A Twitter Card from Etsy

Cards for photos, application installs, products and other categories have been introduced by Twitter over the past year, giving marketers a way to more deeply engage mobile consumers with added information and interactivity.

But with several different options to choose from the question is which to use when and for what purpose. There is the Summary Card, Player Card, Photo Card, Gallery Card (which enables more than one photo), App Card, App Installs and Deep-linking Card, Product Card and the more recently rolled out Lead Generator Card.

The cards are a great idea, and we see a lot of enthusiasm around the variety of card types, said Mark Pinsent, social and content lead for Metia, Seattle. Its a new product, and it still has some glitches to iron out.

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Getting started
The various cards enable users to include a photo, add video, present more extensive company information or showcase a product, in a deck that appears below the traditional 140 word or less Tweet.

According to a Kenshoo study, there are 500 million-plus tweets sent out per day, and mobile users are 66 percent more likely to re-tweet, and 44 percent more likely to click on links.

To get started, marketers need to embed code onto a brands Web site. Doing so requires close and agile collaboration between a companys marketing and Web teams, per Mr. Pinsent.

According to Twitter, in most cases it takes less than 15 minutes to implement a Card.

The early adopters will likely be in ecommerce and media, sectors where IT and marketing typically already are integrated.

Revenue-driving potential
Marketers are finding most interest in Cards that showcase images and video, such as the Photo Card, Player Card and Gallery Card, according to Mr. Pinset. Additionally, the Summary Card delivers an extended snapshot of a brands story running elsewhere.

But the Product Card is likely to emerge as the most useful because of its revenue-driving potential. Mr. Pinset compared its use to a product being endorsed on Pinterest by re-pinning, with a re-tweet being the equivalent.

Product Cards will probably carry more weight when they are shared by users, rather than brands, Mr. Pinsent said. [For content marketing], which is hugely important, being able to showcase images and video is a nice feature of the Cards.

Kipp Bodnar, vice president of marketing for Hubspot, said use and popularity of the Cards will depend on the use case of the marketer. For instance, Lead Generation Cards are popular among B2B marketers, while the App Card is more popular among mobile application developers.

Across all marketers, I see the Photo Card used at a high frequency because images are so powerful on the social Web, Mr. Bodnar said.

Early adopters
Since the Cards are new, experts advise to be mindful of potential trouble areas such as card validation, card processing and cards not showing. Before use becomes widespread, marketers will need reassurance that the Cards function as expected.

In this age of real-time, always-on marketing and promotion, marketers must have confidence that the cards publish, with minimal delay or intervention, Metias Mr. Pinsent said.

Meanwhile, Twitter has just unveiled an analytics program for Twitter Cards that measures URL clicks, install attempts and retweets.

To encourage trial, Twitter is allowing marketers to use Cards in both paid and organic Tweets, noted Hubspots Mr. Bodnar.

New Relic was identified as an early leader in Twitter Cards.

They had a really successful campaign [using Lead Generation Cards] where they gave developers t-shirts for becoming a free user of their software, Mr. Bodnard said. They also do great Photo Cards targeted to the developer community.

Worlds mesh
With the introduction of Twitter Cards, marketers are seeing more overlap of social media capabilities.

[Twitter Cards] present yet another example of how the most popular social networks are becoming more and more alike, Metias Mr. Pinsent said.

With Twitter constantly looking to embed richer content in the user feed, and Facebook increasingly focused on the mobile user experience, how long will it be before they look exactly the same, he said.

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