Twitter Hands Devs Some New Playing Cards

Twitter announced updates to its Cards feature for developers Tuesday. The enhancements enable greater integration of media and apps, and target mobile users of the social network, but the overall goal is to allow developers to stuff more content in and around a typical tweet while maintaining the 140-character tweet limit for texts.

The company introduced three new types of Cards: App, Product and Gallery. The new Cards allow for deep linking into an app, the ability to drive app downloads directly from the Card, and links to purchase products mentioned in the Cards.

Twitter’s Deck Stacked for Devs

Twitter Cards, which were released last year, allow expansion of 140-character posts with multimedia elements such as photos, videos and links. Six Cards are now available to content owners and brands, including the previously released Summary, Photo and Player Cards.

With the new Cards, content owners and brands can showcase a group of photos in a Gallery; tweet a Product card with photo, specs and the price of a product; or offer a path into an app — and an app download — with an App card. Developers can create these cards by adding a few lines of code and providing validation for the URLs provided.

Partners including Etsy, Flickr, Foursquare, Path, Rovio’s Angry Birds, and Vine have already signed on to the new Cards. Those brands will likely get company soon: a Twitter blog post said more than 10,000 developers, mobile apps and websites already use Cards.

The App Card has an additional trick: Developers can code the Card with deep links. For users who already have the app, the link will open it and navigate to the piece of content mentioned in the tweet, like a news story or a particular level in Angry Birds. For those who don’t have the app, the Card will give users the chance to instantly download the app.

E-commerce sits like Etsy could benefit from Product Cards, which will let sellers tweet about their product with a photo and price, and will then enable a direct link to a page on Etsy to buy the goods.

Twitter declined to provide further details.

140 Characters Enhanced

Cards let developers, brands and marketers tell a story without 140-character limitations.

“Twitter Cards are a way to add additional content to your tweets, images, video, links, etc.,” Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence told TechNewsWorld. “They’re especially valuable for marketers because these enhanced content messages can be shared across Twitter in the form of retweets.”

Brands want to drive sales conversions. In the case of a Product page, Twitter users might follow the link directly to a page where they can purchase goods.

App developers may benefit the most on mobile, since App Cards could increase usage of apps and drive more downloads. “So if you’re an app developer and use Twitter to promote your app, it gains potentially much more ‘actionable’ exposure through a Card vs. a simple URL link,” Sterling said.

“In the case of our app, snap.tap.give, our users can tweet about gifts they make to our amazing organizations,” David Allen, cofounder of told TechNewsWorld. “140 characters just isn’t enough to tell the world about your gift and the organization, so we are including a Twitter Card summary of the charity. Our mission is ‘capturing the inspiration to give,’ so with the mobile app deep linking, anyone reading the Tweet could be inspired to try our app for giving directly to the organization with a simple click.”

The new Cards are designed more for the mobile Twitter user. The Cards are formatted for smaller screens and provide easy navigation to more content.

“The bottom line is that there’s more information and richer information available through uses of the Cards than conventional tweets,” said Sterling. “It allows for a range of more interesting and engaging possibilities.”

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