Images on Twitter – Size Does Matter

As cliché as it sounds, the only constant in social media marketing is change.

We discussed the ever-changing landscape that is Facebook advertising in a February blog post and video hangout.

While perhaps less obvious than Facebook ads, Twitter is in the advertising game too. Recently, Twitter has made a number of changes to the ad products it offers. If you’re a regular on this social media platform, you’ve undoubtedly come across Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends.

Just weeks before Twitter went public in late 2013, the company announced a new feature: in-stream photos. A post on their corporate blog explained the rationale for incorporating the new feature: “So many of the great moments you share on Twitter are made even better with photos or with videos from Vine. These rich Tweets can bring your followers closer to what’s happening, and make them feel like they are right there with you.”

The image and video previews were Twitter’s way of making it “easier for everyone to experience those moments on Twitter.” Some social media cynics, though, saw right through the company line. There was little doubt that the move was made to attract more eyeballs and increase engagement for advertisers. (Note: Pricing for Twitter advertising is performance based – “Pay only for engagement. It’s actually that simple.”)

The feature was rolled out in late October 2013 and some companies have failed to adapt and leverage the inline image preview. They continue to post photos and marketing images as they always have, without sizing them properly.

If you post a large image, Twitter automatically crops a section of it and displays it as 440×220. Unfortunately, the auto-crop isn’t intelligent enough to provide a preview that fits your image best.

The social media team behind lululemon athletica (@lululemon), for example, has a propensity to ‘decapitate’ their models in the image preview:

lululemon When the image is clicked, the full photo is powerful and includes their branding:

lululemon full size

What’s the takeaway? The size of the images you’re sharing on Twitter matters! The recommendation is to use a 2:1 ratio, with the optimum upload size of 1024×512 (which scales down nicely to 440×220).

Our friends at San Francisco-based SHN (@shnsf) provide us with a textbook example of using images on Twitter:

In-line Twitter image when sized properly

In-line Twitter image when sized properly

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Image was uploaded using a 2:1 ratio (sized at 1024×512)