For awhile now Twitter has had the ability to have images and Vine videos displayed inline with Tweets. A pretty significant shift for a platform that was built to intentionally support a concise text-based type of communication.
Initial reports from a number of sources suggested that the inclusion of images had a significant impact on engagement. Buffer shared some of their own data regarding the impact of including images and the results were certainly significant.
There is certainly no shortage of data out there that supports the importance of visuals as a powerful way to quickly capture attention, convey a story and/or draw on emotion. All the things needed to get someone to take action, such as click on a link.
There are a few organizations who I think do a good job of using visuals in a way that draws me in to “click that link":
Charity Water: Nice visual in direct support of the message in the tweet.
Digital Ocean: Conveying the resource beyond the link in a visually appealing way.
Still Not Used
So with all this great data on increased impact and trends toward more visuals overall in social media why is this feature still so underused? My theory, still not an easy part of the workflow.
To add an image inline for Twitter you have to do the manual work of saving an image ahead of time and adding it when you create the tweet. Something not easily done on mobile devices and certainly a break from the normal workflow of sharing tweets.
The trick is to include an image with a 440 x 220 px image or a 2:1 ratio. This ensures your image will be displayed as you expect.
If you stray from these dimension be aware that the image will be centered vertically and horizontally to fit this ratio so keep the important parts of the visual message in the middle.
We are still early in our own experiments into how much impact including images has on engagement. Certainly a bit more urgency to learn with the new visual direction Twitter is taking in general and new features such as promoted pins, Favorites view, etc on profiles.
Let us know in the comments if you have experimented with using images or are holding out for specific reasons.