Using images to increase engagement on Twitter

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Using images to increase engagement on Twitter

You were probably a bit confused when in mid October you started seeing sporadic images appearing automatically in your Twitter feed, the company introduced the inline images in October for those who attach images directly to a tweet using the pic.twitter service. Is this a clever marketing tool to get people to upload images directly to twitter, instead of using third party rival companies such as Instagram or is this just Twitter improving the user experience? My guess is that it is a bit of both, there is no harm improving the user experience especially if it means that they can gain a competitive advantage on rivals. After all the inline images also apply to vine, a video service which saw a dramatic decrease in it’s market share when Instagram launched a very similar video offering.

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You might be thinking that this isn’t a great change and what real difference will it make to the way in which we use twitter as users and as marketers. Buffer recently carried out some research on 100 of it’s own tweets to see the impact, and it found out the following:

  • Tweets with inline images generated 89% more favourites
  • There was a 150% increase in the amount of retweets a tweet received which featured a inline image
  • It even affected the click through rates of tweets, with a 18% increase

What does this tell us? Well that maybe twitter should shift its focus away from the words and onto the visual aspects it can provide users. With such high increases in user engagement from inline imagery its an easy choice for Twitter to keep this feature and develop it further. Users are becoming more demanding, wanting to see content straight away rather than it requiring an additional action is becoming the norm in their internet journeys.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this has been purely created for the sole benefit of the end user of the website, this is part of a carefully thought up business strategy which sees Twitter focus heavily on generating revenue through advertising. Many users may follow a brand on twitter but simply choose to ignore the majority of their posts either consciously or subconsciously, the new inline images is a way in which Brands can get their posts noticed amongst the crowd.  as has been proven from the statistics the posts which have inline images within them have high engagement rates

However one major flaw which still hasn’t been solved by Twitter is the ability to schedule in Tweets with images on social media scheduling sites like Hootsuite, this is either an oversight on their part or an important business decision, you see Twitter has now rolled out “Twitter Ads” for small business which allows users to schedule in tweets even with images.


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