How to Make the Most of Twitter’s New Image Previews

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If you’ve scrolled through Twitter in the past few weeks, you might have noticed that the once text-based social network has gotten a lot more visual. With Twitter’s new image previews on web and mobile, you have one more thing to think about when crafting the perfect tweet. Luckily, photos are known to increase engagement and clicks, so this change can only be good. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you optimize imagery in your future tweets.

First, the specs. If you want the Twitter preview to display your full image, make sure it’s sized at a 2:1 ratio, with a minimum width of 440px and a minimum height of 220px. Twitter recommends that images be 1024 pixels on the longer side, so that users can expand and enjoy a large image. The 2:1 ratio for that ideal size is 1024px by 512px.

If your image is not a 2:1 rectangle, be sure that the most important information is at the center of the image, as that is what will be displayed in the tweet preview. So, if your photo is a square, keep in mind that the top and bottom quarters will not be displayed on users’ timelines.

In a recent Digiday article, publications like the Atlantic, Grantland, and Wired reported increased engagement on tweets with images. We saw the same results with a recent post about our interview with the creators of Pixelstick; there was a 325% increase in engagement when we posted with vs. without an image. Overall, our tweets with image previews have seen double the engagement on average over a typical tweet.

Still, just because photos can help your tweets, doesn’t mean every photo will help. Our curator, Liz Lapp, recommends choosing an image with a single object or focal point, so it doesn’t look like more clutter on an already busy timeline. We also suggest choosing bright, clear images with a bold color that will help your tweet pop off the screen.

Also be wary of using an image in every tweet you post. If you use images selectively, those tweets will have more of an impact, and users are more likely to take notice. Keep in mind that your tweets should still make sense without the image, too. Apps don’t always display the photos, and some users have figured out how to turn them off on mobile. Don’t use photos to make or break your tweet, but rather to enhance the content.

What tips do you have for optimizing Twitter’s new photo previews? Share them in the comments below or tweet us (with or without a photo) @Shutterstock.

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