Today Twitter is abuzz with tidbits about the social network's expansion of its Cards technology, introducing new types, which will be released today. The idea is to get deeper linking and more third-party app engagement, such as embedding a poll or shopping from a tweet.
Twitter Cards, which have been around since June 2012, provide a way of expanding tweets with embedded content such as page previews, images and videos. Think of it this way: Why include a link to a video in a tweet when you can embed the video itself? Readers are much more likely to view the media if they don't have to click through that extra step. Publishers just need to add a few lines of basic HTML to their websites, then when readers link to their content, a Card is added to their tweet for all the world to see.
The new types of cards are app, product and gallery. Developer Dave McClure tweeted images of new cards in action, displaying a photo gallery card above and a product card that show an image and description. Some developers view this technology as a way for Twitter to make a venture into an online marketplace, with the capacity to sell almost anything.
App cards will let users see an app icon, price and rating from iTunes or Google Play. Then Twitter users can download apps directly from Twitter. This way, you can tap on a link within your Twitter feed and an app will instantly start downloading. This could be a serious boon to app makers, stopping the madness of getting people to read a tweet about an app, exiting Twitter, go to an app store and then downloading that app. Or, if you already have the app installed, you can tap on a link and then the app will automatically launch so you can immediately get to the media.
The new card types aim to keep users on Twitter for a longer period of time, as well as help app developers embed their content into tweets, which ultimately will drive traffic back to those apps. Currently about 10,000 developers use Cards. We look forward to seeing the new Cards in action as they're released today. So far, Foursquare, Path, Angry Birds, Etsy, Flickr and SoundCloud have signed on to develop new cards.