Getting Started with the Twitter App Card

In April, Twitter rolled out the latest version of its Twitter Card feature. Many observers are saying that this is a challenge to Facebook’s mobile app install ads. The program launched in partnership with major brands ranging from Foursquare to Angry Birds.

With functionality like the App Card, the program’s got exciting potential for developers. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of Twitter Cards in getting the word out about your apps.

What Are Twitter Cards?

Twitter Cards are simple: they allow you to imbed a few lines of code on your website, and immediately create a media-rich experience when people share your content on Twitter. Instead of the standard 140-character tweet, Card-generated posts include images, links, product details, and video.

There are a number of different Card types, including images, products, and most excitingly, apps. Posts generated with Twitter App Cards stand out in a sea of text, increasing the chances that your followers will read, share, and engage with your content.

Overview of the Twitter App Card

Twitter’s App Card isn’t widely available as of May 1st, but their site promises that it will be within a few weeks. Currently, using the Cards requires special approval.

twitter-card Image source: Twitter.com

App Cards are designed with two purposes in mind: 1) to catch people’s attention by better representing apps in a visual way and 2) to drive app downloads via a link.

When using App Cards, you’re able to highlight a few different things:

–       The app name

–       An icon

–       A description of the app (either the standard app store description or a shorter one you specify yourself)

–       Attributes such as rating and price

Currently, the App Card is only available in the iOS and Android mobile clients. It’s not available on the web or mobile web, yet.

How Do I Get the App Card Working?

Technically, setting up an App Card is straightforward. It just requires adding some markup language to your site.

Since the Twitter Card proxies information from the specified app store, all you need to do is select your Card type and provide your app ID. Here’s a quick look at the code:

meta-tags

Image source: dev.twitter.com.

To break this down, the most important parts are as follows.

For the twitter:Card property, ensure that the content type is set to “app.”

Twitter:description allows you to specify a shorter app description than what’s in the store, with a maximum of 200 characters for the field.

In the fields for twitter:app:id:iphone, twitter:app:id:ipad, and twitter:app:id:googleplay, enter the corresponding numeric app ID (for example, 306934135).

Once you’re ready to get started, login to the Cards Validator. It’ll allow you to enter all your details as outlined above and generate your code. Copy the embed code, and install it on your site.

validate-apply

Image source: Twitter.com

Once the install is complete, submit the URL in the “validate and apply” window.

validate-try

Image source: Twitter.com

If the URL validates, you’ll be asked to fill out more information and your Card will be submitted for approval. There’s no official timeline given for approvals, but a recent discussion on Twitter’s Developer boards suggests that the process typically takes several weeks.

Creative Ideas for Using App Cards

Deciding how to use App Cards most effectively in your content is key. Jason Costa, who wrote the initial blog announcement said Twitter Cards “close the loop between content creation, content discovery and app downloads.” Think about the relationship between your content, your conversion goals, and be strategic about how Twitter Cards can help.

Since Twitter Cards can be used anywhere people would normally be able to share your content on Twitter, start there. Some common places include:

  • Your about page
  • Individual product pages describing your apps
  • Blog posts that discuss topics related to your viewer base
  • Thank you pages where people are brought after they download your app
  • Your homepage
  • Campaign pages and landing pages designed to drive downloads
  • Specific branded content experiences, such as videos, stories, and other content marketing forums
  • Testimonials or use cases for “function” focused apps

Beyond your existing content, you can also use App Cards as part of initiatives to get traction on social media. For example, consider running a competition that focuses on getting your community to share the content for an incentive.

If an area of your site is already highly shared, focus on driving that traffic through the Twitter platform. There was recently a food app with a large community of people sharing videos and photos of recipes from their site. Right now, the majority of that sharing happens on Pinterest. With the addition of Twitter Cards, you’ll be able to refocus some of that traffic to Twitter. This can be relevant if your demographic tends to focus on one social network over another.

Are you using Twitter Cards to market your apps and products? Let us know your strategies in the comments below.

  • Jenny Donovan

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Looking forward to trying out Twitter Cards.

  • http://www.techdrool.wordpress.com/ Felix Yaw Owusu-Sarpong

    Thanks for this but I do not a version of my app for IOS. This is making it difficult to validate my app as it is an android only app. Any help will be grateful.