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July 15, 2015, 2:57 p.m.
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LINK: www.theverge.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   July 15, 2015

twitterexandedlinkPublishers may be able to get more value out of their tweets thanks to a new design change on Twitter. The company recently rolled out new Twitter cards that allow for an expanded summary of a link seen on the platform’s iOS or Android apps. What that means for media companies, or really anyone slinging links on Twitter, is that stories will get some extra room, complete with lead art and the first few words of a story.

If you’ve been on Twitter a while you’ll recognize that this is part of the company’s plans for bringing more media into your home feed. Things like autoplay videos, GIFs, or advertising cards, have moved the Twitter experience away from being a continuous waterfall of text.

Casey Newton, over at The Verge, explains the change:

The expanded previews are actually a new-ish Twitter card (“Summary card with large image”), and you’ll only see auto-expanded links from publishers that have enabled the card on their sites. But expect most big publishers to follow suit, because the big, colorful cards get around Twitter’s 140-character limit by inserting the first few words of the article in addition to the promotional tweet. And of course advertisers, who are just as thirsty for those favs and RTs, are likely to adopt them en masse as well.

There’s a clear benefit there to media companies vying for readers attention, especially as we know more and more readers are getting their news on social networks like Twitter.

Twitter’s cards are an underutilized tool for many publishers. Here at the Lab, for instance, we’ve had success using the Twitter Lead Generation Card to increase the amount of subscribers to our daily email newsletter.

Obviously Twitter’s not being purely altruistic here; if you get people to spend more time scrolling and clicking through on their timeline, that benefits Twitter. (Think of the analogy to Facebook’s Instant Articles.) And the new change had some in the news business discussing whether this was another portend in the battle of distributed content, or whether this change would really benefit publishers at all.

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