Twitter recently added inline images to tweets so they display automatically in user timelines, putting content “front and center”. It’s worth noting that it’s just Twitter content that’s getting the extra boost, as only images shared on Twitter’s own pic.twitter.com display automatically. Everybody else – and this includes Instagram, Twitpic etc – need at least one more click.
We’ve known forever that tweets with images generate a better return of engagement than text-only submissions, so what difference has the new inline image from Twitter made to the numbers?
In a mini study, Buffer analysed the last 100 tweets that included links sent from their profile on Twitter and compared the engagement data between tweets that included images and those that did not.
And the results? Tweets with images received 18 percent more clicks than those without.
It’s unclear here whether Buffer included clicks on the images or not – either way, this is a notable but small result.
More impressively, tweets with images received 89 percent more favourites.
But here’s the deal breaker: tweets with images received 150 percent more retweets.
We’d need a lot more data for this study to be truly significant but, taking it at face value, this is a big deal for Twitter as it positions them as the de facto choice for images on their own platform. The message is clear: sure, you can use any system you like to share images on Twitter, but if you actually want engagement, particularly retweets, you’d better use pic.twitter.com.