How to create Twitter Ads cards for free

2 years ago   •   6 min read

By Scott Goodacre

There has been a growing trend among sports teams to use Twitter Ads when posting to the channel. A quick look through a list of all 20 Premier League clubs shows “Twitter for Advertisers” appears regularly as the source of their post.

The source information appears at the bottom of the individual tweet, and is highlighted as a link.

The link at the bottom, alongside the timestamp, lets you know how this tweet was posted online.

What makes these tweets different is that there’s no payment made to post them. So why would people start using an advertising platform if they aren’t paying to post?

Why teams are using Twitter Cards

You can embed website summary cards onto websites, and these display when a link is tweeted.

While these look good, the problem is the images are landscape. The headline and description come from the website and can’t be updated or changed.

With Twitter Cards you get access to a new image size – square. This allows you to take up more real estate, especially on mobile, and display more of an image. It’s a chance to catch more of your audience’s attention when they’re scrolling.

You’re also able to customise the image and headline so that you’re in full control of how it’s displayed.

How to use Twitter Ads to post

We’ve covered the why, now let’s take a look at how you can use Twitter’s native platforms to post.

First, you need an Ads account. If you’ve never activated yours or used the Ads platform then you might need to set up some billing information. What we’re doing won’t cost, but like Google’s PPC platform they don’t let you do much without entering card details.

Once you’re in, you should have a screen that looks like this.

At this point, you can ignore all of the campaign objectives and go straight to clicking on the blue button in the top right. This takes you to the compose tweet screen.

Underneath the compose window are options to add images, videos, Cards, and polls. With the exception of Cards, these are all added in the standard way. But it’s Cards we’re interested in. Clicking this button expands the box and shows you a library of the Cards you’ve created so far.

From here you can either select one you’ve created before, or click on the Cards library link to create a new one.

The Cards library is exactly that; a place where all the previous Cards you’ve created are stored. It’s worth noting that you can’t delete a Card, so even your tests and errors will be included here.

To get started creating a new one, click on the blue Create Card button. You’ll be given four options.

  • Website Card.
  • Video website Card.
  • Image app Card.
  • Video app Card.

I’m going to demonstrate how to create a website Card and a video website Card.

Creating a Twitter website Card

Clicking on website Card will give you a pop-out with a few options for you to complete. You’ll need to upload an image, type in a headline, and enter the URL you want to direct people to after clicking. You can then give it a memorable name.

When uploading an image you have two choices – square or landscape. Square images are unique to Cards, and the most popular choice as you can fit a lot more into them. They take up a lot more real estate on mobile in particular, so are good for catching attention.

When you’re finished, you can preview how your card will look across various devices.

Click create when you’re done, and you’ll see your finished card has been added to the library.

To share it, you have two options: using the composer in Twitter Ads, or via any other social media sharing platform you use (such as Buffer or Tweetdeck).

To share it through Twitter Ads, head back to the compose screen by clicking the blue button in the top right. Select the Cards option, and click on your Card to add it to a tweet. Then type a tweet as usual.

You have a few options before you’re finished. You have the option to create promoted-only tweets – these are only discoverable by people with the link. They don’t appear in a timeline. If you untick this box then your tweet will be posted as usual once you either click the tweet button or use the drop down to schedule a time for it to be posted. You can also save it as a draft and return to it later.

If you want to post your Card via other means, you need to preview your Card in the library.

This opens the Card on the right side of your screen. At the bottom is a link – click the chain to copy this to your clipboard (or highlight it and copy it that way).

Now you’ve done this, you can paste the link into any platform you like and share the Card as part of your tweet. It’ll look and work exactly the same.

Update (23/04/20): It looks like Twitter have removed the ability to copy the link and post Cards through other channels. You can still create and share them for free, you just have to do it through the Ads composer now.

Creating a Twitter video website Card

Video website Cards are slightly different. With these, when a mobile user clicks on them they’ll be taken to your website but the video you have attached will play at the top of their screen.

This is how a website video Card looks on an iPhone. The video plays at the top while your website loads, and works as normal, underneath.

The creation and posting of these is fairly similar to website Cards. Head to the Card library and click on the create Card button, then select video website Card.

This time, instead of an image you need to add a video.

Complete the details and then click on either preview or create. Once you have created it you can post it the same way as the previous Card.


The only major drawback with this approach is that Tweetdeck doesn’t support the displaying of Cards. They appear to all users, and even if they’re posted via Tweetdeck they will show up to everyone else. It’s a strange limitation, but anyone who uses Tweetdeck will know that its feature list is a bit behind the web and mobile interfaces.

Spread the word

Keep reading