Last month Twitter added an image preview feature that causes pictures and Vines to automatically appear in users' timelines.

Prior to the update users had to manually expand the media or click through to view the full tweet, but we're now shown a small preview window whether we like it or not..

As with all alterations to the Twitter interface, the update was met with outrage from users who always seem surprised when agile and innovative tech companies seek to evolve their product.

The new image previews can occasionally cause problems, like this morning when my colleague Ben Davis caught a glimpse of a very NSFW picture that someone I follow had tweeted, but in general I find they add some much needed variety to my Twitter timeline.

It also presents an opportunity for brands to become creative with the way in which they use images, or else risk appearing a bit sloppy if their picture previews end up looking slightly obscure.

This effort from Burberry is a good example of how not to preview an image:

Yet some brands have managed to come up with some really creative ways of exploiting the new preview window, which in essence is like a small banner ad.

By using an image that perfectly fits the preview box brands can get their message across without their followers having to expand the tweet.

I've not managed to find any information on how to optimise images specifically to fit the window, though it presumably works in the same way as the summary cards. And here are 10 examples of brands that have had some success.

Or for more information on this topic, check out our blog post on whether Twitter images really do increase engagement... 


This is a terrific example of how brands can be creative with the new image feature.

Victoria's Secret

Certainly an eye-catching use of the image box.


Supermarket chain Waitrose was extremely fast to adapt to the new feature and as of the beginning of this month all of its images have been optimised to fit the preview window.

CBS Films

This movie promo from CBS Films demonstrates the impact that can be achieved when the image is the right size to fit the preview window.


In general Sephora doesn't make great use of the image preview box, however this example is worth highlighting. It manages to capture all the important information and effectively acts as a banner ad within its feed.

When expanded the tweet just includes a few extra T&Cs and a larger image of the make up product.


Only one of Cadbury's images fits the preview window, but it looks delicious...


Sportswear brand Adidas has posted several optimised images in the past few days aimed at advertising its products and celebrating its celebrity endorsements.


Spotify has been particularly creative with the new image preview, posting several tweets with arrows that entice the reader to find out more.

Here are the before and after images for this particular tweet.



Nonesuch Records

Another ad that is perfectly sized to show up in your timeline whether you like it or not.


Okay, so this tweet didn't come from a brand marketer, but it is a really creative use of the image preview feature. Obviously it requires very swift fingers to ensure that both tweets appear next to one another in your followers' feeds.

David Moth

Published 12 November, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (8)

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i love your blog a lot

almost 5 years ago


Filip Galetic

The Spotify and the cat were cool. Others, not so much. I can see the neatness of a kind of a banner ad but it's called a preview for a reason - people are meant to have their interest piqued by it and click on the image to see it fully, in my opinion.

almost 5 years ago



Hi! Nice read. It would be cool to know the ideal dimensions to use for this, and perhaps you guys can update your image sizing guide to reflect this?

almost 5 years ago

David Somerville

David Somerville, Strategy Director at Fresh Egg

Thanks for pulling out those examples - they will be really useful to share with people to show them how this new feature can benefit them.

It seems Twitter is making strong moves to help brands get value from using the platform, both with this feature and the new custom timelines that were announced yesterday.

almost 5 years ago

Neil Charlton

Neil Charlton, Director at Plug and Play Design - Moorgate

Excellent piece and very good comments by the experts. Just what I needed to help me with growing my full service web design agency.

Neil C.

almost 5 years ago


Michelle Tecson

Great roundup. You really have to personalize your brand, be original and offer something new to your customers.

almost 5 years ago


Howie G

I kept saying WHY haven't I seen this? I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled.

Oh it doesn't work in hootsuite! Does it only work with Twitter desktop and App because I never use them.

almost 5 years ago



Sooooo interesting. I learned a lot and got lots of ideas from this blog in a few minutes. Thank you!

over 4 years ago

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