Twitter recently added inline images to timelines, creating a much richer multimedia experience for its members. Now, a new yet small study revealed that putting visual content front and center has helped create an engagement boost for brands using the service.

The company added in-stream video and image previews to the main feed in October. Previously people had to click on a link to view and image or video that was attached to a tweet. It’s no surprise that tweets with images generate better engagement than text-only, but the new inline previews appear to provide additional benefits.

In its study, Buffer analyzed the last 100 tweets that included links sent from its profile on Twitter and compared the engagement data between tweets that included images and tweets that didn’t. As it turned out, tweets with images received 18 percent more clicks than those without.

More importantly, tweets with images received 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets. Although this study is small, if taken at face value, it shows that using pic.twitter.com to share images is the way to go. It’s worth noting that currently only Twitter content is getting the extra boost — only Twitter photos and Vine videos are supported at this time.

It’s likely that other formats will be included in the future. Obviously anyone running Promoted Tweets with images have no other choice than to go through Twitter, but if you’re looking for a major return on photos or Vine content, it’s worth going through the platform directly rather than tweeting a link to another service.

[Via: AllTwitter, Image credit: Nina Matthews]