As social media platforms mature and monetize, the honeymoon usually ends with the original fan base. Twitter has been no exception. Its users have been complaining of rampant commercialization of the Twittersphere since last Fall, when the service enabled an image protocol that allowed pictures to be added to timelines.

But the bad news for Twitter fans has been good news for marketers and their branding efforts (and really hasn’t had much of a deleterious effect on the numbers of Twitter users).

In fact, a new study shows that more people engage with tweets containing links to pictures than with text-only tweets.

The study by Simply Measured, a social media analytics firm, showed that tweets with picture links receive a whopping 150% more engagement than overall brand average. Analyzing Twitter usage by companies making up the Interbrand 100 and those in the Forbes 100 Best Small Companies in America, Simply Measured found that Tweets with no link made up 79 percent of a brand’s Twitter engagement, while Tweets with two links or more saw 150 percent of average engagement.

Among the 100 top global brands as determined by brand consultant Interbrand, tweets linking followers to images on Twitter’s own platform,, averaged 210 engagements, the vast majority in the form of “favorites” and retweets. Also performing very well were Tweets containing links to other photo-based social media platforms, such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Vine.

According to Simply Measured, of the top Interbrand 100 companies, online retailers eBay and Amazon sparked the most engagement activity on Twitter during the holiday period, with restaurants, technology, media and automobile companies also showing strong customer interaction on the platform.

Twitter messaging, as analyzed in the study, also showed the relative heft of Interbrand 100 companies — all global giants — in frequency of Twitter usage as compared to the Forbes list of its 100 top small businesses. The top 10 brands by engagement on the Interbrand list alone accounted for 60 percent of all Twitter engagement during the fourth quarter of 2013. Interbrand 100 companies also averaged 12 Tweets a day, compared to an average of three daily Tweets among the Forbes small businesses. Further, more than 40 percent of the large brands sent out up to five Tweets a day, while more than half (56 percent) of the small businesses did not Tweet every day.

Walsh, Mark. “Images Drive Brand Engagement on Twitter,” Mobile Marketing Daily. 1/21/14.