Optimizing Twitter Engagement – Part 3: Tweet Length

What is the optimal Tweet length for companies looking to increase engagement on Twitter?

We recently found that for Brands on Facebook, the smaller your post, the higher the engagement. By comparison, all messages on Twitter are small… so we wondered what the effect of Tweet Length was on on response levels via Retweet.

On Twitter, smaller is not better.

On Facebook, engagement generally decreases as post length increased. On Twitter, the opposite happens, with engagement increasing as Tweet length increases.

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Clearly, with Twitter applying a 140 character upper limit on all messages, tiny messages do not stand out as much. Additionally, use of images to speak 1,000 words (or at least 1,000 characters) is far less common on Twitter than Facebook, despite their strong effect as our recent study of Tweet Type showed.

However it is interesting that engagement levels on Twitter actually increase with length, are relatively flat between 70 and 110 characters, and then roll off as the 140 character limit approaches.

The perfect Tweet length appears to be around 100 characters.

We point out that writing a mid-size (70-110 character) Tweet is no guarantee of success. Nor is a short or long Tweet destined to fail. The response to any specific Tweets depends on many factors, including those studied in this series of articles.

As an aside, with response roll-off beginning just somewhat before the 140 character size limit, and the need for URLs, Hashs and other references in Tweets, we can say that Twitter got it just about perfect with its 140 character limit.

Our overall advice to brands regarding Tweet Length is:

  1. Short, punchy statements do not especially work on Twitter, unlike Facebook.
  2. Consider using images to effectively increase the Tweet length.
  3. Avoid crushing up against the 140 character limit unnecessarily.

Track Social offers enterprise clients an advanced program of Social Content Optimization. For more information, and to apply for a free assessment of your brand’s social performance, go here.

We will have a Twitter Engagement white paper coming up soon. To get notice when it is released, sign up here.

To get our Optimizing Facebook Engagement white paper, go here.

For the methodology of this study, go here.

Comments: 2

  • This corresponds with my own experience. I think longer tweets don’t get RT’ed as much as often you have to edit them down as the RT puts you over the 140 char. limit Many people just don’t bother and/or worry that they will offend the original tweeter by altering their tweet.

  • Aruna says:

    If most tweets happen to be in the 71-100 category, then most retweets will also fall here without necessarily pointing to real correlation between length and chance of retweet.

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