A Look at the New Twitter Character Limit Expansion
It’s been since the very beginning of Twitter’s launch that articles and updates have been only allowed to be 140 characters. But now the company has tweaked its formula to a maximum of 280 characters.
Traditionally users have been drawn to the simple “microblogging” feature, which is much different than sharing on places like Facebook and Google Plus. Status updates are quick and frequent with around 6,000 tweets coming through each second:
In order to meet the demands of all users internationally Twitter explains, “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter.”
After running several tests to specific users in September, Twitter determined that many people wanted to go beyond the 140 character limit. They pointed out in a recent announcement that 9 percent of Tweets in English were hitting that number, causing many to have to edit their content. Their tests resulted in a much lower percentage of one percent, which the company writes that “this shows that more space makes it easier for people to fit thoughts in a Tweet, so they could say what they want to say, and send Tweets faster than before.”
So what does this new 280 Twitter character limit mean for marketers moving forward? Here are a few changes you will start seeing according to the social network giant:
1 – Expect timelines to stay mostly the same
After their testing Twitter determined that most users were still tweeting out information well below the 280 character limit. Tweets that included an image or poll were generally 190 characters in length. And although the new limited roll out produced some experimentation from users, the company reported that this was short lived.
2 – Increased engagement
During the course of the first roll out of expanded tweets Twitter found that users who had more room to share what they wanted experienced a higher level of responses, which led to gaining more followers. There was a higher satisfaction rate that was reported from content producers as well as more Likes, Retweets, and Mentions.
3 – Improved user experience for followers
The previously limited number of characters caused many people to created a “thread” of tweets, which resulted in a string of conversations. These can be difficult for readers to follow and respond to, and can decrease action taken on a tweet. The longer tweets allow for brands to create one tweet with all of the information included. While there may still be some who prefer to go beyond the new limit these threads will diminish over time, which will improve the engagement rates on tweets.
4 – Expands customer communication
Social media is increasingly being used to handle customer service issues, which can be a frustrating experience if people are limited in how they can describe an issue. As a result many have turned to places like Facebook and Google Plus in order to contact a company. Instead of forwarding a customer to a direct message or telephone number, businesses can now handle issues in more detail, which solves problems a lot faster than before.
5 – More creativity for content
The more we can write inside of a tweet the more we can creatively communicate with our target market, which can be done through storytelling, questions and answers, engaging Twitter Chats, and more. What was once more common place on other social platforms can now be incorporated into Twitter. When done effectively your brand can use the longer text to your advantage by reaching out to your audience on a personal level.
6 – Greater focus on the visuals
Including more characters doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to include a large block of text, which could very well get lost in the new timeline of tweets. In order for a brand to stand out they will need to take full advantage of images, videos, and .Gifs that capture the reader’s attention. As you transition into the format focus on these elements first in your marketing strategy as this type of content drives the most engagement on almost all of the major social networks.
Marketing is subject to disruption and the best course of action is to stay on top of the latest changes by modifying your current campaigns and improving upon what you already have. A slow transition will help you move forward into the new character format and keep your brand relevant with your followers.
As more people test out the updated character limit only time will tell whether this will remain the new norm or change in the future. Twitter has been known to make changes to updates that are not working, but for now you can choose to use this expansion to your advantage and reach more people.
Would you like to see a smaller character limit for your tweets?
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