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What Does Twitter’s 280-Character Limit Mean For Your Marketing?

The Twitterverse was turned upside down Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 — a day that will go down in internet infamy as the moment all 330 million Twitter users were gifted more room to share their thoughts, opinions, observations, memes, gifs and more.

The dust has begun to settle though. While some Twitter users are still clamoring at the loss of required brevity, others are embracing the benefits of the additional virtual real estate.  And you should be too.

What Does This Mean For Digital Marketing?

Brands, businesses, anyone with a story to tell — Twitter’s new 280-character limit poses new opportunities and new challenges. In the world of digital marketing, where social media plays an important role, leveraging this extra space to tell stories and distribute useful content is crucial.

In announcing the additional characters on the Twitter blog, product manager Aliza Rosen said the decision to make the change came after the social media service realized too many users were having a problem “cramming” their thoughts into 140-characters. The change, according to Rosen, was to make tweeting easier.

“Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced – that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit. Since we saw Tweets hit the character limit less often, we believe people spent less time editing their Tweets in the composer. 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. You can see this happening in the graph below.”

The nice thing about the change is that if you still want to share a brief message, that’s fine, you can still write a 140-character tweet. But for brands and businesses looking to make the most of their messaging — getting more space to share a message, at no cost, should not be taken lightly.

What Does the Digital Marketing World Have to Say?

We reached out to a variety of industry experts and influencers (through Twitter of course) to get their reaction on Twitter’s new 280-character limit and how it will impact the digital marketing landscape. Here’s what some of them had to say:

More Characters = Better Tweets

Peg Fitzpatrick, a popular social media speaker, trainer and co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki, offered up the following reaction:

“I loved the unique aspect of 140 characters and that you had to be creative to fit things into the space. I hope now people will stop tweeting ppl and ur.”

140 or 280? Stick to What Makes You Successful

Ross Simmonds, a digital marketer, strategist and entrepreneur, offered the following reaction:

Ross Simmonds Twitter

“While the 280 character limit opens up the opportunity to write MORE on Twitter, it doesn’t mean we always should. The brands who have been successful on Twitter weren’t successful because they wrote a lot, they were successful because they delivered timely responses, valuable content & invested in quality storytelling. That hasn’t changed.”

Check out Ross’ insightful blog post on the change here.

Vital Thoughts

“I think Shannon Plante @ShannonZKiller said it best in her tweet: ‘I realize it’s cool to have 280 characters and all, but you don’t all have to act like your parents have gone away for the weekend.’”
– Andrew Pappas

“I feel like it has been beaten into my brain that the shorter, the better on Twitter. But maybe longer tweets might be good to A/B test with clients who have an active Twitter following?”
– Maria DiCesare

“I have been wondering what this means in terms of impressions. In theory, if our tweets are double the size and the same number of tweets are being pushed out, does that mean my tweet might be half as likely to be seen in someone’s feed because everyone’s taking up more space?”
– Nicole O’Shaughnessy

“I’ve had my battles with trying to convey a message with the 140 characters in a tweet but I can say that I think the simplicity and the whit that goes into the shorter tweet is part of what I enjoy about Twitter. The old character count definitely forced people to be short, sweet and to the point. I’m interested to see how quickly brands and businesses adapt to the change.”
– Hannah Verville

Got thoughts about Twitter’s new character limit? Let’s talk about it. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @Vital_Design.

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