Is Twitter pulling a one-eighty by introducing 280 characters?

Twitter has decided to double its character limit to 280. We spoke to a few experts to find out if this will attract more advertisers and marketers.

e4m by Ronald Menezes
Updated: Sep 28, 2017 7:38 AM  | 3 min read

The struggle to fit your tweet in 140 characters may soon come to an end. Twitter is testing a new format of tweets by doubling the limit to 280 characters. Twitter was an initiator of the limited character-based content on the internet. However, with its latest experiment, the social media platform seems to be stepping on the pedal for the future.

Twitter’s blog post announcement read, “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese and Korean.)”

Will longer format of tweets attract more digital advertisers and marketers? Prashant Puri, Co-Founder & CEO, AdLift said, “There’s a lot more content being created and shared than ever before. This will give creators more freedom to express themselves versus being limited by a 140-characters count. Nine per cent of English tweets have 140 characters which means that people find it difficult to fit their thoughts within the 140 characters limit. This increase to 280 characters will help mitigate this challenge.”

Muddassar Memon, National Head – Social and Creative, iProspect India, feels that longer tweets will improve search within the platform as well as the SEO potential. Furthermore, he also believes that brands will now be able to derive more insights on user behaviour and target consumers efficiently due to longer tweets.

He further added, “This move comes as good news for brands as they find it challenging to express themselves in a single tweet and have to communicate through multiple tweets. Twitter as a platform has always been used by brands to broadcast topical news, relevant company or product announcements through impactful yet snackable content. Increase in the character limit for each tweet enables people and brands to interact on the platform with more content per tweet, leading to an increase in the traffic and in turn, an increase in brand communication effectiveness. We can expect brands to positively alter their marketing strategies with this move.”

According to Pradyut V. Hande, Marketing Manager, CleverTap, choosing to extend twitter's existing 140 characters feature to 280 characters on a test basis is a major punt on its future. He added, "As and when rolled out universally, advertisers and marketers would have the freedom to include slightly more detailed messaging focused at their target user demographic.
Coupled with engaging images, GIFs and videos, this has the potential to drive greater brand engagement and product understanding. However, given how long users have been accustomed to the 140 characters nature of the platform, over-utilization of this feature can alienate users by compromising on brevity. Messaging would have to continue being sharp, succinct, comprehensible and with a subtle call to action."

In another revelation, Instagram announced a double growth on their advertising platform on Tuesday by having two million advertisers on board. In comparison to March, Instagram had one million advertisers using the platform. The growth came in just five months and the ripple effect could probably be felt by other platforms sooner or later.

Gautam Mehra, Chief Data Officer, Dentsu Aegis Network India, feels that Twitter is quite late in taking this step. He said, “The world has moved to images, videos and augmented reality. Text is really not that important anymore. However, it does have its place. Especially if you consider opinionated posts, something that Twitter is known for. So, at the very least is means better English for humanity! I would have liked to see a more comprehensive platform upgrade than just doubling the text limit.”

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