Is Twitter's 280 Character Limit Change Good or Bad for Marketers?

Posted by Rowland Marsh on 08/11/17 19:19
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Twitter character limit change to 280 characters

So, Twitter has finally done what it has been threatening to do for a while and doubled its character limit from 140 to 280 characters. After a recent testing period, Twitter has now implemented the change for all users. We have our say on the limit change and what it means for the network and for social media marketers.

"Easier to Tweet?"

An offcial statement from Twitter said the following about how the move makes it "easier to Tweet":

Twitter statement on its character limit increase

However, 9% is not a huge percentage and doesn't really reflect a problem with users running out of space. Many previously reaching character limit just want to make the most of their quota. In fact, the editing process helps remove unnecessary words in Tweets.

This Tweet from Brian Barone, which annotates a Tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey before the limit change was implemented, echoes the thoughts of many naysayers:

Brian Barone tweet about Twitter's 280 characters limit change 

A mixture of glee and ridicule

In some quarters, the character limit change has been met with glee, as many avid Twitter users feel they can now fully express themselves, without having to truncate messages. Perhaps now the need for "1 of 2" or "1/2" in Tweets, for users wanting to say that little bit more, has been alleviated.

Here's a Tweet from a brand looking at the upside of the limit change:

Design counsultants UK tweet about Twitter's character limit increase


However, much of the marketing industry reacted with ridicule. #280characters has trended hard and many critics view the move by Twitter desperate and abandoning its principles. Some brands amusingly took to Twitter to use up their 280 characters with a string of repetitious words, symbols, or (in the WWF's case) emojis!

Collins Dictionary's tweet about Twitter's character limit change


WWF's tweet about Twitter's character limit change


Is Twitter diluting its USP?

Our CEO and Founder, Philip Storey, is critical of Twitter's character limit increase:

"Doubling the length of tweets, completely changes the scope of how we all use Twitter. It means that fewer Tweets will be seen because they'll be longer. This clearly, isn't a good thing for businesses or users."

Philip questioned the motive: "I think the main problem is why? This feels a relatively desperate approach to claw back relevancy in a marketing where Twitter is losing hard. Not only this, it's just a shame that Twitter is surrendering its USP."

"Twitter has struggled for a long, long time," concluded Philip. "This change isn't going to help get the network out of that hole, and it's not doing anything to the customer experience, except making it more complex."

Wrap up

Of course, only time will tell how successful or disastrous the limit increase to 280 characters will be for Twitter, but its controversy has people talking and maybe that's what the channel needed!

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Enchant Agency is a leading UK digital marketing agency, based in London. We specialise in paid social advertising, email marketing and CRM. If you need help with your social media marketing strategy or you want to discuss a project with us, get in touch with our marketing consultants and see how we can supercharge your performance! 

Topics: Social Media, Insights, news, Social, Social channel, social channels, social media marketers, Social media marketing, Social media trends, Twitter, Twitter Changes, Twitter Limit, Marketing trends

Rowland Marsh

Written by Rowland Marsh

Rowland is the Marketing Manager at Enchant Agency. He is a writer, content marketer and former film reviewer. Rowland studied Literature and Philosophy at UEA and has a background in promotions, marcomms and print media.

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