As 2018 wraps up Twitter gave marketers a bit of a gift, doubling the character limit of tweets from 140 characters to 280. Okay, calling this a gift is pretty generous, but 280 characters is a significant shift for Twitter, which became a household name because of its simplicity and brevity. Moving away from limiting users to no more than a couple sentences to a full paragraph is a notable shift for the platform, so there are bound to be some implications (even positive ones) for marketers.
Twitter is currently in the process of testing a 100% increase in the text limit of tweets, going from a 140-character limit to a 280-character limit. This would, of course, greatly expand the amount of content a tweet can contain from a simple thought or burst of information to something a little more nuanced.
The first thing that’s worth noting is Twitter’s calling this a “test,” which means there is no absolute certainty that this will become standard across the platform, but given the coverage of Twitter’s decision this test will be a hard one to reverse.
With all of that being said, it’s worth looking at the why behind the decision.
It is easy to pile on Twitter right now. Between disappointments in user growth from a Wall Street perspective as well as the U.S. President not doing the platform’s reputation any favors, it’s fashionable to hate on Twitter.
None of that can be ignored, but from a brand perspective, these headlines are in many ways inconsequential. What matters is whether or not Twitter has the potential to drive businesses forward, and if that’s the question, there are a couple reasons brands should consider Twitter in their marketing plans.
Twitter has had a bad year (or two), and this week it hasn’t gotten any better. The company reported its first-ever drop in ad revenue year-over-year, and user growth continues to be slow, if not, flat. Beyond that, it’s been working to combat trolls which have dogged the platform for years. Now, it finally seems to be rolling out some features that could help keep the trolls at bay for good, but it may be too little too late.
Every time Twitter’s earnings reports come around, I brace myself for what is probably going to be bad news (I’m just a fan, not an investor). The challenge with being a public company is you have to have a product that everyone can embrace, and Twitter just isn’t that. Not everything you put out into the world on Twitter gets a reaction (unlike Facebook), and much of the conversation on the platform isn’t especially fun. It’s news. It’s political. It’s what people around the world are interested in discussing, and that isn’t always fun. All of this means Twitter isn’t for everyone, but for those who do use the platform, there’s nothing else like it.
I am rooting for Twitter. The discovery the platform enables in unparalleled from a user perspective, but even more importantly, I’m rooting for it as a marketer because of its power to reach and learn from consumers in unique and unexpected ways.
Live video is everywhere right now. Twitter’s live streaming NFL games, platforms have been streaming Presidential debates and more and more brands are getting in on the live streaming game. 79% of marketers say they definitely will or might invest in live stream video advertising. That’s huge for technology that was only on the fringes a year ago.
What’s with the hype? Now, live video is mainstream. Users can open Facebook on their phones and immediately be served up live video. Live video has finally achieved scale, and people are embracing it. They watch live streams three times longer and comment ten times more than they do with regular video.
Beyond that platforms are rewarding live streams. Facebook emphasizes live stream content in their algorithm, creating potential for brands to organically reach customers, connect with them in a live and authentic way, and potentially drive preference.
It’s amazing how quickly live video has permeated the industry. It’s gone from nowhere to everywhere, and there are perhaps no bigger leaders in pushing live video forward than Facebook and Twitter. What’s interesting, though, is the differences in the platforms’ approaches and what they seem to view as live video’s role in their businesses.