Twitter has officially increased its character limit from 140 to 280 following a test which confirmed that longer tweets drive more engagement which social media marketing companies have to take into account. And, in specific, Twitter is increasing its character limit in countries that have a ‘cramming issue’.
According to Twitter, cramming is not an issue in Chinese, Korean and Japanese and hence, these languages will continue with its 140 character limits. Other languages such as English on the other hand, does lead to crammed tweets with 9% of tweets hitting the 140 character limit.
Therefore, there is a challenge posed when fitting a thought into a tweet and many people spend more time editing a tweet than actually writing one and in the tiring process of cutting off as many characters as possible, some even abandon tweets before sending them.
In Twitter’s test of 280 character limits, it was concluded that users would tweet more than 140 whenever they wanted to but for the most part, the tweets remained brief. Further data showed that only 5% of tweets were longer than 140 characters and 2% were more than 190 characters. Only 1% of tweets hit the 280 character limit when Twitter was running the test.
Twitter also highlighted that a timeline of long tweets would pose as a concern with this new change and a user’s timeline reading experience will not change substantially as they will still be able to see the same amount of Tweets on the timeline.
A question arises though – if we can expect to see the same number of tweets, does it indicate that the expanded character limit did not actually encourage people to tweet more than they normally would do? Regardless, Twitter usage is on the decline and the company can definitely benefit from an update that can push its users to access this service more often.
So even while the 280 character limit may or may not encourage users to send more tweets, data points out that users will gain more engagement because of being able to send longer tweets. Together with more Tweeting, users who have more characters to tweet gain more engagement in the form of likes, mentions and retweets and even received more followers, thus spending more time on Twitter.
Twitter made this change in order to make tweeting easier for its users and the company will continue to listen to its community and make further improvements based on user feedback.