Twitter’s new relaxed character cap doesn’t apply to promoted tweets

Dive Brief:

  • Twitter officially implemented changes to its 140-character limit for tweets on Monday by no longer counting media attachments like images, videos and polls for users. Media in tweets is still limited to just four images, one GIF or one video, and things like hashtags and off-site links continue to count towards the cap.
  • Marketers, on the other hand, still face the hard limit when crafting Promoted Tweets in Twitter’s ad dashboard, according to Marketing Land. Earlier reports suggested that user handles included at the beginning of replies wouldn’t count against the limit but for now they do, although that is still subject to change in the future.
  • There is a workaround for marketers looking to utilize the new formatting changes, as they can create and post a tweet organically as a user and then buy Promoted Tweet space, according to Marketing Land. By first tweeting outside the ad dashboard, the media in the tweet won’t count against the limit, allowing for more text space when the tweet is eventually upgraded to Promoted status.

Dive Insight:

For those active on Twitter, the newly relaxed character limit means tweets can now include more text to accompany any media shared — a move that will ostensibly allow more room for user discussion — but why these changes don’t extend to advertisers running promotions remains unclear given the brand’s recent statements about furthering its digital marketing efforts. Twitter, like other social media platforms, faces the challenge of balancing the need to monetize its business through brand-friendly offerings with keeping users engaged and not annoying them with too many ads. 

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey recently spoke with WPP head Martin Sorrell about how Twitter has innovated marketing in the digital space, and how the platform continues to try to find new ways « to speak in a way that’s relevant to the audience. » That audience outreach may be more difficult if marketers don’t have as much room to speak as consumers. 

A number of elements still count against the 140-character limit for everyone, including links and hashtags. As such, the changes fall short of the total reinvention of the tweet that previous reports suggested was coming. However, Twitter is likely to continue experimenting with length and embedded elements as it looks to curry favor with users. 

Recommended Reading

Marketing Land:
Twitter’s relaxed character limit doesn’t apply to ads, but there’s a workaround

Marketing Dive:
Twitter will roll out expanded tweets on September 19

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