Are 280 Twitter Characters Too Many?

Amidst the revolutionary #MeToo movement, fires tragically engulfing the West Coast and claims that Black Friday just isn’t what it used to be, you may have missed one of the internet’s most earth-shattering 2017 developments: the doubling of Twitter characters from 140 to — gasp — 280.

That’s right, as of November 7, 2017, everyone and their mother now has DOUBLE the characters to express their deepest darkest secrets, their takes on the newest episode of #ThisIsUs and their opinions on the political scandals that now monopolize what seems like all 24/7 of our 24/7 newscasts.

So, is this is a good thing?

When you ask Twitter, all signs point to yes. Check out this tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey after the September announcement of the character increase stirred up what could generously be called a “tweet coup ‘lite.’”

A tweet by Jack Dorsey talking about the new character limit.

My initial reaction?

Taylor's reaction to the new character limit.

Yeah, so that snark Jack was talking about…

280 Twitter Characters: Marketer Win?

But in all seriousness, what are the implications for marketers? Is this change really for the common good?

Twitter’s case for the switch holds up when considering brands. It’s now:

  • Easier to express yourself
  • Easier to tweet

And there’s:

  • Less time spent editing a tweet to fit
  • Higher engagement

There are, however, some downfalls:

No Twitter Ads Integration…Yet

For all of its excitement surrounding adjustments to character limits, Twitter is behind the eight ball when it comes to upgrading its advertising platform to keep pace. Currently, Twitter does not support ads with more than 140 characters, which is, you know, not the shiny, new 280.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Remember last year when Twitter announced that media would no longer take a cut of the coveted 140 characters? Yeah, that never made it to Twitter Ads either.

But there is hope! Our associate integrated media planner/buyer Kara Rita reached out to Twitter about this clear miss, and received this live chat in response:

We are in the process of making changes to enable advertisers to Tweet 280 characters from, which will roll out in the coming months!

For now, we have found a workaround:

If you first tweet organically, then select the tweet to promote from the Ads platform under Creatives → Tweets, you can work the system.

Twitter Ads interface for selecting creative

This adds an extra step to the execution phase for marketers, but allows you to enjoy the 280 slices of pie like everyone else.

Loss of a Brevity Exercise

There’s no doubt that today’s consumer wants information, fast. It might have something to do with their literal eight-second attention span (really). And, from our experience, they like it simple…unless they’re at the point of their customer journey where they desire and/or need more complex, technical language.

Personally, as a writer who sometimes uses too many words, Twitter was a good exercise in brevity. It forced me to trim, to self-edit. While 280 characters are objectively more conducive to accommodating natural human expression, we do lose another language of sorts. We lose the ability to communicate so succinctly that our brains adjust for the missing characters.

But did we stop “ptutnig lrettes in oderr” after this Cambridge study came out? Nope.

We may be just fine after all.

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