How will proposed ‘supertweets’ affect digital marketing campaigns?
According to numerous reports, including this BBC Newsbeat article, Twitter is currently exploring ways to incorporate longer ‘supertweets’ of up to 10,000 characters (equivalent to around 1,700-words).
While Twitter has not officially commented on the speculation, founder Jack Dorsey has demonstrated that there is a demand for longer form posts on the platform by posting a screenshot of text – something that many users currently do. In the text, he also explained the thinking behind the potential change, saying:
“We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it.
“Instead, what if that text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power.”
Dorsey also reassured users that the fast, live, conversational nature of Twitter would not change, but that if longer tweets are what people want to do, the platform would explore options for giving them that facility.
The rumours that this would happen have been causing much controversy and discussion on Twitter in the days before Dorsey’s tweet. Many Twitter users feel that changing the format of the site to incorporate long messages will destroy what makes the platform unique, to damage what Dorsey himself calls the “beautiful constraint” of its 140 character restriction and the witty, creative and spontaneous nature of the content posted.
What could the change mean for your brand?
If Twitter does go ahead and introduce this new ‘supertweet’ feature, in whatever form it may take, it is likely to affect the way brands connect with their customers on the platform.
In fact, many have speculated that increasing the potential to monetise the site by encouraging advertising is one of the main drivers for the proposed increase to 10,000 characters. In what may be surprising to some considering the popularity of the site, Twitter already lags far behind other social media platforms in terms of value. The Financial Times revealed that it is currently worth $15 billion (apparently less than half of its worth 12 months ago), while rival Facebook is worth an estimated $290 billion.
If your brand currently uses Twitter to interact with customers, market new products and generally improve brand awareness, you may well have been frustrated with the platforms restrictive character limit. What would 10,000 characters mean for you? Firstly, as Dorsey mentions, your text could be highlighted, searched and quoted. Your brand could also post more detailed product information, press releases and more insightful (and some would say more valuable) content.
Longer content posted on Twitter, rather than being accessible via an external link, will encourage more users to stay on the platform for longer rather than heading elsewhere. While this may be good for Twitter, and perhaps for its future advertisers, it may not be as good for brands who actually want to point users at their websites and other platforms. How such a function will be implemented on the platform, if at all, remains to be seen.
What do you think about the proposed 10,000 characters? Do you think it will ruin Twitter or instead, provide exciting new opportunities for brands and advertisers? Please feel free to share your thoughts.