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Twitter to relax character limit for URLs and images – will this make digital campaigns easier?

Anyone who has ever had to manage a brand’s Twitter account will be breathing a sigh of relief this week, as Twitter has made an announcement that should make life a whole lot easier. According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the social media giant has said that in as little as two weeks, it will no longer be including links and images in the 140-character limit for tweets.

How much difference will this make? Well, considering that links currently use up as much as 23 characters even when shortened and images around 24 characters – each a huge 17% of the total character limit – this should make tweeting less of a battle for those with lots to say.

For brands, images and links are crucial tools in their digital marketing campaigns. Twitter’s own research has found that photos included in tweets can boost engagement by a staggering 313%, so an easier way to include them is sure to be appreciated by marketers desperately chasing down return on investment (ROI) for their social media efforts. In short, incorporating lots of different types of media in tweets, as well as integrating lots of different channels, should be a lot easier for marketers. It should also provide richer content for users, with the opportunity to add context to images and videos while also reinforcing brand messages.

Why the change?

Twitter has not officially announced the change, but it is believed to be a part of the company’s efforts to let its users post longer messages and generally play around with the format. When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said earlier this year that the platform was considering extending the character limit to 10,000, there was a public outcry from users of the site, many of whom believed it would destroy the spontaneous, quick and concise nature of Twitter’s short-form posts.

Following that, Dorsey said that his team were looking into other ways of including long-form posts, such as screenshots of longer content. Removing the character requirement for images and URLs appears to be the first step in an ongoing process to explore the different ways that Twitter can be used.

Another possible reason for the change was suggested in a recent Telegraph article, which mentioned that Twitter is making video a top priority at the moment in order to be a front-runner for live events reporting. Ensuring that videos, images and other forms of content do not take a chunk out of the character limit could help to pave the way for further content deals (Twitter recently acquired the rights to stream ten NFL games in 2016) for the platform, as well as making the site a hub for video to rival others such as YouTube.

Do you agree with others that this change was a long time coming? If you run digital marketing campaigns, do you think it will make your life easier or do you anticipate no difference? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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