Up until a year or so ago, Twitter was the undisputed 'number 2' social network after Facebook.
However, user growth has significantly slowed and it's been steadily losing younger users to Instagram and Snapchat - both of which are heavily image-based networks. Many of our clients now perceive Twitter as being outdated for this reason.
The most recent Twitter updates have placed huge emphasis on images and video, making the platform's appearance more visual. By abolishing the character limit, Twitter would move one step closer to resembling Instagram.
From a revenue generation point of view, the introduction of Instagram Ads has likely impacted Twitter's income revenue - as an agency, we've seen much higher engagement from Instagram Ads vs. Twitter Ads. By providing more text in updates that Twitter can analyse and index, Twitter can gather extra data, allowing its advertising offering to be more targeted (and therefore successful) while also providing the opportunity for brands to convey their messaging more effectively.
Here are my thoughts on the pros and cons to this suggested update:
- Twitter is now the only network to restrict character length of updates - getting rid of this would give users more freedom.
- The possible change would give Twitter more data to analyse, making its advertising proposition stronger.
- Twitter recognises the need for change in order to keep up with the changing demands and preferences of those who are most active on social networks - it needs to innovate in order to combat the perception that it's outdated.
- If it's essentially becoming Instagram (which is what this change suggests when combined with the renewed emphasis on visual and new heart-shaped 'like' button) then what's its USP?
- Hardcore users really won't be happy - they value the brevity and speed of content consumption that the character limit imposes.
- It's a big change as it changes the entire principle upon which Twitter was founded. It could lose some of its most active and dedicated users - is this really worth the risk in order to attempt to attract a new audience or entice back users who have abandoned it?