Twitter stretches its 140-character limit

Twitter stretches its 140-character limit

Twitter has finally confirmed the death of the 140-character limit, saying in the next few months usernames, photos, quoted tweets or video will no longer be counted.

This is exciting for advertisers as it allows more space for strategic messaging, while personal users will be glad to know you can now start a tweet containing a username without using a full stop first. The feeling is these changes will make Twitter a less intimidating prospect for new users as the company sees fresh sign-ups dwindling.

According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, this round of development should help to open up conversations on the platform. In particular, he noted that the current format means adding people to a tweet dramatically reduces the characters left to share comments or ideas.

He added that these updates may look simple but there was a lot of infrastructure on the back end to work out. However, there was progress towards the eventual goal of making Twitter the easiest place to see what’s happening in the world and talk about it. These changes will arrive one at a time, says the social network, once developers using the Twitter API have had the chance to update their apps.

In the bigger picture, these announcements are thought to be part of efforts by Dorsey and his team to revive the platform’s flagging fortunes. A recent company statement admitted that ad revenue was, “softer than expected.” Last year saw $2.2 billion of sales revenue but it seems that growth has been falling in line with the number of new sign-ups.

The problem Twitter now faces is advertiser fatigue and a crowded market. In the face of stiff competition from innovative platforms like Snapchat, it is struggling to retain revenue growth and keep advertisers on board. The money brought in by selling adverts, on and off the network, was up 37% in this year’s first quarter on a year on year basis, down from the heady heights of 68% it once consistently reached.

Alongside the removal of the character limit, Twitter is also improving its video ad offering with advanced targeting tools. These will let ad purchasers zero in on the specific demographic groups that sponsored content will be shared with.