Twitter's new character limit

Optimizing Twitter’s New Character Limit

Historically, Twitter is known for its brief captions that initially attracted its massive follower base. Now, on its 11th anniversary, the social platform has decided to make a significant change–doubling its character limit!


Based on Twitter’s internal research the company found that a big barrier keeping users from tweeting more frequently was its character limit. The original character limit of 140 was intentionally created to fit the length of a text message (which used to be 160 characters). Now that the text message limit no longer exists, 140 characters started to seem outdated for the platform. At the end of September, Twitter rolled out 280 character tweets with the goal of increasing tweet frequency and attracting new users.

twitter's new character limit

This move is something that can completely change the nature of Twitter, especially for organizations that utilize the social platform. Twitter’s new character limit can change how an organization communicates their messages and brand voice. It can also impact performance metrics; such as engagement rate, reach, and traffic. Once our organization was granted access to Twitter’s new character limit, we performed some testing.

What is the best tweet length?

We performed A/B testing for our Media Cause client NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to see if we could gain any insights on the best tweet length.

In order to do so, we chose several different external and internal content pieces to A/B test. One group of tweets (group A) used 140 characters and the other set (group B) used 280 characters.

Based on our testing we discovered the following:

  • 140 character tweets drove more traffic overall. (Note: A smaller amount of characters could cause followers to want to know more, thus causing more traffic.)
  • 280 character tweets drove more engagement, impressions, and internal traffic. (Note: Twitter followers could be excited about the new character length feature causing these levels of high engagement.)

In conclusion, the best tweet length will vary based on what your goal is–driving traffic, engagements or impressions. We recommend performing your own A/B testing to find out what works best for your organization. Tweet on!

Looking for support in optimizing your nonprofit’s social media strategy? Get in touch! We’d love to help.


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