Blog : twitter

Has Twitter lost its USP? How you can utilise Twitter’s new character limit without feeling compelled to use it.

Has Twitter lost its USP? How you can utilise Twitter’s new character limit without feeling compelled to use it.

This week saw Twitter, famous for its limiting character count, expand the number of characters Tweeters can now use from 140 characters to a generous 280. The aim of this, as described by Twitter, was to allow everyone in the world to express themselves easily.

This was tested in September this year and Twitter found that only 5% of posts made in this time took full advantage of the extended character allowance, however, the posts that did exceed the traditional 140 character limit generally received higher levels of engagement (mentions, replies and retweets).

However, is this good news?

Within 24 hours of Twitter announcing they were extending the character limit for all, bar tweets in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, the #280Characters had been used over 350,000 times, receiving a very mixed response.

Many argued that Twitter has now lost its unique selling point, which made it stand out as a micro-blogging site, whereas others claimed this would fully allow them to share their thoughts online in much more depth and without abbreviations.

The past few days have not given us the clearest idea on how Tweeters and brands alike will choose to use their new found character limit freedom, with most 280 character tweets being filled with either random characters or song lyrics and numerous other ways people have chosen to fill the limit simply to experiment.

Utilising #280Characters

We’ve seen several brands toy with all 280 characters, with some using the space to write longer messages of appreciation from their customers, or grab their followers attention, such as this post by Give Blood NHS.

Others using it to drum up follower engagement with quizzes and emojis, such as this post from Spotify.

My favourite was this from Penguin Classics.

Only time will tell how the new character limit will play out in terms of brands communication with customers and vice versa, opinion sharing and online debates and news sharing, however, if longer tweets have been proven to create higher levels of engagement then why not test it out?

What are your thoughts on the 280 character limit? Will you be writing war and peace in a tweet with your additional characters or shying away from it and sticking to what you know best? Let us know in the comments and share your favourite #280Characters reactions with us!

A few of our favourite Twitter moments

A few of our favourite Twitter moments

Today our favourite microblogging platform turns 10. It’s become part of our everyday and to celebrate the milestone birthday, here are a few of Stripe’s favourite Twitter moments.

When the power went out during the Super Bowl 2013, Oreo was super quick to respond and became the out-and-out winner of the annual advertising frenzy – impressive considering the mega budgets of the TV commercials during a Super Bowl.

 

When the news broke that Jeremy Clarkson had punched a producer because he was hungry and had subsequently been suspended by the BBC, Snickers sent him this care package. Well played Snickers, well played.

 

The 2014 Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres was hosting. Selfies were on the rise. Cue the most retweeted tweet by an absolute mile: The Oscar Selfie.

 

JK Rowling has no time for internet trolls and knows how to nail the perfect shutdown. For that we salute you.

Her tweets also feature the odd rap lyric.

 

28 April this year will mark the fifth anniversary of Ed Balls tweeting his own name. He has since become an internet phenomenon. 

 

A witty exchange between Tesco and a customer portraying the British sense of humour at its best.

 

Talking of the Great British sense of humour, we had to include James Blunt. He wins at Twitter.

 

When hashtags go bad. To launch Susan Boyle’s 2012 album, the team went for this… #susanalbumparty.  How did they not notice this?! Or did they realise and just let it slide, knowing the hilarity that would unfold?

#susanalbumparty tweet

 

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the long-suffering John Lewis who regularly gets mistaken for retailer John Lewis. Easily done I know, but his witty responses never fail to raise a smile.

 

Here’s to the next 10 years – we can’t wait to see what’s next…  #LoveTwitter

Understanding data part 2: Appearance

Understanding data part 2: Appearance

Following on from the post last month on understanding data acquisition, this post is going to address the fact that there is so much data out there – how do you know what you should be looking at, what good data looks like and which bits are genuinely useful. You are probably thinking this already, and you’re are right to do so. What constitutes good data depends on your objectives. For some it will be high numbers in social sharing or comments, for others it may be traffic to a specific web page or time spent on site.

What is good data?

It’s any data that allows you to better understand and deliver quality, contextual content to users.

What could this look like?
Data sample points that help you to understand your consumers/users wants, dislikes and behaviours:

Data Points
Social sharing (top left), Newsletter A/B testing (top right), Traffic referral source (bottom left), device source bottom middle), Visitor demographics – gender (bottom right)

Additional data-points to consider:

  • Time on site
  • Un-opened newsletters
  • Platform performance
  • Unfollows/unlikes

Too many look for high numbers across the board – particularly when using these figures to address KPIs. The issue here is that to achieve success in a certain space, to hit a certain objective, may mean that you have to sacrifice increasing figures in another area – and that’s okay. It’s important to set clear objectives and KPIs to reach those. Don’t just measure for measurements sake and cause strain to increase everything at once.

When looking at how people use your platforms or channels, for example, people may engage more with a post on Twitter than Facebook, even though the content was the same/similar, it’s key to take the learnings into account to ensure that you are delivering the right content types, topics and formats that the audience want to engage with.

The article you see shares for above (top left of image) shows that 2x more people were likely to share the post on Twitter than Facebook, particularly in the first 24 hours of the post being live.

Looking at the those figures (first 24 hours live) one might claim that the article was something people would associate themselves with and share out, so they must believe in/agree with the article, however it’s not something they want to share with their closer knit circle (Facebook) and not with their pure business circle (LinkedIn) which sits at zero. At the time, that may be a logical assumption, however when the same article was looked at a couple weeks later (see the sharing figures below), you’ll notice that Facebook has increased slightly and Twitter stayed relatively the same, however LinkedIn increased significantly, suggesting that the article might actually resonate even further with the more professional side of readers interests.

The key takeaway: Don’t look at your data to pull insights until you absolutely have to. Ensure you’ve given plenty of time for consumers to behave naturally with how and when they prefer to engage with your content.

But Twitter went so high, so fast, what’s up with that?
My hypothesis with 98% of the Twitter shares happening in the first 24 hours is that many people saw the article heading and shared/tweeted/retweeted without actually reading. They may have saved it to a read it later type app, however many people don’t actually take the time to read full articles anymore, and often take the risk of sharing any content that they think sounds like them from the title (yes, this can be dangerous, but that’s another post!).

Key takeaway: make sure when reviewing if your content is successful, don’t look purely at social shares alone. Make sure you overlay this information with data such as time spent on the page and bounce rates.

There is so much more that goes into understanding what good data is for you and how to use it to ensure it’s useful for your needs. In the next piece, we’ll look at the application of data and how to make it work for your needs.