Twitter will no longer include image and web links in Tweet character counts. That’s according to US media company Bloomberg, who say they got the scoop from a trusted Twitter insider.
The reported relaxation of Twitter’s policy on links in Tweets will come as good news for users who have struggled to get across their message in as few as 117 characters in constricted Tweets. Image and web links can take up as many as 23 – that’s just under a sixth – of a Tweet’s 140 characters.
Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey pledged to look into ways to allow Twitter users to write longer posts back in January this year, and it looks like he’s sticking to his word. Bloomberg are saying the rule change for links and images in Tweets could be rolled out within the next fortnight.
Bosses at URL shortener brands like Bitly, Inc. and Ow.ly via Hootsuite must be reeling from this week’s news from Twitter. The rule change would deal a heavy blow to the basic usefulness of their link shortening services – though many marketers will still use shortened links for link tracking.
For social marketers, the implications of Twitter’s reported policy change are simple and agreeable: you’ll have as many as 23 more characters to play with in your rich tweets, if you choose to use them. If you are of the opinion that 140 characters is a tight enough character limit as it is, you’ll undoubtedly be pleased at the prospect of including a link in your tweet without worrying about cutting down on your character count.
This doesn’t mean that URL shorteners are out of the picture forever – in fact, they remain just as useful as ever for ascertaining who exactly is opening your links.
When you are contacting a group of high priority contacts, you can find out which contacts have engaged with your message by sending a unique, shortened URL to each recipient of your message. If you’re using bit.ly or a similar service you will be able to track which links have been followed and which have not. This crafty technique can provide valuable insight to inform your follow-up communications with the contact.
A more relaxed Twitter will breathe new life into rich marketing tweets – and it won’t quite be the death of URL shorteners.