Are longer tweets better tweets? We analyzed 4,700 tweets to find out

Twitter has decided not to extend tweet lengths beyond the current 140-character limit. But would it matter if it did? 

To peek at how long tweets typically are, Marketing Land looked at 300 of the most popular brand, celebrity and media Twitter accounts, as listed by social analytics firm Socialbakers. Those accounts are already running up against Twitter’s 140-character limit, most commonly sending tweets with between 130 and 140 characters. Conceivably, they’d fill up any extra character space Twitter would have given them.

But even though longer tweets are more popular among these accounts, they don’t appear to be any more popular among their audiences than shorter tweets. The data show that shorter tweets often average just as many retweets as longer ones, and they sometimes average more, especially celebrities’ tweets. In the chart below, you can check out the data for yourself, including what share of the tweets contained links, hashtags and photos or videos (spoiler: so many).

To see how long the most popular Twitter accounts’ tweets typically are — and how those tweets’ lengths correlate with retweet rates — Marketing Land collected the most recent 200 tweets sent by Socialbakers’ lists of the 100 most-followed brands, celebrities and media companies. After excluding retweets and replies, the set contained 4,751 tweets: 301 from brands, 1,742 from celebrities and 2,407 from media companies. We then grouped those tweets into segments by increments of 10 characters. Then we calculated the average number of retweets that the tweets in those character groups received.


About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.