Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin – the end of the 140-character tweet limit has come.

So wrote the great English poet W.H. Auden, at last finalising this definitive version of his most famous poem ‘Funeral Blues’ in 1938. Like all great minds, he truly was ahead of his time, penning this prediction that Twitter would eventually be forced to relax its 140-character limit rule some 68 years before the network was even invented. A truly remarkable man indeed.

MA_Route_140.svg_ End of the 140-character Era (Sort of): Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

What’s so striking about Auden’s poem is the fact that it captures just how desperately desolate the world will now become without Twitter’s most famous feature.
Just imagine it – the waffle, the verbosity, the endless reams of words that will fill up the micro-blogging network!

If there was one place where we could go without having to listen to the likes of me prattling on for a thousand-odd words, it was Twitter. But now, any photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets will not eat into the 140-character limit, leaving a little more room for perhaps an extra three words and maybe a hashtag.

The humanity!

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For the Twitterverse can now never come to any good.

140-end End of the 140-character Era (Sort of): Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

To be fair, Twitter actually seems quite buoyant about the whole thing – and it has to be said that from a marketing perspective, a little extra room for our messages and hashtags is only a pleasure.

In fact, when we think about it, Auden completely missed the mark about the consequences of this update.

Indeed, hasn’t it always been the absolute peak of inconvenience that attaching media to tweets meant that we had to sacrifice the very few characters we were allocated in the first place to express ourselves?

I mean, sheesh – I’d have liked to have seen Auden try to cram in the whole sentiment of ‘The Shield of Achilles’ into just 99 characters when he had a super-cool GIF he needed to use for promotional purposes.

Anyhow – that’s by the by. It should be noted that Promoted Tweets are still restricted by the old rules. However – Marketing Land suggests a rather cunning loophole:

“Any photos, videos, polls and quoted tweets including Promoted Tweets created using Twitter’s ad dashboard will still count against the 140-character limit, but there is a loophole: if a brand posts a tweet organically first and then runs it as a Promoted Tweet, those media attachments won’t count, giving the brand more room for text in its ad.”

That’s good to know, and big kudos goes to the person that sussed that one out.

There are still some limitations, however. One tweet can contain only four photos, one GIF or one video, and links are still counted in the 140-character limit, which is a bit of bummer for us bloggers but there you go – the wise old can’t go home to roost yet.

Even so, apart from Auden, who would have thought that the day would actually (sort of) come when Twitter would give us more than 140 characters to play with? How will you use yours?

In Other News – Facebook Rolls Out Dynamic Mobile Ads to Drive In-store Sales

Let’s not be overwhelmed with emotion, for there are other stories of note.

Facebook has launched an enhanced mobile ads feature to help retailers with their omnichannel sales and marketing efforts – and this is pretty big deal.

Here’s the word from the Facebook for Business page:

14365958_281271375599323_6972679242400137216_n End of the 140-character Era (Sort of): Your Digital Marketing Weekly Roundup

“Many retailers already use Facebook ads to promote their in-store products, but until now it hasn’t been feasible to customise creative for every shop location based on local product availability, pricing or promotions. Marketing out-of-stock products or inaccurate local prices can lead to a bad customer experience and wasted impressions. Now, with dynamic ads for retail, campaigns can dynamically showcase products available in the shop that’s closest to the person seeing the ad.

“For example, if a fashion retailer wishes to advertise a nationwide sales event happening at every shop, dynamic ads for retail will only showcase products that are in-stock at a nearby shop and display the price found at that location. As the ads are linked to the local product catalogue, if a product sells out in one shop the campaign automatically adjusts so that people in that region will no longer see it advertised. Product selection for each ad can be optimised based on people’s online and mobile shopping behaviour.”

Perhaps I’m a bit of sad case, but I find this sort of omnichannel innovation truly exciting – and for marketers with physical stores, this type of technology is transformative. For the high street will never truly die – no matter how far technology progresses, people will always be people, and when we shop, we will always want to see, touch and try out goods for ourselves before making a purchase. It’s our deep-rooted foraging instincts at play.

The difficulty, however, for high street retailers is in keeping up with the digitally evolving expectations of the consumer. These days, customers like to research products online, read reviews, and get all the information they can before walking into a store to see the physical goods for themselves. This doesn’t mean that digital commerce has or is ever going to completely usurp traditional commerce, rather that digital is simply playing a greater role in influencing in-store purchase decisions. Retailers and marketers just need to marry the two – and this latest update from Facebook is in fact another giant leap towards that union.

If you’re a bricks-and-mortar retailer, this is probably the most valuable new tool for you to come out this year.

Facebook Expands Measurement Tools for Marketers

But here’s another update that will be good news for retailers – an expansion of measurement tools that will help us all understand better which of our ads are delivering the most valuable ROI.

Here’s Facebook talking:

“Measurement allows marketers to understand the effectiveness of their advertising. But measurement across different devices, channels and platforms is difficult without a consistent denominator. That denominator should be real people. When real people aren’t at the centre of your digital measurement campaigns, up to 66% of digital conversion events can go unrecognised. People-based measurement tells a better story about how your adverts are really performing.

“One of the best ways to bring our people-based approach to more marketers is with trusted partners. This enables you to work with the independent and verified third-party measurement partners that you’re comfortable with.

“Today we’re announcing several new products and integrations with our measurement partners that will help you understand which campaigns are performing best, which are selling the most products both in-store and online, and ultimately, how advertising is helping to grow your brand.”

This new expansion program – which includes partnerships with Nielsen Catalina Solutions and Oracle Data Cloud – will help deliver insights to marketers who want to better connect their digital ads to in-store sales.

The technology and the measurements are really rather sophisticated – but we don’t really need to know how it works, just that the data delivered is reliable, which it is.

As for the action that you as a marketer need to take – there isn’t really any. These partnerships are simply a way of delivering better analytics to your Facebook Ads Manager – all you need to do is act upon the greater insights that you are presented with.

So do it!

That’s all, folks. I’d love to be your noon, your midnight, your talk, your song – but if you think one Digital Marketing Roundup can last forever, much like Twitter’s 140-character limit, sadly, my friends, you are wrong.
Catch you next time.