Internet marketers are all atwitter about the changes Twitter is making to links. This week Twitter announced their plans to step up their malware defense (to see what we had to say about Twitter and malware read this post) and change the way links are sent. Here are the 3 things you need to know about Twitter’s linking plan:
1. Twitter will be wrapping all links with a ‘t.co’ URL
Since tweets have a 140 character limit, tweeting a long link has long been a problem. Twitter is introducing t.co is a replacement and an upgrade to twt.tl, the URL wrap they currently offer. To make it easier for users to see where the link is coming from, how it’s relevant and if it’s safe to click on, the new t.co ‘wrapping’ (which is how Twitter shortens the link) will trim the link but display key descriptive terms.
The example the company used in their announcement is a link to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, on Amazon. Instead of a very long link including book title and a series of product or page id numbers, with the new t.co wrap the link could show up as http://amazon.com/Delivering. This way if you tweet a longer link to a new product or promotion on your site, your followers will be able to see on text message (SMS), Twitter homepage, or via web app, an abbreviated but still relevant link.
2. Links will be routed through the Promoted Tweets platform.
Twitter’s Promoted Tweets platform is part of Twitter’s advertising plan. Announced back in April (and written about in Even Twitter’s Monetizing Twitter) Promoted Tweets are tweet ads from Twitter’s advertising partners that will appear in your Twitter stream if they are relevant to your tweets.
Twitter is routing links through the Promoted Tweets service so that t.co can become a part of the Promoted Tweets algorithm. Basically, this means that Twitter is learning from the links you click as they figure out how to measure relevancy in the Twitterverse.
This increases protection for users, as routing t.co through Twitter’s system means any link will be checked for malware.
3. Links will count as fewer characters.
T.co will also change how links count against the 140 character limit. As a result of the t.co wrapping, links will be a predictable length, which has enabled Twitter to set a stock count of 20 characters per link (post t.co wrapping). This means when you tweet a link, you’ll have a bit more room for text. (For ideas about how to use that space, check out GetFreeTwitterTips.com.) The tweet displayed will cap out at 140 characters, but since you won’t have to count each digit or letter in the link, you can include more in your tweets.
Right now, only a few accounts have t.co capabilities, but over the coming summer months, Twitter will be expanding the service and wrapping each link tweeted. You can see how t.co wrapped links look by checking out these three accounts: @TwitterAPI, @raffi or @rsaver.
With shorter, clearer and safer links and more character room, Twitter’s new linking plan packs a lot of benefits into a small t.co wrapped package.