Twitter’s Increased Video Length to 140 Seconds—Is this Twitter’s Magic Number?

In a previous post, we talked about 2016’s current technological trend—watching videos. Video consumption via mobile increased by 2084% in the past 5 years and is continually on the rise. Popular apps among users often times have video integration—such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. In late June, Twitter released a new update to jump on board with this trend. The update came with increasing the video upload length from 30 seconds to 140 seconds. Why 140 seconds? Most likely to keep with Twitter’s original number of 140-character limit.

With Twitter video content now 4.67 times longer, how does that impact battery drain rates and data consumption for Android users? Moreover, how does this impact Twitter’s engagement numbers? Let’s see whether 140 is Twitter’s magic number.

Twitter’s Front Battery Usage alt Video can often times negatively impact battery consumption, caused by longer streaming times and/or the higher quality video content. Twitter’s announcement to increase the video limit from 30 to 140 seconds meant that videos were now 4.67 times longer. According to data anonymously contributed to the AppQuest community, Twitter users were experiencing lower battery rate drainage after the 140-second video limit was introduced. Prior to this, Android users were seeing 177.44 mW of battery drain, 4% more than the current rate of 169.52 mW. Twitter users can be rest assured that the social media app won’t drain their battery at an alarming rate.

Twitter’s Front Data Usage (Mobile & Wi-Fi)

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With longer video length limit, Twitter users are experiencing a higher data drainage than previously before. Pre-140 second Twitter videos indicated that the app was consuming 8.80 MB of data per user per day, and post-140 second Twitter videos drained 8.82 MB per user per day. The impact of .02 MB of data per user per day is too small to be a cause of concern and is negligible.

Twitter’s User Engagement alt

Upping the uploaded video limit from 30 to 140 seconds was Twitter’s attempt to improve user engagement—unfortunately, it backfired. Instead of seeing increased usage time among Android users, Twitter saw a notable decline. Android users who were previously spending 5.14 minutes per user per day in the foreground were now spending less time on the app, clocking in at 4.84 minutes on average.

User Engagement among Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram

Although engagement among Twitter users declined after Twitter increased the video limit to 140 seconds, how does twitter’s engagement compare to other social apps that are also big on videos such as Snapchat and Instagram?

When compared to Snapchat and Instagram, Twitter is not doing so hot (or “lit” as the millennials would say). Android users are spending 1.3 times more minutes a day on Snapchat (4.84 mins vs 6.27 mins) and 1.5 times more minutes a day on Instagram (4.84 mins vs 7.40 mins) than on Twitter. When Instagram promoted their video limit last June from 15 to 60 seconds, the social media app was met with a 17% growth in user engagement.
alt With video becoming more integrated into social media platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram) as video consumption is at an all-time high, Twitter’s lack of improved engagement may be a consequence of being late on capitalizing the trend. Twitter released longer video options late June, whereas Instagram promoted increased video length in March. Although the 4-month difference may not seem like much, but in the social app arena where everything moves at lightning speed, 4 months can be the difference between positive and negative impacts. The negative impact Twitter is seeing on their engagement numbers may also point to how Twitter users engage differently than Snapchat or Instagram users. For example, Twitter users could be more interested in bite-sized insights as opposed to lengthy Instagram videos or multi-part Snapchat stories. Or it could be that Twitter still fails to engage its users.

The initial results from Twitter’s latest update did not help Twitter close the engagement gap with its top competitors. Twitter is currently an injured bird with this recent update. However, we will be on the lookout for Twitter’s next big update; maybe it will help Twitter fly again.
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