Twitter Turns To HTTPS: What It Means To Marketers
Twitter has quietly announced to developers that starting on October 1st, they will be moving t.co to HTTPS for new links. Switching to HTTPS will allow Twitter to securely send visitors to the destination URL, even if the webpage they’re being directed to isn’t an HTTPS link. While this change is helpful to the security of Twitter users, here’s what marketers need to know about how it may impact them.
More Secure, Less Space
The new security move means links in your tweets will change from HTTP to HTTPS. That means an extra character in your message, which then means 1 less for you to use in your tweet.
The change will mean that tweets with a link will now be limited to 115 characters and messages with a link and a picture/video will now be limited to 92 (previously 116 and 93 respectively).
The loss of a single character may not seem like much but for those familiar with creating Twitter messages as part of their marketing efforts, 1 character can be the difference between the perfect message and re-writing a message from scratch.
A Drop In Referrals
Those running non-HTTPS sites will likely notice a slight drop in referral numbers from Twitter once the change goes into affect. Twitter explains why this drop will happen:
“Web browsers drop the Referer header from a request by default when downgrading from an HTTPS t.co link to an HTTP destination in compliance with the HTTP specification for the Referer header… Based on our estimates you may see a 10% drop in traffic attribution from Twitter as a result of this security change.”
For those that have yet to move to HTTPS, this may be another good reason to do so, in addition to Google now taking HTTPS into account as a ranking signal.
Even if you choose not to upgrade, simply knowing that the Twitter change will have this impact on your analytics should prevent a scare when you see some traffic stats drop off overnight.
Keeping Up With Twitter
Often times the biggest challenge with social media change is simply being aware of them. As of right now the announcement of this change has only 2.4k views on the Twitter Developers forums. There are far more developers than that out there that should be aware of this and countless more social media marketers.
By keeping up on the latest changes and knowing how they may impact your marketing efforts, we can have the opportunity needed to update and optimize our social strategy and workflow for the best results. Stay on top of the latest changes and you’ll be able to stay on top of the social media game.