A pair of social-media darlings has decided they need to take on new looks if they want to prosper.
Twitter is rolling out a 280-character limit for nearly all its users, abandoning its iconic 140-character limit for tweets. And Snapchat, long an app popular with young people, will undergo a revamp to make itself easier to use, in the hopes it can attract a wider audience.
Both companies announced the moves on Tuesday as they look for ways to expand beyond their passionate but slow-growing fan bases.
At the end of the third quarter, Twitter had 330 million monthly users, up just 1 percent from the second quarter. Snapchat added 4.5 million daily users in the quarter to 178 million, which amounts to a 3 percent growth.
"The one thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback," Snap Inc.
CEO Evan Spiegel said. "As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use."
Snapchat needs to grow its user base beyond 13 to 34-year-olds in the U.S., France the U.K. and Australia, Spiegel said.
Twitter, meanwhile, appears also to be banking that by freeing users from the 140-character straitjacket, its platform will gain in popularity. The move to 280 characters was first started as a test in September.
"People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall," said project manager Aliza Rosen in a blog post .
The expansion to 280-character tweets will be extended to all users except those tweeting in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, who will still have the original limit.