Twitter has been gearing up to launch its own subscription service all year, which the company initially announced in 2020. Although a launch date is still unknown, the social media platform’s subscription service finally has a name: “Twitter Blue.”
Priced at $2.99/month, the most recent feature announced is an “undo tweet” button, which offers a short grace period after sending a tweet to “undo” it and never let it hit the public feed. Additionally, Twitter users will have the ability to “collect” and organize favorite tweets into categories.
Normally, social media platforms have remained free to encourage user engagement and retention. However, the adoption of subscriptions has become increasingly popular over the years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the stability it brings to a business.
Twitter’s innovative approach shouldn’t come as a surprise. The company has carefully been taking the right steps in the subscription direction, slowly adding features here and there.
Twitter’s Subscription Journey
The majority of a social network’s revenue comes from advertising. Twitter’s Q1 2021 report shows a 32% increase year over year in ad revenue. Despite the impressive growth over the years, Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer told investors in 2019 that launching a subscription model would offer the company’s sales “durability” and better consistency than advertising costs.
Earlier this month, Twitter acquired Scroll, a subscription service that removes ads, pop-ups, and clutter from online articles. The acquisition is meant to be “a meaningful addition to our subscriptions work as we build and shape a future subscription service on Twitter,” said Mike Park, the company’s Vice President of Products, in a blog post.
Twitter will include Scroll in the subscription with the goal of cleaning up the reading experience, offering customers one that is distraction-free.
“As a Twitter subscriber, picture getting access to premium features where you can easily read articles from your favorite news outlet,” said Park in the blog post.
Likewise, Twitter acquired Revue earlier this year, a service that allows anyone to publish editorial newsletters. Together with Scroll, subscribers can read these newsletters ad-free, too. Scroll will also provide publishers and writers creating content with “a portion of the subscription,” according to Park.
Additionally, Twitter has considered charging for Tweetdeck, a personal browser used to manage multiple accounts and lists, as part of its subscription service. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, praised Tweetdeck, saying that “people really, really enjoy” the “multicolumn, massive amounts of information in one pane,” which also gives Twitter the opportunity to make more revenue than they would from traditional ads.
The social media platform also announced a “Super Follows” feature, where influencers and artists can monetize their content on the platform. Regular Twitter users would have to pay $4.99/month for this feature — which leads one to assume that Twitter will have a tiered subscription service.
While Twitter received some backlash with an unfortunate trending hashtag, “RIPTwitter,” this concept of creators charging fans via social media is a new method that is being widely adopted.
The Digital Subscription Age
Facebook launched “Fan Subscriptions” in 2018, giving creators overseas and in the United States the opportunity to charge $4.99/month for their content. Anyone who has “10,000 followers or more than 250 return viewers, and either 50,000 post engagements or 180,000 watch minutes in the last 60 days” is eligible to receive creator status.
Similarly, YouTube launched YouTube Premium in 2018. Creators on the platform make their money from advertisements that pop up during a video. One of the perks of YouTube Premium is no ads, meaning creators would get a share of the subscription’s monthly fee.
Unfortunately, most Twitter users are still not fond of the company’s plans. For one, users have been begging for an “edit” option. One user tweeted, “And yet, still no edit button. I’d pay a subscription price for an edit button.”
A fellow user also tweeted, “I’ll be excited if #TwitterBlue offers an #EditButton. Charging to delay live posting seems a bit….🤔 doesn’t that defeat the point of @Twitter’s initial purpose? Give me 30 secs to opt for #edit.”
When Twitter’s subscription officially launches, it will be a pivotal moment for the subscription industry as yet another social media giant is entering the subscription space. The subscription industry has allowed many businesses to find new revenue sources and success. Twitter continues to evolve its own subscription strategy on how to leverage its existing resources and community, and its own success with the model is yet to be known.
- Twitter’s subscription service will be called Twitter Blue and is priced at $2.99/month.
- The service will include an “undo tweet” button and allow users to “collect” tweets.
- Twitter’s Q1 2021 report shows a 32% increase year over year in ad revenue, despite the dive into subscription.
- Twitter received backlash for charging users what should have been free.