Another element of Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0 plan is coming together, with the re-launch of its creator subscription program, which will provide a means for users to monetize their tweets, and build a business in the app.
The new ‘Subscriptions’ program is a re-naming of its ‘Super Follows’ initiative, for which Twitter’s also reducing the entry requirements, which will enable more users to sign-up and begin taking in money for their content.
Like Super Follows, the program will enable Twitter users to charge subscribers for exclusive tweets, subscriber-only Spaces, special badges on their tweets to display their affiliation, and a Subscriber-only tweets tab on creator profiles:
“Navigate to the profile of the person you Subscribe to, and select their Subscription Tweets tab. This tab lets you see all of someone’s Subscription Tweets in one place, and you’ll have access to it for as long as you’re Subscribed.”
In the first iteration of Super Follows, users needed to have at least 10k followers to qualify for the program, but now, as you can see in the image above, Twitter has reduced that to 500 – though different elements of its documentation still refer to the 10k limit.
Though it does seem like many more users can now access the option, and at that much lower audience requirement, that’ll open up monetization to millions more Twitter users.
Creators also have to have tweeted 25 times in the preceding 30 days, and be over 18, with US users currently the only ones able to monetize via the program (though users around the world can sign-on to be a subscriber).
Creators will have the option to charge $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per month for access to their exclusive elements, with all of the revenue being passed on to creators for the first year.
For the next 12 months, Twitter will keep none of the money.
You will receive whatever money we receive, so that’s 70% for subscriptions on iOS & Android (they charge 30%) and ~92% on web (could be better, depending on payment processor).
After first year, iOS & Android fees…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2023
That’s not entirely correct – Google charges all subscriptions at 15% from the beginning – but basically, any revenue generated through Subscriptions will be passed onto the creator, till Twitter takes a cut in the second year.
Musk has identified creator monetization as a key element in his revamp of the platform, with the view being that by providing more ways for users to make money in the app, that will keep them more aligned to Twitter, and posting more content, more often.
Twitter’s already implemented longer video uploads for Twitter Blue subscribers, along with longer tweets, and Musk’s view is that these elements will keep users from posting their content on third-party sites, with everything to be housed within Twitter instead.
But I don’t know. It’ll take some fairly big behavioral shifts to get Twitter users more aligned with long-form content in the app. Already, people are annoyed by the longer tweets, which you have to tap through on in the feed to read the whole thing, while YouTube and Meta still offer greater monetization potential, even with Twitter passing on any profit to its users, for the first 12 months at least.
And of course, after that first year, Twitter will take an as yet undefined cut of any revenue. That’ll add another revenue stream for the company, which, combined with Twitter Blue, could, at least theoretically, reduce the platform’s reliance on ad dollars, thereby freeing it of the moderation obligations that it may have to appease ad partners.
I’m not sure that’s going to take – and it’s worth also noting that Twitter has tried subscriptions, long-form text, and other similar options in the past, to limited interest.
Maybe it’ll be different this time, and definitely, lowering the thresholds to entry will see a lot more users at least try to make money from the app. But I’m not convinced that the majority of people will ever pay for tweets or related content, or that what people tweet is worth the money, at least for 99% of users.
Which is a key challenge. You can’t just charge for your tweets and expect people to pay, you need to actually offer more value, in order to entice subscribers. That’s not easy, and as with the first iteration of Super Follows, most creators peter out pretty quick.
But maybe this will add more incentive for bigger, more established stars to build their Twitter presence, while also providing new opportunities for smaller players.
We’ll find out – Twitter’s updated subscriptions program is available to US users from today, with a global expansion reportedly coming soon.
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