If you are a marketing professional who likes to be up-to-date on the latest trends, you must have seen the growing paid verification on social media – this trend is definitely here to stay.
Meta is taking small steps through this trend, rolling out the paid blue mark softly and in waves. But for Twitter, it came in like a wrecking ball: since the first announcement in November 2022, Twitter Blue, its premium subscription service that allows any user to purchase the blue stamp for only $8 per month, has become one of the biggest (and controversial) themes around the bluebird social network.
Now if you want to run ads on Twitter you’ll have to sign up to either Twitter Blue or Verification for Organizations. This means that brands will have to pay Twitter $8 per month for a blue tick, or $1,000 per month for its Verification for Organizations offering.
But, what is going on with Twitter lately?
To better understand why Twitter Blue is so controversial, it is important to take a step back and understand the path Twitter took to get us here.
The first buzz around Twitter Blue was how chaotic the rollout went – a lot of fake accounts start impersonating brands and relevant identities on the platform. And this is a little funny since the whole blue mark thing was created to prevent this kind of situation. As you can imagine, this discredited Twitter Blue – and Elon Musk’s decisions as the CEO as well.
At the time, Twitter took a step back and “killed” Twitter Blue just a few hours after launching it, but just enough time to recalculate the route and relaunch it a month later with better eligibility criteria.
Despite having better organized the launch this time, Twitter Blue is still struggling to gain credibility among the platform users and overcome the first impressions – which were very bad, as you could see. And the main reason for such disbelief is that anyone can buy it moving forward – the stamp is no longer something “prestigious”, that people aim to conquer.
In addition to that, the “legacy” blue checkmark (the previous one based only on authenticity criteria and provided free of charge for users) has been officially discontinued. This means all users that previously had the blue stamp will lose it, and Twitter Blue is officially the only option available for those who want to have the stamp alongside their username.
But, well, having the verification accessible to everyone doesn’t seem to be going very well. A growing number of users are creating memes and mocking the paid checkmark, making life difficult for Twitter CEO, and engagement with Twitter Blue is pretty low.
According to a new report from The Information, which had access to Twitter’s internal information, less than 300K users have subscribed to Twitter Blue – this represents less than 0.2% of Twitter’s monthly users.
And what will happen moving forward?
This low adoption rate of Twitter Blue leads us to the second buzz around this topic – a new chapter in this story that appeared this month, more specifically on April 21st. On this date, all Twitter advertisers received an email notification from Twitter, informing them that their “account must have a verified checkmark to continue running ads on Twitter”.
The checkmark options are having the Twitter Blue subscription or the Verified Organizations stamp, less popular (and much more expensive) than the first one. For brands, this means paying Twitter $8 per month to have Twitter Blue, increasing the expenses with the platform by $96 per year, or paying $1.000 per month to have the Verified Organizations, adding a cost of $12.000 per year.
It’s not a secret that since day one as Twitter CEO, Elon Musk’s main goal is to make Twitter profitable again by trying different approaches and also scaling Twitter Blue. But, has he gone too far now? And, more importantly: is forcing brands to invest even more in the platform really the right way to go? Considering the sensitive and turbulent scenario going on in bluebird land, I don’t think so.
Twitter has already lost half of its top advertisers last year, and there’s been much discussion lately about the amount of hate speech on Twitter, making the environment there even more unstable than ever. This should be a moment for Twitter to strengthen alliances with brands, but Elon Musk is pretty convinced to go the other way around.
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