How many of you are on twitter?
Now, how many of you would be willing to pay for it?
Well the good news is that you won’t have to. The bad news is, you might need to.
Twitter has officially started testing a new beta subscription service that is designed to increase the reach that ‘power users’ and small businesses get from their tweets. The new service is reportedly targeting small business and indeed even everyday users as opposed to larger brands with target campaigns. For $99 a month, twitter will automatically promote (some of) your tweets to people who aren’t following you. You won’t be able to choose specific tweets to be boosted (unlike the existing twitter promotion services) but rather twitter will decide what to promote.
In the existing twitter ads construct, users (and more commonly, large business) can launch a campaign of some kind, promoting tweets and/or their profile. Under this model, accounts pay for engagement — whether that is favourites, retweets, or followers — that is obtained from the promotion alone and not organically.
This new subscription service operates under a very different model wherein the user appears to be charged regardless of engagement obtained from the general ‘boosting’ that twitter will do for your profile.
Does Promotion Even Work?
Actually — yes. According to analytics obtained by social code, promoted tweets by fortune 500 companies gained 670% more retweets and favourites than non-promoted tweets. Assuming that a similar boost can be expected for individuals, this promotion service through subscription can be particularly effective for individuals who are ‘influencers’ or are just generally trying to gain a following to fuel a freelance career. Of course there will be variables such as relevance of content (twitter will allow subscribers to choose either location or a topic within which to promote) as well as quality.
Is This the End of Twitter?
It could be. As one Mashable article pointed out, this new service could leave our twitter feeds flooded with meaningless content from twitter influencers trying to promote essentially nothing. But this really depends not only on who actually chooses to pay for this service but also how twitter implements it.
So Should You Do it?
While I’m personally leaning towards no — it would be nice to maintain the (relatively) organic twitter feeds without having to be bombarded with the mundane thoughts of people I’m not even choosing to follow — it is obvious that twitter is struggling. As I’m not sure turning it into a full subscription service would really work, this might be the best we’ve got for now.
Would this type of service interest you? Are you worried that this could be the nail in the coffin for twitter?