As User Growth Flattens and Advertising Wanes, Twitter Considers Paid Subscriptions

Twitter subscription
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Twitter subscription
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Photo Credit: Claudio Schwarz

Twitter may be working on a subscription fee product with advanced features for those who want them.

A Bloomberg report suggests Twitter is hoping to move away from its advertising-supported model. The impact of that model grew to full effect during the pandemic when ad spending was virtually halted by most brands. Most of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted advertising, serving promoted posts to interested users, though flattening user growth is making that more challenging.

Twitter hasn’t quite mastered serving up those targeted ads as well as Facebook or Snapchat, though. EMarketer reports that Twitter’s share of the digital ad market sits at just 0.8%. By branching out and introducing a subscription fee, Twitter can diversify its revenue stream. The idea isn’t too far-fetched since many social media marketers already pay for third-party services to manage their feeds.

Bloomberg reports that Twitter is researching several subscription offerings under the codename “Rogue One.” One idea being considered is virtual tipping for exclusive content. It would function similarly to Twitch Bits or Patreon, where users can pay to receive exclusive content from users.

Other ways Twitter is experimenting with the subscription model include charging for Tweetdeck or advanced features, like ‘undo send.’ Profile customization options are also being considered. Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal believes the subscription option offers Twitter ‘durability’ with dependable recurring revenue.

“We have a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter,” Segal told investors last July. At the time, Twitter mentioned it was in the early days of exploring possible subscription options. Subscriptions have been a topic of conversation for its quarterly financial calls for two periods now.

“Increasing revenue durability is our top company objective,” Bruce Falck, Twitter’s Head of Revenue Products, told investors that may include introducing a subscription model. “While we’re excited about this potential, it’s important to note we are still in very early exploration, and we do not expect any meaningful revenue attributable to these opportunities in 2021.”

Twitter has also been collecting data from its users about what kids of features they’d like to pay for. A survey conducted on the social media platform last year suggested ‘tipping’ as a possible feature. It tested the model with Periscope, but that feature is being shut down soon. (Remember, Twitter shut down Vine in 2015 before TikTok took off.)

Analysts believe the subscription fee will be well-received among Twitter loyalists, but I’m not so sure. The service has been traditionally free for its over a decade in operation. People probably won’t fork out for ad-free Twitter only, but they may pay for exclusive features – similar to Twitch and Reddit.

6 Responses

  1. Roberto

    A generation who want everything for free means no support for artists, authors, journalists, photographers etc., etc. Free means nobody gets paid and everybody working for nada, zilch, nothing! Would all our friends at Twitter go to work then be okay with not getting paid? Oh yes, but we always have ADVERTISING REVENUES which seem to run everything today! But so many of these companies seem to be losing money and how do we get people to go back to paying for product after so many years of FREE? GOOD LUCK!!

    • Tom Hendricks

      Penny per play idea, see my comment, then join the music revolution!

  2. Run For The Hills

    Pay To Be Abused!!!

    Pay For Your Music To Be Abused!

    Your Business!

    I Think Not!
    Last Month I Took Down All Of My Social Media Gmail And YT

    Wouldn’t You Know Some Magical Thing Happened!

    My Business Started Working!!!

    Musicians As Soon As You Put #Music #Album You Are Squashed! Shadow Banned

    These Platforms Are Ment To Squash You For People Like Lil Uzi Vert And Cardi B and Lyor Coen!

    This Lockdown Has Shown Me The Truth!

    Billions At Home Bored Off Their Asses

    Where Are The New Viral Stars?

    None? No One Hit Wonder Anything?

    Indi Plants Are A Front For The Music Monopoly To Hide Fraud!

    Hide The Suppression Of Thousands Of Musicians

    This Is Why You Don’t Sell Out!

    The Ones That Did Never Do Well After They Leave Their Label


    The Ones That Stay Their Children Who Are Musically Inclined Don’t Do Well Either!

    Get Your Art Out Of The Greatest Art Theft In History!!!



    Hold Tight The Crash Is Coming!!!

    Never Sign

    • Dialogue from Bizarre Love Triangle video

      Wow, you’re a real up person.

  3. Tom Hendricks

    Penny for play, the new pay idea, will end subscription services, and allow customers to pay creative content direct anywhere online. Not just music: , art, writing, film, videos, blog, dance, news, education, etc.
    That’s part of the music revolution that we dare not mention!

  4. A. Hammagaadji

    I would pay if they gave me the power to stop people littering my mentions with those godawful red hearts.