Last month, Twitter rolled out a new paid subscription service on an invite-only basis. It’s a service that promotes tweets into your feed from accounts that you don’t follow– it’s not quite advertising, but it also sort of is. It’s still in beta testing, and the results aren’t in, but we’re weighing in to let it be known that mixing subscriptions and social media won’t end well. Expect it to show up in your feed soon, but don’t expect to like it.
At $99 per month, it’s expensive!
Twitter has explicitly said that this service isn’t targeting large brands and corporations. Their target users are small businesses and “power users.” But if you’re spending almost 1.2K a year on just tweets, you’re putting a lot of faith in the influence someone’s twitter feed has over their buying habits.
They’re trying to rewrite advertising, because ads don’t pay the bills
Twitter is becoming a struggling company, something that was seemingly impossible a few years ago during their heyday. But the money they make from ads keep dropping, and they haven’t had any growth in user activity. The insertion of “real” tweets, that is, not explicit ads, make selling something seem more authentic. If a tweet from the subscription service slips into your feed, it will look more like the words of a real person than a faceless brand.
You can’t customize which tweets will be promoted
This is another reason why the service will probably end up unpopular. In trying to avoid being a traditional ad service, the people buying the (very expensive) subscription can’t even control what content gets spread.
You’re buying your way into being an influencer
Since the service is targeting individual users, it’s furthering the annoying trend of turning real, normal people into brands and “influencers.” It’s for people who make money (a lot of it) from posting on social media. That’s cool, but the subscription service is going to let a lot of people fast track to influencer stardom. But we’re not surprised– you can already buy Instagram likes and followers from vending machines in Russia.