(San Francisco) Twitter plans to offer subscriptions and paid services to its users as a means of diversifying its revenues at a time when the economic model of internet platforms, based on advertising, seems to be increasingly challenged.
Posted on February 25, 2021 at 6:58 p.m.
“We are exploring public funding opportunities such as ‘Super Follows’ which will allow creators and publications to be supported directly by their audiences and encourage them to continue creating content that their audience love it, ”a spokesperson for the Californian group told AFP on Thursday.
Twitter presented the “Super Follows” at its annual meeting for investors and should say more in the coming months about this new product.
It could give the fans of a personality the possibility of subscribing to their account, for a few dollars a month, in exchange for exclusive content, discounts on derivative products, newsletters or even access to a private group. .
The network of tweets, frequented on average on a daily basis by some 192 million so-called “monetizable” users, seeks to convince the market of its capacity to attract more users and to diversify its revenues.
“We are criticized for three reasons: we are slow, we are not innovative and we are not trusted,” said Jack Dorsey, the founder of the group, in opening speech Thursday.
In response, he detailed the efforts of his teams in recent years, and set himself the goal of reaching 315 million “monetizable” users by 2023.
It also intends to achieve, by the same deadline, at least 7.5 billion dollars in annual turnover, more than double the 3.7 billion garnered last year.
This is the first time Twitter has shared long-term financial goals, and that optimism has caused the stock to jump on Wall Street.
These ambitions require major investments, however, as regulators, advertisers and civil society attack the model of large internet platforms that provide free services in exchange for “monetizable” user data – brands pay to target the right profiles, on a large scale and in a personalized way.
But the authorities have undertaken to regulate the confidentiality of personal information and the tracking of Internet users in their browsing.
Apple, which controls one of the two dominant mobile platforms (iOS, on iPhones and iPads, in particular), has also planned to impose this year on application publishers to ask their users for permission to collect their data.
This paradigm shift, “the whole industry is going to feel it pass,” admitted Bruce Falck, director of revenue at Twitter, while assuring that his company was well prepared for the update that angered many neighbors in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, starting with Facebook.
The blue bird company only holds 0.9% of the global digital advertising market, according to eMarketer, far behind Google and Facebook (30% and 24% respectively).
Hence the interest for the social network to turn to the model of small sponsorship, widely popularized by platforms such as Patreon, Twitch or YouTube (Google), where the various systems of subscriptions and tips, sometimes combined with the advertising, allowed the creation of the influencer industry.
“But a tweet does not require the production costs of a YouTube channel,” said the analyst.
According to her, Twitter’s added value comes more from the exchanges of interesting people with other users, than just from the people themselves, such as content creators or video game professionals who broadcast their games live.
The idea of newsletters, on the other hand, caught his attention. At the end of January, the company bought out a start-up, Revue, specializing in the production of these documents which summarize information and are sent to lists of subscribers.
Users could thus generate newsletters, more or less automatically from their tweets, against payment.
Twitter is also counting on its slew of new products to monetize new spaces, from “fleets” (ephemeral tweets, copied from the “stories” of Snap and Instagram) to audio lounges (undoubtedly inspired by the rising star of social networks , Clubhouse).
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