Old Twitter ticks will disappear on April 1, Twitter says, and going forward, users will only be able to get the coveted blue badge by paying for a Twitter Blue subscription. That points to a big question for Twitter and owner Elon Musk: Will that nail finally drive more adoption from the social network’s premium tier?
So far the recording has been rather disappointing. Since its relaunch three months ago as a big boost to non-ad revenue, Twitter Blue has raised just $11 million in mobile subscriptions, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
The $11 million figure is notable because Twitter is banking on Twitter Blue at a time when advertising — which traditionally made up the vast majority of Twitter’s revenue — is in rapid decline.
Part of that decline is due to the overall economy, which has reduced marketing spending. But advertisers were also hesitant to re-engage with Twitter because of the rapid changes, chaotic missteps, and threats to overall brand safety as Elon Musk rolled back previous protections. Twitter has since tried to repair some of those relationships, for example through partnerships with adtech companies DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS), but it’s not yet clear how much revenue has improved as a result.
While $11 million is a small amount, we should point out that this estimate does not include web-based subscriptions. The company also can’t find out who pays for annual or monthly Blue subscriptions. The figures refer to the 20 markets where Blue launched prior to this week. Twitter only made the service available yesterday worldwide.
In insights shared with AapkaDost, Sensor Tower estimates that Blue has more than 385,000 mobile subscribers worldwide on both iOS and Android. The US is the largest market, with 246,000 subscribers spending approximately $8 million through their mobile devices.
“The fall in demand for advertising, fueled by both broader macro uncertainty and Twitter-specific platform issues, has made alternative revenue streams quite attractive to the social media network,” said Abe Yousef, senior analyst insights at Sensor Tower.
It’s not clear how many total users Twitter currently has, but as of the second quarter of last year, it said it had nearly 238 million daily active monetized users (its own stat).
According to multiple reports, the company has been bleeding advertisers since Musk took over Twitter and took over as CEO. A report earlier this month from The Wall Street Journal said earnings, dated December 2022, that Twitter shared with investors had noted a 40% drop in revenue. Twitter had therefore adjusted its income. To put Twitter Blue’s $11 million in mobile subscriptions into a revenue context, as a point of comparison, in Q2 2022, Twitter’s last quarterly earnings release (when it was still a publicly traded company), ads made up all but $100,000 of Twitter’s nearly $1.2 billion in revenue.
There are also questions about how recurring that $11 million will be in the coming months. Yousef told us that Sensor Tower believes annual subscriptions will be a “minimal” part of the $11 million.
“Social media users are typically less likely to spend $100+ at one time versus $11 for 1-2 months to try out the service and see if they enjoy using it,” he noted .
Some already are not that impressed…
Twitter Blue originally launched in 2021 in limited markets as a service aimed at power users, with benefits that might only matter to that group: bookmarks, a chance to “redo” a Tweet, read news articles without ads, and early access to experiments via Twitter Labs, among others.
But under Musk, Blue placed a different emphasis: It’s part of his strategy to rebuild the company’s revenue model. As such, the features — both those that are live and those that Twitter promises are coming — feel more central to the mainstream Twitter experience.
In addition to badges, Blue users can edit tweets, upload larger videos, have a “reader” view for longer threads, and more. It also promises (but has yet to launch) less ads and more visibility for Blue users in replies.
Subscriptions retail for $11 per month (or the local equivalent) on iOS and Android, and $8 on the web. (The higher mobile price is due to the discount from the app stores).
US Twitter users on mobile devices spent nearly $1.8 million on Twitter Blue subscriptions in the first month after its December relaunch, the new data shows. This suggests the service received more than 160,000 mobile subscribers in the country in the first month of the relaunch, Yousef said.
But the company has some work to do when it comes to boosting business in its strongest markets. In India, the company’s second largest user market after the US, Twitter launched Blue in February. Since then, Sensor Tower says only $301,000 has been spent on Blue, which equates to about 17,000 mobile subscriptions.
Yousef said India became Twitter’s sixth mobile market in terms of in-app purchases following the local launch of Twitter Blue. The country represented Twitter’s eighth largest mobile market for in-app purchases for nearly a decade before the company’s acquisition and subsequent launch and relaunch of Twitter Blue, the analyst said.
Sensor Tower data is based on in-app purchases from Twitter’s mobile apps. In addition to Twitter Blue, the company has other in-app purchases. However, Yousef said that given the substantial increases examined in in-app purchase revenue following the Twitter Blue relaunch, you can attribute most of that revenue to the subscription product, with amplified tweets and other in-app content. purchases that generate very few in-app purchases. purchase income.
We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment on these numbers. We got no answer.