Twitter Previews ‘Super Follows,’ Which Will Let Users Charge for Exclusive Content
Ahead of its analyst day presentation, Twitter outlined an ambitious plan to double annual revenue by 2023. Most of that will continue to come from advertising — but the social network also is looking to generate subscription revenue.
One of the forthcoming subscription products: “Super Follows,” a program that will let individual users and publishers earn money from followers who pay them by offering exclusive content. The company’s presentation showed an example of a Super Follow account charging $4.99 per month. It’s conceptually similar to how Patreon works, while other platforms like YouTube and Facebook have added subscription options to give perks to their paying fans.
“Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” a Twitter rep said.
Twitter didn’t say when Super Follows will launch but the rep said, “we’ll have more to share in the coming months.”
The preview of Super Follows comes on the heels of another bid by Twitter to help its power users make money with last month’s acquisition of Revue, a startup that lets writers self-publish subscription newsletters. Twitter plans to integrate Revue with the core social platform; for example, by letting people sign up for newsletters from Twitter accounts they follow or letting writers host real-time conversations with subscribers.
Also at the investor day, Twitter announced an upcoming feature called Communities, which looks similar to Facebook Groups, letting users create and join groups around specific interests. On the safety and security front, Twitter previewed a new “Safety Mode” feature that will let users automatically block or mute other accounts that violate the company’s policies.
CEO Jack Dorsey, in his introductory remarks at the Twitter analyst day, said the company has set a goal to increase “development velocity” to introduce new products more quickly. Twitter hopes to double development velocity by the end of 2023, by which it means doubling the number of features shipped per employee that “directly drive either mDAU or revenue,” according to the company.
In the past, “we believe we haven’t been innovative,” Dorsey said. A few years ago, he noted, it took Twitter 6 to 12 months to get single product or feature launched. The new goal is to get that down to a few weeks.
The biggest ad-revenue opportunity for Twitter is to grow sales of performance-based advertising, said Matt Derella, Twitter’s global VP revenue and content partnerships. Currently, about 85% of Twitter’s ad revenue is from brand advertising, and the company’s long-term goal is to boost performance ads (i.e., direct response) from 15% to 50% of ad sales.
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