Legacy Twitter checkmarks are disappearing on April 1st, and in the future, the only way users will be able to get the coveted blue badge is by paying for a Twitter Blue subscription. With advertising in rapid decline, Twitter is banking on Twitter Blue as a source of non-advertising-based revenue. But so far, take-up has been fairly underwhelming.
According to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Twitter Blue has only picked up $11 million in mobile subscriptions since it was relaunched three months ago.
Advertising Revenue in Rapid Decline
The decline in advertising revenue is due to the overall economy, which has pushed marketing spend down, as well as advertisers being hesitant to recommit to Twitter amid its rapid-fire changes, chaotic missteps and threats to general brand safety as Elon Musk rolled back earlier protections. Twitter has since tried to repair some of those relationships, including by way of partnerships with adtech companies DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS), but it’s not yet clear to what extent revenue has improved as a result.
Twitter Blue Subscriptions: A Small Figure
The $11 million figure from Sensor Tower does not cover web-based subscriptions, and the firm can’t break out who is paying for annual or monthly Blue subscriptions. The figures cover the 20 markets where Blue has been launched prior to this week. It wasn’t until yesterday that Twitter made the service available globally. According to Sensor Tower, Blue has more than 385,000 mobile subscribers worldwide on both iOS and Android, with the U.S. being its largest market, with 246,000 subscribers spending around $8 million through their mobile devices.
Awaiting a Turnaround
It’s not clear how many users overall Twitter has currently, but as of Q2 last year, it said it had nearly 238 million monetizable daily active users. Twitter has been bleeding advertisers since Elon Musk acquired Twitter and took over as CEO, and according to The Wall Street Journal, earnings, dated December 2022, had noted a 40% decline in revenue. To put the $11 million in Twitter Blue mobile subs into a revenue context, as a point of comparison, in Q2 2022, the last quarterly earnings statement Twitter released (when it was still a publicly traded company), advertising 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 over the coming months. Subscriptions are being sold for $11 per month (or the local equivalent) on iOS and Android, and $8 on the web.
Twitter Blue originally launched in limited markets in 2021 as a service aimed at power users, with perks that might have only felt momentous to that group. Under Musk, Blue’s taken on 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 plus 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) fewer ads and more visibility for Blue users in replies.
We have reached out to Twitter for a response to these numbers. We didn’t get a reply.