Elon Musk has revealed plans to start paying Twitter creators a share of ad revenue with one big caveat, they need to send him some money first.
In tweets posted on Saturday morning, Musk said that “Starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators for ads that appear in their reply threads.”
However, in order to get access to the ad revenue-sharing model, creators will need to pay for Twitter Blue verification, which starts from US$8 per month on web and US$11 per month on iOS devices.
To be eligible, the account must be a subscriber to Twitter Blue Verified
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2023
However, Twitter users who were verified before Musk took over — i.e. those the social media platform thought were noteworthy and important figures — would not be available for creator pay outs. Musk said that the old system was “deeply corrupted” and would be “sunset in a few months.”
As ever with a bold announcement from Musk, there is much bluster but little substance. Currently, there is no evidence that any tweeter has been paid from the new revenue sharing model and, there has been no update on how the system will work or be accessed by users. The Twitter Creators account, which one would expect to be posting updates on the plans has not tweeted since 26 January.
“Twitter doesn’t have the same thriving creator ecosystem as the other platforms. You can definitely build a following on Twitter, but trying to retrofit an active creator community onto Twitter is going to be a hard task. No creator wakes up in the morning and says ‘I want to be big on Twitter’. They have TikTok, Instagram and YouTube that generate the lion’s share of their revenue and community. Twitter is generally ranked lower down in the pecking order,” said Tom Maynard, founder of creator agency Amplify.
A number of social media platforms are experimenting with revenue-sharing models including YouTube and TikTok. However, these companies have far more established relationships with creators and backend systems set up to support that monetisation. At present, Twitter does not.
The other problem with Twitter, at least from an advertiser’s perspective, is that the tweets that perform best often stoke the fires controversy. For prospective creators, leaning into an online war of words would pay dividends. For advertisers, however, this would be a nightmare.
“In my opinion, Twitter is great for virality but you need to have a contrarian or divisive opinion on there to get any sort of traction,” continued Maynard.
“Are advertisers really going to want to see their content published in parallel with hate speech and toxicity? I think Twitter has a huge task cut out for itself to gain any meaningful traction.
“If Twitter was a safe environment to advertise on and also able to prove its ROI for brands, then I might say it has hope. But, Twitter needs to do a significant amount of work in these areas and others to have any meaningful impact on ad spend and become a primary platform for creators.”
Twitter’s problems around brand safety do pre-date Musk’s takeover. However, they have become significantly worse since the South African father-of-eight took the reigns and sacked three quarters of the workforce.
This latest overture to creators and promises of virality for advertisers will likely do little to entice brands back to the platform.
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