Twitter has begun surveying members on a paid subscription service that would give frequent users more tools for using the social network for marketing, journalism and other fields. The survey this week showed Twitter is looking at building a more powerful version of TweetDeck, the dashboard that many use to manage their accounts. An upgraded TweetDeck would put Twitter in competition with third-party services for social media accounts such as Hootsuite and Social Flow, which allow users to manage multiple accounts and measure the impact of their messages.
This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting, and signaling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard.
Like most other social media companies, Twitter since its founding 11 years ago has focused on building a huge user base for a free service supported by advertising. Last month it reported it had 319 million users worldwide.
But unlike the much larger Facebook, Twitter has failed to attract enough in advertising revenue to turn a profit even as its popularity with President Trump and other celebrities makes the network a constant center of attention. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Twitter posted the slowest revenue growth since it went public four years earlier, and revenue from advertising fell year over year. The company also said that advertising revenue growth would continue to lag user growth during 2017. Financial markets speculated about a sale of Twitter last year, but no concrete bids were forthcoming.
I’ve thought for a while that some kind of premium subscription service would be a great way to allow the heaviest users of Twitter to pay for the value they get out of it (while potentially avoiding ads) [and] serve as a useful additional revenue stream at a time when Twitter’s ad revenue has been stagnating.