Cheat Sheet: Why Twitter Blue is tool-focused, rather than experience-focused

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Twitter’s latest foray into consumer revenue is service-focused, rather than experience-focused.

On Thursday, the platform announced Twitter Blue, a subscription service it had telegraphed for a while (and accidentally leaked last week). 

The key details

  • Twitter Blue subscribers have the ability to un-send tweets up to 30 seconds after they’ve been published; create bookmark collections to save and categorize tweets; use reader mode, which groups Twitter threads into continuous articles; and add different colors and themes to the Twitter app.
  • Twitter Blue will only be available in Canada and Australia for now. It will cost a monthly fee of $3.49 CAD or $4.49 AUD, slightly less than $3 in American dollars.
  • Twitter’s stock price fluttered slightly upward after the announcement, climbing about 3% to $58.60

Power tools for power users

In some ways, Twitter Blue is reminiscent of Reddit Premium, a long-standing premium tier relaunched in 2018, in that it offers customers the chance to use the platform in a way that is different from the typical ad-supported experience. Reddit Premium offers subscribers a number of perks, including the ability to customize their avatars and access a virtual currency which can be used to tip fellow Reddit users. 

But it also differs in a key respect: Twitter Blue users still see ads, which significantly increases the incremental revenue the subscription service will generate. Keeping ads on the service likely allowed Twitter to keep the subscription price down, as Twitter Blue is designed to serve power users, who generate more ad revenue than the more typical users. One independent analyst pegged Twitter’s global average revenue per (monetizable) daily active user at about $17; an American Twitter addict is likely worth quite a bit more than that.

More on the assembly line

Twitter has been on a product development tear lately, thanks to some significant additions made on the hiring front as well as a significant investment in its technical infrastructure that began to affect things last summer.

Twitter Blue is one of several products it’s launched to incorporate consumer revenue more into its platform, including the recent launches of Tip Jar and the ability to sell tickets to Spaces, its live audio feature. Its acquisitions of Scroll and Revue, two services that relied on subscriber revenue, hint at more to come, as neither seems to be part of Twitter Blue at the moment.

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