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Twitter’s risky plan to save the ad business

"newspaper ad for a blue bird" / DALL-E
“Newspaper advertisement for a blue bird” / DALL-E

A month ago, when Elon Musk’s Twitter first set out to renew its Twitter Blue subscription, employees at the company stayed identified a problem. Musk had promised that subscribers to the $8-a-month service would see half as many ads as free users. But it will cost the company about $6 in ad revenue per user per month, according to internal estimates. Factor in Apple’s App Store fees – something Musk would later briefly go to war with the company over — and the new Blue promised to lose the company’s money.

The launch of Blue was quickly derailed by abuse of the new verification system and mass imitation of brands, just as staff had predicted, and Twitter went back to the drawing board. After a series of delays, on Monday the company relaunched Blue for the second time. Once again, it promised subscribers that benefits will soon include seeing 50 percent fewer ads than regular users.

It’s a bold move for a company which has already been forced to offer large concessions to advertisers to prevent them from fleeing. But behind the scenes, Twitter has been working on a plan that executives hope will make Blue profitable — forcing all Twitter users to opt-in to personalized ads to continue using the app, Platformer have learned.

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