Twitter Mulls Paid Subscriptions for Power TweetDeck Users
While Twitter's user base hasn't grown as rapidly as those of competing social media sites like Facebook, growing revenue has been an even bigger challenge. That appears to be why it's considering a new way to bring in money: charging "power users" for a premium service with more advanced analytics and other tools.
Some users of Twitter's TweetDeck dashboard have received a survey looking to "assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version" of the tool, which enables searches, filtering and other customized insights into tweets, messages, mentions, and lists. TweetDeck was a standalone app that was acquired by Twitter in 2011 for around $40 million.
Different users reported receiving surveys with various proposed prices for a premium TweetDeck service, with options ranging from $4.99 to $19.99 per month. For now, it doesn't appear a paid option would apply to the more widely used general Twitter service.
'More Powerful Tools' for Professionals
Twitter user Andrew Tavani claimed a "scoop" in a tweet yesterday about the survey. He included screenshots of the survey text and a proposed TweetDeck dashboard.
"Twitter is considering offering a more advanced TweetDeck experience, with more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker, to gain more insights, and see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter," according to the screenshot of the survey screenshot.
In addition to tools for alerts, trends and activity analysis, the proposed premium TweetDeck service would also offer "extra features such as advanced audience insights & analytics, tools to monitor multiple timelines from multiple accounts and from multiple devices, including mobile, all in an ad-free experience," the survey noted.
More Product Tweaks Likely
Twitter, which reported 319 million monthly active users as of February and marked its 11th birthday earlier this week, has struggled to achieve the user scale and revenue enjoyed by competitors such as social media behemoth Facebook.
The company has been exploring various ways to boost both account and earning numbers for some time. And in December, Twitter finally brought on a new vice president of product, Yes founder Keith Coleman, to fill a position that had been vacant for nearly a year.
"Our team has built deep relationships with our advertisers and they are encouraged by Twitter's continued accelerated growth in daily active usage and strong engagement metrics for the third consecutive quarter," Twitter said in its most recent letter to shareholders. "However, and as we've previously stated, revenue growth will continue to lag audience growth in 2017 and could now be further impacted by escalating competition for digital ad spending and the re-evaluation of our revenue product feature portfolio, which could result in the de-emphasis of certain product features."
Judging by some of the responses on Twitter to the TweetDeck survey news, some users would welcome a paid premium option on top of the regular service. Comments on Tavani's tweet showed support for a $5-per-month service that would let users edit tweets, view tweets by timeframe and receive more support services.
Twitter noted in its February shareholder letter that it planned to continue working to create "a single destination for people to discover what's happening on Twitter." Earlier this year, for example, the company launched a new feature called Explore that expands upon the features introduced with its Moments offering.