Advertisers enter a new Twitter ‘Blue’ era

Advertisers must have a verified checkmark subscribing to either Twitter Blue or Verified Organisations to continue running ads on Twitter.

Athina Nikoletopoulou

Paid Social Manager

Elon Musk brings more changes to the Twitter platform, now informing all advertisers that they must sign up to either Twitter Blue or Verification for Organizations to keep running ads in the app.

Brands must pay Twitter $8 per month for a blue tick, or $1,000 per month for its Verification for Organisations offering – brands that are already spending ‘in excess of $1,000 per month’ are excluded and will be given gold checkmarks automatically.

What does this mean?

In pure cost terms, this might not be a massive burden and at first thought, getting a verified tick for your brand account could help it gain more legitimacy in the app. However, reality might differ as last week saw celebrities, for example, being concerned around the negative stigma of paying for their blue tick, as the checkmark doesn’t seem to communicate the same level of authority or trust given anyone can purchase it.

In fact, Travis Brown’s independent analysis concluded that only about 4.4% of Twitter’s legacy verified accounts agreed to subscribe to Twitter Blue since the change.

Can anyone get a blue tick?

To add to the above, the blue tick can be bought by literally anyone, since there’s no ID checking process involved in the verification process. Meaning a fake user could register with someone else’s name and get a blue tick for it. To combat this, Twitter has added an ‘impersonation defense’ element to its Verification for Organizations package, which will ensure that “accounts are monitored for changes (including display names, profile photos, and usernames) and flagged for further review if impersonation is detected.”

How does this impact brands?

Brands which spend $1,000 per month or $12,000 per year, and are thus recognised as Verified Organisations, will also get premium customer support which is not a benefit offered to the Twitter Blue accounts.

Ultimately, this means that SMBs that cannot afford to become Verified Organisations might be driven away from the platform. Because will they be willing to pay $96 per year for the blue tick if no protection against impersonation and brand safety is included? This is an interesting fact considering smaller businesses make up the majority of the platform’s ad spend, according to the recent report from Sensor Tower. Moreover, at a time when even the major advertisers are pausing their paid activity on Twitter; specifically, in January, data shows that of the top 1,000 advertisers, 625 are no longer advertising.

It is a fact that Twitter now more than ever needs advertisers to keep spending on the platform. Yet, how does forcing them to pay extra money, encourage them to do so? Especially when, potentially, no brand safety is guaranteed – at least with the Twitter Blue subscription - and during a time when advertisers have been reporting a reduction in ad effectiveness on Twitter after Apple Inc.

In theory, brands that decide to proceed with the verification process will potentially get more reach considering only verified accounts will be allowed to promote their content.

On the other hand, the main question here is whether there will be enough users on the platform be reached. Since the blue tick changes could mean the loss of legitimacy for Twitter, and the app could end up flooded by brand tweets of brands that are not even recognised.

In any case, the consequences of Elon Musk’s decisions are debatable.

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