Elon Musk’s reign as head honcho of Twitter has been an interesting one.
Barely a day goes by without some new grand announcement, often by the big man via his Twitter account, that sets off a whole new storm in a teacup.
Musk has again taken to his pulpit to share his latest product vision for marketers and users alike.
Twitter performance updates, without the context
According to data shared on Twitter, sign-ups to the platform are sky-high and averaged over two million per day over the last seven days (shared on Nov 27). That’s an increase of 66% vs the same week in 2021.
Time spent is also up, with over eight billion user active minutes per day, an increase of 30% vs the same week in 2021. Perhaps people are glued to the ongoing Musk melodrama, but either way, those are decent numbers – but it needs to be looked at using some context.
The average Twitter user spends just over 30 minutes per day on the app, which does represent growth. However, all it shows is that session time is back to what it used to be before a big decline in 2021.
Less hate, or looser definitions of hate?
Hate speech impressions are also lower, with just over 2.5m. At its peak between Oct 2021 and November 2022, there were over 10 million hate speech impressions.
People might be surprised at this, and you’d be right to look at the numbers with a healthy dose of scepticism. Hate speech is defined by tweets with ‘1+ slur” and a Toxicity score of 0.91 or more, but that’s vague – especially given that Twitter is responsible for defining what a slur is.
Reported impersonations have dropped significantly since the launch of Twitter Blue on Nov 9 2022, but it has since dropped. A little uncomfortably for Musk, it shows that impersonations went through the roof when people could buy a blue tick and stop when the idea was shelved.
An uncomfortable advertising environment
It’s safe to say that businesses have not responded well to Musk’s Twitter. 50% of the top 100 advertisers have pulled spending on the platform – says Media Matters for America. The group of brands have spent almost $2 billion since 2020 and $750 million in 2022, which is a lot of change to lose.
Marketers are pulling out because of concerns about the direction of the app. They are worried that the new content moderation policies, including the paid-for verification, will create an unsafe environment for brands.
As well as battling his loss in ad revenue, Musk has been dreaming of some big plans. His ‘Twitter 2.0’ will include:
- Advertising as entertainment
Advertising as entertainment uses an automated script to create more engaging ad experiences. In the screenshot shared by Musk, the advert is wrapped up like an old-school Buzzfeed quiz.
If Twitter ads could be re-formatted to increase engagement, it could be useful for people trying to give brand awareness.
There has been some chatter about increasing the maximum allowable length for videos on Twitter and offering a revenue-sharing scheme that beats YouTube’s 45/55 offer. Musk has also tweeted about bringing back Vine, so who knows what is up his sleeve.
Again, this could interest some brands – although it’s likely that the majority of marketers who produce longer videos will be more focused on traditional outlets like YouTube and TikTok.
- Longform tweets
Longform tweets are a bit of a rogue idea that goes against everything Twitter stands for. It will let users create 2,500 word long posts that are natively embedded into the Twitter app. It sounds a lot like Facebook’s Instant Articles, which has recently been killed off.
- Encrypted DMs
Encrypted DMs continue the trend of messaging apps offering encryption. It offers security to brands and general users, although law enforcement doesn’t like it.
- Relaunch Blue Verified
Blue Verified isn’t going away, it’s just being relaunched. The benefits include a blue ‘verified’ checkmark, priority placement at the top of replies, mentions and search results, fewer ads shown, the ability to upload longer videos and early access to new features.
However, verification could still be a touchy subject for Twitter. To fix the problems caused by the first roll-out, Twitter will operate a multicoloured verification system.
- Companies will get a gold checkmark.
- Government officials will get a grey checkmark.
- Individuals will get a blue checkmark.
All verifications will be manually checked to make sure they’re legit and new accounts will have to wait 90 days before they can buy a blue tick.