It’s been over a week since Twitter DELETED legacy verified blue check marks from celebrities, professional athletes and media figures. This decision by Twitter owner Elon Musk was designed to push users to Twitter Blue, the company’s $8 (or $11 on mobile) subscription service, which is now the only way a user can get a verified badge on their profile. to get.
So what’s up?
At the end of April, approximately 619,858 Twitter users were subscribed to Twitter Blue. That’s about $5 million a month or $60 million a year.
Where do these Twitter Blue subscriber estimates come from?
The latest data was provided to Mashable by developer and researcher Travis Brown, who has been tracking Twitter Blue subscriptions since the beginning of this year. Based on previous internal leaks from the company, Brown estimates that its methodology for tracking Twitter Blue subscriptions is pulling in about 90 percent of all Twitter Blue users.
Brown estimates there could be between 640,000 and 680,000 total Twitter Blue subscribers as of April 30.
In comparison, Snapchat, a competing social networking platform, launched a premium paid subscription service last June and reached 1 million paying subscribers in just two months. Musk’s version of Twitter Blue launched in November. As of mid-April, Snapchat shared that its Snapchat+ premium service now exists more than 3 million(opens in a new tab) paying subscribers.
And these latest estimates include about 9,000 Twitter users more than 1 million followers who received a free “free” subscription to Twitter Blue. The numbers also include users who have previously canceled their subscription but still appear as paying subscribers due to a long reported apparent malfunction.
When taking into account the free subscriptions that have been handed out, the net growth of Twitter Blue subscribers falls in line with previous weeks. Unfortunately for Musk, removing Twitter’s obsolete verified users just didn’t lead to subscriptions.
Twitter’s Chaotic Week, Part 1: Before the Legacy Cleanup
Under the old Twitter verification system that went under Musk, there were about 420,000 outdated verified Twitter accounts.
Of those users, only about 19,183 had subscribed to Twitter Blue as of April 19, a day before the previously announced scheduled date for removing legacy verified checkmarks from Twitter. Somewhere between 600,000 and 635,000 users were subscribed to Twitter Blue at the time.
About 300 more obsolete verified users subscribed to Twitter Blue between April 19 and when the obsolete verified checkmarks were removed at noon on April 20. At that time, approximately 19,469 verified legacy users subscribed to Twitter Blue.
By the time aging verified users lost their check marks, less than 4.8 percent of them had subscribed to Twitter Blue. Importantly, three celebrity accounts — those of LeBron James, Stephen King, and William Shatner — have been “gifted” Blue by Musk himself.
Now, finally, with the removal of obsolete verified checkmarks, the big question would be answered: How many obsolete verified users would feel compelled to buy a tick now that they ran out of one?
Twitter’s Chaotic Week, Part 2: After the Purge
Between the ticking on April 20 and the morning of April 21, 314 aging verified users had subscribed to Twitter Blue. However, nearly as many had opted out or lost their check mark pending verification. That brought the net total from new obsolete verified Twitter Blue subscribers to just 28 the morning after unchecking.
April 22 was a bizarre day. Musk decided to troll a few users tweeting about the campaign to block Twitter Blue subscribers, #BlockTheBlue, by giving them check marks. This included infamous Twitter user @dril and the author of this article. However, Musk then also decided to give away a “free” Twitter Blue subscription to more than just the original three celebs. This time he gave Twitter Blue to almost every user on the platform more than 1 million followerswhether they wanted one or not.
As a result, the number of aging verified Twitter Blue subscribers rose from about 20,257 on the morning of April 22 to 34,969 just a week later. In fact, the number of Twitter Blue ticks given out for free equaled about half of all new subscribers in the same week as clearing verified old ticks. When taking into account cancellations and deletions of Twitter Blue ticks, more free Twitter Blue subscriptions were issued that week than net total earnings from subscribers (12,010).
What to look for in these estimates
There have always been some caveats to Twitter Blue’s subscriber data. Brown’s methodology, while accurate compared to previous internal company leaks, is only able to attract about 85 to 90 percent of Twitter Blue subscribers. However, as of this week’s numbers, Brown believes he’s accounted for more than 90 percent thanks to the acquisition of a new, additional data set.
Additionally, there’s a long-standing “glitch” where former Twitter Blue subscribers, some of whom canceled their subscriptions months ago, still appear in Twitter’s API as paying subscribers. Many still have the Twitter Blue verification check mark on their profile, even though their subscription status justifies its removal. Because the API designates these users as no different from paying Twitter Blue subscribers, these users are included in the Twitter Blue subscription data.
So when we take into account the unsubscribed users who still appear as Twitter Blue subscribers and the free subscriptions that were provided to large accounts, the number of Twitter Blue subscribers who actually pay for their subscription is even smaller than what our show data for the total number of subscribers.
Sure, we’ve just thrown out a lot of numbers and caveats, so let’s break it down:
Before the ticks were removed on April 20, there were 19,469 aging verified Twitter Blue subscribers.
Immediately following the takedowns, Twitter gained a net 28 new legacy verified Twitter Blue subscribers.
Before Musk gave thousands of “free” Twitter Blue subscriptions, there were approximately 20,257 Twitter Blue subscribers who were previously legacy verified.
In total, there are now approximately 34,969 Twitter Blue subscribers who were previously legacy verified.
It seems that about 9,000 to 12,000 of those were donated by Musk for free.
What’s the next step to pay for Twitter?
With Twitter Blue struggling, Musk is trumpeting a new subscription-related Twitter feature, simply called Subscriptions. Musk recently revealed that approximately 25,000 users directly pay him $4 per month as part of this feature to access exclusive tweets and other paywalled Twitter content. As of now, it’s unclear exactly how this feature will play out for creators who aren’t Musk.
According to Ryan Mac of the New York Times, Musk is encouraging(opens in a new tab) employees subscribe to users who have enabled the feature and then refund the cost of the subscription to the company. We’ll soon know how this promotional tactic works out, but it doesn’t sound very sustainable.