Twitter tells brands to buy more ads or risk losing their verification


According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Twitter (now called X) started offering some advertisers in the US and UK a 50 percent discount on video ads running beside trending topics under the platform’s “Explore” tab earlier this week, “among other discounts.” 

The offer is timed around the Women’s World Cup but also conveniently ends on July 31st — a week prior to another change to Twitter’s ad policy. Starting August 7th, advertisers that haven’t reached certain spending thresholds will lose their official brand account verification. According to emails obtained by the WSJ, brands need to have spent at least $1,000 on ads within the prior 30 days or $6,000 in the previous 180 days to retain the gold checkmark identifying that the account belongs to a verified brand.

Musk has previously claimed he wanted to shift the platform’s primary revenue source away from advertising by propping it up with premium services like Twitter Blue subscriptions. The official number of subscribers isn’t public, but Mashable cited a researcher’s statistics in April suggesting that almost 640,000 users were paying for the service, with over half of its earliest 150,000 adopters believed to have canceled their subs entirely.

And it seems efforts to push more users to adopt Twitter Blue are actively hurting its advertising business. In an attempt to prevent data scraping, Musk introduced temporary limits on how many posts people can read earlier this month, with verified users receiving preferential treatment to see more tweets. The limitations resulted in fewer people seeing ads and caused advertising prices to rise, according to the WSJ, with one agency reportedly seeing a 15 percent hike during the change.

Threatening to remove verified checkmarks is a risky move given how many ‘Twitter alternative’ services like Threads and Bluesky are cropping up and how willing consumers appear to be to jump ship, with Threads rocketing to 100 million registrations in just five days. That said, it’s not like other efforts to drum up some additional cash, like increasing API pricing, have gone down especially well, either. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton — let’s see if it pays off for him.

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