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article imageTwitter tests $99 subscription to automatically boost your tweets

By James Walker     Aug 2, 2017 in Technology
Twitter is testing a new monthly subscription that automatically promotes the tweets of members. The company is looking for new ways to increase revenue and user engagement as its platform becomes increasingly stagnant and fails to continue its growth.
The existence of the experimental subscription was noticed by Business Insider last week and confirmed in a buried article in Twitter's business centre. If the plan rolls out broadly, Twitter will try to convince its power users to pay $99 per month in exchange for an increased following.
Twitter already offers a robust, if unpopular, ad platform for brands and businesses. The new offering doesn't replace or significantly overlap it, instead augmenting the existing options with a new fully-managed alternative.
The subscription is aimed at individuals and small businesses who want to gain more organic reach. These users may not have the time, expertise or desire to run their own ad campaigns but could benefit from boosting the exposure of their tweets.
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"We've developed a way for you to grow your following and have your Tweets reach more people without creating ads or managing campaigns," Twitter explains in the subscription's FAQ. "Instead of creating and optimizing separate Twitter Ads campaigns yourself, this program will do the heavy lifting."
Twitter will programmatically select tweets from your account to promote into the timelines of other users. These will show up as sponsored ads. Because the service is fully automated, subscribers won't be able to individually select tweets to promote. Anything that's not a retweet or reply will be eligible for promotion as an ad.
Twitter will offer access to basic targeting and analysis features. These will let you choose general locations and demographics to expose your tweets to. This is the extent of the available controls as Twitter wants larger businesses and full marketing teams to use its existing suite of products instead.
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The subscription is an obvious attempt by Twitter to gain a new regular income stream for itself. By promising its most dedicated users an improved experience, it hopes to be able to secure a stable supply of revenue while it figures out how to continue growing its platform. Although $99 makes the program out of limits for most users, it could entice small businesses and sole traders formerly on the edge about Twitter advertising.
Last month, Twitter posted a 4.7 percent drop in overall revenue and a net quarterly loss of $116.5 million. Most alarmingly for investors, the company failed to increase its number of active users and actually saw it fall by 2 million in the U.S. The stock price plunged over 14 percent after the earnings call.
Twitter evidently intends to use the new ad subscription to show investors it can make money from its users. It's not yet clear when or if the program will launch and it remains to be seen how many people will actually try out the product. Twitter's currently running a closed beta test with a select group of invited users.
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