- Twitter Blue. A subscription service that provides access to new features.
- The blue checkmark. Previously used for identity verification of public figures, now available through Twitter Blue for a monthly fee.
- Marketers' perspective. Some companies are boycotting Twitter Blue, while others are undecided or willing to pay for employee subscriptions.
Everyone’s abuzz about Twitter’s little blue checkmarks.
The Twitter blue tick is used to verify a real person of public interest. If I found a profile of someone claiming to be Keanu Reeves and it had the little blue tick, chances are, it was Keanu Reeves — or his PR team.
But Elon Musk’s Twitter overhaul has the simple system up in the air. Now the company has introduced Twitter Blue, a monthly subscription plan that adds the blue checkmark to your account.
Twitter Blue: The New Twitter Verification System
The blue checkmark used to be all about identity verification — something especially important when dealing with public and influential figures. But is that what the blue checkmark still means under Twitter Blue?
According to Twitter’s website, Twitter Blue is a premium subscription that “elevates the quality of conversations on Twitter.”
The subscription provides access to certain new capabilities, such as the ability to:
- Share longer videos
- Edit tweets for up to 30 minutes
- Undo tweets before others see them
- Use NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as profile pictures
- Access the Spaces Tab, which offers audio content
A software developer on Twitter also claimed Twitter Blue users have the ability to hide the blue checkmark from their profile — ideal for those feeling a little bit of blue check buy-in shame.
The feature most people are talking about, however, is prioritized rankings in conversations — meaning users with Twitter Blue should see prioritized replies on tweets they interact with.
Keep in mind, however, that features are changing as quickly as the company’s CEO can tweet. Previously, Musk claimed only Twitter Blue subscriber content would appear in “For You” recommendations — a claim he rolled back after backlash.
Twitter Blue is available to any individual for $8 per month or to organizations at a higher price tag; meaning the blue check is no longer about identity verification on Twitter, but rather someone’s ability to pay. That’s not to say the blue check won’t continue to be a symbol for people in the public eye, it just means we might have a few more Keanu Reeveses running around.
Twitter claims it reviews Twitter Blue purchases to ensure no impersonation occurs. However, one tech writer found this review process may not be so secure when he was able to pose as Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and gain a verification checkmark.
Related Article: Verified Social Media Profiles Won't Give Marketers a CX Boost (Not Yet)
Previous Blue Checkmarks Get Ax in April
Twitter has begun to remove the blue checkmarks from previously verified accounts as of April 1. But it’s no joke — the old system is out for good, paving the way for Twitter Blue.
Those who don’t want to lose the verification tick, even for a few days, will need to sign up for Twitter Blue before the switchover occurs.
There are two ways to sign up for Twitter blue, one for individuals and one for organizations. Individuals can sign up instantly with an $8 per month payment. Organizations, however, must fill out an application with questions on organization size, type and expected number of affiliate accounts.
Related Article: Social Media Is Changing, and Paid Accounts Are the Response
Twitter Introduces Verification for Organizations
Twitter verification for organizations will look a little different than the individual level.
Beyond the application process, those who gain verification will receive a gold checkmark (not blue) and square avatar if they are a business or nonprofit, and a grey checkmark and circular avatar if they are a governmental or multilateral organization.
The organization can then choose individual affiliates or entities associated with them, and those accounts will receive either a blue, gold or grey checkmark verification and affiliate badge. There is no limit to the number of affiliates an organization can have or who they can affiliate with.
Organizations will pay a steeper price tag for checkmarks than individuals. Twitter currently lists the subscription price at $1,000 per month (plus tax), which includes five affiliate accounts. Each additional affiliate in the US costs $50 per month.
According to The New York Times, Twitter claims it will make exceptions on this price for its top 500 advertisers and top 10,000 most-followed organizations that were previously verified.
Should Marketers Invest in Twitter Blue?
Some companies have decided to boycott Twitter Blue for the time being, most notably The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
LA Times Managing Editor Sara Yasin told employees in an internal note (shared by CNN’s Oliver Darcy) that “verification no longer establishes authority or credibility, instead it will only mean that someone has paid for a Twitter Blue subscription.” Yasin went on to say that it’s still unclear if there’s any value in paying to verify the organization on Twitter.
Others, like CNN and The Washington Post, remain undecided or have taken more versatile stances, offering to pay for employee subscriptions.
As a marketer looking into Twitter Blue for your organization, team or yourself, you might ask: Is it worth it? The answer depends on how much risk you’re willing to take.
Twitter’s promotion of Twitter Blue content does seem effective. Some might even say too effective, with instances of hate speech and misleading content popping up from verified Twitter Blue accounts. Yet many organizations are hesitant to shell out $1,000-plus per month for the privilege.
Right now, the sweet spot for those looking to build a Twitter marketing strategy is the individual subscription plan, whether that includes reimbursement from employers or not. At $8 per month, it’s hard to ignore the value of paying for one or several team members to test the subscription service for a predetermined amount of time.
For marketers that choose to go this route, it’s essential to pinpoint the metrics you want to track and gather historical data before you jump in. For instance, you might focus on:
- Engagement rates
- Virality rates
- Audience growth rates
With that information in hand, you can determine if Twitter Blue has a truly positive impact on your marketing efforts.
More to Come From Twitter Blue
Twitter Blue and Twitter verification for organizations is still in its infancy, and it’s too soon to say if it's a must for the marketer’s toolkit. However, it’s a smart idea to test the subscription program’s capabilities, even if it means using an individual subscription rather than applying as an organization.
Twitter Blue will likely see more changes as the program settles into its status quo. Keep an eye out for more updates and how they might affect your Twitter marketing strategy.