At its recent Analyst Day preview of upcoming tools and features, Twitter showcased its initial plans for new 'Super Follow' and tipping options, which will provide tools for Twitter users to directly monetize their presence by offering locked, exclusive content to paying members.
And it seems that Twitter's now closing in on the next stage of the project, with reverse engineering superstar Jane Manchun Wong uncovering these new profile layouts, incorporating both new options, within the back-end code of the app.
As you can see here, with these new formats, Twitter users may end up having the option to add:
- A 'Tipping' button to accept fan/follower donations direct on their profile
- An additional 'Super Follow' option alongside the 'Follow' prompt (the "+" icon in the first image)
- Or, a new 'Super Follow' button featured prominently, which would replace the 'Follow' button for those already following (people would be able to unfollow by tapping on the profile/tick icon alongside the 'Super Follow' button)
Twitter's still working through the details, with several variations in testing, but it does look like, soon, users will have a few new optional buttons to add to their profiles, if they want to try and monetize their Twitter following.
As noted, Twitter first previewed its coming 'Super Follow' option at its Analyst Day in February, in which it also outlined a range of ways in which Twitter users would be able to incentivize paying subscribers with various add-on options.
The idea is that by providing ways for users to monetize their Twitter audience, that could help Twitter to both keep its top users tweeting more often, while also incentivizing them to build more reliance on the app. That would ideally help Twitter boost overall time spent within its app by keeping its most engaging voices more active, while new eCommerce and newsletter tools, among other functions, would also help to expand Twitter usage, and broaden its functionality.
That also ties into Twitter's larger plans for business interactions, which advanced a little further this week with the initial live test of business profiles in the app.
As you can see here, aside from business info panels, which will provide contact details and directions for physical stores, business profiles will also likely have product listing options, image galleries, and more.
Combine these tools with audio rooms, communities for enclosed discussion, and new audience restrictions on tweets, and you can see how Twitter is building towards the next stage of more enclosed, exclusive content tools, which will facilitate its gated subscriptions, and provide a whole new range of options for those who want to base their community-building, and community monetization process, within the app.
Effective audience monetization has become a bigger focus for all platforms of late. With every app competing for attention, and a finite supply of actual talent that people will pay to tune into, the race is now on to provide the best home for creators, where they can make actual money from their online efforts.
Indeed, Snapchat this week reported that it's seeing good results from its 'Spotlight' TikTok-clone, which is likely due to Snapchat offering up big cash incentives for the best Spotlight clips, in a bid to steal creators away from TikTok - or at the least, keep its own top creators from switching over to TikTok instead. TikTok, meanwhile, has its own 'Creator Fund' to incentivize its rising voices, while Instagram and YouTube provide valuable incentives through their established monetization programs, based on their expansive ad networks.
Even so, Instagram's parent company Facebook is also looking into paid newsletter subscriptions and an expansion of its Facebook Stars donation process into more platform elements, while it's also adding ads in Instagram Reels - its own TikTok clone - and Stories sticker ads to further its creator monetization options. LinkedIn is also investigating incentive programs for its top voices.
Keeping your most popular creators active is key to maintaining audience, and building a sustainable content ecosystem, and now, the competition is truly heating up as each platform pushes to provide more tools to help their best users make real money from simply being active and present.
That's good news for creators, but it could end up being problematic for the platforms - especially if the bigger players decide to up the ante, and provide financial incentives beyond what the smaller players can offer.
For example, Snapchat, as noted, is currently paying out $1 million per day for the best Spotlight content, a process which, at least for now, appears to be somewhat sustainable, as it continues to boost usage, and thus, advertiser growth. But what if Facebook offered $2 million for Stories content, or for the top Reels instead? What if it offered $5 million?
You can see how this type of escalation would work to the benefit of the larger, more well-resourced players, which could theoretically blow opponents out of the water with more lucrative offers in this respect.
At the moment, the biggest platforms are focusing on refining their existing ad ecosystems instead, which is a more sustainble, long-term path.
But if programs like Spotlight continue to work out, and the race comes down to incentives, that won't work in favor of the smaller apps.
This is the landscape that Twitter is now wading into with its creator tools, and while it's looking to build an array of options to cumulatively add to its paying subscription models, it will also need to weigh the benefits of each process as it seeks to establish the best way forward, and the best offerings for its platform stars.
It's an interesting time, which will see a range of new options rolled out, and a flood of successes and failures, both among platforms and creators, as they evolve.
We'll keep you updated on Twitter's evolving 'Super Follow' plans.