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X Launches New Price Tiers for X Premium, Including an Ad-Free ‘Premium+‘

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X is Looking to Launch New Tiered Pricing Packages for X Premium Subscriptions

As promised by Elon Musk, X has now released two new tiers for its X Premium subscription offering, as it works to get more people paying to use the app.

The new tiers will supplement the current X Premium package, with “Premium+”, priced at $US16 per month, offering an ad-free X experience, and “Premium Basic”, at $US3 monthly, providing some of its additional features.

First off, on Premium Basic, X’s cheaper subscription pitch. The Basic package comes with some add-on features, including post editing, longer posts, and encrypted DMs.

It doesn’t give you a blue checkmark, though it does give you a “small reply boost”, meaning that your posts in the app are more likely to be seen.

Though what “small” means in this context is not clear. And evidently, X isn’t really sure yet either:

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Now, people on X will see a slight preference for replies from verified accounts over other replies. We’re currently testing the levels at which we prioritize content from Premium subscribers relative to the other factors we consider in conversation rankings.”

So it’s probably relative to how many users sign up, and how much that then influences the level of boost that X can give posts from paying users. But at this point, Basic subscribers will get a limited boost.

Which is better than nothing, but I’m not sure that it’s a great incentive.

Also, the fact that Basic users don’t get a blue checkmark seems like a missed opportunity. The issue with this is that almost all of the add-on Basic incentives are geared towards people who post in the app, but 80% of X users never post. So these options are not likely to be a big lure, even for $US3 per month, whereas a blue tick, at least in theory, might drive more sign-ups.

But then again, the checkmark now only shows that you’re a paying user, not a high-profile person, so maybe that’s not a big lure either.

Also, Basic users are not eligible for X’s ad revenue share program.

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The “X Premium+” tier, meanwhile, includes all of the X Premium incentives, including the biggest new addition, in the removal of ads from your experience.

X Premium+

The $US16 fee will ideally account for the loss that X will incur by reducing ad exposure, with previous insights showing that X currently generates around $US12 per user, per month based on ad exposure. So it had to charge at least that, while also accounting for variances in ad intake.

The removal of ads could potentially be a high-value offering for at least some users, though the value of avoiding ads, versus paying $US168 per year (X’s discounted annual package) to use X is probably not a viable calculation for most.

But there are other benefits.

As you can see in the chart above, Premium+ users also get access to every subscriber benefit, while they also get the “largest reply boost”, which, again, will be relative to overall take-up. But, essentially, you’re maximizing your chances of your posts being seen, while also avoiding ads.

Maybe that’ll be appealing to brands, who don’t want to pay for X ads, though that could also see X’s reply streams filled with spammy promos and vague responses linked to viral posts.

Overall, it seems fairly pricey for an ad-free experience, which most people are already used to, so I’m not sure that it’s going to be a big seller. But the new offerings do provide alternatives, which should see at least some additional users subscribing to the app.

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This is X’s latest push to boost subscription intake, which Elon believes is a key avenue to solving some of X’s biggest challenges.

By getting more users to pay for the app, that, at least in theory, will act as a disincentive for bot farms, because as more users subscribe, that will then better highlight the bot profiles in-stream, as they’ll be the non-paying, non-checkmark accounts. Though the new Basic package doesn’t give you a checkmark either, so it won’t be effective in this respect.

Reply boosts also mean that bot accounts, which can’t pay (as it requires a mobile number and credit card for each) will get less reach, which could, again in theory, make it harder for bot peddlers to gain traction in the app.

Various cybersecurity experts don’t think that this approach will actually work, but again, you can see the intended value of the push from this perspective.

More paying subscribers also gives X another revenue stream, so it’s then less reliant on ad dollars, and thus, less beholden to the whims of ad partners, which could better enable Elon’s more free speech aligned approach.

And finally, dismantling the old verification system gave Elon a chance to hit back at profiles that he personally has grievances with. This may have been the most damaging element, as by removing legacy checkmarks, Elon also de-valued the reputational boost aspect of the blue tick, but it does now enable him to, say, remove the blue tick from The New York Times’ account if he doesn’t like what they report.

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The last point also highlights a key challenge in Musk’s overall approach at the app, in that his decisions are driven by ideology and personal perspective, as opposed to what’s best for the business. Musk now regularly shares his opinions on various divisive topics, and those leanings are also clearly defining X policy.

Some would argue that previous Twitter management was also guided by its own ideology, but much of that was based on advice from authorities and official information providers. Musk seems to be increasingly leaning on less reputable sources, and aligning X policies with such. And that, at least for advertisers, puts the app in uncomfortable territory.

But Elon seems determined to stay the course with his initial approach to managing the app, even though fewer than 0.5% of users have thus far signed up to pay for X Premium.

Will that change now that X has lower-priced tiers? Will X’s other payments experiment, in charging all new accounts a $1 fee if they want to engage in the app, actually see more money flowing into X’s coffers?

I have my doubts on both, but time will tell.



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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