Twitter's ad-portal traffic dropped by 10.6 percent in July from the year before; Image: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Eight weeks after taking on the role of chief executive at X (formerly known as Twitter), Linda Yaccarino hosted her first Spaces on August 10. Minutes before she was about to give an interview to CNBC, which was also live streamed on Spaces, Yaccarino addressed the audience and spoke about the necessity and importance of free expression for everyone and how X is committed to that and the safety of the platform. “The realness of X is what makes it a habit,” she said.
With the aim of protecting free speech and removing spam bots from the platform, the world’s richest man acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022. Since then, Elon Musk has introduced a barrage of changes in the last 10 months. From launching a Twitter Blue subscription, laying off over 6,000 employees, removing the legacy blue checkmarks for non-subscribers of Twitter Blue, limiting the number of tweets users can read in a day, rebranding to X, and recently opening up its ad revenue sharing program globally, Musk has stirred up the microblogging platform. During her conversation on Spaces, Yaccarino also revealed plans to come up with a video calling option soon.
Twitter's ad-portal traffic dropped by 10.6 percent in July from the year before, according to data from Similarweb, which analyses advertising portals. Global traffic on the platform has also declined since January, falling 5.8 percent as of June. The engagement rate on the app also fell during that same period, from approximately 88 million users to 83 million. Twitter has also lost nearly half of its advertising revenue since it was bought by Musk, according to the BBC.
On August 10, during the interview, Yaccarino claimed that advertisers have been returning to the platform, including Coca-Cola, Visa, and State Farm. She also said that X is seeing its operational run rate near break-even levels and that the company is also hiring now.
With many content creators receiving their payouts, Twitter’s ad revenue sharing model sounds promising for now. In mid-July, the company announced that limited content creators on the platform would be eligible to get a part of the advertising revenue the company earns. The content creators will get a share of revenue from ads displayed in their replies. The eligible creators should be verified users with at least five million impressions on their posts in each of the last three months and have a Stripe payment account linked to Twitter.
On August 10, the company changed the requirements. “We’ve lowered the eligibility threshold for ad revenue sharing from 15 million to 5 million impressions within the last 3 months. We’ve also lowered the minimum payout threshold from $50 to $10," the company said in a tweet. The users still need to have a Twitter Blue subscription and at least 500 followers to be eligible for payouts.
Many content creators from India managed to receive the payouts as they qualified for the previous criteria. For instance, Ginger Monkey founder Abhishek Asthana, who is popularly known as @Gabbbarsingh on Twitter, has about 1.4 million followers. He immediately applied for the creator payout program as he checked all the boxes. With around 290 million impressions in the last three months, Asthana was eligible to earn $2544. "I applied on July 27 and received a confirmation from Stripe that the money would be credited to my account. I was also notified in advance that the earnings might be delayed.” He received the money in 16 days. Asthana mostly posts about politics, sports, and work, and a majority of the audience relates to his content, he says.
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Another creator who received the payout is podcast host Ravi Handa. He was eligible to earn $450 and has received the payout from the social media platform. "Twitter has officially not given any clarification on for which period we have received this amount, so everyone is just speculating right now. Other advertisers usually give monthly payouts,” says Handa, who mostly posts jokes on startups and has 27.6K followers.
Twitter sharing ad revenue with users encourages content creation on the platform, which in turn addresses some of the biggest challenges it has faced over the years, including new user acquisition, time spent on the platform, and engagement. Social media giants Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have seen exponential growth with programmes focusing on creators. With this move, Musk is walking the talk and building Twitter as a go-to platform for content creators, says Hitesh Rajwani, founder and CEO of Social Samosa.
Finfluencer and content creator Neha Nagar, who has 84.8K followers on Twitter, has also applied for the creator payout program. Currently, she is able to monetise through ad revenue sharing on YouTube. This revenue-sharing model has been a source of income for her. "I expect the same from Twitter because it not only enables me to earn a living but also motivates me to consistently deliver high-quality content that resonates with my audience," she says. Nagar manages to garner 10 million organic impressions per month.
Concerns about the legitimacy of the content still remain, mostly from a plagiarism point of view. It would be difficult for the platform to adjudge the true ownership of content, and unfortunately, anyone can pick up content and repost it. "Creators who plagiarise content might lose eligibility for monetisation or get copyright strikes like YouTube and Instagram, but we will have to wait and watch how the platform tackles this," says Rajwani.