In recent months, Twitter has been removing ads, or reduced the number of them, for various “VIP” users. In an report by Re/code, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey endorsed the idea to cater to it’s more active users back in September, attempting to keep those users more engaged with them.
The criteria used to choose these selected individuals is note exactly based on the number of followers or how famous they are, but by many factors including the volume and reach of one’s content. For those selected individuals, they will have the reduction of ads or completely devoid of ads experience Twitter has chosen. This typically is made up of “promoted tweets” that sponsors pay to have appear among timeline content on the service.
In 2015, Twitter was on track to generate roughly $2.2 billion in revenue, almost exclusively from ads. While the company can afford to turn ads off for certain users, the notion of doing it across the board is not as feasible, especially with the large shift in executives they recently experienced where a number of VPs decided to take their leave of the struggling company.
This isn’t the first time Twitter has suffered losses in the company. According to BTIG media and technology analyst, Rich Greenfield, only five of the thirteen executives that presented the analyst day in November of 2014 remain. Loses were also noted with his tweet showcasing how the social media company had gone through six Heads of Product in as many years. Studies show that a constant turnover in executives can hurt company performance.
According to Dorsey’s decisions, it seems like Twitter is trying to bank on these VIP users to help boost the company, focusing on pleasing the more active users than trying to get more fresh users to join in. It makes sense that they would use the high-end users to get more people to sign up, making a “you could be like me” mentality.
While an ad-free experience could be possible, the only way to do it would potentially be through a subscription-based service. Unfortunately, this method could drive away new prospects. “We’re constantly looking at constraints and adjustments to optimize which ads are shown and how often”, Dorsey commented.