One of the major upcoming features that Twitter is touting for users who subscribe to Twitter Blue is the ability to see fewer ads.
When owner Elon Musk announced the paid subscription service at $8 a month (or $11 a month on mobile) shortly after acquiring the company last year, he specifically said(Opens in a new tab) that subscribers get “half as many ads”.
Now that Twitter has finally shared the details of the ad removal feature, we know that’s not really the case.
The tweet may have been deleted
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As first spotted by TechCrunch(Opens in a new tab)Twitter has updated its About Twitter Blue help page(Opens in a new tab) which includes more information on the “half-ads” feature being rolled out. And, it turns out, subscribers don’t actually get “half-ads.”
Here is the whole section with details:
Half Ads: Show approximately 50% fewer ads in the For You and Next timelines. As you scroll down, you’ll see about twice as many organic or unsponsored Tweets placed between Promoted Tweets or Ads. It may happen that there are more or less unsponsored Tweets between the promoted Tweets. The half-ad feature does not apply to content promoted elsewhere on Twitter, including but not limited to profile ads, Tweet reply ads, events promoted in Explore, trending promoted and promoted accounts to follow. Blue subscribers will have access to this feature once their account has been reviewed for eligibility and the blue check mark has been applied.
Let’s separate it.
The first thing to notice is that this only affects the “For you And Following So users don’t see “half as many ads” on Twitter, just those timelines. It’s the equivalent of paying for a subscription for a website that offers an “ad-free” experience, but they only remove the ads from the homepage.
And Twitter isn’t exactly “halfway” committed either, as the company notes that users will see “approximately 50% fewer ads.”
Personally, the ads on these main timelines are also the least intrusive ads, because users are already seeing all kinds of algorithmically recommended content that they haven’t specifically requested. Users are just used to scrolling until they stop at something they want to see.
According to Twitter, paying users for Twitter Blue will receive the exact same advertising experience as non-paying users when it comes to “ads on profiles, ads in Tweet replies, promoted events in Explore, promoted trends, and promoted accounts to follow”, i.e. everywhere else on Twitter.
Some of the unaffected advertisements include advertisements that users cannot escape because these ad spots follow users on every page of the Twitter website. Other unaffected ads, such as those that appear among users responding to mentions of a tweet, are some of the most annoying on the platform.
Musk says more expensive, ad-free Twitter Blue option is coming
At the end of last year, Musk claims(Opens in a new tab) that the company was working on an even more expensive Twitter Blue plan that would show paying subscribers “no ads.” More details on this plan have not been announced. However, when it comes to charging users for the platform, Twitter is struggling to enroll users even for the $8 Twitter Blue tier.
Power users, those most likely to pay for a service, have mostly pass at subscription. Twitter Blue is believed to only crack the 500,000 subscriber mark recently, about 4 months after the launch of the service.
It’s also worth noting that users looking to block Twitter ads don’t even really need to pay to do so. And they don’t require a third-party ad blocker plugin or extension either. Twitter Ads are basically regular tweets from normal Twitter accounts that are promoted in users’ feeds. Users can simply block accounts whose ads appear in their feeds and they will no longer see those ads.
Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has lost half of its advertisers. On top of that, Twitter’s top advertisers who stayed spend 89% less(Opens in a new tab) than they did before Musk too. So if a user really wanted an almost “ad-free” Twitter experience, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for them to do it on their own. And free of charge.