A new feature called Ticketed Spaces is Twitter’s latest attempt to do what currently looks like a lost cause: catch up to the competition.
Hosts of Twitter’s live audio-only feature Spaces will now be able to collect ticket fees from fans for events hosted on the platform, which include anything from workshops and conversations to meet-and-greets. The social media giant made an initial announcement and began taking host applications in June, and starting last week, some users have access on iOS.
Ticketed Spaces is Twitter’s latest product launch in an attempt to stand out from its long list of ad-supported social platform rivals like Facebook and Snapchat. And while it’s certainly a commendable move by Twitter in terms of innovation, it’s hard not to be skeptical of its success.
Twitter has had some serious product blunders lately. Remember Fleets? Probably not. It was a short-lived response to Snapchat and Instagram Stories that didn’t even last one year.
This is the ultimate test of resiliency for CEO Jack Dorsey, who once again could face questions about whether he can effectively and successfully run two publicly traded companies.
In Q2, Twitter reported its fastest revenue growth in seven years, but the stock is still lagging behind both its peers and the broader market this year. Shares of the company were up about 19% so far in 2021, while Facebook rose 41%, Snap jumped 51%, and the S&P 500 gained 22%.
The world of social media is cutthroat, and the competition in the space is as stiff as ever. The overall revenue of ad-supported social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snap rely almost entirely on advertising revenue that comes from user engagement.
Much like its rivals, Twitter saw user engagement rise during the peak of the pandemic last year and is now doing everything it can to hold onto that momentum. Unfortunately, Twitter’s popularity lags its peers, according to Sensor Tower data. In July, Twitter ranked 13th in monthly worldwide downloads across the Apple App Store and Google Play, while TikTok was number one, Facebook was number two, Instagram was three and Snapchat ranked sixth.
Ticketed Spaces followed the launch of Super Follows, a feature that would let content creators collect a monthly subscription from their most loyal fans. Subscription revenue was a logical move for Twitter and would help unlock precious recurring revenue for the company.
But a survey Variety Intelligence Platform conducted with YouGov in June found consumers weren’t very interested in paying social media companies a monthly subscription for exclusive influencer content.
According to a YouGov survey of 1,200 U.S. adults, more than 77% of respondents said they were unlikely to pay a subscription fee for exclusive influencer content. Meanwhile, 14% said they likely would pay, and 9% stated they didn’t know.
Who can blame Twitter for trying new things as it looks to break out from its image as the “niche” social platform? Live audio seems to be the hottest trend in social right now, and even e-commerce behemoth Amazon wants in on the space and has been quietly building its own product, according to a report from Axios.
Social media platforms are a really unique space because content is created organically by the users. Facebook, Snap, YouTube and TikTok have done fantastic jobs drawing in content creators that essentially do all the hard work for them. And giving creators a monetary incentive is the only way to keep them from jumping ship in a highly competitive market.
Twitter wants a piece of the pie, and frankly it really needs this W. Twitter's market cap of just about $50 billion is far behind rivals Snap and Facebook, at $119 billion and $1 trillion, respectively.
The bad news is not everyone can be a winner, but at least Twitter is trying new things in an attempt to further monetize its product to provide long-term shareholder value.