X’s focus in 2024 will be on SMBs, with the platform looking to sign-up many more smaller ad partners in order to offset its losses from the bigger players, whom owner Elon Musk told to “go f***” themselves over concerns around brand safety in the app late last year.

Poking the egos of high-profile execs doesn’t tend to endear them a whole lot, and rather than trying to win them back, X has committed to getting more SMBs to pay up instead, which it’s kicking off with its new, lower-cost Verification for Organizations package.

Yes, rather than paying $1,000 per month for a gold checkmark in the app, which clearly hasn’t seen huge take-up, X is now offering a slimmed down, $200 per month package, which will still come with a gold checkmark for your brand profile, as well as priority support, all the benefits of X Premium+, access to job listings via X Hiring, and more.

So you get a lot of the X Verification for Organizations benefits for a fifth of the price.

So why would anyone keep paying $1,000 per month?

Well, you do also get additional reach boosts for your posts via the higher-cost package, while you also get access to “Affiliates”, which enables you to allocate blue checkmarks to your staff in the app.

Which probably isn’t overly valuable, now that X has devalued what blue checkmarks actually mean, but theoretically, paying $1,000 will still offer significantly more benefits for big brands.

You also get more ad credits, though you do also get some ad credits with the cheaper version as well. So, I don’t know, maybe it’s worth paying $1,000 per month if you’re looking to run a heap of ads? The economics will obviously vary by business.

Really, $200 per month is a far more reasonable package for business verification, and X should have offered this from the start, rather than the ludicrous $1,000 per month gold checkmarks. Because who cares what color the checkmark is if you can buy it, it’s irrelevant as a marker of trust or authority. So you’re just paying for it to, what, be cool?

$200 is a better deal, and I can imagine that some businesses will indeed take it up, though it’s going to be tough going for X to replace its ad revenue losses with smaller players.

For example, X’s top 50 advertisers have historically spent an average of $1 billion per year on in-app promotions. X is currently on track to bring in around $2 billion for the full year. That‘s a lot of revenue ground to make up.

That is, of course, unless big brands come back to the app, which could still happen, depending on the value that they see in X as a brand awareness and promotion vehicle. I would think that, for many, it’s declining in this respect either way, but it’s still a highly used, high-exposure surface, which can definitely keep your brand in the latest conversations.

A lot, then, comes down to Elon, and what he shares in the app. Will he continue to push controversial, divisive, offensive content, and dismiss advertisers’ concerns if they raise such?

I suspect he probably will, and that being the case, X will need to get a lot of SMBs signing up for gold ticks.

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