Would you pay for an ad-free version of X?
Hot on the heels of reports that Meta may be considering an ad-free subscription option for its apps, X may also be exploring the same, as part of its next push to better incentivize X Premium take-up.
As you can see in these new code snippets, shared by X News Daily, among the various options for X Premium accounts, there are tags which relate to “Half ads in For You”, which is a current subscriber benefit, and “No ads in For You”, seemingly a new option.
It’s not entirely clear what all of these tags relate to, but the speculation is that this could be a new subscription option, with X potentially charging a different rate for users to cull ads from their main timeline entirely, in favor of the monthly fee.
Which, if X were to go ahead with it, would likely be more expensive than the current $US8 X Premium offering.
Based on internal insights, X currently generates around $US12 per user, per month based on ad exposure alone. That would mean that in order for an ad-free version of X Premium to be viable, it would need to charge at least that, while for every person that signs up, that would also reduce its ad space, shifting this calculation dependent on overall interest and take-up.
But it could be an option. If X charged, say, $20 per month for an ad-free version, then $8 for a lesser package, that could see take-up, and provide another way for X to make more money from subscriptions, without impacting its ad business. Because it likely wouldn’t see major uptake, and maybe, that would simply add another avenue for its verification program, which would get more people signing up for a blue tick, aligning with both its revenue and bot-battling goals for the program.
X’s hope is that it can get enough people to sign up for its verified program to make it a bot deterrent. Right now, bot peddlers can easily make thousands of profiles in the app, and use them for whatever purpose they choose, but if all the real human users were verified, and paying a small amount each month to use the app, that would theoretically make bot creation more expensive, while you’d also be able to tell the bots from real people simply by checking for a blue tick.
Conceptually, the proposal makes sense, but the problem is that the current X Premium offering is not overly appealing to the vast majority of users. Which is why only around 0.5% of X’s overall user base are currently paying to use the app.
At those levels, it’s not anywhere close to working as a bot detector, but maybe, if X can sweeten the deal, and provide more incentives to more users, the program can still play a bigger role in the app’s broader reformation push.
And in this context, an ad-free option makes sense.
Part of the problem with the current X Premium offering is that almost all of the incentives are geared towards people who post a lot in the app, and as X has acknowledged, around 80% of its user base don’t ever post, or engage, they only come to the platform to read the latest updates.
As such, they’re unlikely to pay $8 per month for features that they’ll never use. But no ads? Maybe that’s another angle to consider.
X owner Elon Musk did also say that this was coming:
Basic Blue will have half the number of ads. We will offer a higher tier with no ads next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 13, 2022
Musk also recently flagged that a new, lower-priced version of X Premium is coming soon, as part of its broader verification push, and maybe, X will actually be looking to add various tiers to the program, in order to align with different user groups.
And with more new features becoming subscriber-exclusives, it’s clear that X is not giving up on subscriptions as a key way forward for the app.
One way or another, it seems that X Premium is going to get a shake-up, sometime soon, as it looks to boost its subscriber intake.