We explore what the new and upcoming changes to X, formerly Twitter, mean for businesses.

Twitter has always been one of the most popular social media platforms on the web, providing the perfect place for people to connect with strangers worldwide while sharing fascinating posts, images and videos. It’s fair to say that 2023 has been a year where the social networking landscape has been completely shaken up.

After several struggles, Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022 to turn the company around. Under his ownership, the Twitter we know today looks remarkably different to what it was a year ago. Not to mention, other competitors have now emerged on the scene, including Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky.

Here are the recent and upcoming changes you should be aware of about Twitter, or should we say, X…

The Rebrand to X

Twitter/X RebrandUndoubtedly, the most significant change to Twitter is that it’s no longer called Twitter. In July 2023, Musk launched a rebrand for the platform, changing it from Twitter to simply ‘X’. The rebrand means that Twitter has a new name, logo and style. For the rest of this article, we will refer to the platform as X.

The rebrand is happening gradually, with many old pages and resources referring to the previous brand. Up to this point, we’ve seen a new logo across the website and apps, replacing the iconic bird symbol, and the domain x.com now redirects to twitter.com. The San Francisco headquarters has also seen several changes, including a controversial glowing X sign, which has since been taken down. The company’s tagline has changed from ‘Let’s talk’ to ‘Blaze your glory!’ Famous features have been renamed, such as Tweets now being called Posts, and Retweets are just Reposts.

It’s well-documented that Musk is fond of the letter X. One of his most famous brands is SpaceX, a revolutionary company in the spacecraft sector, and he has even called one of his children X. But his fascination started as early as 1999 when he founded the online bank x.com, which would later merge into PayPal. No one could have foreseen that in 2023, the domain would redirect to one of the largest social networking websites. With this new brand, Musk wants to create an ‘everything app’ incorporating everything from audio to video, messaging and banking.

This rebrand means adjusting how businesses refer to the platform and features. Referring to the website as Twitter or describing your updates as tweets is outdated. Any on-site references to your X profiles, including logos and links, will also need changing.

The rebrand creates a few business challenges, particularly on the SEO side. X is commonly referred to as a letter, not a keyword or a brand. It can be more difficult for brands to rank their X profiles, internal pages and blog posts referencing the platform. For example, if you search ‘Activate Digital Twitter’ on Google, you will find our profile dominating the first three results. However, we are below two irrelevant results not tied to our agency for the search query ‘Activate Digital X’. How businesses talk about the platform also requires consideration, as X is an ambiguous word, and it may not always be clear that you’re talking about the networking platform.

The Launch of Paid Subscription Plans

Just weeks after Musk’s takeover was formalised, X launched their premium subscription service, Blue. The plan started with minor features like a blue checkmark, replacing the previous profile verification method. At the time, understandably, there were concerns about how this would affect the representation of public figures and organisations, making it more challenging to separate official profiles from impersonators. The verification process is no longer as in-depth or exclusive, but accounts must still comply with the X policy. For example, impersonating a brand or person isn’t allowed unless the profile clearly states that it is a parody.

Since the service launch, it has evolved significantly, offering advanced features across two plans: Premium and Verified Organisations.

Blue Checkmark

Blue Premium is designed for individuals and creators, costing £100.80 annually or £9.60 monthly. The features include prioritised rankings, longer videos with 1080p quality, and bold and italic formatting options. It also offers the ability to edit posts, which has been one of the website’s much-requested features for several years. Blue users can create posts up to 25,000 characters long, a vast difference from the 140 characters we were restricted to before it doubled in 2017. It’s fair to say X is no longer a networking platform for bite-sized updates like it was initially designed for. This subscription will also display more organic posts between promoted posts, so it’s more critical that brands ensure their ads stand out.

Gold Checkmark

Verified Organisations is intended for businesses, government agencies and non-profit organisations. This plan offers the same features as Blue Premium but with additional business-oriented features. The extra benefits include a gold checkmark, badges for verified team members and premium support. Organic posts will also reach more people, which is an attractive benefit for businesses. This plan costs £1,140 each month, so it might not be viable for small businesses or brands that don’t intend to maximise the platform.

Given that X’s plans have changed frequently within the past year, there’s every chance this information will become outdated. Therefore, it’s clear that businesses need to stay updated more than ever to keep on top of the situation and stay ahead of the competition.

Changes for Advertisers

Advertising has always been essential to the day-to-day running of X. Without ads, the platform would cease to exist. Ad revenue is X’s primary income driver, but with the recent changes, including new subscription models, the website is attempting to gain revenue from different areas. That said, advertising on X remains a vital feature, and we expect it will be the platform’s main income generator for the foreseeable future. Several high-profile businesses and advertisers have dropped from the platform, which creates opportunities for others to capitalise.

If you intend to advertise on X, there are a few changes to note. Previously, any profile could run ads on the platform if they met the criteria and followed the policy. However, as of April, only verified accounts can run an ad campaign. You will either need to subscribe to Blue Premium or Verified Organisations. Profiles already spending a certain amount a month will be automatically able to run ads. Inactive accounts may get permission to run ads if they can commit to spending a minimum monthly spend. These changes are intended to prevent system abuse and ensure users see relevant, high-quality advertisements that might interest them.

Previously, advertisers received a complimentary gold tick because of an acceptable monthly ad spend, but soon, they will transition to the Blue Premium subscription instead. This change will replace the gold checkmark with a blue one and offer all the Premium features. From now on, gold checkmarks and benefits will only be available for profiles with a Verified Organization subscription.

We can expect the X ads policy to change in the coming years. Recently, the platform announced that political adverts will be allowed after their ban in 2019.

Will X Be Put Behind a Paywall?

Many questions remain about how X will continue to evolve, and Elon Musk has recently raised the possibility that the platform will be put behind a paywall. While X has gradually offered paid subscription services to those who want them, providing the bonuses mentioned above, it may be that all users will soon need to pay a small fee to use the platform.

In a conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk stated that the company planned to move to a compulsory small monthly payment model. By requiring a fee to use X, the justification is that this would be an essential step to combat bots.

X has changed significantly in just one year, and with lots of controversial decisions and even some u-turns, putting the platform behind a paywall would be another huge change. It remains to be seen whether this idea will go ahead and, if so, how much the fee will be. However, this would present another challenge for businesses to overcome. Suppose X eventually charges a monthly fee for all users. In that case, it will result in fewer people using the platform, decreasing the target audience for businesses and influencing how they engage with their potential customers via organic or promoted posts. But on the flip side, it may increase gaps in the advertising market to take advantage of and increase the quality of interactions.

We’re the Experts in Social

If that’s a lot to digest, we don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed. The social networking space is tumultuous, and X is at the heart of this uncertain and unstable time. But at Activate Digital, we are the experts in all things social, including platforms like X, particularly for lead generation advertising.

Despite the uncertainty, X remains one of our most used platforms, and we continue to deliver outstanding, cost-effective campaigns for clients across various sectors. We keep up-to-date on the latest trends and stay ahead of the curve to help businesses succeed. If these changes sound complicated, we can help you by taking control to maximise the platform while letting you focus on what you do best.

We are experienced in X and work directly with dedicated account managers to help deliver success for our clients. Along with our experience and knowledge, we work with our partners at X to bypass the requirements for a paid subscription, agree on a commitment to a monthly ad spend, receive premium support, and address any account or ad issues. This collaboration ensures we get your campaigns up and running as soon as possible while helping us maximise them for the best performance.

If you want to start working with Activate Digital, let’s grab a coffee and discuss your project. Call 0151 236 4857 or email hello@activatedigital.co.uk to book a time and place.