Twitter Blue’s struggles since its launch nearly six months ago are more severe than previously revealed, new data suggests.
Since Musk’s version of the subscription service launched last November, Twitter has only been able to convert around 640,000 Twitter users into paying Twitter Blue subscribers as of the end of April, as Mashable reported earlier this week.
While those numbers are lackluster, an even more telling detail about Twitter Blue is just how many of its earliest subscribers have canceled their subscriptions.
Out of about 150,000 early subscribers to Twitter Blue, just around 68,157 have stuck around and maintained a paid subscription as of April 30. Subscriptions are $8 per month – $11 on mobile.
The total early subscriber numbers are linked directly to internal leaks published(opens in a new tab) by the Washington Post last year showing that a total of 150,000 users originally signed up for Twitter Blue within just a few days of its launch in November. Twitter temporarily disabled new signups for about a month shortly after those users subscribed as a result of accounts signing up for Blue with the intent to impersonate major brands on the platform.
That means around 81,843 users, or 54.5 percent, of Twitter users who subscribed to Twitter Blue when it first launched in November are no longer subscribed to the service.
That’s an abnormally high churn rate for an online subscription service. Churn rate is the percentage of users that unsubscribe from a service.
According to one study(opens in a new tab) released last year by the subscription management company Recurly, the average overall annual churn rate is only 5.57 percent for subscription-based businesses.
There are a few addendums to this data. Not all of the 68,157 users who’ve been subscribed to Twitter Blue since November have maintained uninterrupted subscriptions. It’s possible that some of those users had canceled or let their subscription lapse at some point and then returned at a later date.
Furthermore, it’s also possible that a portion of those users that show up as subscribed have actually already canceled their plans and are continuing to receive Twitter Blue’s subscription service for free. In previous reporting(opens in a new tab) for Gizmodo, journalist Steven Monacelli has spoken with numerous(opens in a new tab) former Twitter Blue subscribers who just can’t get rid of their subscription, blue checkmark and all, even though they canceled and haven’t paid for months.
Twitter Blue features aren’t encouraging retention
Twitter Blue is a paid offering from Twitter which provides subscribers with premium features such as an edit tweet button. However, it appears the most enticing features for subscribers are Musk’s featured additions to the service – namely the blue verification checkmark and the algorithm boost that provides Blue subscribers with prioritization in the For You feed and in the replies to tweets.
However, numerous Twitter Blue users have voiced their displeasure to Musk publicly on the platform about what they believe to be inadequate amounts of boosted reach. Mashable previously reported in March that around half of Twitter Blue subscribers have less than 1,000 followers.
The latest Twitter data from just last month shows that the percentage of Twitter Blue subscribers with low follower counts remains fairly unchanged. Around 291,183 Twitter Blue subscribers have fewer than 1,000 followers. Roughly 107,492 have fewer than 100 followers. Approximately 3,352 paying subscribers have no followers at all.
When looking just at the Twitter Blue subscribers who’ve maintained subscriptions since November, around 1,951 of them have fewer than 10 followers.
In fact, so few large accounts that were formerly verified under Twitter’s old, pre-Musk verification system had signed up for Twitter Blue, that the company has since given out free “complimentary” subscriptions to the service to many users with at least 1 million followers.
This latest Twitter data comes from developer Travis Brown, an independent researcher who has been tracking Twitter Blue subscribers for months, and was provided to Mashable. According to Brown, his methodology for his Twitter Blue research pulls roughly 90 percent of all subscribers. When compared to prior internal leaks from the company, including the previously mentioned one from the Washington Post, Brown’s data has matched up very closely to the official numbers.
Speaking of those Twitter Blue subscribers who have single-digit followers, Brown says(opens in a new tab) “collectively these people have paid Elon close to $100k and together got under 8k followers.”