Twitter aims to diversify beyond advertising, but can it be done?

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SAN FRANCISCO: Is it a pipe dream or possibility? Elon Musk wants to diversify Twitter's revenue stream beyond advertising, a feat none of the biggest social networks have yet pulled off.

Something of a gold standard, social media ads can be fine-tuned and tailored to individual users on a mass scale, and have been particularly lucrative for Meta's Facebook and Instagram, as well as Google.

"Facebook pretty much set the standard for having an ad model for social networks," said Jasmine Enberg, an analyst at Insider Intelligence. "But that doesn't necessarily have to be the way that social platforms monetize."

Social networks are facing budget cuts from inflation-afflicted advertisers and increased regulations on the use of lucrative personal data, so it makes sense for them "to be exploring new, non-ad monetization techniques," she said.

The issue is delicate for Twitter, whose turnover is 90 per cent dependent on advertising. Advertisers, on the other hand, do not necessarily need Twitter and can turn to other social networks.

The advertising situation at Twitter has been particularly dire since Musk took over the company in late October.

In recent weeks, half of Twitter's 100 top advertisers have announced they are suspending or have otherwise "seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter," an analysis conducted by nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters found.

They fear being associated with toxic content as Musk, who describes himself as a "free speech absolutist," advocates for laxer moderation.

The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device on Monday, Apr 25, 2022, in San Diego. (File Photo: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

ALTERNATE SOLUTIONS

Social media sites are testing two alternate solutions in particular: Charging everyday users and charging content creators.

The forum platform Reddit has deployed a hybrid model, making money via ad...

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