The Twitter Solution
Twitter has a bunch of problems. Let’s solve some.
Comparing time spent on the various social media apps, TikTok takes the cake. Then Instagram, then Twitter. Why?
For me, it’s because I open Twitter, scroll until I hit tweets I’ve already seen before, and close the app.
Contrast this to TikTok which has an endless feed of new content. Which leads me to my first proposal:
Twitter has it. Give it to me. Show me a feed like TikTok that will scroll indefinitely. Hide tweets I’ve seen. You can even add a tab to the top to show History if you like. But keep it fresh.
Make Tabs Matter
Speaking of tabs, let’s make them better.
Here’s my vision for the header: Connections / Following / Trending (FYP) / Video / Shopping / History
When you hit the app, you should see Connections first by default. After all, tweets from mutuals should be prioritized in the feed, just like Instagram. Then if you scroll past everything, it should auto advance to the next tab. Etc.
Twitter has inadvertently done what Instagram Reels worked so hard to get: TikTok videos in the feed.
The issue is that video is a mood. You have to be in the right setting to do it, and most of the time when I open Twitter it’s because I want only short form text without audio. But sometimes I want video. And I deleted TikTok, so Twitter is a natural place to get it.
So let’s have a tab dedicated to Video. It’s not going to beat TikTok but just like Instagram Reels, it will have an audience that will increase time spent in app.
How About Audio?
It always struck me as weird Twitter leaned so hard into their Clubhouse rip-off. Long form audio is such a niche. In many ways, it’s completely antithetical to Twitter’s core: short form text.
Like going Live on Instagram, there are few good reasons to do it but they are usually good ones. So I’m okay with leaving it, but not focusing much attention on it.
Make Some Money By Asking
Great, we’ve just bumped in app time spent by at least 20%. How do you make money? Well, ads obviously. But first, let’s give people the option to pay for no ads.
Because Twitter ads are notoriously awful and repetitive. A waste for the ad buyer and user. I see the same ads constantly and I never click them.
Let me pay $5 per month to never see a Twitter ad. If you really want to show me ads, you can have various tiers like “only video ads on videos” or “only one ad per day”. But I would love to pay Twitter money to reduce the garbage in my feed and many more would too.
YouTube Premium has more than 20M subscribers. I don’t buy that, but I would buy Twitter Premium. Making up some numbers on a napkin that gets us a 20% bump in revenue.
Make Some Money Through Ads
Ok, for everyone else who doesn’t want to pay $5 per month, let’s make the ads better.
In my view, the most effective Twitter ads are companies boosting tweets about their products or entertainment. Awareness, not conversion. More of that. Make some case studies. Demonstrate the increased viewership of TV shows that boost tweets. It’s a solid path to pursue.
But the blind spot for Twitter is data about users, something Facebook has always had more of. Part of that is just doing a better job analyzing liked tweets and general habits. They also need to…
Increase User Data
Thanks to Apple, it’s even harder to develop a good user profile to entice advertisers. Twitter needs to get creative, and my vote is for a credit card.
Credit cards are nice not only thanks to the ability to create a good picture of spending habits but also as another revenue stream. Interchange fees!
It’s almost too bad Block (fka Square) and Twitter weren’t under one umbrella. They’ve done an excellent job of building out a payments platform that gets people spending with customized debit cards.
I didn’t explain on first mention the addition of the Shopping tab so let’s get into it.
Constantly I see tweets and threads about “best purchases under $50” etc and they’re formatted poorly and not designed for a shopper.
My pitch here is to create an editorial section, part WirecutterDeals, part Buzzfeed compilation article with sections like “Top 3 Trending Moisturizes”. Add some affiliate links and give it a try. With shopping data you can tailor it further (and maybe highlight popular purchases).
Global Affiliate Links
If someone is tweeting a link to an Amazon product for instance, tack on a Twitter affiliate code.
I go back and forth on this because I think it could piss some folks off so I’ll carve out an exception: no hijacking someone else’s affiliate link.
But unmonetized links should be monetized. Money on the table.
I’m excited for the future of Twitter. For all of Musk’s faults, he actually uses the product and cares about the experience in a way few at the company seem to. Let’s see what happens.