Twitter Begins Offering “Ticketed Spaces” To Select Users
Social platforms opening up more options for content creators have been a continuing trend in recent months. After the announcement of Super Follows, Twitter has now opened up ticketed Spaces, a way for creators to monetize their following using their audio platform Spaces. It is also a trend that is likely to continue.
Twitter’s move is to make the platform more diverse and give users more reasons to be on the platform for longer. For social media platforms facing a period of slower growth in user numbers as the tech boom slows down, a lot of focus will be on engagement.
Clubhouse’s success has also fuelled a trend towards audio as a medium. Twitter launched Spaces in 2020, an audio chat add-on to the platform. Twitter has also been pushing ahead with several reforms to Spaces like co-hosting, scheduling, and now, ticketing.
Let’s look at ticketed Spaces in some detail and how this fits into Twitter’s overall strategy.
What Are Ticketed Spaces?
This feature allows content creators to sell tickets for the spaces that they host. This feature is currently restricted to certain creators who meet specific criteria laid out by Twitter. This includes having at least 1000 active followers and having hosted at least 3 spaces in the 30 days preceding the date of application. Twitter’s announcement goes into this feature in some detail.
If the application is accepted, Twitter will allow the creator to schedule and host ticketed spaces. They are also planning to share a significant part of the creators’ revenue through these spaces, up to 97% of the total ticket sales. This is, of course, not a flat number, and we can assume that it depends on some parameters and the fee charged by App Store and Google Play store since the payments are happening through these platforms. However, the announcement also makes it clear that the payout for the creators will be capped at 80% if the total amount earned from ticketed Spaces and Super Follows crosses $50,000
Creators can schedule spaces, but an option for rescheduling is not yet available. In case of cancellations, the refund process happens via App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android devices. The users will have to raise the refund request with these platforms and are not being refunded directly at the time of this writing.
How Will Ticketed Spaces Help Twitter?
Twitter has struggled to monetize and has reported a positive net income only in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, Twitter reported a net loss of $1.14 billion. Though the revenue numbers have grown considerably over 2020 and beat the market expectations, the overall growth in user numbers has remained quite dismal.
Twitter’s story is a bit of an odd one, as the platform’s primary format has been quite popular and is an important part of the social media fabric. Twitter is still an essential social platform, but they have fallen behind their competitors like Facebook in monetizing the platform. Twitter hopes that the slew of reforms in subscriptions such as Super Follows and ticketed Spaces will turn the tide.
There is some logic behind this too. YouTube has consistently shown how engaging with content creators and sharing the wealth is a good way to enable great content. Several other platforms are following this route, too, like Facebook, Twitch, and LinkedIn. This shift is also one that recognizes the role of creators and influencers on these platforms and the role they play in keeping the platform buzzing in some ways.
Twitter has also been seeking variety in its content formats. Tweets are great, but other platforms have shown that having a variety of content mediums does work. Twitter’s experiments with Periscope did not really take off as expected, and neither did their experiment with its stories feature, Fleets. Spaces have received a mixed response, but Twitter has been pushing a lot of new features to make Spaces more accessible and popular.
The audio content space is becoming quite hotly contested for sure, but there is surely some potential here. Clubhouse has led the charge and opened up for all users after emerging from the Beta phase. They have also launched a spatial audio feature for iOS users to enhance the lister experience with 3D audio. Facebook is also working on its own audio features called Soundbites and Podcasts on Facebook. Twitter’s ticketed Spaces is, however, the most direct monetization route for users across all platforms.
Ticketed spaces and new features like Super follows and the in-app shopping module will certainly give Twitter more ways to monetize and also helps creators derive tangible value from their following.
Will Ticketed Spaces Make Twitter More Appealing To Creators And Brands?
There is no way to answer this clearly, but this is certainly a great opportunity for creators. Twitter has always been a favorite platform for influencers and content creators as it provides a lot of engagement. Twitter also has some great active communities, and there are many users for whom it is the go-to platform.
Influencers are keen on having new avenues to earn money from social platforms beyond just brand promotions. Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows help these creators earn an income through the communities that they build. These new features will give users that extra option.
Creators will relish the opportunity to engage followers in a more intimate conversation, and audio is one of the high-engagement formats. But how users will respond still remains to be seen. Twitter has its set of avid fanatics, and it has generally struggled in bringing new users on the platform despite the pandemic boom seen across all platforms. So a lot depends on how the existing users respond to these features.
There are, however, larger concerns that apply to almost all social platforms. There is still a lot of work to be done to prevent harassment and cyberbullying. There are some discrepancies in enforcing the rules as well. How Twitter deals with these issues will certainly have a bearing on its appeal as a platform.
How Will Other Platforms Respond?
The general trend towards enabling creators to monetize more effectively is likely to continue across all platforms. Almost all the platforms have recognized the importance of content creators in keeping the audience engaged for longer. So we are likely to see more platforms following suit.
In terms of audio platforms, Clubhouse has been the trendsetter, but its monetization options are currently limited to tips and badges, and it is also not as big as Twitter in terms of the user base. We are likely to see more monetization options from Clubhouse, too, as they grow.
As for other platforms like Facebook, audio is a new addition, and hence monetization options may come in a bit later once they have established the format on the platform. This will give Twitter (and Clubhouse) a significant advantage, especially if they can attract more users and engagement in the audio format.
Ticketed Spaces is an attractive proposition for content creators on Twitter. Audio is emerging as an interesting format that is seeing a huge engagement and adoption, and it is also a strategically important format for Twitter. In this context, ticketed Spaces is a sensible approach as it incentivizes content creators for good audio content.
Given the failed experiments with Fleets and how users did not take to the new content format, it is hard to predict how Spaces and ticketed spaces will take off. Attracting new users and content creators and increasing the engagement on the platform is certainly on top of the agenda for Twitter, and they are pinning their hopes on new formats and features to get there. Will it work? That’s the question!