Is it worth it for businesses to pay for verification on these social media platforms?
Social media companies have seen advertising revenue decline recently. As a consequence, they have sought ways to bring in more revenue, most recently by charging users for certain benefits.
I recommend that our clients calculate the return on investment from additional online spending on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I see more likely value for Meta Verified, especially for businesses who want to protect their identities or who want better access to customer service.
Twitter Blue: $8 or $11/month
Should businesses pay for Twitter Blue?
To start, businesses should ask themselves: “Do I want to be on Twitter at all? Am I gaining any measurable visibility, awareness, new customers, or sales from current Twitter activity?” If you can attribute existing value or revenue to Twitter, then you can decide if the $11 or $8 a month is worth it.
The next question to ask is: Does your business really need any of the benefits offered by Twitter blue? These include:
- Higher visibility: Twitter promises that verified accounts’ tweets will be more visible, which could help grow awareness of your brand.
- Ability to edit or undo a tweet: How much is this worth to you?
- NFT profile pictures: If your business is interested in crypto this might be appealing.
- Longer video upload: If your business counts on videos to drive business, this might be worth it.
There are some downsides (besides the cost) to Twitter Blue, and to Twitter in general:
- Engagement: Engagement rates on Twitter have always been low compared to Facebook and Instagram, and they are getting lower. There is no guarantee that paying for Twitter Blue will increase engagement for your account.
- Verification: Twitter Blue is verified via text to a mobile phone (not via an authentication app); this is a less secure way for verification. So, Twitter Blue subscribers would be paying for a less secure login.
- Hate Speech: The presence and visibility of hate speech have grown in the last four months. Paying for higher visibility might result in proximity to content unappealing to your brand.
Individuals considering Twitter Blue should ask themselves the same question: Is the subscription rate worth it just for higher visibility or the ability to edit or undo a tweet?
Bottom Line: Unless you can demonstrate a clear ROI for Twitter Blue, you don’t mind a less secure method for login, and you can tolerate your tweets showing up on a platform that is increasingly home to hate speech, Twitter Blue is likely not worth it.
Meta Verified: $12 or $15/month (per channel)
Should businesses pay for Meta Verified?
Businesses still have some time to decide about Facebook and Instagram, because Meta isn’t rolling out Meta Verified immediately.
Even so, because Facebook and Instagram have more proven track records driving awareness and customers for businesses, there is a stronger case to be made for companies to sign up for Meta Verified.
Similar to Twitter Blue, a key benefit to Meta Verified is increased visibility for verified users. Many businesses already pay Meta for higher visibility via boosted posts or ad campaigns. But now Meta is blurring the line between organic content and advertising in a way that seems designed to entice businesses to do both: pay for verification and continue to advertise.
Verified accounts will also get protection from online impersonators and better, faster access to customer service; these add-ons may be appealing to individuals and businesses alike.
Meta Verified is more expensive than Twitter Blue, $12 or $15 per platform per month. And many businesses are on both channels, which would total as much as $360/year.
Bottom Line: The same ROI estimate applies to Meta as to Twitter. As a business, or as an individual, can you justify spending the extra money (on top of money you might already be spending on advertising on Facebook or Instagram) based on the revenue you can trace back to those channels? And is the increased revenue less than the cost of verification?
The online landscape is changing more rapidly in 2023 than it has in years. Between the rise of TikTok, Musk’s takeover of Twitter, declining advertising revenue, the attention paid to ChatCPT/AI, the decline of cookies, and the increasingly aggressive stance of the government toward the tech giants, the digital space is very volatile right now.
My advice for our clients is to scrutinize what value they are getting from different social media channels. If they are seeing measurable benefits (such as increased awareness, consistent lead generation, etc.) from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, then the additional costs might be worth it. This is more likely to be true for Facebook or Instagram than for Twitter, especially given the increased access to customer service for Meta’s social media channels.