Social media platforms depend on advertising revenue to make money. However, since the introduction of iOS 14 and stringent data privacy laws, it has been increasingly difficult for social platforms to make bank as they used to. As a result, they have had to get creative and find new ways to increase their revenue, including charging for verification.
Twitter was the first to introduce the first major platform to introduce the paid verification model. Twitter terminated the legacy blue check on 4/20, and now, you have to pay for verification to have a blue checkmark on Twitter. Meta quickly jumped on this shift and is currently testing Meta Verified for Facebook and Instagram verification in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
This brings us to two very pertinent questions: Is paying for the blue checkmark on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram worth it? Should businesses invest in a monthly subscription to have a blue check mark against their brand names on social media?
In this article, we will provide a detailed breakdown of both verification services and some of the factors you need to consider, like the return on investment, before making any decision.
Twitter Blue is an optional monthly subscription verification service provided by Twitter. The service is designed to offer premium features to users, like a blue verification checkmark and early access to select new features, like the ability to edit tweets.
Must you pay in order to have a blue checkmark against your Twitter account? Yes. All legacy checkmarks were removed from the platform, and that feature is only available to those who pay.
There are some requirements you need to meet in order to get a verified blue checkmark on Twitter, including:
• a confirmed phone number.
• an account older than 30 days.
• no changes to your name, username, or profile picture within 30 days.
• not engaging in misleading or deceptive practices, such as impersonating someone else or using fake identities.
Apart from the sought-after ability to edit tweets, Twitter Blue will bestow subscribers other benefits, including:
• A verified blue checkmark.
• A reduced number of ads. Users will see approximately 50% fewer ads in the For You and Following timelines.
• The ability to post longer tweets and replies up to 10,000 characters.
• The ability to post longer longer videos. Twitter Blue subscribers can upload videos up to ~60 minutes long, up to 2GB file size (1080p) (web only).
• Access to SMS two-factor authentication for better account protection.
• Prioritized ranking and increased visibility in conversations and search.
• The opportunity to undo tweets before sending them.
• The ability to turn long threads into a more beautiful reading experience using the Reader feature.
Read more about Twitter Blue’s benefits.
Despite Twitter Blue’s numerous benefits, there are some general platform disadvantages worth noting besides the cost. They include:
• Low engagement: Twitter suffers from low engagement rates compared to other social media platforms, and they have been getting lower. This means that paying for Twitter Blue doesn’t guarantee an increase in engagement amid the already low engagement rates.
• Less secure verification method: Twitter Blue uses a text-to-mobile phone verification style, which is a less secure way for verification.
• Hate Speech: Twitter has high rates of hate speech, and this has increased in the past few months since Elon Musk took over the platform.
Twitter’s blue checkmark is contingent on the platform’s requirements and can be revoked at any time without notice.
You might temporarily lose your blue checkmark if you change your profile photo, display name, or username (@handle). This will continue until your account is validated as continuing to meet Twitter’s requirements. During the review period, you are not allowed to make any further changes to your profile photo, display name, or username.
You can also lose your checkmark if your account is found to be in violation of stipulated rules.
In the United States, Twitter Blue costs $8 – $11 monthly. However, the price changes based on your country and the device you use. Additionally, different account types have different profile labels and different price points.
Thinking of registering for Twitter Blue? Here are the steps you need to follow:
On the web: Go to twitter.com and select More > Twitter Blue > Subscribe
On iOS or Android: Go to the profile menu > Twitter Blue > Subscribe
Meta Verified is a monthly subscription verification program that is designed to help accounts establish an authentic presence on Facebook and Instagram. It is still in the testing stage and is only available in three countries: the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia.
Unlike Twitter Blue, Meta isn’t doing away with the legacy badges. Verified users will keep their badges, and “notable” users will be allowed to continue applying for cost-free verification the old way.
The legacy verification and new verification system are different and will run concurrently on the platform. However, those with the free, original verification badge will not have access to the benefits of the paid Meta Verification. If you have the original verification, you can apply for Meta Verification in order to to access its benefits.
• Your account must represent a real individual person, not a company or brand.
• You must be 18 years or older.
• You must use your full real name, which is on your government-issued ID.
• Your profile photo must must match the photo on your government-issued ID.
• You must enable two-factor authentication.
• Your account must be active (you cannot apply for a brand-new account).
• Verification: This badge is similar to the verification badge offered to “notable” accounts and signals that’s your real account.
• Impersonation protection: This is a particularly important feature for creators as Meta will proactively monitor accounts for impersonators who might use your images/videos to create fake accounts.
• Access to support agents: Meta Verified subscribers will get access to human support agents through live chat for common account issues.
• Stickers and stars: Meta Verified users will get exclusive stickers on Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, plus 100 Facebook Stars every month to support creators.
• More reach: Users are likely to experience increased “visibility and prominence” in comments, search, recommendations, and suggested accounts, though the specifics are not clear.
Meta Verified has a few disadvantages:
• It is more expensive than Twitter Blue, at $12 or $15 per platform per month.
•It is only available to individuals at the moment. This means businesses and brands cannot take advantage of it.
Currently, a Meta Verified subscription costs $11.99 – $14.99 per month. However, the price is dependent on the device you use and your location.
From a business perspective, it all comes down to the return on investment. Does spending an additional amount of money on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram guarantee a return on investment? Can you justify the cost based on the revenue you generate from those channels? Is the revenue increment more than the cost of verification?
When you really look at it from an engagement angle, great content always wins, irrespective of verification. So the promise of increased reach might be far from reality if your content is not up to par. Some might argue that verification makes your account more credible, but the truth is there are so many ways to ensure credibility through cohesive branding and messaging.
At the end of the day, you have to scrutinize the value you are getting from social media channels. If a verification leads to more brand awareness and sales, then the cost might be worth it. If it doesn’t, then you have to consider other ways to get the results you are looking for instead of investing in a new shiny object without any guaranteed returns.
At SeedX, we specialize in helping businesses develop holistic traditional and digital marketing for sustainable growth with a focus on the best business strategies. Need help with your marketing, revenue generation, or growth? Hit us up today. We’re ready to help!