Twitter has undergone numerous changes over the past seven months, from Elon Musk purchasing Twitter in October to company-wide layoffs and API changes. The latest in Twitter news; a new API access tier!
Among the changes in Elon Musk’s plan to get Twitter back on track to turn a profit is API access. For those of you who are unfamiliar with API, it stands for Application Programming Interface. API allows two software components to communicate. While that is the general definition, different programs, and companies utilize API mechanisms in specific ways based on the needs of their business. According to Twitter, “API can be used to programmatically retrieve and analyze Twitter data as well as build for the conversation on Twitter.” On the developer page, there is more in-depth information about various API levels and the modern foundation of their new API v2.
API Access Subscriptions
In February of this year, Twitter announced the new tier access for Twitter’s API. The tiers include Free, Basic, and Enterprise. Here is what is included and the price Twitter charges for that level of access.
Free –This access includes writing only with the ability to post 1,500 tweets per month at no cost.
Basic – The basic monthly subscription costs $100 a month, allowing for 3,000 tweets at the user level or 50,000 tweets at the app level. The read limit is 10,000.
Enterprise – The enterprise level does not specify a price but promises commercial-level access. It has been reported that what is referred to as a “low-cost enterprise plan” could cost upwards of $42,000 per month.
As you can see, the basic subscription costs $100 a month, whereas the next level jumps to an estimated $42,000 per month (varies per business). We offer more details on the matter as well as what this means for digital marketing and business operations in our blog post, What Twitter’s New API Changes Mean for Businesses.
Combating Business & Pricing Concerns
As you can imagine, a plan that costs $42,000 a month can be unobtainable for many smaller businesses. Shortly after the announcement of the access levels, Twitter received pushback from many that the prices were unrealistic and kept businesses from being able to use the platform. According to a recent article, many people have commented on prices, expressing what they feel would be more obtainable and align with what the tier offers. Now, four months later, Twitter has added a fourth API access tier to help combat many concerns about the cost. The new Pro tier is for startups and offers more advanced features than the free or basic levels for $5,000 per month. While this is a significant drop compared to the enterprise subscription, many have already commented on the cost being unrealistic.
Is The Plan to Limit Bot Creators Turning Away More Users?
Elon Musk implemented API access charges in an attempt to remove and prevent bots and bot armies. The price caused many organizations like public service, transportation, weather, and government-owned services to announce they would be canceling their automated Twitter updates. Twitter has since announced that these accounts would have access to the API free of charge. So, while those automated accounts can continue using Twitter, others have been turned away. That leaves many wondering about other bot services and tools that provide value outside of Twitter.
With many businesses turning away from the platform, if they were unable to pay the access charge, it could limit usage and lower the value of the resource. As we talked about previously, the intention of limited API access is an attempt to prevent bot swarms. In the process, they are losing more users than just bot creators. That leads us to the new ‘Pro’ tier. Hoping to draw users back to the platform, the ‘Pro’ tier is less costly than the enterprise subscription but still has some limitations. Tacking a price on API access may have turned some bot creators away, but not all. With time, we will see if this drastic change is doing what it was designed to do. If not, Twitter could lose more users and soon become obsolete.
Twitter’s Data Removal Demands
Although Twitter has made a change that they thought would appease users, some damage has already been done. Many developers and researchers have already discontinued their projects due to the original API access change. On top of that, they are now demanding that any data collected from Twitter be removed from their work.
When Twitter began revoking access to all its APIs, that included researchers and academics, any previously collected data or active research required the $42,000 monthly subscription referred to as an “enterprise level” subscription. This cost was unaffordable for researchers and forced them to discontinue their projects. That was the end of it, so researchers thought. With the release of the new tier, Twitter has demanded historical Twitter data be deleted as well. If academics want to use previously collected data or Twitter information, they are required to pay $42,000 per month. They are given 30 days after the agreement to complete the process and show evidence that they have removed the data. If they do not take the designated actions or fail to purchase the subscription, they will face legal consequences.
More Features and Better Results for Businesses
If your business is in public service or research, you could be facing some challenges to overcome if you want to continue using the platform. However, for many startups and smaller businesses, the addition of a fourth API access tier means more options and more capabilities. If you use third-party social media tools and schedulers, you may see better results with Twitter. As a startup or agency, you now have a tier that is more specific to you and offers the access and features you need at a more affordable price. We are still seeing many changes and effects as Twitter gathers data and reacts to shifts in platform usage. We will likely see this for some time as Twitter navigates its new business plan and filters feedback from its audience.
Recently, Twitter added a fourth API access tier to their subscription options. The ‘Pro’ tier is designed for startups and small businesses to have obtainable access. While the addition did that, it is still out of reach for some. This may not affect you right now, or maybe you have turned away from Twitter altogether. But this could lead to rippling effects in other areas of your business. We could see an increase in usage for other platforms, more restrictions for Twitter, or a shift in the way we use social media marketing as a whole. There is no way to tell what the future holds and whether this addition will improve or decline Twitter usage in the long run.
This is an ever-changing area of digital marketing, and Twitter’s API change is just one small part of it. Check our blog for more updates on Twitter, social media marketing, and digital marketing. We also share updates, news, and tips on our social media pages. Follow us to stay up to date!