On June 1, 2023, Twitter is changing the rules of the social media management game: this is what you need to know.
As an introduction, I felt I had to write this blog post because no one else out there is doing it.
Two of our core values are “Honesty and Candor” and “Kind, Helpful and Caring.” It’s based on these values that I wanted to transparently share with you what has been going on for the past three months with Twitter and help you understand what we have to do to transition to their new enterprise API while doing our very best to minimize the cost of this transition for us and as a consequence for you.
The truth is that Twitter’s move to stop providing free, or reasonably priced, access to their API has had a profound impact on our industry and on all its stakeholders—businesses like Agorapulse and subsequently you, our customer. The last three months have been a very chaotic time for all social media management vendors as we struggle to understand the impact of these changes and as we continuously seek answers from Twitter.
At first, I will share with you a short version of this as a TL;DR, but I’m also working on a longer version to share with you the whole story. I’ll share the whole story in the next few days. Stay tuned.
Shall we begin?
- Twitter has stopped providing any free, or reasonably priced, API to developers (i.e., software companies like Agorapulse and hundreds of others).
- They are forcing developers to subscribe to a paid package. There are 3 packages:
- The “small” package costs $500K a year and allows the vendor to manage up to 5,000 Twitter accounts at $8.40 a piece ($42,000 per month)
- The “Medium” package costs $1.5M a year and allows to manage up to 7,500 Twitter accounts at $16.60 a piece ($124,500 per month)
- The “Large” package costs $2.5M a year and allows to manage up to 10,000 Twitter accounts at $21 a piece ($210,000 per month)
There are other complex intricacies in what each package allows, but this gives you the big picture, is easy to understand, and demonstrates how confusing this pricing is. Essentially, the higher the package, the more expense you have to pay per Twitter account.
- Developers like Agorapulse that manage a significant number of Twitter accounts (we manage 12,000 of them) have been asked to pay between $1.5M and $2.5M a year.
- As we operate in a highly competitive industry, our margins are not high. We are not alone in this. For example, Sprout Social, which is probably one of the largest and most successful businesses in our industry, is still operating at a loss. They are a public company so their results are public. As you can see, none of us have room to incur a cost like that without passing it onto our customers, in one way or another.
- Our choice was to either stop providing Twitter as one of the social networks we help you manage or limit drastically what you can do with Twitter on Agorapulse at no additional cost and make Twitter a paid add-on for more advanced features.
- Many businesses have already announced that they will stop supporting Twitter because of the costs involved. Examples include Intercom and Microsoft. Further, many businesses that were using Twitter to provide customer support have also decided to stop utilizing them due to the costs. Examples include Air France and WordPress.
- We’ve determined that we cannot stop supporting Twitter with Agorapulse without creating a notable disruption in the way you do social media management today.
- We also cannot keep providing Twitter support as we provide it today without changing our pricing model. The additional cost of $2.5M is not something we can afford.
- In order to make the transition to the enterprise API, we have to temporarily reduce the number of API calls we currently make, and then, migrate our current features onto this new API to provide you with better Twitter features.
- The good news is:
- The changes we have to make today are only temporary and they won’t last long (2 to 4 weeks);
- Our Twitter integration will be much improved once we have released it based on their enterprise API;
- The bad news is:
- For 2 to 4 weeks, our Twitter integration will be degraded.
- Once the migration is done, basic usage (publishing mostly) will remain included in your current plan, but more advanced usage (Inbox, Monitoring, and Reporting) will require a paid add-on.
- These improved Twitter features will be provided with an add-on that we estimate will be priced at $49 per month allowing you to get Inbox and Reporting for up to 10 Twitter accounts. (We’re still crunching the data to decide on that, so more information will be shared early June on that.)
- Our preference was to not go through a transition of 2 to 4 weeks of degraded service. To avoid that we requested access to a sandbox or trial version of the API but that was not an option. The only method available to avoid this period of degraded service was to immediately pay for access to the new API.
- The cost of not degrading our Twitter integration would have been almost $200K. After much discussion, we collectively agreed to not spend that money on early API access and instead invest this amount in building more of the added-value features you’ve been requesting.
- To prepare for this transition, we will temporarily do the following:
- On May 17, 2023:
- Disable the synchronization of retweets.
- Reduce the synchronization time of the inbox from 5 minutes to 60 minutes for all enterprise and custom plan customers.
- Reduce the synchronization time of the inbox from 60 minutes to 4 hours for all other plans.
- On May 23, 2023:
- Remove Twitter from our free plan.
- Remove Twitter from our free trial. Twitter will only be available upon subscribing to a paid plan.
- Disable the listening feature.
- On May 17, 2023:
- Between June 1 and June 15, 2023, we will implement the new Twitter enterprise API.
- On June 15, at the latest, you’ll be able to subscribe to the Twitter add-on to benefit from improved Twitter features, such as real-time synchronization of all your inbox items. We’ll communicate more details about this add-on in early June.
- We understand this is not convenient. The cost to us to work within Twitter’s timelines and framework would have been $2.5M per year, and that is simply not something we could afford. Accordingly, we had to act to preserve our business while ensuring continuous support of Twitter.
- We do not plan on making any money or margin on what we’re doing to adapt to this new situation. Our goal is to break even.
- We’ll keep working hard to minimize our reliance on Twitter’s API and reduce how frequently we use it. Our goal is to obtain access to their lower plan and minimize the cost that we will have to pass on to you.
- If replying to @mentions and DMs as fast as possible is crucial for your business, I recommend you use TweetDeck as it’s free and will allow you to get real-time synchronization of your inbox items. I know this is not ideal, but it’s a Plan B and it will only be for 2 to 4 weeks.
- If that puts you in a difficult situation and could jeopardize your business, please get in touch with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading this summary, I’ll add the whole story in a follow-up blog post in a couple of weeks, once all this is behind us.
It’s been a rough ride, and we would have hoped to not have to involve you, but Twitter left us no choice.
Thank you for your understanding and your patience. We will be working hard to minimize the impact all this has on you.