Following Twitter’s announcement two months ago that it will be charging a minimum of $42,000 per month to enterprise users of its API, Microsoft is dropping Twitter from its advertising platform. 

What Is The Microsoft Advertising Platform?

 The Microsoft Advertising Platform is a digital advertising platform that enables businesses to create and run advertising campaigns on various online channels, including Bing search engine, Microsoft Advertising network, LinkedIn, and other partner sites, such as Twitter (up until now). 

With the Microsoft Advertising Platform, businesses can target their audience using various options such as location, age, gender, interests, and more. They can create different types of ads such as text ads, shopping ads, and display ads, plus set their bidding strategy to compete for ad placement on relevant search results pages or partner sites. 

The platform also provides performance metrics and analytics to help businesses measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimise their advertising efforts. It also offers tools for audience segmentation, ad optimisation, and retargeting. 

What Did Twitter Say About Charging? 

On Feb 2, Twitter announced “Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. A paid basic tier will be available instead.” 

Following some to-ing and fro-ing on the decision and a delay over a major twitter outage, Twitter is reported to be putting its formerly free API behind a paywall by offering three levels of Enterprise Packages to its developer platform. The price of the packages have been reported as: 

  • The cheapest package – access to 50 million tweets per month for $42,000 a month. 
  • Access to 100 million tweets per month for $125,000 
  • Access to 200 million tweets per month for $210,000. 
  • In February, Twitter began charging for the data it collects from “hundreds of millions” of users, with a basic plan starting at $100 a month. 

What Is The Value To Enterprises of the Twitter API? 

The Twitter API is a set of programming tools and protocols that enable developers to access and interact with Twitter’s platform and data. The API allows developers to build applications that can read and write tweets, access user profiles and follower lists, and perform other tasks related to Twitter’s functionality. 

The Twitter API can provide significant value to developers and businesses in a number of ways, including: 

  • Data Access. The API allows developers to access Twitter’s vast data set, including tweets, user profiles and trends, which can be used to build new applications, perform research, and gain insights into user behaviour and preferences. Twitter says, “Twitter data are among the world’s most powerful datasets.” 
  • Social Media Management. Twitter’s API can be used to manage social media accounts, including scheduling tweets, monitoring mentions, and responding to messages. 
  • Marketing. The API can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns, track engagement and sentiment, and measure the success of campaigns. 
  • Customer Service. Twitter’s API can be used to provide customer support and respond to inquiries and feedback from customers. 

Outprices Almost Everyone + Limited Dataset 

Critics have argued that even the cheapest plan looks like it will outprice most current users. 

Also, whereas Twitter’s free API access gave researchers access to 1 percent of all tweets, under the new pricing plans, caps will mean that users of the paid for API will only have access to 0.3 per cent of Tweets.  

Critics have also pointed out what a steep increase this appears to be – $500,000 per year for a smaller amount of data, and that it’s not clear which users the packages are aimed at (since they may be unaffordable to most). 

Musk Hits Back – Says Will Sue 

Following Microsoft’s announcement that it is dropping Twitter from its advertising platform, Twitter’s head Elon Musk hit back by threatening to sue Microsoft alleging that it has “trained illegally using Twitter data.” 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

Microsoft dropping Twitter from its advertising platform will be an inconvenient blow for ad buyers who will not be able to access their Twitter accounts through Microsoft’s social management tool. The huge charging hike (from zero to $500,000 per year) for those wanting to use Twitter’s API (with less data to work with) looks likely to price even larger enterprises, as Microsoft has demonstrated, out of the market and could force them to seek other ways to assemble their targeting data. This is likely to be potentially risky and costly for them too since, as Twitter boss Elon Musk once pointed out, Twitter is the “the de facto town square” and the data accessed by enterprises through the API still has some real value. 

For Twitter, this latest attempt at finding a fast way to generate another much-needed revenue source may have back-fired and Musk’s growing frustration appears evident in his threat to sue Microsoft. It follows some other major companies (e.g. Apple) recently halting advertising on the platform over moderation concerns and, in a recent TV interview, Musk said that he could be willing to sell the company if the right person came along. The Twitter/Musk saga therefore looks likely to carry on into the near future.

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