Pay Up or Shut Up: Twitter Forces Smaller Advertisers to Pay for Verification

In an email sent to advertisers earlier today, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that accounts “must have a verified checkmark or subscribe to either Twitter Blue or Verified Organizations to continue running ads on Twitter”. 

Accounts spending at least $1,000 per month already have gold checks and will not be affected by the new rule.

For smaller-to-medium sized advertisers, however, the $1,000 minimum spend is not feasible, and the additional cost of verification could be viewed as a reasonable cost of doing business or petty nickel and diming from one of the world’s wealthiest people. This comes at a time when the industry is already experiencing a downturn and there are fewer ad dollars to go round. Many marketers are looking for ways to save money, and the extra cost of Twitter’s new policy may lead to a further reduction in ad spend on the platform.

Some industry insiders see the move as a positive one, as it brings Twitter in line with other media platforms that require verification. Meta and Google both require advertisers to verify themselves but do not charge for it directly, although many contend that they account for the verification cost within the many fees they bake into their advertising costs. 

According to Topple Ad Network CEO Brian Aitken, who has managed over $6 billion worth of advertising budgets and led paid social media efforts for some of the worlds largest companies, Twitter’s new policy is unlikely to affect larger brands and agencies, of which many are already spending more than the required $1,000 per month.

“There’s a cost to verifying advertiser identities that platforms like Twitter need to recoup but this does seem like Musk’s picking on the little guys,” said Brian Aitken, “Long before Musk ever acquired Twitter they had difficulties keeping advertisers on the platform and he might win more hearts and minds if he rolls out the red carpet and carefully articulates his vision for Twitter’s future instead of picking the pockets of small businesses for another $8 a month.”

The move to charge advertisers this small additional fee has caused frustration and put another wedge between Twitter and the advertising industry. It remains to be seen whether this policy will ultimately help Twitter generate revenue for Twitter, which he admits is worth less than half of what he paid for it back in October 2022. Only time will tell whether or not this policy sticks, as with many of Musk’s decisions.