X in 2023: A Recap of Everything Marketers & Advertisers Need to Know

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X in 2023: A Recap of Everything Marketers & Advertisers Need to Know

x-in-2023:-a-recap-of-everything-marketers-&-advertisers-need-to-know

When rumors started swirling about Twitter changing its name to X, I couldn’t believe it at first. But then, in July 2023, as I searched for my favorite blue icon on the phone, I found a black icon instead. It had actually happened!

woman uses X, formerly twitter

Elon Musk had indeed decided to rebrand this popular platform, choosing to dismantle something iconic. Something that has existed for 18 years.

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Some people say it‘s his ego; others think it’s a marketing move, seeking more attention. Whatever the reason, I was disappointed like many other users.

Twitter had its own vibe, and I expected something big and better with the new name and logo. Some changes did happen, but there weren’t many improvements for regular users.

Curious about the impact, I researched and spoke with marketers to understand how these changes affected them.

Let’s see what I found out.

Big Shifts in the X-sphere (Formerly Twittersphere)

It’s been over seven months since Twitter became X, and yet we still refer to it as Twitter.

We‘ll keep retweeting and never reposting, won’t we?

Breaking that habit is tough, and it’ll take some time for us to fully accept this change. Obviously, the name change was the first and most significant alteration.

So, here are all the changes the platform made in 2023.

Rebranding — New Name, New Logo

In July 2023, Twitter officially became X.

Elon Musk announced the change on his profile, and people went crazy in the comments:

User’s comment about rebranding

Musk, also known for founding PayPal as X.com in 1999, legally changed Twitter’s domain to x.com.

Elon Musk’s announcement about rebranding

The rebranding reflects Musk’s ambition to create an “everything app” like WeChat. This type of app combines messaging, social networking, e-commerce, delivery services, and online banking.

Musk explained that the old Twitter name didn’t fit the platform’s expanded capabilities, so the change was necessary.

Musk’s post about the new Twitter name

Analysts and experts shared their views about this with TIME magazine:

  • Jasmine Enberg from Insider Intelligence believes Twitter’s brand is closely connected to Musk’s personal brand.
  • Allen Adamson from Metaforce criticized the move, calling it an “ego decision” that could lead to quick business decline.
  • White from Vanderbilt mentioned the difficulty of building trust with a new name, especially for payments.

But, were these concerns valid or just hot air?

Twitter’s revenue in 2023 was $3.4 billion, marking a 22% decrease from the previous year.

This data suggests that the rebranding move indeed had a negative impact.

Twitter annual revenue 2012-2023

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Moreover, Twitter’s financial health took a hit in 2023 due to a nearly 50% decline in advertising revenue and significant debt.

Here is the source confirming the information stated above.

Musk’s post about X’s negative cash flow

The comments below this post were a mixed bag. Some users backed Elon Musk and were willing to pay more for a subscription because they believed in the platform.

However, others poked fun at him, calling the move poor and unprofessional.

No Login, No Use

June 2023 was a month of the biggest Twitter shifts, so users got another surprise—they couldn’t see tweets or profiles without logging in.

X News Daily update

Elon Musk was concerned about how AI companies, such as OpenAI, were using Twitter’s data.

For instance, check this:

User’s post about AI browsing Twitter

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So, he made it tougher for non-logged-in users to get in.

Some believed this move aimed to attract more users for ads, but it faced criticism for making Twitter less user-friendly and disrupting research that relied on Twitter data.

Another reason for this decision is that Twitter’s research from 2015 showed that over 500,000 users were using Twitter without logging in. At the time, there were about 300 million monthly active users.

Now, with even more than 500,000 logged-in users, just imagine how many extra users are browsing without logging in today. We’re likely talking about millions, at least.

Monthly active Twitter users by year (in millions)

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Musk also shut down third-party apps and made it impossible for developers to use Twitter’s tools.

Fortunately, this change was temporary.

Now, X lets people browse without logging in again. However, you’re not able to see any of the replies or additional posts in a thread.

X’s announcement about temporary measures

More Words, More Fluff

Just a few months after bumping up the character limit to 10,000 (April 2023), another update arrived in June for Twitter Blue users — they could now post tweets up to 25,000 characters long.

Increased character limit on Twitter

Earlier in the same year, there had been an increase from 280 to 4,000 characters.

Longer tweets for Twitter Blue subscribers

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However, each of these changes caused Twitter to crash for many users worldwide.

Reading longer tweets on the website or app was difficult at first, with poor structure and readability issues. However, this problem has improved over time.

My take on this: I have mixed feelings, to be honest. On the one hand, I’m glad that I can finally read the whole text without loading threads.

On the other hand, Twitter no longer has its charm where people have to express thoughts, statements, and information in the most concise way possible. Now, we have a lot of fluff and overly long posts (like on LinkedIn and Facebook). I miss the original allure of Twitter — say more with less.

Global Expansion & New Subscription Plans

In March 2023, Twitter Blue went global, spreading its subscription wings to over 20 European countries (Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Bulgaria, Malta, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, and the Netherlands).

Before that, it was US-only.

Priced at $8 a month or 8 euros, it offered perks like the blue checkmark, tweet editing, NFT Profile Pictures, and longer tweets. The coolest new feature was definitely hour-long video posts. Users also got two-factor authentication via SMS, which used to be free for everyone.

Then, in October 2023, X rolled out new subscription options.

Introducing new X packages

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There’s now a $16 per month “Premium+” tier that’s ad-free and a $3 per month “Basic” tier without a verified checkmark or some creator tools. Premium+ enhances reply visibility and grants full access to creator tools. The Basic tier, similar to the $8 Premium one, has fewer ads but lacks the verified checkmark.

But how many users actually want to pay for any of these plans?

Here are the results, according to our recent study:

  • 22% considering X Premium.
  • 41% staying free users.
  • 31% not using X.
  • 6% unsure about premium.

X hopes these changes will boost revenue amidst user and advertiser concerns.

News Headlines — Gone and Back Again

In August 2023, X announced removing headlines from news articles.

Yes, Musk had already downgraded posts with external links to keep users on the platform, but removing headlines seemed so random and nonsense.

He said it simply looked better and kept arguing with users who disagreed.

X changes how news links show up on the timeline

By October, the change was made, and headlines disappeared. Users did not like this change. They found it impractical, confusing, and just plain nonsense. Look at the example below — it’s clear why people didn’t like such a format. A single image with no context just doesn’t cut it.

Sam Parker’s thoughts about the new headline format on X

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Surprisingly, Musk actually took users’ criticism into account this time and brought back the good stuff.

Hence, headlines made their comeback in January 2024. Now, they appear at the bottom of images, not the top.

Verification Chaos

Changes to Twitter’s verification system have stirred up quite a storm, too.

Initially meant to verify notable users and tackle misinformation, the blue checkmark became more of a status symbol over time.

But Musk’s decision to scrap the old system and let anyone with Twitter Blue get verified caused chaos. It blurred trust on the platform and confused users.

Even though X tried to fix it by automatically verifying big accounts, the mess persisted.

Then, on April 20, 2023, X wiped out legacy verified badges from Twitter.

Elon Musk’s post about removing Blue checks

This move, aimed at simplifying verification, sparked jokes and memes among users.

User’s meme in the comments

Daily Tweet Limits

On July 1, 2023, Elon Musk changed the rules on X again.

The company limited the number of tweets we can read per day. Verified users used to get 6,000 posts, unverified got 600, and new unverified accounts had 300.

Musk stated that the changes aim to tackle “extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation.

Musk’s announcement about daily limits

Those numbers increased the SAME day after people got mad in the comments.

So, at this point, verified accounts can see up to 10,000 tweets, unverified ones get 1,000, and new unverified accounts have 500 to look at.

An increase in daily post limit

Monetization — Pay-to-Play

Back in February 2023, Musk announced a plan for X — creators to earn from their posts.

In July, the program launched, but there’s a twist — to cash in, users must subscribe to X Premium (ex Twitter Blue).

The worst catch? Only interactions from other X Premium subscribers count. Many subscribers are right-wing, Musk fans, or meme accounts sharing stolen content.

As a result, initial payouts mainly went to them, setting unrealistic expectations.

Now, feeds are full of their content chasing the dollar, sharing stolen viral content and low-quality posts.

The best thing about this whole monetization mess is the hilarious memes again:

Fake Musk’s post meme

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With lots of talk about the monetization program and inaccuracies on X, Musk made a post in October 2023.

He announced a new rule for creators: If Community Notes corrects a tweet, the user won’t get paid for it. This change aims to prioritize accuracy over sensationalism on the platform.

X Creator monetization update

Will it work?

Who knows, but at least there’s hope for better content on X.

How Marketers Can Still Win on X (+ Data and Expert Tips)

Now, let’s see how marketers manage through these shifts.

I interviewed some of them and put together the best tips on how to win X under Elon Musk.

1. Optimize your post length to keep users on your profile.

When you’re tweeting (I guess I’ll forever use this word), understanding character limits is key. Originally, tweets were 140 characters, but now it’s 280 for standard users.

Most characters count as one, but some count as more — emojis, for instance.

But, if you’re a premium user, you have a chance to write more.

So, what’s the sweet spot? Should you really write a wall of text and the whole article on X? Will this be a top or flop post? Well, it depends. But, according to so many negative comments about this character count increase, people obviously don’t prefer long-form posts on X.

Users’ comments about longer posts on X

I talked to Andrea Bosoni from Zero to Marketing, and he says that growing on X has become similar to TikTok. You need to get a lot of views, or no one sees your stuff at all.

“What most marketers don’t realize is that one of the most important factors the algorithm rewards right now is how much time users spend on a post. So, longer posts with more than 280 characters can work really well if they’re interesting enough to make people click on the read more button,” Bosoni says.

At the same time, Bosoni continues, “users don’t want to see a wall of text, so if your post is too long, they’ll just bounce back without reading it.”

Bosoni found a sweet spot in the 50-100 word range. “This length tends to get a good number of comments,” Bosoni says.

Here are some of Bosoni’s posts that prove his points:

Andrea Bosoni’s posts on X

2. Try live streaming to reach people who prefer another type of content.

Live video on X is another powerful way to engage your audience. Here’s why it’s worth trying:

  • 20% of US adults aged 18-34 watch live-stream videos multiple times a day.
  • In Q3 2023, live video was the third most-watched online content, with 27% of viewers tuning in.
  • Cable companies are losing subscribers, while streaming services are booming, reaching $30.3 billion in 2022.

3. Tweak your DM approach.

X is full of scammers, fake opportunities, and people trying to sell everything under the sun. But if you can grab someone’s attention with the first sentence in a DM, you’ve got a winning ticket.

Thus, Cleartail Marketing found great success with X’s direct messaging feature for personalized outreach. Magee Clegg, the CEO, shares more on the strategy:

“By combining this with detailed keyword research and precise audience segmentation, we managed to increase a technology client’s lead generation by 35%,” Clegg says.

Clegg notes that her team made conversational, non-salesy connections with prospects related to ongoing X chats. They then “used these as soft entry points for relationship-building that led to more informed and warm sales calls,” according to Clegg.

Here’s what I suggest for the best DM outreach on X:

1. Personalize your outreach to increase your chances of getting a response. And no, personalization isn’t just about adding someone’s name at the beginning of the message. Show you’ve read their post and understand their problem and pain points before offering anything. Start with casual conversation.

Hint: I always start conversations with, well … truth. Either I refer to their posts or comments that have evoked certain emotions or curiosity or explain why I want to connect. It works 80% of the time.

Build relations first before pitching anything.

2. Don’t be afraid to follow up. It’s easy to miss messages in the DM inbox, so send a follow-up message after 2-3-4 days.

3. Social media users expect fast replies. If you get a reply from someone, make sure to respond promptly to increase the chances of ongoing communication and potential partnership (or whatever your goal may be). Turn on notifications to stay updated on messages.

Never hesitate to follow up — example.

Also, here are the latest updates you need to know about X’s direct messages:

  • You’re limited to sending 500 Direct Messages per day. Once you reach this limit, you’ll have to wait until the next day to send more.
  • If you’re messaging accounts that don’t follow you, you may need to verify your phone number.
  • Sending the same message or link to multiple accounts can be seen as spam. If reported, you won’t be able to send messages for a short period. Wait at least 30 minutes before trying again.

4. Use advanced search features to monitor emerging trends and topics in your niche and convert commenters into customers

X’s advanced search feature lets you fine-tune your results for specific date ranges, people, and phrases. For instance, you can search for something like “best hiking trails,” “local yoga classes,” or “best SEO course.”

Here, let’s learn how Matthew Montez, Founder of The MBC Group, uses X’s advanced search and Twitter Lists to increase footfall for a coffee shop chain.

MBC tested a campaign for a regional coffee shop chain that focused on engaging with users who tweeted about coffee within a certain radius of their stores. The team used geotags to pinpoint potential customers and employed snappy, personalized replies with incentives to visit their nearest location.

This approach not only increased foot traffic by 15% over a period of three months but also significantly boosted the chain’s Twitter engagement metrics, demonstrating the power of localized and responsive social media tactics.

Here’s how to use advanced search:

1. Log in to X.com and access advanced search.

2. Enter your search query.

3. Click Advanced search or More options> Advanced search on the results page.

4. Refine your search by words, people, places, and dates.

5. Combine fields for better results.

5. Build community and connect on X to create a thriving following.

Just like anywhere else online, you need to build a community on X to survive.

David Miles, CEO at PPC Machine, recommends that marketers engage with their followers and others in their industry by liking and replying to their tweets. Team should recognize and amplify their voices. Beyond that, he recommends hosting chats or AMAs to foster discussion.

“A strong, active community will boost your reach and credibility. Also, amplify influencers’ content, give them a shoutout, or ask them questions to start a conversation. If the relationship develops, explore co-creating content or hosting an event together,” Miles says.

Moreover, Miles recommends joining X communities to connect with like-minded users or creating your own group.

Communities offer a sense of belonging and support and make more people recognize and fall in love with your brand.

X Communities

X communities update: In October 2023, X adopted a Facebook Group-style member vetting feature to improve its Communities. So, now, you can ask members to answer a question and agree to your group rules before joining.

6. Participate in X Spaces to build communities.

X Spaces is a feature where you can have live audio conversations, connect with others, and share ideas in real time. It’s similar to podcasts, but you don’t have to be a guest to participate actively — simply join, listen, and speak.

If it’s your Space, others can request to speak, and you can approve or decline it.

X Spaces

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X Spaces update: Very soon, X Spaces will have a video feature. Users will be able to turn their cameras on or off during the broadcast.

X's designer announces video addition to X Spaces

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Posting Through Uncertainty

We all feel uncertain on the platform now, expecting new surprises (or shocks) every day. It seems that’s Musk’s way of leading X — keeping us on our toes.

But despite all the uncertainty and changes, X still has great potential for both personal and business use. There are plenty of opportunities to stay informed and connect with the right audience.

And that made X the talk of the town.

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