Marketers Lukewarm on Meta’s Twitter Clone App

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Marketer response to Meta reportedly building its own decentralized Twitter clone app this summer is tepid, three industry leads told Adweek. That’s mostly due to questions circling around the platform’s handling of data, adoption and monetization.

Meta is reportedly working on a text-based app that would compete against Twitter, which has had its fair share of tribulations since Elon Musk took over last year.

Meta’s app, codenamed P92, or Barcelona, will be partially integrated with Instagram. Meta is currently seeking agency partners to approach celebrities, high-profile stars, and big influencers to offer early access to the platform as soon as this week, according to an internal email sent by a talent agency that works with A-list celebrities and influencers, seen by Adweek.

The email states this will not be a paid partnership with the agency. Meta is holding direct calls with individual celebrities or their representatives to entice them to be the first users of the app, Adweek has learned.

“I don’t jump with joy and excitement at the immediate breaking news,” said Avi Ben-Zvi, vp of paid social at Tinuiti. “There are so many things that have to happen, like user adoption, before it becomes something really serious from an advertising perspective.”

Meta has not returned a request for comment.

Meta’s Twitter-killer app comes at a time when Twitter’s future still remains dubious, but slightly more hopeful after ad leader Linda Yaccarino was announced as CEO earlier this month. Many of Twitter’s advertisers fled the platform over brand safety concerns. Meanwhile, a recent study by Pew Research Center found that 60% of the platform’s users have taken a break from the app in the past year, while other apps such as Mastodon and BlueSky have tried to capture that audience.

What we do know is people will keep their Instagram handle and verification, while their followers will receive a notification to follow them on the yet-to-be-named platform. Meta’s text-based app will be interoperable with Twitter competitor Mastodon. People can attach links, photos, and videos up to five minutes long, according to Lia Haberman, author of social media newsletter ICYMI, who shared leaked details about the app.

The internal email, too, acknowledged the emergence of Mastodon and BlueSky as direct competitors to Twitter. But the company pointed out Meta’s advantage of access to billions of users through its other apps, including Facebook and Instagram.

Before marketers get too excited, they will be watching the adoption of the yet-to-be-named platform and how people interact with the content.

“Clubhouse was something that everybody was talking about a year ago,” said Ben-Zvi. “Ultimately, [it] never really reached that adoption point.”

Plugging signal loss with more data

Sources presume Meta will monetize via ads since that’s the platform’s dominant revenue stream: In 2022, Meta made over $113 billion dollars in ad revenues, according to Statista.

But its ad revenue has taken a hit from Apple’s ATT roll-out, upending Meta’s ability to target users. Earlier this week, the tech giant was hit with a record $1.3 billion in privacy fines for violating European Union privacy laws by transferring the personal data of Facebook users to the U.S., further exacerbating its signal loss.

“[Meta] needs more engagement and users doing things to create data that they can feed into their machine learning to target ads,” said Jason Kint, CEO of trade body Digital Content Next.

Meta has often made headlines for mishandling people’s data, especially since its reputation took a hit after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018.

Just this week, Axios and Harris Poll surveyed 16,310 Americans to capture the reputation of the most visible brands in the U.S. Meta was at number 96, while Twitter was at number 97.

“You stop and reflect on who am I going to trust as a company that’s launching a service that I want to go use instead of Twitter because I’ve lost my appetite for Twitter,” said Kint. “I don’t know if [Meta] is the place I’d be jumping.”

Lower funnel monetization and subscriptions

For Ben Jeffries, CEO & co-founder at Influencer, the new platform could attract ad dollars depending on the type of ad placements, such as sponsored content within a feed or pre-rolls. Marketers could also likely expect organic influencer marketing, without paid media, to address lower-funnel objectives by driving conversions based on link sharing.

“Instagram feed doesn’t offer links in the organic content, and this is what that app will be able to do,” he said. “We could see the return of a lot of creators promoting links from a conversion-based activation.”

Jeffries speculates that Meta could launch, or extend, its premium subscription model to creators, similar to its verification model, Meta Verified, on Instagram and Facebook, currently priced at $11.99 per month on the web and $14.99 per month on mobile.

Still, marketers are most enthusiastic about what’s new and shiny.

“Instagram reels were very close to Tik Tok,” said Jeffries. “I would really like to see something very original, that isn’t necessarily seen as a clone of another app.”

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