In a bold strategic move for 2024, X is shifting its focus to Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) with the unveiling of its cost-effective “Verification for Organizations” package. This pivot follows Elon Musk’s headline-grabbing stance last year, where he candidly dismissed larger advertisers over brand safety concerns. Rather than attempting to mend ties with high-profile executives, X is redirecting its efforts towards smaller players with its newly revamped offering.

The updated package comes at a fraction of the cost, reducing the monthly subscription from $1,000 to a budget-friendly $200. Subscribers at this lower rate receive a coveted gold checkmark for their brand profile, priority support, all the perks of X Premium+, access to job listings via X Hiring, and more.

But why stick with the $1,000 per month package? While the economical version still provides the gold checkmark and various benefits, the pricier option offers additional reach boosts for posts and the ability to allocate blue checkmarks to staff members through the “Affiliates” feature. However, the perceived value of blue checkmarks has dwindled in the wake of X’s recent reevaluation of their significance. Despite the higher cost, opting for the $1,000 per month package might be justified for larger brands seeking more ad credits, but the economic viability of this decision varies from business to business.

The $200 per month package emerges as a more practical and accessible choice for business verification, prompting the question of why X didn’t introduce this option sooner, instead of the initially steep $1,000 per month pricing. The color of the checkmark becomes inconsequential when it’s purchasable, rendering it irrelevant as a symbol of trust or authority. This begs the question: are businesses paying for a checkmark just to be considered ‘cool’?

While the $200 package may attract some businesses, X faces the challenge of compensating for its ad revenue losses with smaller players. To provide context, X’s top 50 advertisers historically spend an average of $1 billion annually on in-app promotions. As of now, X is projected to generate approximately $2 billion for the year, leaving a significant revenue gap to fill.

The platform’s success in capturing the attention of SMBs hinges on Elon Musk’s approach to content on the app. If he continues to share controversial and divisive content while dismissing advertisers’ concerns, X will need a substantial influx of SMBs subscribing to the new package.

In conclusion, the introduction of the $200 per month Verification for Organizations package is a positive step for X. However, the platform faces an uphill battle in replacing lost ad revenue from major players unless it can effectively attract and retain SMBs. The outcome will likely depend on Elon Musk’s influence and the platform’s ability to adapt to changing advertiser expectations.

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