Oh wow, what a surprise.

In a move that will shock almost nobody, Twitter has announced that TweetDeck will soon be a Twitter Blue exclusive, meaning that users of its native tweet management platform will soon have to pay up to keep scheduling their tweets via the app.

As Twitter notes, a new version of TweetDeck is now available, which includes several minor updates on the TweetDeck Preview that it launched back in July 2021.

The new elements include:

  • An updated tweet composer which includes all tweet functionality, including GIFs, polls, etc, all in tweets that can be scheduled
  • Improved Advanced search filters
  • The option to sort your TweetDeck columns into ‘Top Tweets’ or ‘Latest Tweets’
  • Video Docking, so you can watch a video while performing other functions

So nothing major, in terms of functional advancements, but there are some handy elements being added in, which will make TweetDeck a little more appealing.

Though some other aspects have also been removed. TweetDeck Teams has been scrapped in the updated version, which will impact some business users, while other, smaller functional changes have made it a little harder to use – or different, at least, which will take some getting used to.

But still, improving TweetDeck is something that many, including myself, have suggested that Twitter should do for some time, particularly as a counter to the many third-party tweet management tools available, a lot of which offer better analytics insights than Twitter itself.

If Twitter could incorporate more of these functions into its native app, that would make it significantly more valuable. And now that you’re going to have to pay for it, that’s a critical consideration for the next stage of the app.

As Twitter notes, TweetDeck will become a Twitter Blue exclusive in 30 days time, which means that you’ll have to pay to keep using the platform. I’m not sure how much of a lure that will be, as there are various alternatives, but for those currently using TweetDeck, it will likely prompt them to at least consider signing up.

Which, as noted, is no surprise. Twitter’s been trying to add more elements into its Twitter Blue offering, as a means to boost take-up (which hasn’t worked as yet), while Twitter has also been considering making TweetDeck a paid tool since as far back as 2021, when it first launched its updated preview.

Which, again, makes sense. If Twitter incorporates more functional value into the app – which it might still do in future updates, that could transform it into an essential tool for social media managers.

Add to this the fact that many third-party tweet analytics tools have been forced to shut down due to Twitter upping the price of its API access, and this could indeed be a more viable way to increase its subscription revenue take-up, if it were to add in more comparative data and analytics elements, that would improve the tool.

If TweetDeck, for example, were to offer profile comparisons, sentiment analysis, profile bio analysis, active times insight – there’s a range of data that you can access via third party tools that Twitter itself simply doesn’t provide.

Adding these into TweetDeck should be a no-brainer for Twitter’s subscription development team, which could put it ahead of other third-party tools.

And when you also consider that Hootsuite brings in $150 million per year, with Twitter management playing a key part in its offering, while Buffer brings in $20 million, the opportunity is clear.

If Twitter can make TweetDeck better than what’s on offer in these apps, that seems like a key opportunity to maximize its subscription revenue opportunities.

So while it may seem controversial that Twitter’s looking to charge for TweetDeck, it actually does make a lot of sense, especially if Twitter can increase its value and market differentiation.

Of course, another key consideration within that is that TweetDeck has also been significantly impacted by Twitter’s new rate limits, which makes for odd-timing of the announcement. But that remains a larger issue for Twitter to sort out.