Yesterday, Stocktwits launched a premium version of Stocktwits.
Justin, Stocktwits COO, has a great take on the future:
Most large scale social networks are ad supported and frankly any social or content network with large scale and mass market aspirations is much wiser building up enough scale to launch a unique ad platform and monetize it through ads than going a freemium route from the outset. Vertical networks like Stocktwits are different. Without mass market scale, it’s very difficult to create unique, native, member-friendly experiences, because of the complexities of delivering advertising revenue models in vertical networks. As a vertical network, by relying on ads, your members end up having no other choice to eat crappy ad sandwiches, and much more of it than they are used to.
It’s never been clearer that for us to continue to grow a thriving investing and trading community with the level of engagement of Stocktwits (over an hour spent per active member per day, with half spending 5 or more days per week), it’s in our members’ interests that we start thinking about a future without ads. Fortunately for us, we are in a niche where we have the opportunity to deliver a ton of legitimate, actionable value to our members and customers.
Making this transition has been an exciting, albeit challenging, shift in focus for our team and our roadmap. Ad businesses prioritize the needs of finding more eyeballs and giving people ways to reach them, over building solutions to your customer’s problems. A feature which would “move the needle” early on, becomes less attractive as your community scales and grows.
Community and customer supported businesses, on the other hand, prioritize their roadmaps based on customer needs with the intent of getting paid to solve them. There’s a point at which it makes much more sense to invest in finding 50,000 passionate customers than 500,000 eyeballs, and we are at that place.
We are excited but we also understand this has an impact for our community. Ad monetized communities are not used to paying for features and we realize that some features we may add to Plus, you might get for free on large mass market platforms. We also understand that as we make this transition, members may be angry that the feature they always wanted us to build they now have to pay for. We get that. While we don’t plan to roll every new feature into StockTwits Plus subscription, we are serious about delivering continuous value for those in our community who wish to pay for it. We will always prioritize social sharing features as part of the core free product. We believe this model will benefit all members on the platform, as it will allow us to more easily deliver needed features and over time deliver fewer ads for all.
Stocktwits also has a new look and the team explained it here.
I hope you try it out and enjoy. Send me your feedback of course.