X (formerly Twitter) promised to share advertising revenue with subscribers to X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) and while a few payouts have exceeded thousands of dollars — one creator, for example, made $7,153 — it turns out that, where most creators are concerned, X is paying only a tiny percentage of its advertising revenue.
For context, cost per mille (CPM) is a popular measure of the cost to display one ad 1,000 times. X advertisers typically pay $5 CPM. For premium placements, advertisers sometimes pay over $100 CPM.
Contrast these rates with the payouts received by many X creators. Indeed, one admitted to earning just $0.07 CPM — 98% less than X advertisers’ standard $5 CPM rate. Another creator earned 99.5% less than X’s standard CPM.
Most creators earn less than 1% of X’s ad revenue.
Not only that, many advertisers pay far higher rates — particularly for ad placements alongside top creators — so the average withholding by X from creators is certainly over 99%.
Even worse, X is simply withholding payouts entirely for everyone except the most popular creators. For the vast majority of users, X is keeping 100% of ad revenue.
I just received my first @X ads revenue sharing payout today!!From Jan 31st – Sept 1st I had 27.2 Million impressions total.$1.85/Million impressions$0.00185 per 1,000 Something feels a little off🤔 pic.twitter.com/5ZkKZBudzb
— Alex Cobb (@AlexCobb_) September 1, 2023
Read more: Twitter verification is making scammers millions — here’s how
Most creator payouts are at least 99% less than X receives from advertisers
X owner Elon Musk set an arbitrarily high minimum of impressions to qualify for payouts: 5 million impressions within three months. The vast majority of users never attain this threshold and, therefore, receive no payouts whatsoever.
Some users question why X is paying anything to creators if analysts’ estimates of X finances are accurate. Even before Musk acquired Twitter, the company had accumulated billions of dollars in net operating losses. Since Musk acquired the company, its US advertising revenue has crashed -60%.
X’s tiny payouts to creators while quietly withholding over 98% of ad revenue seemingly only makes sense as a media play. Perhaps users posting gratitude about receiving 1% — when they previously earned nothing — can help Musk to earn goodwill.
Even though X is only paying a small percentage of ad revenue to creators, likely as an incentive to drive engagement and earned media, some users apparently think 1% is better than nothing.