We’re still several months away from the anticipated close date of Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition — whether it’s on again or off again depends on the day. A lot has happened in just the five weeks since the deal was announced, and we anticipate more will happen between now and October. But rest assured: We can count on the drama about Twitter to continue to publicly play out on Twitter. Amidst all this, where do consumers stand?

One In Four US Conservative Males Think Elon Musk Will Make Twitter Better

Forrester just received the results from its May 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey of 1,556 online adults in the US, the UK, and France — of which 335 use Twitter. More Twitter users in the US (23%) versus the UK (14%) and France (11%) indicate that Elon Musk will make Twitter better. And when we segment responses for all online adults in the US by gender and by political affiliation, we see a conservative-male skew: Twenty-three percent of US males versus 11% of US females believe Elon Musk will make Twitter better, and a quarter (25%) of conservative US online adults believe the same (versus 11% of liberals).

One In 10 Users Believe That Twitter Content Moderation Practices Are Too Strict

In April, we blogged that Elon’s battle over free speech is a fight against content moderation. Yet our data indicates that roughly 10% of Twitter users in the US feel that content moderation practices on Twitter around hate speech and misinformation are too strict and should be loosened. To the contrary, as my colleague Kelsey Chickering points out, the spread of disinformation has become a systemic problem and more needs to be done to curb it, else Twitter risks alienating revenue-providing advertisers. But could Twitter mitigate any revenue shortfalls by accelerating its subscription model?

A Twitter Subscription-Only Service Is A Hard Sell

One of the reasons Twitter Blue hasn’t gained much traction since it launched comes down to cost versus benefit. Users simply aren’t getting material value for a $2.99 monthly subscription fee. Our data shows that 5% or fewer current Twitter users subscribe to Twitter Blue. So whether Elon Musk can kick-start Twitter’s subscription service or not will depend on offering substantially more value to justify a premium price point.

An ad-free experience, by itself, isn’t going to tip the scales, since ads on Twitter are far less intrusive compared to other ad formats on other platforms. Things such as exclusivity, status, and access begin to move the needle, but nonetheless, it will be a hard sell: Fewer than 10% of Twitter users indicate that Twitter should become an entirely subscription-based service with no ads.

What do you think? Tweet me your thoughts at @McProulx. Forrester clients: Let’s chat more about the data via a Forrester guidance session. And please join me next week (June 7), when I’ll be presenting a keynote session, “Consumers Or Constituents? Marketing Amidst Our Culture Wars,” at Forrester’s CX North America event.