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7 min

What X Needs to Become a Great Super App

Users don't like the new X super app. These 5 services and features could fix it

Alex Semenov

Chief Executive Officer

Ellen Snesar

Content Manager

May 27, 2024

The buzz around the X super app is deafening. Elon Musk wants to dominate the market with WeChat’s “everything app” strategy. But making a super app that does everything for everyone wouldn’t cut it. We believe that X needs a tailored approach, combining both revenue generation for the company and a benefit to users in value-added services.

Twitter has struggled to generate revenue for years. The first and the biggest source of income was selling ads. But since Twitter went public in 2013, it couldn’t rely on ads anymore and began searching for other revenue streams. Over the past 10 years, the company looked into data licensing, subscriptions, e-commerce, a Patreon-like service for creators, and even ventured into a newsletter platform.

In 2024, the urge for additional revenue sources has grown again. The new owner, Elon Musk did more than anyone else to decrease the share of ad revenue—in May 2021, it was 85%, and in December 2023, only 75%.

The reason for this, however, is not because non-ad services finally started to bring money. It’s because ads started to sell poorly. In 2023, X saw a 54% year-over-year decline in ad spending on the platform.

Musk’s answer to the crisis is to make X a super app. The new role model for X is the Chinese social network WeChat which offers users everything they need, including financial services. While a full-scale banking service is not a bad idea, we think that payments and banking should be an add-on, rather than a core.

“To avoid the chicken-and-egg problem, it might be smarter to build more value-add services with built-in payments first and add separate financial services only after that.”

Alex Semenov

CEO at HeyInnovations

The core of the new X should be new value-added services. Our team decided to look at what services could be added to the app and how to incorporate these services into X without breaking the user flow.

“Like any global social network, X has a diverse audience with diverse needs. We couldn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach and narrowed our focus to five groups and their jobs-to-be-done. This helped us think through new X’s services targeted at each group.”

Ana

Product researcher at HeyInnovations

1. Partner search for startups and business owners

The first group of X users that we focused on is entrepreneurs and startup owners. They often form communities, discuss typical problems, and help each other. One of their jobs-to-be-done is to find business partners and investors.

X could help them do this job. Imagine a business owner starting a new company that needs an investor or partner. It’s crucial to team up with people who share similar views and interests. That’s how it can assist the business owner—based on the user data, subscriptions, likes, shares, and comments, X can recommend a person who might help the user.

How it works. A startup owner formulates the key characteristics for their potential business partner, e.g. years of experience, industries they worked in, or interests. X finds several best matches and shows them, assuming these users have consented to being recommended as partners. Finally, the user has the option to connect to the chosen person via X.

“When working with big products like X, it's important to enhance the design without damaging it. That's why we did our best to fit the new services into the existing X's app interface.”

Tais

UX/UI designer at HeyInnovations

Benefit for X. This service could be offered for a fee or bundled into a subscription package for business owners. This is similar to what X is doing with data licensing—monetizing its vast user data. But in this case, it would be at a smaller scale and for individuals, not businesses.

2. A creators’ marketplace for brands

Brands that are using social media to engage audiences are another large group that can leverage additional X services and is ready to pay for them. Usually, the user on behalf of the brand is a person from the brand’s marketing team. Their job-to-be-done would be to bring attention to their brand and create a certain brand image. For this goal, they need to be creative in their content.

X can help with this. Given that the company already supports creators, many talented creators monetize their posts, photos, and videos. To find those people who are best in their skills—e.g. artists, photographers, sound designers—X users could benefit from a creators marketplace.

How it works. A brand manager enters a section in the X app and sees the board of the top creators by number of likes and shares on their posts, and collaborations with other creators and influencers. They can also see how much creators would charge for their work. Finding an artist using criteria, like a skill or an art media, would also be an option.

Benefit for X. X would generate revenue from each transaction between a brand and a creator, facilitated by the X payment system. Alternatively, X could generate revenue by selling access to the marketplace via subscription.

3. AI-generated opinion summaries for public figures

Public figures are using X as one of the ways to influence people and get their ideas across. To make that happen, they need to know what their audience thinks on a particular topic or news. To help opinion leaders analyze audience views more quickly, those views can be summarised by AI.

Let’s say an activist publishes a post on a new campaign. Hundreds of people comment on that post, and to understand what sentiment prevails, they need to read all of the comments, which takes time. If an AI summariser is enabled for this account, the activist can get another post with a summary of the most popular opinions from the comments.

How it works. A user creates a post and enables AI summaries for it. Once a post reaches a certain number of comments, AI summarises the comments and creates a draft of a post with key opinions. The user checks the draft and decides whether to post it straight away, edit it, or reject it.

Benefit for X. AI summaries can be a part of a subscription to a set of AI tools developed by X. This set would include another AI tool, Grok, which is now in the X Premium subscription.

4. A map of local places of interest for individual users

Individual users visit X for real-time updates relevant to their location. So, their job-to-be-done would be to be aware of local news, events, and places. If it’s a big city, the main location would be their own neighborhood.

X could offer a service in the form of a map of local interesting things. The map would work as a hub for nearby events, with geotagged posts and news by territory. If an event or a place is mentioned in a post, users can go directly from the post to the booking engine and buy a ticket or book a table in a restaurant.

How it works. A user subscribes to the news with a geotag of their chosen area. They see a post with local news, go to the map, and notice a new restaurant nearby. The point on the map is related to all tweets that mention the restaurant. The user books a table and leaves a review on X after visiting the restaurant. The same can be done with an event—a movie, a concert, or a theatre play.

Benefit for X. For X, the opportunity here is to get a commission from companies that would allow users to book their tickets or tables.

5. A platform for field experts

Knowledge experts like copywriters, lawyers, marketing specialists, and consultants come to X to show their skills and share their expert opinions. If they’re already showing their expertise, it makes sense to help them find clients who could leverage it and pay for their service.

X can offer a platform for such experts. First, it would accumulate reviews posted by clients of these professionals and show them in their profiles. Second, it can feature a catalog of professionals filtered by area of expertise, experience, number of projects, etc. Third, professionals could connect with their clients directly via X.

How it works. The user enables an expert mode in their profile. Once they have enough reviews, the profile page will feature an average rating and the latest reviews. Potential clients can find the right expert via a catalog and leave a review in a post that will automatically be featured on the expert’s profile page.

Benefit for X. X can get a commission on each transaction between the two parties, just like in the case of the creators’ marketplace, or offer new features via an Expert subscription.

6. In-app payments and a rewards program to wrap it all

The new services could be added to the existing X’s paid services, but the problem would be to encourage user adoption. This can be achieved through two methods: a unified payment system and a rewards program.

In-app payments. Using X’s own payment system for all services would simplify operations. Users would have an X wallet to pay for all X services from one place without commissions or going to third parties.

Rewards program. Gamification can encourage the adoption of new features. For example, a business owner who pays a fee for access to a partner search will get 10 points (1 point=$0.25) that can be then spent on their X Premium subscription. Or, X could give a user 10 points for subscribing to a musician, and the points could be spent on buying a ticket via X to a concert by that musician.

Key takeaways

Business owners, brands, public figures, experts, and individual users are key segments in X's audience. Defining the segments and understanding what could appeal to them is better than trying to reach any random user on X.

Defining the segments would be one of the steps in building an X digital ecosystem. The full journey is reflected in the methodology developed by our team at HeyInnovations:

  1. Identify the core competencies of a business
  2. Center the ecosystem around the highest frequency service
  3. Plan out the user flow: from basic actions to more complex tasks
  4. Match business resources with customer needs
  5. Create services within the existing business resources, starting with the highest frequency ones
  6. Unify the services through a common loyalty program and user profile
  7. Merge the online and offline customer experience
  8. Redirect the traffic from the core service to the subsidiaries using favorable offers
  9. Diversify the main business with additional services while retaining a competitive advantage
  10. Converge all business processes into one digital environment

If you’d like to know more about this approach, download our free guide to ecosystem development, illustrated with our case studies and best practices from Amazon, Uber, and Klarna.

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