Twitter Case Study: Demanding a Return on Experience (RoX)

deBBie Akwara
 UX design can involve significant upfront costs for businesses, but it can ultimately save money and bring significant short-term and long-term benefits i.e.

  • boost leads and improved SEO - short-term
  • boosts customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, brand reputation & awareness - long-term

While you may identify with the above short-term and long-term benefits of investing in UX, there are several costs associated with UX. Some of these costs require deep pockets based on a business's sector, size, cash flow, capital, human resources, etc. Some of the common UX costs are:

  • research costs i.e. surveys, interviews, usability testing, etc
  • design costs i.e. interfaces, layouts, wireframes, prototypes, visual designs, etc
  • development costs i.e. coding, testing, and deploying the UX design, hardware or server costs needed to support the software/hardware, etc
  • maintenance costs i.e. bug fixes, security updates, feature enhancements, etc

To put the cost of experience in perspective, according to, an estimated cost of UX UI ranges from $4,000 to $75,000 and the real cost might be higher. Is it worth the investment? Absolutely and the below photo courtesy of emphasises that.

 Photo Credit:

With the above in mind, I always advise CX professionals and practitioners to pause, think about and strategize on how to generate revenue post investing in UX to recover experience improve expenses and increase customer profitability.

Writing about this reminds me of a CX project I worked on 9 years ago in my role as the CX manager in a telecommunications company in Africa. The company at the time was incurring a lot of product maintenance costs and as the goal of the business was to reduce the cost to serve, reducing product maintenance costs was a major key performance indicator (KPI) for the CX, customer service, products, IT and marketing teams.

The chief marketing officer (CMO) at the time initiated a project called Project Service Class and the mandate was to review the number of telecommunications products to decide which we should KEEP or REMOVE while also designing, implementing and managing a subscriber migration experience as applicable. After the review, 70% of the products were to be retained and 30% removed to reduce the cost to serve i.e. product maintenance.

So if you are going to invest in making sure your customers or users have a great experience using your product or service, you better make sure you get your money back somehow within a defined period of time and Elon Musk shows us one way to do this.

Demanding A Return On Experience: A Twitter Case Study

In 2022, Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter announced on Twitter that verified Twitter users will now have to pay for verified accounts.

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There were a lot of mixed reactions to his announcements. Some users were delighted and happy to just pay the money and get verified while some vowed to discontinue using the social media platform if it happens. Thinking like a CEO for a minute (which I am *wink*), it does not make good business sense to spend more creating a product or an experience that people need and not bill accordingly for it to cover your improvement costs and make a profit.

According to, as of 2021, Twitter had roughly about 400,000 verified users which is about 10% of its user base at the time. So if this 10% pay $8 a month for their verified accounts, that will be a new income stream for Twitter that generates $3.2 million in revenue monthly and this excludes new verified accounts that will be added within a financial year. To put this projection for new users in perspective, it is estimated that in 2028, Twitter users will reach 652.20 million (source: For a CEO that bought a company for $44 billion, you better make sure there's a return on his investment! Lol.

You will often hear people say it's all about the customer and the experience but in reality? The truth is, it's all about the business! How does Elon Musk get his money back? How does he keep customers happy? What's in it for him for making users feel secure and perceived on Twitter as authentic, notable and active which is some of what the blue tick represents?

5 Tips For Demanding a Return on Experience

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Inspired by this case review, and my experience designing and deploying experience improvement initiatives that incur additional costs to businesses for short-term and long-term business gains, here are my 5 tips on how to demand a return on experience.

  1. Define your objective by leveraging customer insights. It is obvious, isn't it? Why do you want to improve the experience? What is the current state of experience and how is it affecting your revenue i.e. new and repeat sales? If you improve the experience, what results do you expect to see? What will be your revenue increase projections?
  2. Investigate the impact, prototype and test. When you are clear on why you need to do something i.e. the problem you are looking to solve, go ahead and come up with a solution, test it out with a few loyal customers to be sure it solves their problem before concluding on solution selection
  3. Develop & Implement a marketing/sales strategy. Don't just expect that the improvement in experience will sell itself. You have to sell it! Use existing customer data that you have to identify prospects and sell. Twitter for example can explore targeting unverified users that have similar profiles or personas as verified users so the strategy will now be 2-fold i.e. percentage number of verified users that pay for their blue ticks month on month and the number of unverified users that can become verified users
  4. Identify and track key performance indicators. This feeds off my 3rd tip. In marketing the experience improvement, it is important to check how many customers are signing up for the experience enhancement. In the case of Twitter, an experience dashboard for user verification as a product will include monthly repeat user verification sales (revenue + number of users), new user verification sales (revenue + number of users), verification process/product maintenance cost, customer effort in the verification process, verification process turnaround time, verification employee processing time & error rate, etc
  5. Reinvest in the experience. As revenue comes in and the number of customers increases, there should be a percentage of the profit allocated to product improvement and maintenance so as to address any challenges impact projections and any new innovation inspired by user/customer experience

That's it! I hope this gives you a reason THINK DIFFERENTLY to about how you leverage experience management (XM) to solve business problems through experience improvement design and implementation.

Remember, experience improvement has to be profitable. If you are going to spend time, money and resources making sure your customers have a great experience, you better have a strategy to not only get your money back but also make a profit and win market share.

Have a good one! ❤️
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