Twitter launches lower-cost subscription access to its data through new Premium APIs

Twitter tried to mend its relationship with developers earlier this year with the launch of a new API platform which focused on streamlining APIs and the promise of additional tiers of access. Twitter said it would offer free APIs for testing ideas, self-serve access, as well as paid access for increased functionality, in addition to its enterprise APIs. Today, Twitter is delivering on its plans to offer developers paid APIs that are a step down from the needs of enterprise-scale businesses.

The new products are called Twitter Premium APIs, and they’re designed to offer expanded access to Twitter data beyond what’s currently available in the free APIs. This includes things like more tweets per request, higher rate limits, and more complex queries.

The pricing for the premium APIs ranges from $149/month to $2,499/month, based on the level of access needed.

The first premium offering, the Search Tweets API, is launching today into public beta.

This will give developers the ability to access the past 30 days of Twitter data. It will later include an additional endpoint that will enable access to the full history of Twitter data, back to the first tweet.

The new Search endpoints will offer a number of advantages over free access, including more tweets per request, higher rate limits, a counts endpoint that returns time-series counts of tweets
more complex queries, and metadata enrichments, like expanded URLs and improved profile geo information, says Twitter.

The Search Tweets API is the first of several premium APIs to launch, with others rolling out over the weeks and months ahead.

In addition, Twitter is launching a new self-serve developer portal designed to offer more transparent access to developers’ data usage. This will help developers better determine when they need to upgrade to increased levels of access or other premium functionality. They’ll also be able to manage their subscriptions and payments here.

Later, more functionality from the experience will arrive in the portal too.

The ability to pay for expanded access is something Twitter’s developer community has demanded for years, and seemed an obvious step for Twitter in terms of growing its revenue.

The lack of paid access in between the free and enterprise APIs had limited the ability for developers to grow a business on top of Twitter. That’s something developers may have wanted to do in the past, before Twitter pulled out the rug from under developers’ feet years ago and then shafted its own partners, as the company reconsidered how it wanted to work with the community of third-party developers.

Those bad vibes may still leave their mark on the potential for these new products, as developers may be uncertain about investing time and energy on building on the back of Twitter, given its capriciousness in the past.

But Twitter data remains valuable, which is why the company acquired Gnip, a longtime Twitter partner and social data provider, back in 2014. The paid APIs could also serve as a means for the company to generate additional revenue, given its ad revenue declined 8 percent year-over-year in its last earnings announcement, while data licensing revenue was up 22 percent.

Developers can stay tuned into this and other API news and information via Twitter’s public roadmapforum and  new developer resource center containing documentation and guidance.