The Financial Times: ‘Twitter’s $5bn-a-Year Business Hit as Elon Musk Clashes With Advertisers’

Hannah Murphy, Alex Barker, and Arjun Neil Alim, reporting for The Financial Times:

Multiple top advertising agencies and media buyers told the Financial Times that nearly all of the big brands they represent have paused spending on the social media platform, citing alarm at Musk’s ad hoc approach to policing content and decision to axe many of its ad sales team.

Musk, meanwhile, has sought to personally call chief executives of some brands that have curbed advertising in order to berate them, according to one senior industry figure, leading others to instead reduce their spend to the bare minimum required so as to avoid further confrontation with the billionaire entrepreneur.

Planters’ Mr. Peanut mascot isn’t this nutty. The only way to keep advertisers on board is to make Twitter a place where they’d want their ads to appear. Berating CEOs is only going to make Twitter seem less attractive.

After several waves of job cuts and departures, Twitter’s ads business team has shrunk so much that many agencies no longer have any point of contact at the company and have received little to no communication in recent weeks, according to four industry insiders.

Some brands have been unable to get feedback on how previous campaigns have performed because of the staffing shortages, one media buyer said. Others are complaining Twitter’s ads systems have also become buggy, making it difficult or even impossible to run campaigns.

I’ve mentioned before that big brand advertisers are very conservative. They value stability and predictability, and loathe controversy and chaos. That alone would be enough to explain why Twitter’s ad sales have quickly plummeted under Musk’s leadership. But another huge aspect to brand advertising are personal relationships. Musk, to date, has screwed all of this up. He’s made Twitter itself unpredictable and controversial, and he fired the ad sales people who had personal relationships with Twitter’s most important advertisers.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022