Elon Musk, the controversial and very busy tech visionary, has continued his lofty ideas and ambitious business ventures by purchasing Twitter. With all the noise about possible changes to the platform, one thing that sparks to mind is, what is in store for our advertisers who currently use the platform?
Whether we like it or not Elon Musk is the richest man in the world and with that title comes a huge influence. The billionaire aims to create ‘free speech’ for our democracy by giving the chance for everyone to be seen, listened to, and held to a high remark, through purchasing a blue tick for $8 a month. This ‘blue tick’ originally used to verify certain users will now be available to everyone, to limit the number of bots, scams and funny personalities we tend to avoid on social media.
Having higher authentication standards can be a positive change for users however we have not fully assessed how this could affect our advertisers and brands who use the platform daily to build their brand salience and establish their brand tone of voice.
The concept of free speech sounds satisfying especially for our generation, but to what extent… and at what cost do we believe Musk will put a cap on any opinions deemed deplorable?
We’ve followed Musk’s journey across Twitter, and we’ve seen the most ridiculous tweets from himself, covering homophobic slurs, mocking pronouns, spreading Covid-19 conspiracies, encouraging drug usage and many more, the list is uncountable. However, we as a society continue to let it slide, we’ve become accustomed to allowing status and wealth to have dominion over our morals as a society.
Let’s turn it back to the advertisers, we’ve already seen that placing an influence such as Musk in a position of power could raise some concern for the public and businesses. However not all of his policies are as bad.
- Twitter can sell the users’ data rather than selling users’ feed space. They can now track what users are tweeting about and who they follow, through the user’s mobile device and when surfing the web/ using an app. A third-party application- MoPub will then be able to better target ads for specific users.
- For the public, subscribers would also be able to see fewer ads and share long videos + avoid any paywalls at news organizations that team up with Twitter.
- Advertisers will now be able to edit tweets, this is an incredible resource for advertisers who are likely to make a typo or upload an incorrect file when launching a campaign.
- The new algorithm will be a complex extension of the ‘While You Were Away feature’ and will be available on both desktop and mobile interfaces. The ‘best tweets feature’ will provide content to users, mostly based on the tweets they frequently interact with and accounts that are similar to theirs.
There are some negative aspects that also surround the ever-changing platform, the constant development of the Twitter landscape evokes some form of uncertainty and fear, as to whether Elon can continue to broker trust between himself, the platform and advertisers. Almost 90% of twitters revenue comes from advertising however Musk has made it clear that he wants the platform to be less reliant on it.
Advertisers will now need to pay to use the platform and also risk sensitive to the types of content being run against their ads such as hate speech, pornography or misinformation. An issue which most marketers are weary of at the moment is if Twitter continues to struggle with an increase in such content or if Musk allows some explicit content to run within their policies, businesses may limit the level of advertising with the fear of risks to their brands.
Through our conversations with Twitter, they have reassured us that their “strong commitment to content moderation remains unchanged and there will be no changes to their policies”, however since then we have seen Musk lift the ban of some of high-profile accounts including Donald Trump, Kanye and Andrew Tate. This raises doubt as to whether Musk can keep his word.
What does the future hold for advertising across Twitter… since the acquisition of Twitter user growth has hit an all time high, this may be a positive for the Twitter ad space, however I believe the platform should lean into curating a perfect balance between what is really meaningful for our audience, in terms of serving accurate data and promoting safe advertising.