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Hellscape or not, many advertisers are seriously reconsidering their plans for Twitter.
The last few weeks have been a dizzying affair for advertisers on the platform, unsure of what Twitter will look like under the management of its new owner, Elon Musk. He tried to address those concerns the day he officially took over, tweeting an open letter to advertisers that said the platform “obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape.”
Advertisers to Twitter
Days later, major ad agencies recommended pausing campaigns on the platform as a result of the company’s new leadership and content-moderation strategy.
As first reported by Marketing Brew, the advertising company IPG, which owns media agencies including UM and Mediahub, sent a detailed email to clients advising a temporary pause on ads on the platform, noting that Twitter “has been silent in any direct communication with marketers and agencies since the transaction closed.” IPG clients include Spotify, American Express, and Johnson & Johnson.
“The current situation is unpredictable and chaotic, and bad actors and unsafe behaviors thrive in such an environment,” the email read.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Havas Media Group, which has worked with companies including Puma, Reckitt, and Kia, had also recommended a pause, and that Musk had “begun meeting with top advertising executives.”
GM separately announced that it temporarily suspended advertising on Twitter. As of Thursday, so had major companies like Pfizer, General Mills, and Audi, according to the Wall Street Journal. On Friday, Nov. 4, Musk tweeted that Twitter “has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers.”
That’s a big deal. Twitter makes most of its revenue from advertisers on the platform. Musk polled his followers to ask if “advertisers should support: freedom of speech [or] ‘political ‘correctness.’”
Twitter to advertisers
Musk met virtually with more than 100 ad execs on Thursday, telling them that he intended to speed up the company’s efforts to improve brand safety on Twitter, a marketer on the call told Insider. Then on Friday, he reportedly told attendees of a business conference that “we’ve done our absolute best to appease [advertisers]. And nothing has worked.”
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Musk reportedly met with civil-rights leaders on Monday, Oct. 31, committing to restore employee access to the platform’s content-moderation tools, which had reportedly been blocked for some employees. That Wednesday, he tweeted that the company would not let anyone who is banned from the platform back “until we have a clear process for doing so, at least a few more weeks.”
Meanwhile, Twitter representatives have sent emails to multiple agencies, informing them that though “there are a lot of moving parts at Twitter right now,” the company has “not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content-moderation policies.”
On Monday, Oct. 31, an email from Sarah Personette (who tweeted the following day that she’d resigned her role as the company’s chief customer officer the previous Friday) seen by Marketing Brew went out to at least one agency saying that “we are doing our best to represent the voices of the market to Elon and team.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, a similar email went out that included the line that Musk is “one of the greatest inventors in the world.”