Elon Musk broke records in October, buying Twitter https://twitter.com/ for $44 billion. (that’s around £38.2 billion in English money 😉). Reading the hundreds of articles on the topic, it looks like most people are still unsure on what to make of it, it’s a bit like marmite; people either love it or hate it. As an agency, we’re undecided what the future of the Twitter update will look like, but we’ve had a look at what it could mean for our clients in the future:
One of Musk’s ideas for Twitter is to get rid of platform bots. This doesn’t sound like a bad idea at first, however it does mean that Twitter accounts would lose followers and have less engagement on their posts. Bots, whilst they sound bad, are actually great for advertising as they perform the acts of a normal Twitter user such as like, retweet and follow. Another potential feature to come about is the ability to edit published tweets. Musk, now self-proclaimed ‘Head Twit’, did a poll on his Twitter account which saw 74% of people vote in favour of having the option to edit a tweet. However, people are reportedly worried that the new edit feature could be used with malice in mind to spread misinformation or harmful messages.
There has also been some controversial talk about advertisers on Twitter with some industry experts predicting an advertiser exodus could be sooner rather than later! Musk previously tweeted “I hate advertising” and indicated that he wants to make the platform “less about advertising”. Considering 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from adverts this is pretty ironic! Already some businesses have paused paid advertising on Twitter until the platform evaluate their true, new direction, a move which lead to Musk tweeting that he does respects advertising on Twitter; “Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”
Since the takeover of the app, large businesses such as Amazon and Apple have resumed advertising on Twitter. However, General Mills Inc and Audi have paused their advertising on Twitter.
Leaving the platform
Some celebrities have already started to boycott Twitter. Shonda Rhimes, famous for Greys Anatomy took to Twitter to announce that she was leaving the platform with many other celebrities also choosing to delete their accounts.
It’s not just celebrities leaving the platform either with some users looking to Mastodon, a social network created in 2016 who saw over 70,000 users join the site just the day after the acquisition! Mastodon is a site where people can build a community of their own, with rules of their own. Users have more control over how to moderate content and can control the posts they see by choosing topics that interest them. As an open-source platform more tech savvy users are being drawn in but there’s no denying the user experience is still somewhat clunky and with comments such as “pluses of Twitter do not outweigh the minuses” it doesn’t make sense for advertisers to plan any strategic moves just yet.
Freedom of speech
Let’s talk freedom of speech. Musk’s plan for freedom of speech on the platform has seen the controversial return of Donald Trump who’s account has been approved for reactivated . Leading to a rise in concerns from a variety of demographics including female groups, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour. The latter in particular coming about as a result in a significant increase in the use of racist language with some terms use increasing by over 500% within the first 12 hours of the change in ownership.
Famous blue tick
Finally, the sought after blue tick, historically available only to a select few accounts, is now available to anyone wishing to become ‘verified’ for the small fee of $8 a month (that’s £7.14 to you and me). However, since this original plan Musk has now relaunched the subscription service which has increased the fee to $11 (£8.95) for those using Twitter on an Apple device.
Twitter did not explain the reason behind the price increase for Apple users, but Musk has been critical of the fees Apple charge on the app store which takes a cut of 30% on sales.
So why become verified? The blue tick offers priority in mentions, replies and searches, ability to upload longer videos and users will also see half the number of ads of unverified accounts. Things to consider for businesses continuing to use Twitter as an advertising platform are:
- Will it affect the trustworthiness of the blue tick verification?
- What will good ‘social reach’ look like as the number of verified accounts begin to rise?
Whilst we can’t predict the future and what advertisers can expect from Twitter going forward (and users of Twitter), we’re continuing to see strong, demographic accurate results from our client ad campaigns and will continue to utilise the platform as the situation evolves.
If you’re thinking of using Twitter (or stopping ads on Twitter) – talk to us about the right move for your campaign – when it comes to achieving excellent ROI, we’re always here.