What You Need to Know
The intersection of advertising and social media evolved quickly, as major platforms found a need to monetize. Ad revenues are the preferred avenue to user subscription models, which are notoriously unreliable. Though a creeping presence of commercial advertisements on Facebook once was an issue, Zuckerberg’s company managed to ward off a mass exodus several times; now his users are now accustomed to ads appearing in their feeds.
But not so for San Francisco-based Twitter, Facebook’s closest rival, which is now in everyone’s crosshairs.
A recent change of ownership has elevated the Twitter platform to a revenue-generating situation that may mirror what occurred when daily print newspapers went the way of the dinosaur, and it’s raising questions about the fitness of advertising there. And it’s driven mostly by politics.
Unlike the simple fiscal elements that led to a decline in print media readership, Twitter is suffering from an ideological free-fall, leading top industry leaders who advise corporations to say stay away for the time being. IPG, one of the biggest worldwide ad companies, issued an official recommendation to pause ad buys with Twitter in light of new owner Elon Musk and the uncertainty surrounding not just moderation policies, but a brewing fiscal crisis after his purchase left him owing a great deal of money to lenders. Musk dropped fully one-half of his workforce, leaving grave concerns about its ability to stay abreast of technology and to expand as needed.
Will it work?
Musk attempts to rein in fears by assuring advertisers they will be “safe” on his platform, but that appears to be insufficient. Twitter’s moderation policies have long been a source of contention – and with a change in ownership, they appear headed toward a veritable reversal, leading to an anticipated spike in hate speech from both high-profile users and everyday users. Corporate giants are loathe to associate with a toxic environment, which is why many either bolt or slowly sneak away from sponsorships and ad placements. General Mills and Audi are among the latest to jump ship. They are just the tip of the iceberg. High-profile celebrities and athletes are following en masse.
Given the inherent fiscal struggles Musk will face, compounded by fleeing advertisers and an uncertain central corporate model, it may be best to shift gears until the quagmire sorts out. Online guru space G2 has a list of other ways to advertise on platforms besides Twitter, with a generous reach.
Keep in mind that small e-commerce merchants may not have the luxury of picking and choosing ad destinations based on whether or not they are en vogue or conflict-free. If the price is right, and your product appeals to users, you should feel free to try your luck on any social media platform. But it’s always useful to understand the general trend of where the internet and ideology cross paths, and commit yourself to following these patterns closely.