Elon Musk is hot ass, so to speak. His takeover of Twitter certainly cost him dearly on a personal level, to the point that some wonder if a possible fall would not drag Tesla into the whirlwind of failure. But the 44 billion dollar operation is above all expensive for the company itself: the Twitter network is now weighed down by debt and its colossal interests, which are particularly difficult to assume without rapid growth in the platform’s income.
And these depend, in large part, on its advertising revenue. However, as has been amply explained everywhere since the arrival of the billionaire at the helm, his volatile and brutal attitude, his massive and poorly targeted dismissals and, above all, his philosophical laxity regarding the moderation of comments made on the platform have largely made run away from the biggest advertisers, afraid of associating the image of their brands with a place where the hate speech and the conspirators are no longer held back by anything.
When Twitter reopens the door to amplified conspirators, the company decides to end its policy of combating disinformation on the Covid (effective since November 23).
— Olivier Tesquet (@oliviertesquet) November 29, 2022
If most of these maneuvers take place behind the scenes, a psychodrama has been heavily publicized by Elon Musk himself, who has entered into a crusade against Apple.
According to him, the firm of Tim Cook, which was one of the advertisers who temporarily stopped their advertising investments on Twitter, “was against freedom of expression”. Worse, Apple threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store: an unbearable casus belli that the boss of Tesla and SpaceX sought to settle by tweets, as usual.
Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
After Elon Musk threatened to launch his own phone, which made many observers laugh, after he went to war against the 30% commission taken by Apple on transactions through his services, like many others before him, things got back to normal after a meeting with Tim Cook, who gave him a tour of the owner.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 30, 2022
The boss of the apple brand also had to explain to him two or three things, both basic and essential, that, in all the wisdom he does not often show, Elon Musk was probably unaware of when it came to the advertising of big brands on the Web.
As specified by the New York Times and Ars Technica, the cessation of advertising orders from Apple on Twitter had nothing to do with bullying or a full-scale attack on the free speech dear to Musk.
The decision was actually made after a deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs and is part of the business as usual of a large company wishing at all costs to control its brand image: Apple simply wished not to see its name associated in any way with a mass killing.
A little later, after flatly thanking Apple for its return among its customers, Elon Musk split another tweet praising advertisers for their return to Twitter – like Apple, Amazon in particular would have promised big campaigns, order of 100 million dollars a year.
Just a note to thank advertisers for returning to Twitter
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 4, 2022
What has changed for brands, or at least some of them, to resume their advertising investments on a platform which, however, risks slipping into the most complete immoderation?
It’s not really a love of absolutist freedom of speech, not a financial tribute to the genius of Elon Musk either, but rather a very good deal for them: according to the New York Times, the new owner has in their indeed offered financial terms that were impossible to refuse for their upcoming campaigns. A method that resembles that of a somewhat desperate carpet merchant.
Advertising is therefore on sale on Twitter. Elon Musk offers a colossal 50% discount, or rather a 100% bonus: according to the New York daily, the platform offers in December to double the number of advertisements acquired for any campaign between 500,000 and one million dollars. Bonuses of 25% to 50% are offered for lesser expenses, respectively 200,000 and 350,000 dollars.
The reason for these exceptional offers? An exceptional hole. According to the New York Times, forecast revenues for the World Cup period, which should have been a lifeline for an already strangled firm, were 80% below forecasts.
At the end of October, the platform had lost 1,500 advertisers in total – including some behemoths like Apple, for the reasons explained above. Sales forecasts have therefore continued to be revised downwards by the teams in charge, dropping in a few weeks from 1.4 to 1.1 billion dollars for the last months of the year.
In short, the panic is palpable and the platform continues to be in serious danger. This is all the more true since Elon Musk’s plan to charge 8 dollars a month to users wishing to benefit from the small certification badge is, ultimately, still in limbo: gold, it was, a a priori, the most direct source of income imagined by the new boss.