Twitter ad-free tier promised as ad revenue plummets
The company has seen an 85% drop in activity on its ad manager site
➡️The Shortcut Skinny: The Twitter Blues
Activity on Twitter ad manager is down 85% and falling
1,660 advertisers vanished from May to October
Despite claiming activists to blame, Musk is likely culpable
A pricier, ad-free Twitter Blue tier could come next year
There’s more evidence of Twitter’s advertising revenue cratering since Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform and Musk continues to publically workshop new ideas. Twitter’s desktop ad manager, which allows entities to create and monitor ad campaigns, saw a precipitous 74% month-over-month drop in activity in October, which then fell further in November to 85% below September’s level, according to The Wall Street Journal.
That’s bad news, in light of losing over 1,660 advertisers between May and October of this year, per The New York Times. Worse still, the decline appears to be continuing even as Twitter has dramatically slashed its ad pricing for December, the Journal wrote.
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Musk airs his dirty laundry
Musk has been very vocal about Twitter’s ad woes. On November 28, he took a name-and-shame tack with Apple, accusing the company of nearly halting advertising on the platform, and questioning its commitment to free speech. The New York Times reported that Apple had temporarily done so in response to the Colorado Springs nightclub shooting that occurred on November 19 – a common move by companies following high-profile tragedies. Advertising by the company subsequently resumed.
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On November 4, shortly after Musk officially took over Twitter, he tweeted, without proof, that activist pressure was the reason for the sudden, massive loss of ad revenue. Major companies that have publicly abandoned the platform – temporarily or not – include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc, Volkswagen, General Mills, and many others, with most saying they’re waiting to see how the situation shakes out now that Musk is running the show.
Advertisers’ seeming flight from Twitter has occurred as Twitter offers amnesty to suspended accounts, Musk seemingly calls for the prosecution of US Chief Medical advisor Anthony Fauci, and President Donald Trump, who remains the subject of several federal and state investigations, is welcomed back (though Trump has declined to return to Twitter).
All that said, Twitter’s drop in ad buys comes against a backdrop of a generally troubled ad market in which advertisers are likely looking for any excuse to cut spending. Twitter is an easy target given all that’s transpired in the last month and some change, and Musk may be simply stoking the effects of particularly bad timing with his actions. Of course, as ad buys drop, his instinct to lash out is likely doing little to dissuade advertisers from their current course of action.
Twitter Blue to get Bluer?
The revelations about Twitter’s ad business come into focus as the social platform has finally managed a workable Twitter Blue relaunch. The $8/month program offers subscribers not only preferential treatment by the site’s visibility algorithms, but it will also give them, eventually, half the ads of free users. Musk yesterday evening stated in a Twitter reply that a new, higher-priced ad-free tier will come next year, though he gave no further details. Then again, he says a lot of things.
Prior to the Twitter Blue revamp, subscribers to the then-$5/month plan, which wasn’t yet coupled with verification, enjoyed an ad-free experience.