Many tactics fail to bring advertisers back to Twitter

Elon Musk asked if he should resign Agreeing to step down as CEO, the question is who should run the struggling company and how he would entice anyone to do so.

After a potential candidate told Musk in April that being Twitter’s CEO was his “dream job,” tech investor Jason Calacanis sent out a Twitter poll of his own — and the emoji showed it was a joke — ask him, investor and ex-tech David Sachs, or if “other” should be the CEO. Ironically, most respondents voted “Other.”

He later tweeted, perhaps jokingly, “Who would like the most miserable job in tech and media?! Who is crazy enough to tweet?!?!” Another user tweeted that tech investor Joe Lonsdale deserved the job, and he replied, “lol, no thanks.” Someone with the skills needed to run the company didn’t seem to have much interest in the job.

Tesla shares have fallen 18 percent this week, or more than 60 percent, since Musk announced plans to buy Twitter Inc. Apparently, Tesla shareholders thought he was spending too much time on Twitter, and being CEO of multiple companies at once almost always ended badly. Musk now owns $52 billion worth of Tesla shares.

Even NASA officials have begun asking whether his recent Twitter changes have distracted people from life-and-death issues affecting SpaceX’s decisions.

On Dec. 20, longtime Tesla investor Ross Gerber tweeted that it was time for a reorganization, saying its “share price now reflects the value of not having a CEO.”

It’s clear that Musk faces many challenges at Twitter, but one that must be addressed immediately is luring his core advertiser base back to the platform. The company is clearly in disarray, with employees being fired left and right, and advertisers — the mainstay of Twitter’s business — abandoning ship in droves.

A startling statistic from research firm Pathmatics was recently published in the Wall Street Journal — roughly 70 percent of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers spent nothing on Twitter in the week ending December 18. Although Musk and his team recently held meetings with major advertisers for weeks, they have been unable to lure them back.

Given that nearly 90 percent of Twitter’s $5.1 billion in revenue last year came from advertising, that should be Musk’s top priority, rather than figuring out whose accounts should be suspended or reinstated. Twitter has offered some advertisers that if they do so by the end of the year, their ad spend will hit dollar-for-dollar. Yet even that financial lure isn’t enough to get many back on board.

Musk’s team has met with advertisers and told them they are innovating to allow users to buy directly, adding more video features and developing tools to ensure objectionable content doesn’t pop up next to their ads.

Some ad buyers say they will wait until the tools have been developed before deciding whether to return to Twitter, especially given that we may be headed into a recession. Advertisers are demanding a high return on investment on their ad spend, Musk said Tuesday on Twitter Spaces. “Their demands weren’t vague or unreasonable or anything. They were like, very reasonable.”

However, some advertisers have complained about politicizing Twitter, notably Musk’s tweet ahead of the midterm elections that independent-minded voters voted for a Republican Congress.

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