Tech

Twitter fails to calm jittery advertisers over Musk plans at rushed sales showcase

Business Insider US
Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Twitter executives tried to reassure advertisers nervous about how the platform will change under Elon Musk.
  • At the annual IAB NewFronts, Twitter executives maintained it was business as usual at the company.
  • They gave no specifics on what might change under Musk, to the frustration of some.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Twitter executives tried to reassure advertisers nervous about how the platform will change if Elon Musk succeeds in his $44 billion takeover bid.

Twitter made a rushed pitch to advertisers May 4 during the IAB NewFronts, the digital ad industry's annual showcase, but largely sidestepped the elephant in the room.

"It has been a quiet month at Twitter," said Jean-Philippe Maheu, VP of client solutions, in the brief presentation's only mention of Musk.

Executives insisted it was business as usual at Twitter but did not offer specifics on what might change under a Musk leadership.

Sarah Personette, Twitter's chief customer officer, reassured the audience that the company was committed to developing new products and serving advertisers, which provide the vast majority of its revenue.

"I hope that you see that we will continue to invest in the parts of our business that bring scroll-stopping behaviour to the timeline," she said.

Earlier, Twitter encouraged advertisers to walk around and interact with an installation that showed how publishers and brands use Twitter to distribute news, gaming, sports, and entertainment content.

Executives touted how advertisers can run video ad campaigns on the platform and a new partnership with NBCUniversal and TV adtech firm iSpot that will help marketers measure who sees a video clip on Twitter compared to on TV. Twitter also spoke about new content deals with publishers like Condé Nast, NBCUniversal, and Essence that advertisers can run ads alongside.

Twitter is facing questions from advertisers about what Musk's takeover means for their ad spend as well as angry and frustrated employees who have demanded details about what's next. Musk, known for his inflammatory tweets, has expressed free-speech absolutist views and mused about an ad-free Twitter, raising red flags for advertisers.

On May 3, a group of organisations including GLAAD and Media Matters for America called on Twitter's advertisers to pull their ad spend from the platform if Musk does not meet "standards of community and trust."

Attendees expressed surprise that Twitter executives did not mention Musk or the deal, which is pending regulatory approval.

"Can't believe that they're not mentioning anything about the big story," said one attendee watching a virtual version of the presentation.


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