Elon Musk bought Twitter—now what?

Get marketing news you’ll actually want to read

The email newsletter guaranteed to bring you the latest stories shaping the marketing and advertising world, like only the Brew can.

After weeks of negotiations, canceled town halls, and tweets, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will be the new owner of Twitter. The deal, approved yesterday, cost the billionaire $54.20 per share, which amounts to somewhere around $44 billion. Once finalized, Twitter will become a private company.

What’s happening? So far, the plans are murky—even Twitter employees don’t seem to know what to expect. Recently, Musk has hinted at changes he might make to the platform. According to his own tweets, that could include:

  • The addition of an edit button (something the company says it’s working on).
  • Longer tweets (something the company has already worked on).
  • More “spam botfiltering.
  • An open-source algorithm.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, a new vision of what Musk considers “free speech.” Some have speculated that this could include reinstating former President Trump’s account, with the @HouseGOP account tweeting at Musk, “it’s a great week to free @realDonaldTrump.”

Good tweet/ad tweet: In a since-deleted tweet, Musk said he was against ads on its subscription offering, Twitter Blue, adding that “the power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.” But according to the Wall Street Journal, Musk will need to run ads in some capacity to keep the lights on.

Still, advertisers have concerns:

  • “Musk has a history of saying some off-color things. It’s possible to see him taking an anything-goes approach,” Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at Mekanism, told Marketing Brew via email. “If that’s the case, I imagine many brands will revisit if it’s a platform they want to be aligned with,” he continued, adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Musk’s Twitter shifts away from an ad-supported model entirely.
  • Tamara Sykes, SEO strategist and marketing consultant at Next Level Presence, told us over Twitter DM that “Musk’s free-speech declaration, which sounds good to him in theory, doesn’t define how a company he will make private will define free speech. And let’s be honest, historically, that makes anyone who has been in the minority very worried about being exposed to more hate speech without accountability,” she told us.

While it’s unclear how Musk might approach advertising on the platform, some marketers tell us Twitter ads aren’t exactly knocking it out of the park. “Twitter ads generally don’t perform particularly well,” Gahan said. Sheeta Verma, senior digital marketing specialist at Vyond, told us via Twitter DM that Twitter ads “have never been popular in comparison to other platforms that allow ads.”—PB and KH

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *