Even before advertisers began jumping ship over Elon Musk's antisemitic shenanigans, the site had been in deep doo-doo — and now, it's hard to see how he plans to pull the site up by its bootstraps this time.
As TechCrunch reports, an October analysis from the market research firm Insider Intelligence found that X-formerly-Twitter was already barrelling towards a more than 50 percent decline in ad sales compared to the previous year. Those numbers were notably drawn up before Musk decided to agree with another user spewing antisemitic conspiracy theories, leading to the most recent advertiser exodus.
In other words, the situation may be even worse for Twitter now, with analysts predicting the company's decline in ad sales could be even more significant.
While things clearly weren't going great beforehand, the fallout from the brash billionaire's bigotry has been shockingly swift and severe.
After the inciting tweet, the media watchdog Media Matters for America (which, full disclosure, used to employ this writer) published an exposé about ads for huge companies like Microsoft and IBM running adjacent to explicit white supremacist content on X.
The watchdog's report, in turn, led to many of these big-name advertisers pausing their ad spend on X — and to Musk making good on his promise to sue MMFA for, as he alleges, manipulating the images that show the aforementioned ads next to Nazi posts.
Beyond the immediate drama, however, this arguably deserved kerfuffle is exposing what was once a crack in the dam of X's advertiser exodus that may soon become a full-on flood.
"The damage to X’s ad business will be severe," Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg told TechCrunch. "A big-name advertiser exodus will inspire other advertisers to follow suit, and there is already likely a long tail of less vocal advertisers that have pulled spending."
Indeed, Musk himself admitted just a few months ago that the company's advertising revenue was down about 60 percent year-over-year from 2022. Characteristically, he blamed the decline on the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish nonprofit extremism watchdog that he also, coincidentally, threatened to sue.
In the aftermath of Musk's shocking faux pas, things have gotten so bad at the site formerly known as Twitter that CEO Linda Yaccarino has been calling on employees to pull new revenue streams out of thin air while privately fielding texts from concerned colleagues begging her to save herself while she still can.
There have, of course, been mass advertiser exits elsewhere before — but this time is, by all indications, substantially different given Musk's own actions.
"Advertisers are accustomed to dealing with brand safety concerns on social media, particularly during periods of political and social tension or war," Enberg said. "But they’re not accustomed to a platform’s owner amplifying misinformation and hate speech, and emboldening conspiracy theorists."
Share This Article