Twitter courts advertisers amid uncertain future under Musk

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter Inc is facing a skeptical audience as it showcases its advertising opportunities on Wednesday evening at an event in New York City, three ad agency executives told Reuters, as the social media company’s plans under billionaire Elon Musk remain unclear.

The Tesla chief executive, who is buying Twitter for $44 billion, has tweeted that the platform should not have ads so it can have more control over its content moderation policies. Twitter has told its employees in internal staff meetings and in public filings that its advertising business and other operations would continue normally until the deal closes, but the company could not speculate on changes Musk might make.

“He’s like the ghost of Christmas future hanging over this whole thing,” said Mark DiMassimo, founder of ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein, referring to Twitter’s presentation to advertisers on Wednesday. “Whatever (Twitter) says, all anyone really wants to know is how this will be in the future.”

The social media company earned $5 billion in revenue in 2021, the majority from selling digital advertising on its website and app. Most advertisers have not pulled back ad dollars from Twitter, but are watching closely to see how Musk could change the platform and its business, the ad executives said.

“I would like (Twitter) to address and talk to it, because there’s a lot of curiosity,” said Alex Stone, senior vice president of advanced video and agency partnerships at Horizon Media. At the “NewFront” presentation, Twitter announced it was expanding its partnerships with media companies Conde Nast and Essence, which will create video and audio programming on Twitter.

E! News will launch a new live-streamed show on Twitter to discuss TV shows such as “The Real Housewives,” and “Stranger Things.” Advertisers will be able to purchase ad spots that run next to videos from the media companies. Twitter also announced that Fox Sports will host live pre-game shows for every match of the FIFA men’s World Cup in Qatar this year and the women’s World Cup in 2023.