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Twitter’s U.S. Ad Sales Plunge 59% as Woes Proceed

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Elon Musk recently said Twitter’s promoting business was on the upswing. “Just about all advertisers have come back,” he asserted, adding that the social media company could soon grow to be profitable.

But Twitter’s U.S. promoting revenue for the five weeks from April 1 to the primary week of May was $88 million, down 59 percent from a 12 months earlier, in line with an internal presentation obtained by The Latest York Times. The corporate has often fallen wanting its U.S. weekly sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30 percent, the document said.

That performance is unlikely to enhance anytime soon, in line with the documents and 7 current and former Twitter employees.

Twitter’s ad sales staff is anxious that advertisers could also be spooked by an increase in hate speech and pornography on the social network, in addition to more ads featuring online gambling and marijuana products, the people said. The corporate has forecast that its U.S. ad revenue this month might be down not less than 56 percent each week compared with a 12 months ago, in line with one internal document.

These issues will soon be inherited by Linda Yaccarino, the NBCUniversal executive whom Mr. Musk named Twitter’s chief executive last month. She is anticipated to begin the job on Monday, 4 people acquainted with the situation said.

Ms. Yaccarino declined to comment through a spokesman. Mr. Musk didn’t reply to a request for comment.

The state of Twitter’s promoting is crucial because ads have long made up 90 percent of the corporate’s revenue. After Mr. Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October and took the corporate private, he vowed to construct “probably the most respected ad platform.” But he quickly alienated advertisers by firing key sales executives, spreading a conspiracy theory on the location and welcoming back barred Twitter users.

In response, several large ad agencies and types, including General Motors and Volkswagen, paused their ad spending on Twitter. Mr. Musk has said Twitter was on the right track to post $3 billion in revenue in 2023, down from $5.1 billion in 2021, when it was a public company.

Twitter’s valuation has since plunged. In March, Mr. Musk said the corporate was price $20 billion, down greater than 50 percent from the $44 billion he paid for it. Last week, the mutual funds giant Fidelity, which owns shares in Twitter, valued the corporate at $15 billion.

Twitter feels increasingly “unpredictable and chaotic,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of Digital Content Next, an association for premium publishers. “Advertisers need to run in an environment where they’re comfortable and may send a signal about their brand,” he added.

A few of Twitter’s biggest advertisers — including Apple, Amazon and Disney — have been spending less on the platform than last 12 months, three former and current Twitter employees said. Large specialized “banner” ads on Twitter’s trends page, which may cost $500,000 for twenty-four hours and are almost at all times bought by large brands to advertise events, shows or movies, are sometimes going unfilled, they said.

Twitter has also run into public relations snafus with big advertisers like Disney. In April, Twitter mistakenly gave a gold check mark — a badge meant to indicate a paying advertiser — to the @DisneyJuniorUK account, which Disney doesn’t own. The account posted racial slurs, leading Disney officials to demand from Twitter an evidence and assurances that it wouldn’t occur again, two individuals with knowledge of the situation said.

Disney, Apple and Amazon declined to comment.

Six ad agency executives who’ve worked with Twitter said their clients continued to limit spending on the platform. They cited confusion over Mr. Musk’s changes to the service, inconsistent support from Twitter and concerns in regards to the persistent presence of misleading and toxic content on the platform.

Last month, as an example, an image that appeared to indicate an explosion near the Pentagon — which artificial intelligence experts identified as a synthetically generated image — was shared by dozens of Twitter accounts and briefly caused the stock market to tumble.

Some advertisers also proceed to fret about Mr. Musk’s tweets. Last month, he posted several times comparing the billionaire financier George Soros, a frequent goal for conspiracy theorists, to the “X-Men” comic book villain Magneto. Ted Deutch, the chief executive of the American Jewish Committee, noted that each Mr. Soros and Magneto are Holocaust survivors, and that “the lie Jews need to destroy civilization has led to the persecution of Jewish people for hundreds of years.”

“Musk should know higher,” he said.

Last week, Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, the division that oversees content moderation, and AJ Brown, the top of brand name safety and ad quality, resigned, three current and former employees said. Ms. Irwin and Mr. Brown didn’t reply to requests for comment.

Mr. Musk has promoted latest tools, referred to as adjacency controls, so advertisers can keep their ads away from tweets containing specific keywords or posts by certain users. Some advertisers are using the tools to maintain their content away from Mr. Musk’s tweets, 4 people acquainted with the situation said.

Still, some marketers are returning to the platform. GroupM, a media-buying organization that is an element of the ad giant WPP, informed employees in May that it was removing its “high risk” flag on Twitter and guiding clients to return, at their discretion, to business as usual, two people acquainted with the choice said. IPG, one other large promoting company, has advisable that clients proceed with caution when coping with Twitter, after suggesting last fall that they temporarily pause their spending.

Twitter is exploring ways to make it easier for advertisers to purchase space on the platform, testing an automatic system outside the US to make deals, two people acquainted with the arrangement said. Insider earlier reported the move.

The corporate is experiencing ad growth in areas that it once shied away from or prohibited, including online gambling and marijuana products. In a single week last month, 4 of Twitter’s top 10 U.S. advertisers were online gambling and fantasy sports betting corporations, in line with one presentation. Twitter has also began allowing ads for cannabis accessories, including “bongs, vapes, rolling paper,” in addition to erectile dysfunction services, in line with internal emails.

Adult content, which is permitted on Twitter, has grow to be a priority amongst the corporate’s sales staff. When some employees tried to drum up interest from advertisers for Mother’s Day, they found that potential sponsored search terms, like “MomLife,” surfaced pornographic videos, in line with two people acquainted with the conversations.

These are issues that some advertisers hope Ms. Yaccarino will solve.

Dave Campanelli, the chief investment officer of Horizon Media, said he hoped for change after Ms. Yaccarino began, because media agencies like his struggled to keep up contact with Twitter last fall after Mr. Musk arrived.

“For a period, we weren’t even sure who to get on the phone with to discuss with,” he said. “With Linda coming in, that would change that in an enormous way.”

He acknowledged that Twitter’s mercurial boss and volatile environment might pose a challenge for Ms. Yaccarino.

“It’s a tall order,” Mr. Campanelli said.

Benjamin Mullin contributed reporting.

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