Ex-Twitter Employees Explain Why Apple Paused Ads

Ex-Twitter Employees Explain Why Apple Paused Ads


After five people were killed and dozens more injured in a November shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ+ nightclub, Apple made what many would consider a very ordinary business decision to temporarily suspend ads on Twitter. Two former Twitter employees told The New York Times that the tech company was protecting its brand by ensuring Apple ads would not appear alongside news stories about the mass shooting.

But Twitter CEO Elon Musk didn’t seem to connect the horrific event with Twitter’s biggest advertiser pulling ads from the platform. Instead, Musk sparked a rumor that Apple’s decision was about how Musk moderates Twitter content after he tweeted, “Apple has pretty much stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America? »

Now Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has “completely resumed” advertising on Twitter about two weeks after the Colorado shooting and days after Musk had a “good chat” with Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to Musk. . According to Reuters, Amazon is also investing heavily in advertising on Twitter, committing $100 million a year, and joining other advertisers apparently drawn to Twitter’s “biggest advertising incentive ever”.

So far, Musk seems pleased with Twitter’s renewed appeal to advertisers.

“Just a note to thank the advertisers for coming back to Twitter”, Musk tweeted Saturday.

Twitter, Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

Twitter’s grand strategy to win back advertisers

In December, Twitter tries to win back advertisers by offering incentives such as 100% matching on any ad spend between $500,000 and $1 million. For all takers, this offer doubles the ad impressions enjoyed by the largest advertisers on the platform. Similar incentives offering 25% and 50% more impressions are offered to advertisers spending $200,000 and $350,000 respectively.

A New York Times report suggests that Twitter must have offered advertisers such “massive” deals as these incentives, because during what should have been one of Twitter’s biggest sales events, the World Cup, “the ad revenue was 80% lower than internal expectations for this week.”

As Twitter failed to hit the numbers, former employees told The Times that the company repeatedly adjusted its revenue forecast for the final quarter of the year from $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion. By the end of October, Twitter had lost more than 1,500 advertisers, The Times reported. Because Apple had been one of Twitter’s most loyal advertisers, already spending $180 million in 2022, $30 million more than originally projected, the sudden loss of Apple Ads in November seemed to hit the hardest. harshly Twitter when it was already down.

The Times’ sources said that to turn things around, Musk offered “massive” incentives, but also made other concessions to get advertisers back. These included steep discounts on Super Bowl ads and even acceptance that major brands like PepsiCo could pull ads “for any reason” as long as they agreed to buy now.

PepsiCo did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

Not every major brand has been sold on Musk’s offerings or the idea that Twitter is a safe place to advertise.

A spokesperson for General Motors told The Times that it wasn’t just hate speech that was driving some automakers away from the platform since Musk took over. Like Apple, GM appears to have blocked ads due to legitimate business concerns. GM is concerned that another Musk company, Tesla, is taking advantage of its ownership of Twitter by accessing data on Tesla competitors like GM.

“It’s important for us to ensure that our advertising strategies and data can be safely managed by a competitor-owned platform,” a GM spokesperson told The Times.

GM did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

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