What Does Twitter's New CEO Mean for Advertisers?

Posted by Brand Safety Institute • May 15, 2023 2:48:32 PM

As a follow-on to the comments we posted on the interview between Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino, Semafor has published an article that highlights some of the potential optimism about the appointment of Ms. Yaccarino as CEO of Twitter.

This particular paragraph gets to the heart of the matter:

As CEO of Twitter, she’ll have to make the exact opposite argument to many of the same marketers. She's making two bets. First, that her deep relationships in the ad industry will help her persuade them to ignore what she spent the last decade saying. And second, that Musk — who told her in an on-stage interview last month that his commitment to a raucous, wide open platform won’t change — will also bend to her will.

On stage, Ms. Yaccarino, while not combative, definitely pressed Elon Musk on whether he would accept more input from marketers when it comes to content moderation, brand safety, and brand suitability. Assuming that the interview at POSSIBLE was the most public job interview you could conceive of, it seems unlikely that she would have accepted the job if Musk hadn’t agreed to at least some concessions to assuage marketers about the direction Twitter is taking with respect to those topics. Anything less would seem to be setting her tenure up for failure.

As we watch the early days of Ms. Yaccarino’s tenure leading Twitter, the two things we should be monitoring are:

1. Investment – We have heard a great deal about the austerity measures enforced by Mr. Musk post-acquisition in an effort to improve Twitter’s financial picture and move toward profitability. How will content moderation, brand safety, and brand suitability features and personnel fare in upcoming budget cycles and how aggressive can Ms. Yaccarino be investing ahead of the revenue she surely hopes to increase in the advertising channel.

2. Consistency – One of the biggest issues that people, and marketers specifically, have had with Twitter during Mr. Musk’s tenure is his capricious nature. Policy at Twitter has, to the outside world at least, appeared to be more stream of consciousness than strategic plan. With Ms. Yaccarino replacing Mr. Musk as CEO but Mr. Musk remaining as the owner and product lead, Ms. Yaccarino’s ability to bend Mr. Musk to her will and create a sense of normalcy and predictability — where currently those things are in short supply — will determine the willingness of many marketers to increase their engagement with Twitter.

As media buyers observe Twitter over the coming weeks and months, it is our recommendation that they look primarily for signals that will allow them to evaluate where Twitter stands across these two factors and use that information to determine how to proceed.


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Topics: Brand Safety, Advertisers, Brand Suitability, Elon Musk, Twitter, Linda Yaccarino, content moderation