Here’s a question I asked my company cohorts I first thought was relatively simple: Should we re-activate advertising on Twitter?
We had stopped after the Musk takeover. To be honest, we did not spend an awful lot on Twitter anyway, but we pulled to a full stop because of all the noise, uncertainty, lack of safety guarantees, etc. But now that it had been a few months, and George Santos has taken over the headlines as the current bad boy of news, was it time to reconsider?
Had Twitter done enough to clear up some of the uncertainty? Had Twitter devolved into a hellscape, or was the worst of the upheaval behind it?
Facts: Twitter is still standing, despite the layoffs and lowered ad income. It still serves as a bellwether during cultural “moments” and breaking news. Yes, there is plenty of “crap content” (a technical term), but one could argue that this is true for the whole interweb. So I asked the question: Is it time to reconsider?
The most thought-provoking answer I got was a question back: Did we stop because we were principled? Or was it because we had genuine content concerns and we wanted to ride out the storm before, perhaps, coming back?
Some argued that if we had stopped because of the principle of the whole thing, nothing had changed. The issues that surfaced when Elon Musk took over are still there today: a return to the platform for some of the most controversial Twitter contributors, with less moderation and a focus on “extreme free speech.” Remember that. Musk called himself a free speech absolutist. If Twitter is now a platform where (nearly) anything goes, and is governed by one man’s whim, then we (or anybody seriously thinking through this issue) should stay away -- probably for good.
If, however, you stopped because of more practical concerns about where your specific content would appear in an environment with practically no investment in human brand safety monitoring, and you feel you can steer your investment towards relative safety, well, then maybe you could reconsider. You would have to agree to a certain level of risk, though, especially because new Twitter has expressed little to no desire to change any of the things advertisers had asked for.
But perhaps with the right amount of caution and guidance, you could find safe spots for your ad dollars. A bit like -- well, all of digital advertising.
Perhaps the most important question for anybody pondering this issue: Do you NEED Twitter for the success of your campaign? I have not heard any advertisers complain their business has suffered dramatically from the Twitter ad pause.
Seems like for most campaigns and target audiences, Twitter is a “nice to have.” Which is very different, for instance, from Tik Tok, also under fire. I have seen countless analyses noting that TikTok has been an essential vehicle not just for reach, engagement or impact on a brand or product, but for actual sales -- even more so than Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or indeed Twitter. Perhaps only search comes closest to the seeming necessity of TikTok.
So if Twitter is a (somewhat useful?) nice-to-have, but not essential for the success or failure of a campaign, what does that mean for your decision-making? Put or hold?