Speculations have been rife about the future of Twitter ever since Elon Musk announced his acquisition of the platform last month. Even as the billionaire keeps the rumour mills churning with new declarations nearly every day, Christina Moniz asks industry experts what the Musk takeover could mean for Twitter, its users and advertisers.
‘Tough to predict anything with Musk’: Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CyberMedia Research
Twitter is where we tune in to get our breaking news, and the perspectives that matter. But sadly, there is a disconnect between the powerful influence that Twitter wields and its underperforming business. Beyond the echo chambers, with Elon Musk, it is always tough to predict with a degree of certainty. That said, let me try.
Recent privacy changes have made it tougher for advertisers to track user behaviour online. Facebook is metamorphosing into the ‘metaverse’. Only TikTok today truly commands the attention economy. A meaningful challenger for Twitter seems far-fetched today.
Under Musk’s proposed plan, Twitter’s advertising will fall to 45% of total revenue by 2028. Subscription initiatives, such as Twitter Blue, could get bolstered. As a private firm, Twitter could potentially morph into a more transparent social network with robust safeguards and less toxicity.
With tech at its core, Twitter could leverage AI to remove bots, and add more contextual awareness around tweets. A marriage involving crypto and Twitter could open new revenue streams—involving buying, selling or swapping art works. In sum, Twitter could have authenticity at its core.
‘Marketers will expect better deals’: Shrenik Gandhi, Co-founder & CEO, White Rivers Media
Without complete clarity on Twitter’s proposed algorithm changes, it’s all too soon to judge. Nonetheless, the platform makes a massive percentage of its money from advertising. With Elon Musk’s plans to reduce Twitter’s reliance on ads, significant operational changes are bound to happen. However, that won’t make the platform an inhospitable space for brands.
Twitter’s decision of making content open-sourced and viewable by concerned parties will not have an impact in terms of content marketing per se. But over time, brands will likely observe a lot more un-moderated content on their feeds, and marketers will become cautious of the campaign contexts. Even in the past, brands have pulled posts from many social platforms in situations relating to unsavoury or explicit content, and that will continue to happen.
In terms of ad profitability, there are marketer expectations to extract better deals from Twitter with the massive transition. And Musk’s push for faster product development on the platform can attract more new users, who can become the foundation for a better marketing environment.
‘Musk’s priority is free speech, not ads’: Sahil Shah, Managing partner, WATConsult
Twitter has a lot more to offer than just promoted tweets or influencer trends. The platform has an evolved set of regular users that brands can capitalise on, while keeping the content appealing. Advertisers will be wary of their ads getting placed inside unwanted content but I don’t think Elon Musk’s main objective of buying Twitter is to make money.
The platform will definitely get more action if the ‘off-moderation’ approach is adopted, which is a great thing for a free country like the US or large democracies like India. Whether it will get advertisers or not will not be of key interest to Twitter or Musk, as much as standing for free speech and scaling the active user base for a fully functional democracy.
One real challenge for any platform in the world is bots. Regardless of the scale in AI, no one has really been able to crack the bot challenge. If Twitter is able to do that, then it will have a significant impact on analytics and social listening. Brands will get a more accurate view of where they actually stand, and of how their industry is moving.