By Alokananda Chakraborty
Twitter’s decision to sack a majority of employees in India as part of global layoffs as well as its rethink on content moderation might have an impact on the Indian advertising industry, but only temporarily.While there is no firm decision yet, some advertisers and their agencies have started “debating Plan B and C” after big advertisers in the US including — Audi, Pfizer and General Mills— decided to temporarily stop their advertising campaigns on Twitter.As per reports, a group of 60 civil rights and civil society groups in the US launched the #StopToxicTwitter coalition this week, urging Twitter’s top 20 advertisers to suspend all advertising if the platform’s new boss Elon Musk decides to cut back on the company’s content moderation.
Musk retaliated saying these “activist groups” were causing a “massive drop in revenue”.One upside of the turmoil, say industry watchers, back home is that while Twitter has laid off a majority of its India team, the one department that was least affected was the sales team. “That is a clear indication of Elon’s strategy,” said Azaan Sait, founder, The Hub Bengaluru. “I think Elon will make Twitter relevant again and to a much wider audience this time. Twitter is going to gain more attention and that will automatically make it a more attractive platform for marketers and brands.”Some uncertainty in the short run might make big brands pull back temporarily but Sai says strategic marketers will see this as an opportunity to tap the underpriced attention on Twitter if the big guys do slow down or pause their spend.
That said, there is no “industry decision” on the issue yet. “No advisory has been issued,” said Sandeep Goyal, managing director, Rediffusion. “No advertising body has any business to issue an advisory anyway. That is the prerogative entirely of every individual advertiser and their beliefs on whether what Musk is doing is right or wrong.”Agreed Shashi Sinha, secretary of the Ad Club’s managing committee: “Ad Club has no role in this. Agencies and clients take their own decision.”The next few weeks will be interesting to watch given the growing importance of digital platforms in brands’ media plans. Digital advertising in India is a Rs 48,000 crore business already and will likely be the biggest advertising medium in 2022. It is estimated to grow by 33% in 2022 against the overall industry growth rate of 22%, as per GroupM.India is set to be the fastest-growing market among the top 10 global markets and retain its 9th rank in 2022.