Twitter woes deepen as adspend falls out of the sky

twitterElon Musk appears no closer to turning round Twitter, with the latest figures showing advertising spend on the site crashed by 71% in December, as the fall-out from the controversial $44bn (£38.1bn) takeover continues.

The data, from ad research firm Standard Media Index (SMI), follows reports that over 500 advertisers have now paused their spending on Twitter since the takeover, leading to a 40% decrease in revenue compared to last year.

The number of blue-chip advertisers which have pulled out of Twitter has been well documented; more than 50 companies paused ads – including Volkswagen, Audi, Balenciaga, Carlsberg, Pfizer, Macy’s and United Airlines – following the October takeover. Meanwhile, marketing groups IPG, WPP and Omnicom all advised their clients to follow suit.

Twitter is also being sued by landlords in San Francisco and London after failing to pay rent on its offices.

The crown estate in London, which manages property belonging to King Charles III, filed a claim against Twitter in the High Court last week. The alleged rental arrears relate to office space near Piccadilly Circus in central London, according to the BBC.

The owner of Twitter’s San Francisco HQ has also sued Twitter after it failed to make its latest monthly rent payment for January, amounting to $3.4m, according to documents filed on with the superior court of California.

Earlier this month, Twitter resorted to classic sales promotion techniques to bring back major advertisers, offering buy one get one free deals (BOGOFs) by matching ad spend up to $250,000 for brands that sign up to the beleaguered platform.

Meanwhile, Musk has also announced plans to introduce an advertising-free version of its subscription product.
Twitter relaunched its premium offering for the second time in December, offering everyone perks such as ‘blue tick’ account verification for £6.50 ($8) a month. This soon led to brands like Nintendo and Apple being impersonated by online trolls with seemingly authentic, verified accounts.

Musk tweeted about the proposed ad-free tier launch, posting: “Ads are too frequent on Twitter and too big. Taking steps to address both in coming weeks. Also, there will be a higher priced subscription that allows zero ads.”

In a company-wide email, sent late last year, Musk said: “Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn. We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”

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