“What Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Could Mean for Advertisers”

By Casey Ross, Social Media Strategy Director at FCB Health New York 

Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Although a somewhat unconventional character, sleeping at the Tesla headquarters and eschewing wealthy materialism, make no mistake that Musk’s successful track record in business shows how significant Twitter may become under his leadership. While no one knows for sure what will be, let’s look at some of the issues Musk has publicly called out, and their potential implications for advertisers.

“Defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.”

There was a time when there were effective and useful bots on Twitter such as the one created to tweet every word in the dictionary! However, and as human nature would suggest, Twitter’s open API provided developers the opportunity to do more sinister things and Twitter, unfortunately, was slow to respond. Former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey addressed this in 2018 by saying, “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.” I believe this will be a top priority and if Musk can eliminate bots, it would be a tremendous win for users and advertisers alike. Nothing frustrates advertisers more than wasted ad impressions, inflated follower counts, and artificial engagement rates – this can attract higher CPM’s and CPC’s by providing a unique value prop of high quality/human authenticated audience. If Musk is successful, other digital properties/social media networks who have similar bot challenges can follow his blueprint and drive positive change for everyone.

Free Speech.

Perhaps the biggest topic associated with Musk and Twitter is free speech. By reducing any oversight that happens on the platform, content that’s rooted in misinformation, hate, etc. may worsen. As a result, Musk may create an environment where some traditional advertisers aren’t comfortable, and he will lose critical advertising revenue needed to ensure the company remains profitable.

One thing I believe he will change under a free speech tenet are the current terms of service agreement. Currently, Twitter’s terms of service are vague about what triggers account suspension/termination and shadow banning. He may come up with updated terms that clearly define violations that lead to these penalties. I believe his terms will harken back to a recent tweet, “By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.” Under this interpretation, he will penalize content/accounts deemed to be against the law. I feel this will be his biggest challenge to navigate.

Banning Ads.

Musk has tweeted his hatred for ads, and in doing so I believe he will follow In YouTube’s footsteps and offer a paid option with no ads and an ad supported free service. Despite paying for YouTube Premium, I often see ads from creators, so a paid model can remove specific ad units from users’ feeds but can’t prevent advertisers from partnering with creators/influencers to penetrate a ‘no ads’ environment. 

The edit button.

Advertisers, celebrities, influencers, and everyday users have been asking for the ability to edit a tweet after it’s been posted for years! I believe this will be his first ‘quick win’ for all users (not just Blue subscribers). The masses will rejoice and feel heard, and it will take pressure off my fellow social media managers.

No one knows what will happen, but after spending that many billions of dollars, you can be assured he has something in mind. Perhaps Twitter embedded into all Tesla’s. It will be an interesting ride to come providing both rich opportunities for advertisers and challenges to address!


Casey Ross

Casey Ross Bio:

Casey is a social media marketing expert with extensive experience in creating and implementing social media strategies for the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to FCB Health, he worked across several verticals including CPG, tech, and finance working on social campaigns for over 15 clients including Duncan Hines, Philips Lighting, Durex Condoms, and Woolite. During his time at FCB Health he has launched and managed dozens of social campaigns for Novartis, Sanofi, Lily, and Allergan. 

Outside of work he is a busy dad of 2 boys. His Instagram handle (@crossing104) is a collection of the finest street art New York City has to offer.