Our Takeaways from Elon Musk’s (Vague) Advice to Advertisers

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There’s been a lot happening over at Twitter since Elon Musk took the reigns a few weeks ago. From the fate of the verified Blue checkmark to reversing remote-work policies, many are deciding whether or not to stay on the platform altogether. Some brands, including Macy’s, have paused advertising. Chipotle has also followed suit, and hasn’t tweeted organically since October 31. Playbill issued a formal statement that it would no longer be active on the platform.


So how is Musk trying to combat brands saying goodbye? In a live-audio townhall discussion last week, Twitter’s infamous new CEO Elon Musk tried to assuage advertisers by assuring them that Twitter—despite its recent spate of changes—is still a good place to advertise. 


Light on specifics, his reassurances relied heavily on the implied benefits of the $8/month verified model, which he claims is an economic deterrent to bad actors, and driver of good for the platform and its advertisers. 


In his most forthright (yet vague) comment about advertising, Musk shared his philosophy on how ads interact with the platform: when an ad is relevant, it qualifies as good information, and can be surfaced in a prominent place. When it isn’t, it is “spam-y and annoying.” And therefore, his most tangible piece of advice to advertisers is this: “Don’t just drive sales in the short term, think about the long-term impact [of your ads on Twitter as a platform].”


That being said, most of his conversation (moderated by Twitter Head of Advertising Sales Robin Wheeler, whose employment status at Twitter is unclear, and featuring Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth) focused on responding to the whiplash changes at the platform and the $8/month model. Here’s a breakdown of other ideas he shared: 



Musk mentioned that they’re considering embedding an (good information, relevant) ad in recommended tweets as a placement idea.



The new official mark for legacy verified users: Musk killed it, hours after announcing it, because not only was it an aesthetic nightmare, it “perpetuated a two-class system.” 


Content moderation: Musk claimed moderation practices and policies will not immediately change. Content will still be flagged and removed. 


Punishments: Musk claimed that having only the options to delete tweets or ban accounts is limiting. He says they are investigating other steps, like “suspensions and limiting reach.” 


Fact-checking: Musk said that the platform will still respect traditional journalism, while at the same time “empowering citizen journalism.” He touted the community-based fact-checking system Community Notes, which he says will influence content to behave like a Google SERP—if good, respectable accounts are pointing towards this content, it will surface higher.


8$/month makes this go away: This is really his central claim. There will be no refunds for banned accounts, so he believes they will be economically deterred from making new accounts.



Video: He mentioned Vine. It wouldn’t be the old Vine. But he thinks Twitter needs a new emphasis on entertaining video. 


Monetizing creator content: Musk said creators should be drawn to the platform, and thus their monetization paths should be competitive with other platforms. 


Twitter as the everywhere space: Imagine this. You upload more than $8/month to your account. You have some cash to tip a creator. This cash floating around digitally evolves into a money market. Digital debit cards. Soon, Twitter has a whole, digital economic ecosystem. Sounds nice, right? But haven’t we heard this before?


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