Advertisers in India have adopted a wait-and-watch mode to assess how developments at Twitter unfold, even as some large global companies said they are suspending advertising on the microblogging platform. As Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter creates an upheaval in the company with mass layoffs across markets and a spike in hateful content, General Mills, Audi, and General Motors said they are suspending paid ads.
Integrated marketing agency Gozoop’s co-founder and global chief executive officer Ahmed Aftab Naqvi said many of the company’s clients are currently waiting it out to see how the transition shapes up. So far, he said, companies had been spending on Twitter during the festive season. Typically, companies spend a small percentage of their total digital ad expenditure on Twitter, with the more significant portion going into Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and Google. Most companies use Twitter for new products or campaign launches.
“Currently, clients are a bit circumspect due to the changeover and most do not want to have an aggressive advertising strategy for the platform. There is a rise in consciousness and some brands would like to see the direction of new leadership before allocating spends,” said Naqvi. Twitter employees whom advertising agencies deal with have also been laid off, which has caused a bit of a setback, he added.
“Additionally, following Musk’s takeover, free speech may become more prominent and companies that have a strong presence in terms of customer service are solidifying and reinforcing their teams while staying prepared for what’s to come in terms of nature and volume of conversations on the new Twitter,” he added,” he added.
Other industry experts agree that Twitter has a place in the marketing mix for companies. “It may not be a Google or a Meta, which are far more ‘advertisable’, but it does play a role,” said Ashit Chakravarty, managing partner at Dentsu WebChutney, a digital agency that provides web design, promotion and marketing services.
“Not much has changed from our perspective. Plus, we don’t look at Twitter as a performance medium in any case. A lot of organic interactions that brands have with consumers do happen on the medium and will continue to.”
From the point of view of finding sub-cultures or pop-culture and content trends, Twitter and Reddit will continue to play a role, he added.
Advertising veteran Sandeep Goyal said layoffs—whether ruthless or painless—don’t impact advertisers. However, Twitter is a new-gen medium with tremendous outreach and impact, and its ‘breaking news’ capability has far-reaching consequences.
“Musk or no Musk, Twitter is here to stay. He is creating waves with his takeover and enjoying every minute of it. His in-your-face showmanship naturally has its downsides. But the dust will settle soon. Indian clients have shown no adverse reaction to his arrival at Twitter. On whether to advertise or not, there seems no major activity on that front,” said Goyal, managing director of Rediffusion Brand Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Though he cautioned that some brands would use this opportunity to showcase their brand philosophy, at a broader level, not everyone is really concerned with who owns Twitter as long as media goals are met.
Yet others find Twitter expensive. “While Twitter does have the reach and ad product, it seems expensive at the moment for small and medium-sized business owners to leverage it. If Instagram and Meta can make a model for every type of business owner, why has Twitter waited all these years to do the same,” said Avijit Arya, founder of the agency Internet Moguls.