Agency POV: Should Brands Stop Advertising on Twitter?

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The future of Twitter is uncertain amid Elon Musk's acquisition. Here's what brands should consider when advertising on Twitter.
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Elon Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter has been one of the dominant stories in the business and marketing worlds.

Reports of massive layoffs (followed by desperate rehiring), difficult working conditions and deep cuts to the platform’s moderation team have gained quite a bit of attention. Combine that with a recent spate of controversial tweets from Mr. Musk, and it’s clear that Twitter has attracted much unwanted negative attention.

In fact, several advertisers have started to pull spend from the platform, citing brand safety concerns. Specifically, having their advertising content served next to unmoderated, arguably inappropriate content with few options for support.

So, what about you?

The decision to cease advertising on a particular platform is a difficult one with many facets and considerations. And the truth is, in today’s hyper-polarized society, most advertisers will find themselves in a catch-22. 

Stay on the platform and risk alienating segments of your target audience who may not be comfortable with the direction the platform is heading.

Pull out, and you could be labeled an “activist” and attract unwanted attention. As an agency, one of our most important responsibilities is to help our clients strategically manage their marketing budgets. And while we’re not actively counseling our clients to steer clear of Twitter, we want brands to know there are plenty of options for reaching their target audiences outside of it.

4 Alternatives to Advertising on Twitter

Strategically, Twitter has never been a particularly effective channel for either lead generation or lower-funnel conversion. However, it does offer high-engagement brand exposure and enables advertisers to align their brand with unique cultural moments quickly. But they aren’t the only platform that is capable of this. 

1. Meta can assist with top-of-funnel objectives

Meta, no stranger to boycotts, can offer an even broader audience base and efficient upper-funnel objectives on Facebook and Instagram. Despite Meta’s new focus on automation and broad targeting, advertisers can still take advantage of plenty of Twitter-esque interest and detailed targeting options. You may see higher overall CPMs compared to Twitter, though, especially this time of year when Q4 competition heats up.

2. TikTok offers lower CPMs and detailed targeting

In addition, TikTok has recently risen in popularity among a larger number of advertisers. Lower overall CPMs and surprisingly detailed targeting options (like hashtag targeting) make it a solid alternative for  advertisers who may be looking to diversify their footprint, especially if you’re looking to target the valuable 18-29 demographic. Just be aware of the specific content you’ll need to be successful on TikTok.

4. Complement your strategy with programmatic

Outside of social, programmatic advertising can offer an excellent alternative or complement to your existing strategy. Native advertising in particular is an intriguing option for advertisers looking to reach both broad and niche audience segments. Platforms like Outbrain and Taboola can drive efficient CPMs and strong CTRs, while driving engaged traffic to your website.

The Takeaway

Regardless of your stance on Twitter or your opinion of Elon Musk, moments like this give us an opportunity to sit back and reassess. Now’s the time to take a good look at your media mix and proactively develop a replacement strategy if you decide the potential brand safety risks of advertising on Twitter outweigh the benefits.

Options are plentiful, and it never hurts to have a Plan B ready to go, should the need arise.

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