Twitter pulled in $88 million in U.S. ad revenue for the five weeks following April 1, 2023, putting the tweeting platform 59% behind its 2022 figures, according to an internal presentation reviewed by the New York Times. The presentation noted that falling short of weekly sales projections was a regular occurrence.
Twitter’s ad sales staff attributed the lacking figures to multiple causes, including gambling and marijuana ads, as well as an uptick in hate speech and pornography on the platform. According to documents and several former and present Twitter employees, the aforementioned lackluster sales performance is set to continue for some time, with the company forecasting June U.S. ad revenue will be down by a weekly minimum of 56% compared to last year.
The internal financial figures exist despite current Twitter CEO Elon Musk saying “almost all advertisers have come back or said they are going to come back” in an interview with the BBC. There’s also evidence some advertisers are not coming back, such as Ben & Jerry’s, which recently announced it was done with paid ads on Twitter until further notice due to toxicity both from Twitter as a platform as well as Musk himself.
A spokesperson for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
This is the financially troubled landscape incoming Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino will have to contend with. Given her history with advertising endeavors, some are optimistic she can turn the ship around. Others remain cautious, highlighting that Musk will still have a hand in the company’s operations, and he’s openly admitted that he will say what he wants to say regardless of financial consequences.
For example, he recently promoted a controversial Daily Wire documentary examining ongoing transgender debates. That post, beyond its intrinsically divisive nature, sparked a tweet war wherein inflammatory language was rife in the replies section, with people both for and against Musk’s post engaging in ways that may very well scare off advertisers.