Elon Musk recently said Twitter’s advertising business was on the upswing. “Almost all advertisers have come back,” he asserted, adding that the social media company could soon become profitable.
But Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue for the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May was $88 million, down 59 percent from a year earlier, according to an internal presentation obtained by The New York Times. The company has regularly fallen short of its U.S. weekly sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30 percent, the document said.
That performance is unlikely to improve anytime soon, according to the documents and seven current and former Twitter employees.
Twitter’s ad sales staff is concerned that advertisers may be spooked by a rise in hate speech and pornography on the social network, as well as more ads featuring online gambling and marijuana products, the people said. The company has forecast that its U.S. ad revenue this month will be down at least 56 percent each week compared with a year ago, according to one internal document.
These issues have been inherited by Linda Yaccarino, the NBCUniversal executive whom Mr. Musk named Twitter’s chief executive last month. She started her new job on Monday.
On a Twitter Space audio event on Monday, Mr. Musk said advertisers in Europe and North America have put “extreme pressure” on the company, leading “half our advertising” to disappear. “They are trying to drive Twitter bankrupt,” he said.
The state of Twitter’s advertising is crucial because ads have long made up 90 percent of the company’s revenue. After Mr. Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October and took the company private, he vowed to build “the most respected ad platform.” But he quickly alienated advertisers by firing key sales executives, spreading a conspiracy theory on the site and welcoming back barred Twitter users. New York Times