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50% Drop in Ad Revenue, Heavy Debt Load, Reveals Musk: Can Twitter Bounce Back?

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has made several controversial decisions that have raised concerns among advertisers.
UPDATED AUG 24, 2023
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Christopher Furlong
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Christopher Furlong

Popular social media platform, Twitter is facing significant financial challenges as owner Elon Musk revealed a nearly 50 percent decline in advertising revenue. In a tweet, Musk expressed concerns about the heavy debt load the company carries, stating that achieving positive cash flow is essential before pursuing other endeavors. Musk acquired Twitter in a $44 billion deal last fall and recently transitioned from CEO to executive chair and chief technology officer while Linda Yaccarino, a former advertising head for NBCUniversal, took on the role of CEO to oversee business operations and new technology.


Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Theo Wargo
Image Source: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has made several controversial decisions that have raised concerns among advertisers. These choices include layoffs and firings, with even the top executives affected, and the launching of the Twitter Blue program which introduced a monthly subscription fee for users seeking verification checks. Additionally, Musk rolled back certain content moderation measures, leading to the reinstatement of previously suspended accounts such as that of former President Trump. To limit excessive use, he also imposed restrictions on the number of tweets users can read per day.

Amid these changes, Musk attempted to reassure advertisers that the platform was "roughly breaking even" after the tumultuous transition. He claimed that most advertisers had returned following their initial exodus, according to the BBC. However, the recent announcement of the significant drop in advertising revenue contradicts these previous statements.

In an effort to address the financial challenges facing Twitter, Musk appointed Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO. With her background in advertising, Yaccarino is expected to focus on business operations, product design, and new technology to revitalize the platform's financial performance. Musk's decision to bring in an industry veteran demonstrates his commitment to finding effective solutions for Twitter's struggles.

Source: Getty Images | Slaven Vlasic  Stringer
Source: Slaven Vlasic Stringer/Getty Images

However, Matthew Price, CEO of Cloudflare, a web security firm, recently revealed that Twitter's traffic has seen a noticeable decline since Musk's acquisition. This decline in user activity could be contributing to the decrease in advertising revenue, highlighting the urgency for the platform to regain momentum and attract more users.

Adding to Twitter's woes, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, launched a new text-based platform that directly competes with Twitter's core features. Within the first week of its release, Meta's Threads platform recorded an impressive 100 million downloads, indicating the potential threat it poses to Twitter's user base and advertising revenue. Twitter's web traffic plummeted by 11% days after the new Meta platform's launch compared to only a 4% year-on-year decline, as per Similarweb. However, it seems the Twitter CEO was in denial at that time and she tweeted on July 11, 2023, that the platform saw the "largest usage day" since February 2023. The success of Meta's new offering emphasizes the need for Twitter to quickly adapt and innovate to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive social media landscape.

Source: GettyImages | Justin Sullivan  Staff
Source: Justin Sullivan Staff/Getty Images 

As Twitter continues to grapple with declining advertising revenue and a heavy debt load, the road to financial recovery may require a multi-faceted approach. The new leadership under Linda Yaccarino could drive innovation with a focus on business operations and technology and attract both users and advertisers back to the platform. Twitter will need to strike a delicate balance between catering to its existing user base and appealing to new audiences, who may be drawn to Meta's platform or other alternatives. Additionally, addressing the concerns raised by advertisers and ensuring transparency and accountability in content moderation will be crucial for Twitter's resurgence. The platform needs to regain advertiser trust and provide a stable and conducive environment for their campaigns.

Source: GettyImages | Bethany Clarke  Stringer
Source: Bethany Clarke Stringer/Getty Images

While the challenges are significant, Twitter has demonstrated resilience in the past and has the potential to rebound. With the right strategies, investments in technology, and a keen understanding of user and advertiser needs, Twitter can overcome its current financial struggles and regain its position as a leading social media platform.