Twitter Tumult: Why You Shouldn’t Panic but You Should Be Paying Attention
Posted: January 8, 2023
TL;DR – Many marketing companies and higher ed institutions are pausing ad spend on Twitter. If you’re in that boat, or even if you’re still advertising there, don’t panic. Pausing campaigns is a fairly simple process and there are many other places your ad money can go to hit that top-of-funnel awareness that Twitter provides.
If you’re like us, you’ve been watching the changes at Twitter with a mix of astonishment and apprehension. Until a few months ago, the social media platform with a 280-character post limit showed amazing statistics on what advertising on the platform could do. Most Twitter users visit the site daily but only post once a month or so, according to Social Shepherd’s Twitter statistics, and since most Twitter users go to consume content, advertisers have found it to be a great way to reach audiences.
VisionPoint’s Associate Director of Media Brittany Casali calls Twitter, “a really strong awareness platform…so if [one of our higher ed client partners] want to drive awareness, we generally will add Twitter [to the media plan] because we generally see good click-through rates. We see strong engagement from younger audiences.”
With its character-count limitations and the way people use Twitter for news updates, it was one of the most popular social media sites around. But that all changed in late October 2022 when entrepreneur Elon Musk bought Twitter.
What’s Going On at Twitter?
Promising major changes to what would be allowed on the platform after the sale, Musk’s takeover saw “an immediate rise in hate speech,” VisionPoint Director of SEO and Analytics Anna Chandler says. VisionPoint watched and adjusted, pausing all client advertising on the platform.
The rise of hate speech wasn’t the only issue with pausing Twitter ads. “After the rise of hate speech, there was the issue with the verification accounts, the firing of engineers, legal and security issues,” Anna continues.
Needless to say, the changing of the guard at Twitter has caused some havoc for employees and users of the site, and advertisers are taking notice, many even pausing advertisements. National Public Radio found that by November 25, 2022, “half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers appear to no longer be advertising on the website. A report from Media Matters for America states that these 50 advertisers have spent almost $2 billion on Twitter ads since 2020 and more than $750 million just in 2022.”
PRWeek states that businesses including “Chipotle, United Airlines, General Mills, Pfizer, Audi, Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have all yanked ads from Twitter” based on information they found from Forbes. The uncertainty and lack of apparent rules around Twitter recently has made advertisers wary.
One of the main reasons is that businesses don’t want their brands advertised near controversial content. Even the chance that brands could be associated with a controversial post, nudity, or solicitation makes advertisers pause. They simply don’t want to damage their brands.
And it’s not just customer service brands pausing advertising. Everyone is taking notice.
How We’re Reacting
In November 2022, VisionPoint paused all Twitter ads for client partners. “When you see large companies are pausing their ads,” Brittany says, “it[‘s] extra justification for our clients that, if they are doing it, we should definitely do that.”
When we saw there was a need to pause advertising on the platform, we didn’t make blanket decisions for all of our clients. Each of our client partners has unique needs, so in our discussions with each of them, we looked strategically at their goals and our digital media specialists made suggestions on where to reallocate their media spending.
“This decision wasn’t a political decision of any side. The bottom line is what’s important, and, for us, that is making sure the prospective student experience is a positive one. Staying on Twitter,” Associate Director of Media Carly Althaus says, “we saw that as a [potentially] negative experience for prospective students and our clients.”
VisionPoint Marketing stresses the importance of multi-media marketing plans to clients. Having messages playing on various social media sites based on client goals allows a larger reach at all levels of the marketing funnel. Advertising is “all about the right audience, with the right message, at the right time, in the right place, and Twitter right now just isn’t the right place,” Anna Chandler says.“ Losing Twitter, even temporarily, will not stop client goals from being met. With a multi-media marketing plan, there are many possible ways to reach the right-fit audience, and VisionPoint Marketing’s Digital Media Specialists make it their job to know where to move those advertising dollars to make the most impact without disruption.
On the whole, VisionPoint is encouraging clients to reallocate funds to another channel rather than keep it in the hopes that Twitter will become an active channel again. “On the media side, we don’t want to reserve budget for a channel, hoping that we might want to turn that channel back on. December and January is a critical time for our clients’ enrollment and we can’t just be sitting on budget,” Brittany says. “We’re reallocating to top of funnel awareness channels – Google Display, Programmatic Display, YouTube, but mostly in our awareness-focused channels. I’ve seen a lot of reallocation to TikTok and Snapchat because they’re similar in audience.”
But even though they may be obvious choices, “We don’t limit ourselves. We can advertise virtually anywhere and we do every possible thing in house so we have no limitations. While we’re giving [recommendations], we’re not restrained to that list” in any way, Carly ensures.
So how long will client partners’ ad spend on Twitter be paused? Brittany explains that VisionPoint, like many other advertising agencies, is going to “sit tight for awhile. We’ll reevaluate and keep up with the news and what other institutions are doing, but we’re likely going to stay paused through our clients’ fiscal years at the end of the June.”
And while there’s been a lot of talk about users leaving Twitter for another less-known site called Mastodon, it’s not an apples to apples comparison. Mastodon could be an organic marketing option for clients, but since there are no paid advertisements on that platform, VisionPoint isn’t able to be present there.
Brittany Casali is resolute in VisionPoint Marketing’s stance about Twitter. “I don’t want people to panic that we lost a channel because I don’t think Twitter alone was having a big impact. It was mostly just driving clicks. There were not a lot of conversions from this channel. We have other top of the funnel channels that can get people even more engaged. We have more robust targeting and can get people more engaged on other platforms, so I don’t think this is a huge loss to our media plans. Yes, Twitter had its value, but it’s not going to be a huge loss in the media mix with so many other channels to choose from that we can get the same, if not more, value from.”
So the key takeaway from the Twitter news is this: Be calm. While you may have had plans to spend advertising dollars at Twitter, all is not lost. Allocating funds to another top-of-funnel awareness channel is a possibility with planning and insight. Remember, though, that advertising channels are not one-size-fits-all. Even with the pause of Twitter ads, no one client has a media plan that is exactly like another’s. Our Media Team works tirelessly to look at data and statistics as well as each client partner’s individual goals and makes a custom recommendation for each media plan.
Work With Us
With over 21 years of enrollment-focused work in the higher ed industry, VisionPoint knows how to maximize conversions through multi-channel media mixes and we’re eager to continue making strides to help client partners see the results they need to build classes that not only show up but graduate. Do you need help navigating social media advertising from our social media experts? We’d love to work with you. Contact our Vice President Dana Cruikshank for a free consultation call.
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