The recent announcement of NBCUniversal’s former head of global advertising Linda Yaccarino taking on the role as Twitter’s new CEO has seen the headlines emerging around building "Twitter 2.0”. Yaccarino joins the company amidst volatility as the platform continues to struggle with declining ad revenue and active users. Its new owner, Elon Musk, who is no stranger to controversy, has continued to make significant changes since his takeover, despite facing ad halts by major brands.
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Since Yaccarino's appointment, media intelligent firm CARMA saw over 230K mentions related to the hire just over the past week, with 28% being positive and 23.6% being negative. While some netizens are hopeful about Yaccarino's appointment and her potential to bring positive change to Twitter, many remain skeptical, according to CARMA’s HK GM Charles Cheung.
“One of the primary concern is Twitter's continued struggle with declining ad revenue and active users on the platform. Given these challenges, it may be a daunting task for Yaccarino to reverse the trend of declining revenue and restore stability to the platform. There are also questions on what new ideas or strategies Yaccarino will bring to the table to rejuvenate Twitter and enhance its reputation,” he added.
Social media players such as Kristian Olsen, founder and managing director of digital and social media content agency Type A, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the appointment of Yaccarino is a nod in the right direction, given her track record which is reflective of that. “She has a job on her hands and if she is truly going to try and better understand users’ habits to create more personalised features, then she’s off on the right track,” he said, adding:
If Yaccarino’s goal is to evolve Twitter into a super app of sorts, then she has to first create stability and credibility to the app that has suffered a lot of bad public impression in the previous year.
Agreeing with Olsen was James Chua, founder and managing director of digital creative and social marketing consultancy agency GERMS, said the jury will be out on whether Yaccarino is really someone who is empowered to make a change or merely a figurehead.
“The appointment of Yaccarino is clear and necessary. Twitter needs to woo back advertisers to ramp up their ad revenue. A lot of what happened with advertisers leaving Twitter is because of Musk's doing. His relationship with advertisers has been testy since he took over, largely due to his indignant upholding of free speech as the holy grail on Twitter,” he added.
How can Yaccarino lure back advertisers to Twitter?
While the strategic appointment of Yaccarino as Twitter's new CEO might open up exciting possibilities for the platform, this doesn't guarantee a more advertiser-friendly environment. “As Twitter evolves under Yaccarino's leadership, it remains to be seen whether it will prioritise the user experience as a ‘less intrusive’ channel or face potential financial implications from reduced advertising opportunities. Time will only tell,” said Tina Ahmed, senior digital engagement manager, TEAM LEWIS APAC.
Furthermore, Yaccarino must know how twitter can be re-positioned to gain back its position within digital and social media marketing. “For example, under Yaccarino's direction, the company may develop some products and features which could let advertisers and agencies to run immediately and understand how it could facilitate advertisers' marketing strategies," said Ken Cheung, digital director of KREW.
Vin Ng, director of Spread-it believed the main problem falls on how Yaccarino will moderate the advertising content on the platform. “As with Elon Musk, brands paused spending on the platform due to his policies on content moderation[...]thus it will be interesting to see how Yaccarino will execute on this matter,” he added.
Will it change the future of social media advertising?
As most of the industry players MARKETING-INTERACTIVE agreed that the hire of Yaccarino will surely bring a change to the advertising industry, it is still too early to conclude how this will change the future of social media advertising. Right now, a key for any social platform is to cultivate a habit among users to visit it daily.
"If the platform fails to maintain its position for its users, they may use it less frequently or even switch to other platforms. If the platform's popularity declines, marketers may decrease their ad spend,” Florence Kong, founder and managing director of WeGlow HK.
On the other hand, TEAM LEWIS’ Ahmed said the appointment is less likely to change the future of social media advertising dramatically. “What will shift is how brands plan to engage with Twitter, it will continue to be a default channel for most businesses more on an organic level, however, when it comes to ads, it may not be the priority platform for most businesses to park capital towards – unless their key target audience deem otherwise,” she said.
GERMS’ Chua, who said Yaccarino will probably do what Sheryl Sandberg did during her days at Facebook:
Create good advertising models and turn in good revenue. Her biggest stumbling block will be Musk himself.
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