US ad revenue at Musk’s X declined each month since takeover — data

October 6, 2023 - 10:33 AM
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Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk attends the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China August 29, 2019. (Reuters/Aly Song/File Photo)

Monthly U.S. ad revenue at social media platform X has declined at least 55% year-over-year each month since billionaire Elon Musk bought the company formerly known as Twitter in October 2022, according to third-party data provided to Reuters.

The company has struggled to retain some advertisers since the takeover, as brands have been wary of rapid changes under Musk’s ownership. X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, is expected to meet on Thursday with bank lenders who helped finance Musk’s acquisition to outline the company’s business plans, according to a person familiar with the plans.

U.S. ad revenue dropped by 78% in December 2022 compared with the same month the previous year, the steepest monthly decline since the acquisition, according to ad analytics firm Guideline, which tracks advertising spending data from major ad agencies.

Ad revenue in August, the latest data available from Guideline, declined 60% year-over-year. X declined to comment on the data.

Musk has previously acknowledged that the platform has taken a hit on revenue and has blamed activists for pressuring advertisers. Last month, he accused the Anti-Defamation League of being the primary cause behind a 60% decline in U.S. ad revenue, though he did not provide a time frame.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ADL said any allegation that it caused losses to X were false. The organization added it was prepared to begin advertising itself on the platform “to bring our important message on fighting hate to X and its users.”

During an interview at Vox Media’s Code conference last week, Yaccarino said 1,500 brands had returned to the platform in the previous 12 weeks, and that 90% of the top 100 advertisers were back on X. She added that X could turn a profit by early next year.

Musk rebranded Twitter as X in July as part of his plan to transform the company into an “everything app” and offer a variety of services in addition to social networking, similar to apps like WeChat in China.

This includes building peer-to-peer payment features and increasing the amount of video content on the platform, Reuters previously reported.

– Reporting by Sheila Dang in Austin, Texas, and Yuvraj Malik in BengaluruEditing by Matthew Lewis