Digital Strategy

The State of the Twitterverse pt. 27?

Twitter’s acquisition saga has been a wild ride over the last year since Musk first began teasing his interest in overhauling the platform. 

Assuming this deal actually gets signed, it will become one of the biggest acquisitions in tech history. And the story so far has definitely been a long and rocky one. 

In case you missed it, here’s the rundown:

The Twitter/Musk Timeline So Far:

1. April: Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $44B 

  • Offer was to buy at $54.20 / share
  • Musk begins lining up financing, including selling off $8.5B in Tesla stock.

2. May: Musk starts to have second thoughts

  • Musk believes that Twitter has a bigger bot problem than they’ve been letting on

3. July: Twitter sues Musk to force the deal through

  • A Delaware judge sets trial date of Oct. 17 (scheduled to run for five days)
  • If Musk were to pull out, there’d be a minimum of a $1B breakup fee with the potential for a much larger settlement amount

4. September: Twitter stakeholders approve the deal

  • Stakeholder approval is the next tit-for-tat between Musk and Twitter, but this step means that the deal could go through, pending a response from Musk 
  • It seems Musk is trying to ensure that his potential investment is a good one. OR, he’s doing his best to get out of a deal that he no longer wants to participate in. (With Musk, who really knows?)

What happens if Musk buys Twitter?

1. Political landscape = changed.

With absentee voting already underway, and less than 45 days to “Election Day,” this decision could change the political playing field for the midterms. For example, if Musk buys Twitter, he’s already stated that he would reverse Twitter’s move to ban Donald Trump, increasing the bully pulpit reach of the former president.

2. Surface-level platform changes are highly likely. 

Testing has already begun on an Edit Tweet feature, a long requested feature by users (notably and especially by Musk).

3. Say hello to an open source code-base.

Musk has stated that he wants to post Twitter’s code on Github, to offer the public the ability to access the company’s data, identify flaws, and propose improvements.

How could Musk buying Twitter impact your business? 

1. Platforms are constantly changing. This is no exception. 

There will likely be adjustments from Twitter, regardless of Musk’s overtake. Depending on who’s at the helm, they may swing harder in one direction than another. Marketers will need to pivot – not panic. Flexing and evolving is what we do.

2. Ad dollars get a revenue priority demotion. 

In a pitch deck to Twitter, Musk stated that he’s looking to 5x the revenue overall by 2028. In his proposed model, advertising revenue would fall to 45% of total earnings, down from about 90% in 2020, generating $12 billion in revenue in 2028. The remainder of the revenue would come from paid subscriptions, amounting to an additional $10B. 

3. The bot problem may get solved.  

If the bot problem is as bad as Musk states, advertisers’ paid efforts on Twitter are potentially wasting billions on non-human traffic. If this is actually the case and Musk’s takeover results in the bot problem getting cleaned up, we can expect to see performance increase, which will potentially create more competition for other platforms. 

Of note: Twitter stands by the report that less than 5% of accounts on Twitter are bots. 

4. Potential for monetization, new advertising efforts, and paid subscriptions. 

With Musk pushing hard to grow the subscription side of Twitter, there will be a huge opportunity to participate in any new promotions or features related to building a community around your brand on Twitter.

It is yet to be seen if the deal will go through, but this most recent approval of the deal is a sign in the direction of Musk running the show. We still have to wait for the coming hearing on October 17th and what Musk’s overall strategy and response will be.

The Twitter/Musk story keeps evolving. The key things we’re watching:

  1. Platform changes prior to confirmation of the deal. Whether Musk signs or not, platform changes are likely.
  2. Impact to political spending through November 2022.
  3. Response from advertisers on revised platform position.