Where’s Twitter 5 months after Elon Musk took over?

Written by: Oliver Taylor
March 27, 2023

Musk’s Twitter takeover took the world by storm, making daily headlines. Many predicted the worst for the platform, while others were neutral to optimistic.

No one knew for sure where Twitter was headed.

Five months later, the data paints an interesting picture. Who was right and who was wrong?

Well, there are two main factors to consider here: ad spend (a main source of the platform’s revenue), and the size of Twitter’s user base.


A difficult period for Twitter

From a business perspective, over half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers stopped advertising there from October through to January 2023. And they haven’t come back, according to CNN.

This advertiser exodus caused a 60% slump in total ad spend – a big hit to Twitter’s revenue. Musk claimed in early February “last three months to be extremely tough”.¹

On the other hand, the actions of Twitter’s user base contrast strongly with those of major advertisers who left. To the surprise of many people, Twitter usage grew leaps and bounds, as indicated by ads reaching over 550 million unique users each month – a surge of 120 million from the same time last year, according to Datareportal.2

Cost per thousand reached (CPM) hasn’t changed from before Musk’s takeover in 20223 , to 20234 despite lower volume of major advertisers, rather it has sat steady at USD 6.46.

But this wave of new users combined with the decrease in advertising volume could suggest an opportunity for digital advertisers looking for a growing platform with an increasing potential reach.

On a different note, Twitter has moved into rank two for referrals originating from third-party websites, according to Datareportal5. This suggests more, rather than less interest in Twitter.


Creators to be able to charge for content

Last month Musk announced plans to let users charge for content, allowing people to generate income from their followers.6

On top of that, the magnate said Twitter will be increasing long-form tweets from 4,000 to 10,000 characters, making it “much easier for writers to charge subscription fees for premium content.”

Musk hopes to have Twitter’s new CEO in place “probably toward the end of this year”, he said on a video call to the World Government Summit in Dubai.7

From a more general perspective, there’s at least a tendency to “shake things up”. From an optimistic view, there’s a push toward innovation, despite challenges and controversy.

Curious where to stand on this as a digital marketer?

Data suggests that although CPM remains steady, reach is increasing, giving you the chance to reach more people than ever on the platform. If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe Twitter isn’t a bad tool to have in your repertoire.