Yaccarino takes wheel at Twitter early as advertising woes become public
Leaked documents show a 59% ad revenue decline last month – can a Yacc smack get Twitter back on track?
Twitter's new CEO Linda Yaccarino is reportedly starting work at the bird site today, weeks earlier than expected, in the wake of a wave of leadership resignations and the same day it was reported that Twitter's ad revenue is well and truly in trouble.
It was believed Yaccarino would begin closer to the start of July based on the six week window Musk gave in mid May, but there are plenty of reasons to accelerate that transition.
For one, there's last week's resignation of Twitter head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, which was followed by the resignation of AJ Brown, Twitter's head of brand safety and ad quality. That was followed shortly afterward by news of another resignation in the same department, with brand safety partnership program manager Maie Aiyed also fleeing Twitter 2.0.
It's not difficult to understand why Twitter employees, especially those whose job it is to moderate the site and maintain a good relationship with advertisers, aren't hanging around. Internal Twitter documents obtained by The New York Times that reveal the poor state of the Musk-owned company's advertising revenue only give further justification to those departures.
According to the NYT's report on the documents, Twitter's US advertising revenue for April to the first week of May was $88 million – a whopping 59 percent decrease from the same period last year. Additionally, Twitter has regularly fallen short of its weekly sales projections, on occasions by as much as 30 percent, indicating ad shortfalls may have been regular.
The documents, the NYT said, forecast weekly ad revenue in June to be down at least 56 percent compared to the same period in 2022, while the documents and several Twitter employees the Times spoke to said they believed there's unlikely to be much improvement "anytime soon."
Twitter only responded to our requests to confirm the report in its usual manner: With a poomoji.
Yaccarino already stacking the Twitter deck
When Musk announced Yaccarino's hiring last month it was assumed with good reason that she was being brought onboard to handle Twitter's struggles to maintain its advertising revenue, classically its main source of income, under Musk's tenure.
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To help her, Twitter is tapping former NBCUniversal advertising executive Joe Benarroch to join its leadership team, though in what role specifically remains unclear. While at NBCUniversal, Benarroch reported to Yaccarino as head of communications strategy for advertising and partnerships, a role similar to those that opened up at Twitter with the departures of Aiyed and Brown.
The pair will have their work cut out for them: Along with its tattered reputation, Twitter's financial state has been deteriorating too: Musk himself valued the company at less than half he paid for it in March, and last week investment firm Fidelity reported that its stake in the company had sunk to around a third of what it was worth prior to Musk's takeover. Clawing that capital back is going to require a charm offensive Twitter's leadership (prior to today) seemed incapable of. ®