It has been two weeks since Elon Musk announced that Linda Yaccarino, ex-NBCUniversal advertising head, will be the new CEO of Twitter. Although there are a few weeks left for her to take over as the top exec, the expectations from Yaccarino are quite high already.
Being a huge influence in the advertising space and driving NBCUniversal’s growth, Yaccarino has been a name synonymous with the glam world of marketing and advertising. She was a key member in the launch of the ad-supported Peacock streaming service for NBCUniversal and she is said to be a great candidate for luring back advertisers to the social media platform after the setback last year post-Musk’s takeover.
According to a source-based report by a business publication, GroupM removed its “high risk” classification for Twitter, and informed its clients that they are “cautiously optimistic” about Yaccarino’s appointment. GroupM had classified Twitter as “high risk” last November after Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover. We reached out to GroupM for comment on the same but it was denied.
In India, Mondelez also said that it would pause paid-ads on the platform when Musk took over in November. A plethora of global brands also went off Twitter advertising. But with Yaccarino’s appointment, will there be a change in the way brands and advertisers in the country approach the platform? What are the expectations? We asked experts.
Savior for Twitter’s ad revenue?
Brand expert Lloyd Mathias believes Yaccarino’s appointment could be a game-changer for ramping up advertising revenues on Twitter. “Linda Yaccarino’s appointment is a slightly late acknowledgement by Elon Musk. Twitter will need the support of advertising to stay afloat. Everyone knows that Twitter's financials are in a deep mess. When Musk took over, he thought he could convert the business model seamlessly into subscription plus commerce. That obviously has not taken off. So now, I think there's a clear acknowledgement that if Twitter has to grow, it can grow at the back of getting advertisers to advertise on the Twitter platform.
Therefore, you're getting an advertising specialist, someone who spent many years with NBCUniversal advertising, sales and marketing. She will be on the front in terms of getting advertisers back into the platform. A lot of them have left the platform in the last one-year because Twitter became very toxic. I think, hopefully, she'll bring some stability.”
Speaking about the impact on Indian advertisers, Mathias said it was better to wait and watch. “With somebody who understands what clients want, what advertisers want, I think there will be a change in some of the things the way Twitter is doing it. So, one is to ensure that advertisers have a slightly safer environment to advertise. Advertisers do not want to be in a very controversial place. Once she's able to impact that element, I think it'll be positive; it will see a lot more advertisers wanting to come back. But like I said, for now, it's a wait-and-watch. People will need to see how the platform is changing. Right now, it is not obviously one of the most-favoured platforms, advertisers spend a lot more on channels like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. But I think over time, one will need to see how it evolves. But the fact that there is a change, a much-needed change and hopefully some fresh thinking, is very positive.”
Amit Dhawan, Partner and CEO, Art-E says Yaccarino could use her knowledge and her commitment to diversity to drive growth among Indian users. “Considering her background and extensive experience, it is likely that she will prioritize the growth of Twitter's advertising business by actively collaborating with advertisers in the Indian community and jointly developing solutions. Notably, in her recent series of tweets, Yaccarino has emphasized the word "together" multiple times, suggesting a focus on fostering partnerships and implementing region-specific enhancements, particularly in user targeting. Given her profound understanding of the global media landscape, she may also concentrate on expanding Twitter's presence in new markets and engaging with a broader user base in all regions. As a visionary leader, Yaccarino is expected to explore innovative ways to leverage technology and enhance Twitter's value for Indian users. Furthermore, her commitment to diversity and inclusion suggests she will work towards making Twitter a more inclusive and welcoming platform for all Indian users.
As for Viren Razdan, Managing Director at Brand-nomics, brands will be Yaccarino’s biggest focus. “Yaccarino comes with a solid story from ad sales at top media brands, known for her tough negotiation and relationship management skills with top honchos. She has been nicknamed ‘the velvet hammer’ for this blend of tough and soft effective approach.
Post Musk’s takeover of Twitter many big advertisers almost abandoned the platform weary of how the brand association would work. Enter Yaccarino - to reverse this slide back. While Musk and company fine-tune the product, Yaccarino is to ensure the platform syncs to the tune of the brands.”
“Yaccarino is riding heavy on her reputation. What really is to be seen is how she brings brands back on the platform, and how makes the engagement sing,” Razdan added.