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Twitter stock falls as Musk mocks lawsuit threat

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Tesla founder Elon Musk, now making a hostile takeover bid for Twitter, got himself in hot water in 2018 over statements he made on the social media platform

Tesla founder Elon Musk. – Copyright AFP WANG Zhao

John BIERS

Twitter shares tumbled Monday as Elon Musk issued a mocking, defiant commentary about a looming court battle after he ditched a $44 billion buyout of the social media giant.

About 60 minutes into trading Monday, Tesla shares sank 7.0 percent to $34.24.

After weeks of threats, Musk on Friday pulled the plug on the deal, accusing the company of “misleading” statements about the number of fake accounts, according to a letter from his lawyers included in a US securities filing.

In his first public remarks since the announcement, Musk took to Twitter late Sunday night to troll the company after it said it would sue to enforce the deal.

“They said I couldn’t buy Twitter. Then they wouldn’t disclose bot info. Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court. Now they have to disclose bot info in court,” Musk wrote in a tweet, with each of the four statements accompanied by pictures of Musk laughing with increasing glee.

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A second tweet showed an image of martial arts star Chuck Norris behind a chess board, which Musk captioned, “Chuckmate.”

Musk’s termination of the takeover agreement he inked in April sets the stage for a potentially lengthy court battle with the company, which initially opposed a transaction with the unpredictable billionaire entrepreneur.

The original merger agreement contained a $1 billion breakup fee.

Twitter has defended its fake account oversight and said it will sue to force Musk to complete the deal.

The social network says the number of fake accounts is less than five percent, a figure challenged by the multi-billionaire who believes the number to be much higher.

According to several US media reports, Twitter has hired prominent New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Twitter declined to comment to AFP.

– Still a chance at deal? –

The latest back-and-forth follows weeks of public squabbling between the sides after Musk amplified the fake accounts issue, with some analysts speculating that he was getting cold feet about a deal announcement that had aroused criticism from progressive advocacy groups concerned about Musk’s political agenda.

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Musk’s norm-defying conduct has come as little surprise to longtime watchers of the Tesla boss, who are accustomed to a constant stream of statements that flout or test convention and sometimes provoke a crackdown from regulators.

Some market watchers predicted the deal would fall apart shortly after it was announced, but others still saw a way forward on Monday even in the wake of the latest happenings.

“While the two parties likely are facing a lengthy battle of which the final decision remains very uncertain, we believe Twitter may have the stronger case,” said Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi. “We also think that a scenario remains where Musk and Twitter reach a new, lower-price agreement.”

But Mogharabi lowered his estimate for Twitter shares to $47 from Musk’s bid price of $54.20, saying, “we expect Twitter will likely face distractions that set back its efforts to grow revenue and expand margins.”

For analyst Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities, “this is a ‘code red’ situation for Twitter and its Board as now the company will go head to head against Musk in a Game of Thrones court battle.”

“We see no other bidders emerging at this time while legal proceedings play out in the courts.”

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Meta Expands Automated Ad Optimization Options via ‘Meta Advantage’ Program

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Meta Expands Automated Ad Optimization Options via ‘Meta Advantage’ Program

As it works to mitigate the impacts of Apple’s ATT privacy prompts, which have reduced its capacity for personalization and data-based ad targeting, Meta’s looking to enhance its automated ad tools, and make them more available to more businesses, via a new expansion of its ‘Meta Advantage’ automation program.

Originally launched back in March, Meta Advantage groups together its various ad automation and AI-based tools, in order to make it easier for advertisers to understand which elements do what, while also highlighting the various automation tools it has on offer.

And now, Meta’s expanding its Advantage options – first off, Meta’s adding ‘Advantage+ Shopping’ campaigns, which will provide assistance in ad creation, and will be able to automate up to 150 creative combinations at once. 

As per Meta:

Rolling out to ecommerce and retail advertisers on August 15, the Advantage+ shopping campaigns tool gives advertisers new ways to optimize campaigns. Advantage+ shopping campaigns uses AI to automate the campaign creation process and is powered by new machine learning models.”

Those models, according to Meta, have been generating good results:

In a study of 15 A/B tests, we discovered that Advantage+ shopping campaigns drove 12% lower cost per purchase conversion compared to advertisers’ Business as Usual (BAU) ads.

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The update will provide more options for eCommerce brands, while Meta’s also looking to enable businesses with a FB or IG Shop to use it as a destination for Advantage+ shopping campaigns.

We’ll then use the power of AI to direct people to the Shop or the seller’s website based on what has the highest likelihood to result in a transaction.”

Meta Advantage

So the process (which is still in testing) will be able to guide users to where they’re more likely to convert, based on their past behavior. Elements like this have been particularly impacted by Apple’s update, because Meta can’t track where people are tapping through to – though recent research has shown that Meta is still able to track link click activity when you use the in-app browser in its apps.

That could make this a more effective option, which could be worth considering in your campaigns.

Meta’s also looking to give SMBs more access to the same tools, with smaller brands now able to access Advantage+ creative and Advantage audience to create ads via their Facebook Page.

“Advantage+ creative automatically adjusts ad creative for each person who views your ad. This helps show them the version they’re most likely to respond to, delivering better ad performance, while Advantage audience creates a personalized audience based on your Page details and automatically adjusts over time to help you reach more relevant people with your ad.”

Both of these new options are now available when you create ads from your Facebook Page.

Meta’s also updated its creative optimization options via Ads Manager, in order to better enable advertisers to create multiple versions of an ad, that are optimized for what viewers are more likely to respond to, while it’s also testing a new process that will automatically add music from Meta’s sound catalog to image-based ads, ‘creating a more immersive experience for placements in Reels ads’.

These are some interesting updates, and it may well be worth exploring Meta’s evolving Advantage product suite, in order to gauge how they might help to enhance your campaigns in its apps.

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Using automation has become an increasingly viable option for brands, as online ad systems continue to evolve and ‘learn’ from user behaviors. And again, with less data to go on, due to the new iOS prompts, automation could well be the best way to maximize campaign performance.

You can learn more about Meta Advantage here.

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