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Kan Elon rätta Twitter?


Kan Elon rätta Twitter?

Ska vi vara oroliga för Twitter?

I mean, Elon Musk is been able to steer his other companies to massive success, there’s no reason, as yet, to believe he can’t achieve the same at Twitter. Right?

It’s impossible to say, of course, because Twitter’s very different to his other businesses, which focus on hardware, on actual physical products, as opposed to Twitter, which is essentially driven by engagement. But as Elon’s vision for the platform continues to take shape, it is worth noting the current state of the app, and where it needs to be to get on, and stay on the right track.

Revenue Status

Twitter’s biggest challenge is on the revenue front, with Elon estimating that the app was losing around $4 million per day when he took over at the helm.

Elon’s main additional revenue push thus far has been subscriptions, via Twitter Blue, which he’s hoping will eventually generate around half of the app’s total intake.

This is a critical peg in his ‘Twitter 2.0’ plan, for several reasons – for one, more direct income from users means less reliance on ads, and Elon is notoriously not a fan of advertising in any form.

Relying on ad dollars also means aligning with advertiser expectations around moderation, which potentially goes against Elon’s ‘free speech’ vision for the app, while getting more users to pay could also help to weed out bots, because if the majority of users are paying subscribers, that then makes it harder for bot farms to create armies of fake profiles, and have them blend in – at least, without having to pay a significant cost for such.

So how is Twitter Blue take up looking?

According to analysis by Travis Brown, as of right now, there are between 275k and 325k Twitter Blue subscribers. Taking the top-end of that estimate, we’ll assume that Twitter is generating around $2.6 million per month from Twitter Blue subscriptions as of right now (325,000x$8).

That equates to $7.8 million per quarter – which is a lot, but it’s still not close to where Twitter needs it to be to be a relevant revenue driver.

To clarify, in Q4 2021, Twitter generated $1.57 billion in revenue. Half of would be $785 million – or around 100x what Twitter Blue is currently bringing in.

Of course, Twitter Blue still has a lot of room to grow – it’s currently only available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. But then again, these regions account for around 70% of overall Twitter users, and if these initial take-up figures are indicative, that doesn’t bode well for this being a viable pathway to broader revenue growth.

What’s worse, Twitter has also reportedly lost around 40% of its ad revenue, due to the broader economic downturn and Musk’s decisions, including the reinstatement of previously banned users and revising its rules around moderation. That’s an estimated $642 million hit in Q4 alone.

At the same time, Twitter has reduced its costs, with Elon culling 70% of the company’s workforce, while also shutting down offices, data centers, cutting employee benefits, etc.

We don’t know how significant these cuts will be to Twitter’s bottom line, but Twitter’s staff costs in Q2 2022 were $950 million, and its operating costs were $540 million.

As an estimate, if you assume its staff costs have been reduced by 70% (it could be more than this due to exec salaries being culled), and the operating costs have been halved, that would reduce these from a cumulative $1.49b to $555 million.

Add in owed interest on Musk’s loan to purchase the app, and Twitter’s current operational costs, at a rough estimate, are around $930 million per quarter.

So, to clarify – incoming per quarter (based on estimates):

  • Ad revenue = $942 million
  • Twitter Blue = $7.8 million
  • Data licensing = $150 million

Total Twitter intake, per quarter = $1.1 billion

Twitter outgoing per quarter:

  • Staff costs = $285 million
  • Operating costs = $270 million
  • Interest on loans = $375 million

Total outgoing = $930 million

That’s a pretty thin edge, in relative terms, but once Twitter has paid out staff costs, and settled its current rent agreements, etc., it could be on the right track to generating revenue this year.

But a lot has to go right, and anything breaking or falling apart – which is increasingly likely due to reduced oversight – could put it in a seriously dangerous predicament.

I recently noted that it’s possible that Twitter could go bankrupt within 6 months – which Musk himself has admitted. This is why, and while the company is seemingly in a more stable situation, financially, at present, it’ll be a delicate balancing act until Elon can bring in more revenue for the business.

Future Plans

So, how will he do that?

Twitter’s still working out the details of its next steps, and while it continues to roll out smaller tweaks like updates to Bookmarks and view counts, the real push is revenue drivers, and bringing in more money at the app.

On this front, Twitter’s working on several elements:

Each of these has potential to bring in incremental value, but a lot will depend on how many people and businesses are willing to put more reliance on Twitter – and as its decline in ad revenue has shown, many are not comfortable with the direction that Elon’s currently taking at the app, at least at this stage.

But then again, a lot of big advertisers have re-committed to Twitter spending. And while some will hold off on making investments in the app, if Elon and Co. can increase engagement, and get more people spending more time in-stream, ad spend will follow, whether those brands agree with Musk’s personal stances or not.

Which is the longer-term push, and why Twitter’s comparatively smaller UI tweaks and updates are important – if Twitter can grow its audience, and get more people tweeting, ad dollars will follow, regardless of the media narrative around Musk’s political views and their impact.

The Singular Solution?

With perspective on the challenges at hand, you can see why Musk felt the need to cut thousands of staff, and reduce the app to its bare bones across the board.

Because, really, he had to. Twitter was operating at a loss, and has been since 2019, and the only way to get it back on track is to make drastic changes, whether we like them or not.

Those come with a high level of risk. Former Twitter staff have warned that the app will break at some stage, due to reduced monitoring and oversight, and Musk’s ‘hardcore’ management style, which prioritizes rapid deployments and tweaks, could kill engagement, and sink the ship.

As usual, Elon is flying close to the sun – but then again, why wouldn’t he? It’s worked out pretty well for him so far.

In April last year, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that Elon was ‘the singular solution’ that he trusts to right the ship, and get Twitter back on the right track.

That, of course, was before Elon cut so many staff, before he started releasing troves of internal documents, which are highly critical of those that operated under Dorsey’s management, and before he relaxed the platform’s rules around what’s acceptable and what’s not, and let all manner of questionable individuals back on the app.

But maybe, despite all of this, despite everything that we’re seeing. Despite Musk’s bravado and confrontational Twitter persona, maybe, he could actually steer things in the right direction.

It would be against the odds, and again, a lot has to go right. Even small missteps will have big consequences, but if anyone can handle that pressure, Elon, and his unwavering self-assuredness, could actually be fit for the task.

Or it could be gone before the year’s out. Either outcome feels entirely possible at this stage.


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MLB Twitter reacts to iconic sports gambling slogan being put on Baltimore Orioles scoreboard


Baltimore Orioles presenterar Mike Elias - Nyhetskonferens

Sports gambling is becoming more and more prevalent in North American sports and is now an aspect of MLB marketing so much so, that the Baltimore Orioles put a recognizable sports gambling slogan on their scoreboard.

The slogan reads: “Good teams win, great teams cover”. This refers to a team winning by enough runs to cover the spread set down by the sportsbook.

The team is sponsored by Superbook Sports, an online sportsbook that accepts bets for multiple sports. It can be assumed that the slogan is on the board due to that sponsorship.

MLB has a long history of being fervently against sports gambling, which now seems to be changing with the times. Jacob Calvin Meyer, an Orioles reporter for The Baltimore Sun, shared an image of the slogan on the scoreboard to Twitter.

A new SuperBook Sports advertisement above the scoreboard with the slogan: “Good teams win, great teams cover.” https://t.co/6ucMkQ9smn

For many fans, this is a step over the line of what they are willing to accept in terms of gambling marketing. Having the reminder seen every day in the stadium is certainly a leap, which direction the leap is in is up for debate.

The slogan putting greater value on winning bets over winning games is certainly a different way to market the sport to new fans.

@jcalvinmeyer honestly, this is sickening. it’s the entirety of what’s wrong with sports gambling wrapped up in neat little ad copy

Increases in gambling-focused content can also be seen in the NHL and the NFL. This is not an MLB-only issue, and its severity will depend on fans who see it.

Some have no issues with it and want to see more, while others are bitterly against it. As this industry continues to grow, we will likely see more such examples of spirited fan reactions.

i am a proponent of legal sports betting but this is outta control twitter.com/jcalvinmeyer/s…

I’ve got plenty of thoughts on gambling on sports…. but that tagline being IN the ballpark is definitely gross. twitter.com/jcalvinmeyer/s…

Gives throwing games a whole new meaning. Pete Rose in the hall of fame yet? twitter.com/jcalvinmeyer/s…

MLB famously suspended Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose from the sport for life when news of his gambling came out. As gambling becomes more accepted in American society, it will be interesting to see if their stance wavers. Obviously, there is a big difference between a fan and a player gambling, so it is unlikely his status will change at all.

Beyond sending a bad message, This makes no sense. Baseball teams need to win to cover, most people don’t mean run line when talking baseball spreads twitter.com/jcalvinmeyer/s…

yeah, fuck this, and the message is dumb as hell twitter.com/jcalvinmeyer/s…

Baseball is changing a lot this season and the advancement of sports gambling is certainly a part of it.

2023 will be a pivotal year for MLB

Houston Astros v New York Yankees
Houston Astros v New York Yankees

With all the new rules focused on improving offense and making the game faster, 2023 could be a year of explosive growth for baseball. The success of the World Baseball Classic in March primed the sports world for more baseball.

MLB will endeavor to put together the best product they possibly can for audiences old and new.

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Google Removed 5.2 Billion Ads for Content Violations in 2022


Google Removed 5.2 Billion Ads for Content Violations in 2022

If you wanted to get some perspective on the scope of content enforcement that large digital platforms deal with day-to-day, this will help. Today, Google has published its Säkerhetsrapport för annonser 2022, which outlines all of the ads and websites that Google took action against over the last year.

And the total amount of actions taken is pretty amazing.

Enligt Google:

"Our continued investment in policy development and enforcement enabled us to block or remove over 5.2 billion ads, restrict over 4.3 billion ads and suspend over 6.7 million advertiser accounts. And we blocked or restricted ads from serving more than 1.57 billion publisher pages and across more than 143,000 publisher sites, up from 63,000 in 2021.”

5.2 billion ads. That’s ‘billion’, with a ‘b’, which is also up 2 billion on ad removals in 2021.

Among the key reasons for blocking those billions of ads were trademark violations, legal requirements and misrepresentation within the promotions.

The top reason, however, as you can see, is ‘Abusing the Ad Network’, which essentially relates to spammers and scammers trying to use the system to dupe users.

Google also restricted a range of ads in these categories:

Google Ad Safety Report 2022

While Google also took action against a range of websites taking part in its AdSense program, which enables publishers to display Google ads on their sites.

The top reasons for these restrictions related to inappropriate and harmful content on these sites.

Google Ad Safety Report 2022

It’s an interesting overview of the online ads landscape, and the scale of activity required to protect users from scams and abuse. Google’s also removed over 50,000 YouTube channels and AdSense accounts created by China-based influence operations, among others, which is a whole other element of its content enforcement activity.

Spammers and scammers are always evolving their tactics, and as you can see, they remain extremely prolific.

The numbers underline the need for platforms to say vigilant, as they work to shield their audience.

You can read Google’s full 2022 Ads Safety Report här.


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Amidst potential TikTok ban, Triller surpasses 450m users across subsidiaries


Amidst potential TikTok ban, Triller surpasses 450m users across subsidiaries

Photo courtesy Triller

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

In the fast-paced world of social media, trends can come and go in a matter of days. But amidst the potential ban of the popular app TikTok, Triller has been making headlines for surpassing 450 million users across its subsidiaries.

Triller, known as the “smash-mouth marketing” social app, made waves in 2020 when it produced the highest-grossing digital PPV of all time with the Tyson vs. Jones fight. It also became the only app to ever hit number one in 80 countries due to then-President Trump announcing an imminent ban on TikTok. While the ban never materialized, Triller was hailed as the go-to replacement app if it were to occur.

But Triller is much more than just a TikTok replacement. Unlike the closed-garden system used by social media networks such as TikTok, Triller operates under an “open-garden” system where creators receive more than 70% of the money in the influencer ecosystem. This is a game-changing approach, as less than 1% of the over 500 billion dollars spent annually in the creator economy goes to creators on other platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Triller’s proprietary AI toolset also ensures creators can monetize their content fully on other social networks. This means that even if creators post content on Triller, they can still benefit from it on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. With Triller’s various technologies and affiliates, it’s able to produce as high as a 70% click rate, a remarkable feat in the world of social media.

Triller’s Chairman, Bobby Sarnevesht, has revealed that the platform has launched a seamless solution for users to migrate their content from TikTok to Triller via the domain transfertiktok.com. This one-click process allows users to transfer their TikTok accounts, content, and screen names to Triller in just a few minutes. This is an exciting development for Triller, as the US Government has pointed out that TikTok is, in fact, Chinese Communist Party spyware, making the ban now imminent.

As Triller positions itself as the go-to replacement app for TikTok, it has attracted hundreds of the world’s biggest celebrities and over 450 million registered users. In addition to celebrities driving Triller’s impressive numbers, its strategy to position itself as a music-based social media platform with a focus on creating and sharing music videos has helped attract a specific audience of music lovers who are interested in sharing their passion for music with others.

The acquisition of several other social media apps, including Verzuz, Julius, Fite.Tv and BKFC , has helped expand Triller’s user base and increase its reach, with over 2.5millon influencers connecting to 25,000 Brands and the only company to hold the unique distinction of 4 of the top 10 live shows ever held on Instagram. Furthermore, Triller’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for people to create and share videos. The app offers a range of editing tools, filters, and effects that allow users to customize their videos and make them more engaging.

While the potential TikTok ban is causing a stir, Triller is taking advantage of the situation by positioning itself as the best alternative platform for creators. As social media continues to evolve, Triller is leading the way in the new creator economy.  With its focus on empowering creators and its innovative approach to monetization, Triller is a platform to watch.


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