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Twitter keeps missing its advertising targets as woes mount

Elon Musk has repeatedly warned that his company faces dire financial straits. Interviews with 7 former employees and internal documents seen by The New York Times paint a fuller picture of Twitter’s financial woes

December 04, 2022 / 09:25 AM IST
Musk has alternated between wooing advertisers and blasting them. Last month, he threatened a “thermonuclear name and shame” of brands that halted their spending on Twitter (Photo by Patrick Pleul / POOL / AFP)

Musk has alternated between wooing advertisers and blasting them. Last month, he threatened a “thermonuclear name and shame” of brands that halted their spending on Twitter (Photo by Patrick Pleul / POOL / AFP)

Ryan Mac, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger

The FIFA World Cup has historically been a boon for Twitter, bringing in record traffic and an influx of advertising dollars. But this time, when the global football tournament started November 20, Twitter’s United States ad revenue was running at 80 percent below internal expectations for that week, three people with knowledge of the figures said.

In tandem, Twitter was rapidly cutting its revenue projections. The company previously forecast that it would generate $1.4 billion in the last three months of the year, down from $1.6 billion a year ago because of the global economic downturn. But as Twitter kept missing its weekly advertising targets, that number slid to $1.3 billion, then to $1.1 billion, two people said.

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, has warned repeatedly that his social media company faces dire financial straits. Interviews with seven former employees and internal documents seen by The New York Times paint a fuller picture of Twitter’s financial woes.