Elon Musk has once again surprised the tech industry with his announcement that Linda Yaccarino, former chair of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, will take over as the new CEO of Twitter (as he previously promised). Despite her extensive experience in the media industry, Yaccarino may be a culture fit for the social media giant, as she shares Musk’s views on free speech and supported them publicly during an interview at a conference in Miami last month.
“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!,” Musk tweeted on Friday, May 12, 2023. “My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.”
One of the major challenges facing Yaccarino as she takes over from Musk will be to restore credibility with advertisers, a critical source of revenue for Twitter. When Musk took over the platform, ad sales generated over 90% of Twitter’s revenue, but the platform has since seen a decline in ad revenue. Monthly ad revenue from Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers dropped from roughly $127 million in October 2022 to $48 million in January 2023, according to digital marketing analysis firm Pathmatics by Sensor Tower.
Musk attempted to replace some of the lost ad revenue by introducing Twitter Blue, a paid service that promised users access to exclusive features, including the coveted blue checkmark. However, this initiative did not yield the desired results. To transform Twitter into an “everything app,” the platform needs to focus on attracting the best in the business to bring back advertisers.
Musk will move to the positions of CTO and executive chairman, which could allow him to focus more on his other companies. However, Yaccarino is not necessarily set up for success. Taking over as CEO of Twitter is like inheriting a beautiful Victorian house that is rapidly flooding because the previous owner intentionally smashed every single pipe. Moreover, there are currently angry users and even a controversy surrounding Twitter’s autocomplete suggestion function, which the company recently removed after NBC News reported that it was recommending animal abuse videos to anyone typing “dog” or “cat” into the search bar.
Yaccarino brings significant expertise in the advertising industry and is known as “the velvet hammer” for her tough negotiating tactics. If anyone can bring back advertisers to Twitter, it’s Yaccarino. However, she will need to work hard to overcome the platform’s current reputation and regain advertisers’ trust. The success of Twitter’s advertising efforts will be crucial for the platform’s future, and Yaccarino’s appointment shows that Musk is taking the challenge seriously.