Why are you seeing so many bad digital ads now?
Digital ad spend, while continuing to grow overall, has “slowed off sharply,” according to an analysis by research firm Insider Intelligence last month.
Twitter seems to fare the worst. The company has been struggling to retain high-profile advertisers since Mr Musk took over ownership in October amid fears hate speech and misinformation could rise on the platform. Research firm Sensor Tower estimates that the top 10 advertisers spent 55 percent less last year during Mr Musk’s tenure than a year earlier, with six of them spending nothing so far in 2023. Twitter has offered deals, discounts and bonus incentives to lure back advertisers, media buyers said.
But even the largest listed social networks are affected by advertising problems. Snapchat’s parent company posted its slowest quarterly growth on record last month and forecast a decline in revenue for the current quarter. Google parent Alphabet said ad sales on YouTube fell nearly 8 percent last quarter.
Last year, Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline (it fell again last quarter). Ad prices on Facebook and Instagram fell 24 percent in the last quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, according to investment bank Piper Sandler.
Shareholder pressure fueled by years of strong profits continues to drive these companies to seek revenue wherever possible — including, experts say, by selling low-quality ads.
Corey Richardson, vice president of Chicago-based multicultural advertising agency Fluent360, said he’s seeing more ads for items he’s not interested in — Hawaiian shirts with “Star Wars” characters, a fountain shaped like hands clasped in prayer, all mixed with vaccine -Misinformation and occasional videos depicting violence.
“They just take the money that comes — beggars can’t be picky,” Mr Richardson said.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Meta declined to comment. YouTube said it has invested “significantly” in ad quality and customer experience.