Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the subsequent issues that have plagued the social media platform have been anything but smooth sailing, and new data suggests the past few months might have been worse than most initially thought.
According to data obtained by CNN from digital marketing analysis firm Pathmatics by Sensor Tower, over half (about 60%) of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers stopped advertising on the platform as of January.
Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, and Jeep are just a few of the roughly 625 former advertisers that are no longer running active ads on the site.
Before Musk officially placed his bid to purchase the company in April 2022, advertising was on the up — a letter to Twitter shareholders revealed that ad revenue for fiscal 2021 grew 40% year over year to an estimated $4.506 billion total.
Full revenue data is not available for 2022 as Twitter is no longer a publicly traded company under Musk’s ownership.
The news comes just days after Musk revealed that the platform will begin sharing ad revenue with creators promoting ads as long as they are subscribed to Twitter Blue, Musk’s new pay-for-check verification system that costs users $8 a month.
To be eligible, the account must be a subscriber to Twitter Blue Verified
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2023
The billionaire’s relationship with advertisers has been relatively rocky given Musk’s contentious nature on Twitter, drumming up drama in everything from politics to outlandish statements and memes.
The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of last year that several interviews with ad execs across different businesses maintained that Musk’s antics were “making it harder for them to return to the platform,” particularly making Twitter polls about whether or not he should continue to lead the company as CEO.
Last October, Musk penned a letter to advertisers in an attempt to stop what could have been a sinking ship and explain his motivation for wanting to purchase the company in the first place, promising advertisers that the platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” without consequences.
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
“It is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
Musk is still currently serving as interim CEO of Twitter.