Who's still advertising on Twitter?

Who's still advertising on Twitter?

By Jarrett Bellini | @JarrettBellini | March 8, 2024

Who the hell is still advertising on Twitter? 

I pondered this question one Thursday afternoon. 

Not long ago I could’ve told you. I was always on Twitter. It was my thing which, admittedly, was a dumb thing to have as … your thing. But it was my thing. 

Then Elon came along and the whole site went spiraling down the drain. Over time, I just stopped going. It felt dirty. I haven’t Tweeted since October 27, 2023.

(Waits patiently for hero's applause.)
(Continues to wait.)

I’m not even saying I’ll never go back. I might. I just haven’t.  

And because I’ve been largely off the site I couldn’t say with any certainty who, after all of Elon’s failed ideas and keta-memes, is still willing to advertise their brand in this toxic cess pool of the world’s worst basement dwellers. 

That’s what I was thinking about on a Thursday when I could've otherwise been improving my life. 

So, I decided to waste even more time to do some wildly unscientific data collection. It required only that I log onto Twitter five times - once every fifteen minutes - and note the first ten advertisements that came to me as I scrolled.

Here’s what I learned.

The very first ad I saw was for Crypto.com and I thought, “Yeah, that tracks.”

But it actually only showed up once. Which was six fewer appearances than the top reoccurring ad which was for The Athletic, a subscription-based sports journalism website that also serves as the sports department for The New York Times. The same New York Times once spitefully stripped of their blue check because Elon was having a case of the Mondays.

Twitter was always a special place for sports. I used to follow along with live commentary during Tottenham and Arizona Cardinals games. This was back before TweetDeck was rebranded and locked away, lest you pay Elon his $8 ransom. 

TweetDeck was also where I got most of my breaking news and commentary. Now I go elsewhere. But, hot damn, it was an especially wonderful tool for sports. 

So, I guess it makes sense that The Athletic would continue to advertise to any remaining fans who still frequent Twitter for live game updates, highlights, and hot takes. But make no mistake. The New York Times is paying the bill, and it’s not a great look. 

For me, the most surprising advertisers that appeared in my feed were State Farm and Samsung. Whereas most major brands have jumped ship, here they were. Loud and proud. Top tier companies and genuine household names. They showed up two and three times, respectively. 

The State Farm ads featured Jimmy Fallon. Which actually doesn’t shock me. He's completely risk-averse and politically agnostic. Which means he'll just go wherever he finds eyeballs. 

Though, to be fair, he probably doesn’t even know where these ads run. I’ll give him a pass. But I’m definitely now questioning what exactly State Farm thinks it means to be “like a good neighbor.”

Sing it with me: Nazis are there!

All three of the Samsung ads were pushing AI technology for their new Galaxy S24 Ultra smartphone. I’m sure it’s impressive. I dunno. I don’t care. I’m already in the Apple ecosystem, zombie-walking toward whatever they feed me in the shade of space gray.

But the next time I buy a new TV, I might well ignore Samsung as an option. Though it’s more likely I’ll have forgotten I even wrote this. My long-term memory for righteousness has a shelf-life of about an hour.

So, yeah. Those two brands were definitely surprising. But the most conflicting series of ads was from Democratic Texas senate candidate, Colin Allred. His spots appeared five time - once every round. 

It was a little off-putting to see Allred’s campaign shoveling money into the hands of Elon. The congressman seems like a good dude, but this felt a bit beneath him. On the other hand, Allred faces an uphill battle to unseat Ted Cruz. And maybe it just makes sense to enter the belly of the beast and directly target those center-right voters on Twitter who may still be on the fence. 

Both of them.

Beyond these that I’ve mentioned, the only other advertiser I’d actually heard of was DirecTV. Everything else - the vast majority of all fifty I noted during that hour - focused on a collection of completely random, no-name products: Gambling apps and bonor pills. Mobile games and crypto sites. 

This list also included some hilariously shady retailers, several obvious bot accounts pushing get rich quick schemes, and a faith-based film studio specializing in Christian content.

All in all, nothing interesting. Though, I did do some further research on the boner pills. You know. For journalism.

Anyway, that’s who’s advertising on Twitter. At least in my feed. It’s not exactly a Murderers’ Row of major brands straight from the creative minds of Madison Avenue. But I guess, for now, Lordy-wood and dollar store solitaire apps are enough to keep the lights on. 

Even if it’s just one dim bulb, quietly hovering over Elon’s next idea for a keta-meme.

* March 18, 2024 Update: I tweeted. Felt cute. Might delete later.

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