GroupM: It’s ‘high-risk’ to buy ads on Twitter


When it comes to producing advertising money, Twitter may need help. According to Platformer and Digiday, GroupM, a subsidiary of WPP and the world’s largest advertising agency and Twitter’s largest advertiser, advises its clients that purchasing ads on the site is “high-risk.” After IPG and Omnicom Media Group both advocated halting advertisements on the site, this is the third advertising behemoth to advise large firms to look elsewhere for funding.

GroupM’s clients include Google, L’Oréal, Bayer, Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Mars. If you’ve seen the Venn diagram depicting how a handful of brands produce almost everything in the grocery store, you’ll see significant overlap with GroupM’s client list.

According to a document viewed by Digiday and a Slack chat from Twitter’s agency relationships head shared by Platformer, GroupM has several requirements for Twitter to eliminate its high-risk rating. In a document, GroupM cites the large number of Twitter executives leaving or being fired (especially those in charge of safety, security, and compliance), the wave of high-profile impersonations by “verified” users, and its concerns about Twitter’s ability to comply with Federal Trade Commission orders. The list comprises:

  • A “return to baseline NSFW levels”
  • New people in charge of IT security, privacy, trust, and safety
  • “Establishment of internal checks & balances”
  • Transparency regarding plans that affect user or brand safety, including community standards and moderation procedures.
  • Ability to moderate content and enforce platform rules

These requests are, to put it plainly, 100 percent predictable. Companies do not want to advertise on platforms where their carefully crafted and enticing-to-as-many-people-as-possible messages appear alongside hate speech, conspiracy theories, or, perhaps worst of all, a fake-yet-verified version of their profile posting pictures of their beloved mascot giving the middle finger.

According to an internal correspondence viewed by Platformer, Twitter is “discussing” GroupM’s criteria with its leadership. Musk has stated that he intends to wean Twitter from its dependency on advertising revenue, but he has yet to be there. Many consumers cannot subscribe to the company’s premium Blue service because the corporation has temporarily discontinued the program. Musk has stated that Twitter burns through almost $4 million each day, and he has burdened it with enormous interest payments on the debt he used to acquire it. Twitter needs money to continue, but advertisers are increasingly reluctant to provide it.