Dozens of Twitter employees from sales and engineering departments were laid off last week, including one of Musk’s direct reports who led engineering for Twitter’s advertising business, according to company sources and social media posts from affected employees seen by The edge. This means that Musk has done at least three rounds fired since his promise to call it quits in November. Meanwhile, he’s issued a directive internally to revamp the way ads in Twitter’s main feed are targeted within a week — part of his plan to fix what he’s got publicly called “the worst ad relevance on earth.” (The information reported first that fresh cuts reached the sales team last week.)
Musk’s plan is to change Twitter’s ad targeting to work like Google’s search ads, which focus primarily on keywords being searched for, rather than a user’s activity and profile data. It’s an approach that works well for a search engine – where people go to express specific intent to find something – and has helped Google build one of the most profitable businesses of all time. But it hasn’t worked for any social media company so far.
In a tweet on Saturday, Marcin Kadluczka, the fired monetization engineering manager who reported directly to Musk, hinted at the unfeasibility of the one-week deadline. in a tweet: “I believe Twitter can really improve ads in 2-3 months (but not necessarily in a week).” I confirmed that Musk gave the aggressive deadline just before Kadluczka and others in the advertising, consumer and sales organizations were fired last Friday.
Here I want to note that Musk gave a similar deadline to revive Twitter Blue when he first bought the company, but it was not met. He could also change his mind about how advertising should work on Twitter. He did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Improving Twitter’s advertising has been a major focus of Musk since buying the company. He rightly pointed out that Twitter’s ads are less personalized and less effective than those of its competitors. (As my colleague Nilay Patel likes to say, criticizing Twitter’s Musk-era is by no means an endorsement of the previous regime.) But it’s unclear whether switching targeting to keyword-driven ads, such as Google ads, will improve Twitter’s quality. ads will actually improve. , as others with a better understanding of the trade-offs than I have noted: