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Twitter warns of ad sales dip as pandemic forces marketers to reduce budgets

Twitter warns of ad sales dip amid as pandemic forces marketers to contract budgets

Twitter has emerged as a go-to news source for many hunkered down during the coronavirus lockdown but despite achieving near ubiquity the platform has proven itself to be far from immune to broader economic contagion.

Looking ahead to its first-quarter results, Twitter is projecting an operating loss as the pandemic convinced advertisers to run for the hills even as the unprecedented crisis brought record numbers of active users flocking to the platform.

It is enough to leave the social media giant feeling blue and heralds the beginning of a period of depressed advertising spend as sales and revenues head in another direction.

Appraising investors of the latest Twitter chief financial officer Ned Segal said: “The Covid-19 impact began in Asia, and as it unfolded into a global pandemic, it has impacted Twitter’s advertising revenue globally more significantly in the last few weeks.”

Harsh headwinds are buffeting traditional platforms too, with ITV's chief executive Carolyn McCall bracing markets for a grisly set of financial results after ripping up its previous market guidance and hastily embarking on a programme of cost-cutting as it adapts to an ‘unprecedented’ situation as ad revenues slump.

This new reality has already impacted Ocean Outdoor which has reported a ‘rapid deterioration’ in media and advertising spend since mid-March as the coronavirus has exacted an ever-increasing toll on key markets.

More broadly future sentiments are more nuanced with marketers generally and B2B marketers specifically both split on how coronavirus will impact their budgets from here. While the impact on ad spend is readily apparent it is thought that some winners will emerge among companies offering utility, e-commerce and live streaming.

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