Elon Musk seems to have decided that one way to inspire confidence in Twitter as an advertising platform is to become an advertiser himself. yesterday, CNBC reported that SpaceX bought one of Twitter’s premium advertising packages—when normally SpaceX rarely invests in Twitter advertising—as Musk’s other company plans to start advertising its Starlink satellite Internet to customers in Spain and Australia. According to CNBC’s internal documents reviewed, SpaceX has so far spent $160,000 in Twitter advertising campaigns and in total may end up investing up to $250,000.
According to Musk, SpaceX bought this advertising package is not special. The CEO of SpaceX and Twitter took issue with CNBC describing the ad investment as “huge.”
“SpaceX Starlink buys small ad package- not big- to test effectiveness of Twitter ads in Australia & Spain,” Musk tweeted. “Do the same for FB / Insta / Google.”
Although Musk has more recently addressed the issue of Twitter advertising, it is true that Musk has also been motivated this year to grow Starlink’s customer base. In February, Forbes reported that Starlink could make $25 million a month if there were actually 250,000 people using it, which Musk suggests there are. That could generate $300 million per year, allowing SpaceX to quickly cover the costs of launching the service, as long as Musk keeps looking for new customers, Forbes said.
“There’s clearly a real business here, and additional customers will continue to pay off the company’s costs faster over time,” Forbes reported, crediting Musk with launching a premium Internet service that could pay off SpaceX’s debt faster. These premium options range from SpaceX which recently offered $500 per month of higher bandwidth internet service for rural businesses to the recently opened. $5,000 per month internet service for yachts and oil rigs.
Despite SpaceX’s interest in reaching more customers, Twitter has rarely been considered a source of new customers by SpaceX. current and former SpaceX employees told CNBC that “SpaceX does not typically buy large advertising packages from Twitter” – until now.
It could be that Musk has just learned from his position inside the social platform exactly how Twitter can help his other businesses. Or maybe this big ad buy could be Musk’s way of showing that Twitter is still a viable platform for advertisers, once again putting his money where his mouth is.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. Twitter has reportedly stopped operating its communications office.
How big is SpaceX’s Twitter ad package?
Kasturi has denied the report commenting on the large size of the advertising package that SpaceX bought. According to CNBC, the advertising package is part of a campaign known as the “Takeover” of Twitter.
There are two types of “takeover” packages advertisers can purchase from Twitter. One is Trend Takeover, where brands can place ads next to trending topics. Another is Timeline, where brands are guaranteed that their ad will be at the top of the timeline. Timeline takeover makes sure that brand ads are the first ads users see when they log in.
CNBC reported that SpaceX bought the takeover timeline, which Twitter explained in its marketing materials as “the equivalent of a primetime TV ad or a billboard in a location where millions of people will see your brand’s ad.”
Musk said the roughly $160,000 SpaceX spent was “small” in his book, but in terms of how Twitter describes its own ad package, the timeline abuse is likely the biggest ad package SpaceX could buy. ignoble one of the Twitter business pagesTwitter describes the takeover as granting advertisers access to “the most premium, mass-reach placement”.
As CNBC noted, regardless of whether SpaceX’s ad investment is considered small or large, it’s not large enough to account for all the advertisers pulling back from Twitter. For someone like Musk who is forced to look at the big picture, it may seem small.
Musk confirmed that SpaceX has invested in advertising for Starlink on all major social platforms, so it is possible that SpaceX is doing a big business like Twitter for the first time has nothing to do with Musk owning the platform and more to do with a bigger offer. now to encourage Starlink’s growth in any way possible.
Adjusting to his new Twitter role in general, Musk continues to show that he doesn’t seem to understand the value of Twitter marketing, even though SpaceX is one of Twitter’s biggest advertisers. Many social media managers scoffed when Musk tweeted and then deleted the tweet stating that “Twitter drives a large number of clicks to other websites/apps. The largest driver of clicks on the Internet by far.” Before Musk’s tweet was deleted, Twitter users added context, fact-checking Musk and explains that Twitter results in fewer clicks compared to other social networks.
One of the famous former employees who worked at Twitter from 2009 to 2014, Claire Diaz-Ortiz—perhaps best known for get the Pope to join Twitter— joined those who called Musk for “lying.”
“This is 100 percent fake, and Twitter knows it,” Diaz-Ortiz tweeted, clarifying that Twitter does not sell ads on clicks, because it knows it cannot compete with platforms like Facebook as a traffic driver. “Twitter has other key strengths. (And marketing is more than clicks),” he said, educating Twitter’s new owners.