Linda Yaccarino, a highly respected executive in the global television industry, has an imposing task on her hands. After years of steering the ad sales at NBCUniversal, where she was known for championing traditional media over social media, she’s found herself in a position that requires her to leverage her deep insights into social media’s vulnerabilities. This time, however, it’s to boost Twitter’s standing rather than combat it.
Yaccarino has always advocated for the irreplaceable experience of gathering around a TV screen, criticizing the social media giants for their self-reporting of ad views. She highlighted the challenges internet companies faced in delivering high-quality content comparable to TV networks. But now, she’s stepped into the shoes of the CEO of Twitter, a platform she has openly critiqued in the past.
In her new role, Yaccarino will work alongside Elon Musk, who will focus on Twitter’s technology and design as Executive Chair and CTO. The duo’s immediate agenda involves revitalizing Twitter’s dwindling user and advertiser base and implementing Musk’s vision of an “everything app.” The app will be equipped with digital payment tools and other yet-to-be-defined features, broadening Yaccarino’s responsibilities significantly.
The first significant challenge that Yaccarino needs to tackle is rebuilding the relationship with advertisers. She has been applauded for her knack for persuading advertisers to invest heavily in TV spots despite the growing popularity of online platforms. However, Twitter poses a different challenge altogether. Many advertisers have distanced themselves from Twitter due to its controversial content, so Yaccarino must now construct a compelling narrative that downplays these concerns and highlights the value of advertising on Twitter.
Another task at hand is winning back corporations and celebrities who are pivotal to Twitter’s brand image. Musk’s strategies to increase revenue, such as the introduction of the paid tier “Twitter Blue” and hiking fees for accessing Twitter’s APIs, have created some confusion. Therefore, Yaccarino needs to clarify Twitter’s offerings and ensure high-profile users see value in Twitter.
Additionally, she must address the various business disputes that have surfaced since Musk’s acquisition. Unsettled bills and abrupt employee departures have led to several arbitration cases. Settling these issues promptly would help restore Twitter’s credibility, although dealing with such matters could be a new challenge for Yaccarino, who has mostly worked with media deals.
Transforming Twitter into a profitable enterprise is also imperative. Even though Musk has drastically reduced costs, Twitter needs to continue attracting advertisers without ramping up expenses on labor and technology. Lastly, there is Musk. His style and personality will take plenty of effort to manage and work with, and how well Yaccarino can do that will likely impact the company’s future.