Twitter users support the platform and ads amid Elon Musk battle

Twitter's audience is open to discovering brands on the platform and roots for the company to prevail in its court case against Musk, according to a survey from Ad Age and The Harris Poll. 

Twitter users support the platform and ads amid Elon Musk battle

Twitter users overwhelmingly support brands advertising on the platform, according to a new survey from Ad Age and The Harris Poll, and are rooting for the company to prevail in its court case with Elon Musk, who is attempting to wiggle out of a deal to buy the company

The new poll, gauging people’s attitudes around Twitter, Musk, bots and brands, found that 81% of Twitter users think that Twitter is a good way for brands to reach consumers.

Most Twitter users also understand the threat of bots, which has become a point of contention in Musk’s fight to get out of his offer to buy the company for $44 billion.

Twitter users support the company more than Musk

The poll asked all U.S. respondents which social media platforms they used, and found that 35% of U.S. consumers used Twitter weekly or daily. As a point of comparison, 68% of people said they used Facebook weekly or daily; 62% used YouTube weekly or daily; 31% used Snapchat weekly or daily and 40% used TikTok weekly or daily.

The new poll offers insights into the mood of Twitter users, and non-Twitter users, during its very public fight with Musk. Last month, Twitter reported that second-quarter ad revenue grew 2% year over year to $1.08 billion. Twitter noted in its financial statement that “uncertainty” around the Musk deal contributed to headwinds against the company.

Twitter is suing Musk to make good on his $44 billion deal to buy the company after he tried to pull his offer, claiming “spambots” were a bigger concern than he anticipated. Spambots are automated, fake accounts that can spread misinformation, harass authentic users and affect trends on social media. Many Twitter watchers think Musk is using bots as a pretense to save $44 billion, which now seems like a high price since most social media platforms have lost value this year amid an economic downturn. Twitter argued in its July lawsuit against Musk that the billionaire was “well aware” of how the platform accounted for bots before he made the deal.

As for which party should win the court case: Twitter’s most active users backed Twitter, with 49% of daily users rooting for the company and 36% of daily users rooting for Musk. When the survey included Twitter users and non-Twitter users alike, more people supported Musk, with 41% of people saying Musk should win and 35% of people saying Twitter should win. The rest of those surveyed were undecided. 

“Given that daily Twitter users more often side with Twitter over Musk, familiarity with the platform may play a role,” said Will Johnson, CEO of The Harris Poll. “That said, it seems like Americans may prefer to support a charismatic public figure over a corporation, or Musk over Twitter, in general.”

It appears that the Musk fight has not harmed Twitter’s reputation: 30% of people surveyed said they had a better opinion of Twitter since the deal was made, 18% had a worse opinion, and 52% of people’s opinions remained unchanged.

Familiarity with bots

Twitter users expressed some knowledge about “bots,” with 73% saying they were at least “somewhat familiar” with the term. All platforms have to deal with a certain amount of fake activity, but Musk has forced the spotlight on Twitter. Twitter has consistently maintained that less than 5% of its reported monetizable daily active users are spam accounts. Twitter has 237.8 million monetizable daily active users, according to its second-quarter financial report.

Meanwhile, 70% of Twitter users agreed that bots spread disinformation and are used to harass people on social media sites. The poll showed that 55% of Twitter users agreed that there were more bot accounts on Twitter than on other social platforms. But that percentage dropped when polling U.S. respondents including non-Twitter users, as 43% of people surveyed thought that Twitter had more bots than other social media sites. The plurality of people, 45% of them, were “not at all sure” how Twitter bot activity compared to other social media platforms.

The Ad Age-Harris Poll also looked at what Twitter users thought about prospects for shopping and e-commerce on the site, which has been a key strategic thrust for the company. Twitter introduced livestream shopping and other retailing tools in the past year. The poll found 39% of Twitter users said they would buy a product promoted in a livestream on Twitter. That number goes up among “daily” Twitter users, 43% of whom would buy products seen on Twitter. Also, 48% of Twitter users have discovered brands on the platform.

The findings come from an online survey of 1,076 respondents conducted July 22 to July 25 by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ad Age.