The Impact of Musk Fatigue

Nikki Chellaswami, Insights Analysts

April 4th, 2023

In the four months after Elon Musk became the owner and CEO of Twitter, readers lost interest in news surrounding him. We examined Twitter and Tesla coverage to see how prolonged, dramatic news cycles around the CEO impacted brand readership. Here are 2 different views of the impact of Musk Fatigue on the Twitter and Tesla brands.

Readership plummets for brand coverage mentioning Musk

What the data makes abundantly clear is that readers are losing interest in Tesla and Twitter coverage mentioning Musk. In the past couple of months readership of Tesla news including Musk dropped from around 10 million in one week to around 1 million.

Readership for both companies peaked at over 20 million when Musk asked if he should step down as Twitter’s CEO in a poll. By the end of February, readership dipped well below 1 million across both companies.

Average Tesla readership fueled by Musk

The well-known tech CEO infamously doesn’t like communications and PR. When does a tech celebrity leader hurt more than help? Twitter readership was higher on average for articles that did not include Elon Musk, suggesting his name detracted from readership. However, Tesla saw higher readership on average when articles mentioned Musk, suggesting he helped.

In Tesla’s case, Musk’s name is appearing to increase readership. He is drawing more average readership to the brand’s coverage whereas his name detracts from Twitter’s brand coverage. But is it positive? No. Tesla’s news cycle was largely impacted by news of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. Since Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Tesla’s stock has fallen and coverage highlights the fact that Musk is facing pressure from Tesla investors.


“Celebrity” CEOs can bring increased awareness but also quite a bit of negative attention. The biggest takeaway from our analysis is that when it comes to Musk fatigue, we’re certainly not alone. While Musk news boosted readership for Tesla, most of it was negative attention–even stock prices suffering from executive’s prolonged drama. If you’re Twitter, people care much more about the brand and business performance than about your CEO.

See more data and insights on the Memo blog or in our Resource Center.

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